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April 2014

April 2014


April 2014 Editor’s Note: The Importance of Source

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

A two-day visit to Sonic Ranch in West Texas, on the dry open lands of the Rio Grande Valley, got me thinking about source. There’s lots of time to think out there, amid the 2,000 acres of pecan trees, horse farm and star-loaded skies. It’s a completely turnkey production facility, what foodies might call farm-to-table but what we call source-to-distribution. But what exactly is “source”?…


Sonic Ranch: A Recording Retreat Designed to Inspire

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

Vibe is one of those versatile descriptors that can mean nothing or everything. It can be used to describe a person, place or thing in the generic, or, when attached to a modifier, become more specific, as in a “funky, New Orleans vibe.” It can be attached to an event, like a Clive Davis after-party, or a unique piece of art, an individual rock star or a scene a la Brooklyn. It can be so overused that it loses its luster, yet can sometimes be the only word that fits. At its simplest, it describes a moment in time. At its most complex, it describes a total experience, one that is just there all the time. Sonic Ranch has vibe—all-caps, boldfaced, italicized Vibe. …


Music for ‘True Detective’: T Bone Burnett Digs Deep for Eerie HBO Drama

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

It’s been awhile since the ending of a season of a limited TV series has been mourned as widely and intensely as HBO’s True Detective, which capped its remarkable first-year story arc in March. Here’s an example of a show where saying that it’s about two Louisiana detectives trying to solve the ritual murder of young woman doesn’t begin to hint at the depth and complexity of creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto’s eight-hour story—the way it seamlessly jumps back and forth between three eras over 17 years, involves dozens of truly odd, idiosyncratic, but strangely real characters, and uses creepy and lonesome rural Louisiana settings to create one of the most haunting backdrops for a story you’ll ever find. …

The Great ‘Marketplace’ Studio Redesign of 2009-2014: American Public Media Updates Radio Facility for the “Connected” World

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Nick Batzdorf

There are no Aeron chairs or hardwood floors at the newly revamped Frank Stanton Studios in downtown Los Angeles. These are radio studios, where all the rooms are small and dry, and the machine room is loaded with floor-to-ceiling racks of networking equipment. It’s where American Public Media supports local station Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) and produces the daily Marketplace series of business news and economic life programs, heard nationally on more than 500 public radio stations by almost 11 million listeners a week….

Nate Barr: Texture and Color in Television Music

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Gary Eskow

Climbing aboard a used school bus in Queens, N.Y., and driving it 16,000 miles into the heart of South America and back with a friend may seem like a roundabout way to reach Hollywood, but that’s the trip Nathan Barr, currently one of the hot scoring composers on the West Coast, took. Perhaps best known for the sonically complex underscores that beautifully complement the violence and psychological confusion which mark HBO’s wildly successful True Blood series, Barr received a pair of Original Main Title Theme Music Emmy nominations in 2013 (the first composer to be so honored) for his work on FX’s The Americans and the Netflix show Hemlock Grove. He’s currently in the process of expanding the Topanga Canyon project studio where he composes and produces much of his work….


Ozomatli: Bright Days for Eclectic L.A. Groove Band

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

Famously energetic and fabulously eclectic, the L.A. band Ozomatli shows no signs of slowing down after close to two decades of practically nonstop action. The group has taken its dynamic and infectious fusion of rap, rock, funk, reggae, Latin, jazz and other styles all over the world—sometimes as cultural ambassadors sponsored by the U.S. State Department—including far-flung destinations in central and southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Australia, Mexico and South America. They’ve played many big and small U.S. festivals (Bonnaroo, Coachella, etc.), regularly headline in clubs, theaters and assorted venues all over the country, and have landed songs on film soundtracks and TV shows. It’s a wonder they ever have time to record an album. …

Classic Tracks: “Beds Are Burning,” Midnight Oil

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

Australian rock ’n’ roll band Midnight Oil broke into the U.S. charts with an explosive single from their album Diesel and Dust. “Beds Are Burning” was powerful on every level: musically, politically, sonically, even visually. In fact, anyone who had an ear to the modern rock radio format in 1988 can almost certainly name this song in three notes: Those effected horn-and-drum blasts make an unforgettable intro. …

Eric Hutchinson’s ‘Pure Fiction’

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

Nick Radovanovic mixed Eric Hutchinson’s infectious new pop album in Skies Fall Studios …

The Story of the Focusrite Studio Console

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

Audio engineers today primarily associate the name Focusrite with high-quality audio interfaces and mic preamps, a reliable and musical means of getting audio into a computer via USB, Ethernet, FireWire or traditional analog. The range of the company’s products employ iPad control, Dante networking and most forward-looking technologies you can think of. But modern technologies don’t appear out of nowhere, and 25 years ago Focusrite was a much different company, emphasizing a much different product line. …


All Access: The Pixies

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

The Pixies—Black Francis, vocals/guitar; Joey Santiago, guitar; David Lovering, drums; Paz Lenchantin, bass—performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., in early March. The band carries a d&b audiotechnik J-Series P.A. provided by Eighth Day Sound, based in Highland Heights, Ohio….

The Pixies 2014 Tour Gallery

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM

The Pixies—Black Francis, vocals/guitar; Joey Santiago, guitar; David Lovering, drums; Paz Lenchantin, bass—performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., in early March. The band carries a d&b audiotechnik J-Series P.A. provided by Eighth Day Sound, based in Highland Heights, Ohio….

On the Road with Neko Case

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Singer/songwriter Neko Case has added another leg to her tour, promoting her Grammy-nominated album The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You. During this outing, Case and band visit clubs and theaters throughout the Southeast and Midwest with a crew including monitor mixer Bobby Mac and front-of-house engineer Shelly Steffens….


Robair Report: The N-Word

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Gino Robair

We got into the audio biz because we enjoy certain aspects of the job. It might have been the creative parts, the joys of problem solving or perhaps the glamor of working with famous and talented people and the opportunity to travel. Whatever it was that led us to this career, at times it feels more like fun than work. …

TechTalk: MetApeel

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

Metadata is like a banana peel. It looks great on the banana, but once it’s separated, no one wants to own it. Who will create it? Who pays for it? How do we manage it? Who collects it? Why should I care? What’s that smell?…


Southwest News & Notes

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By The Mix Editors

Las Vegas studio The Tone Factory recently acquired a Trident series 80 (32×24), to be installed in Studio A. “It’s an early series 80, not an 80b, which are much more common,” says studio owner Vinnie Castaldo. “We actually purchased it a year ago in April. Ed Evans—the original technician from the Hit Factory in New York—is servicing the Trident and going through it for us.” Castaldo says the studio also upgraded the power supplies, ICs and caps. Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades did mods to the main stereo module as well….

Southwest Session News

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By The Mix Editors

Prog-rock band Yes recorded four new songs in Studio A—using a vintage discrete Neve desk with Pro Tools HDX—for their upcoming release, with engineer Phil Schlemmer IX, assisted by Don Salter…Rapper Riff Raff was in Studio A working on Neon Icon with producers Trapzillas, Dolfz and Harry Fraud. Schlemmer engineered the project and tracked a lot of Riff Raff’s vocals…

The Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas: Old-School Vibe, Supersized

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

Production director Jon Dindas refers to his latest project as “Brooklyn Bowl on steroids.” Like the original Brooklyn Bowl, the new Las Vegas edition offers an industrial-style music-performance club, as well as hipster comfort food and a bowling alley. …


Avid Pro Tools 11: 64-Bit Operation, Unprecedented Stability and AAX Plug-ins

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Chris Grainger

Through the many updates of Pro Tools, Avid has made great strides to increase the overall strength of the program, with the discussion of a 64-bit operation hovering for a while now. Now in Pro Tools 11, I can confidently say that the future is here, and it sounds amazing. …

Cakewalk SONAR X3 Producer: New Release Adds Plugs, VIs and Capabilities

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Jami McGraw

Cakewalk has released the latest version of its SONAR X Series with SONAR X3 Producer. New bells and whistles, an improved UI and third-party utilities that are directly integrated make for a release worth looking at—and listening to. …

Prism Sound Lyra 2 Audio Interface: Upgrade Brings Deep Features, Stellar Sound

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Brandon Hickey

One of the hallmarks of the Prism Sound brand has been exceptionally transparent A/D and D/A converters. Products in the company’s recent USB interface line have varied in numbers of I/O channels provided, but in each case they offer high-quality mic preamplifiers, digital I/O and monitoring facilities. The second-generation release of the Lyra-family USB audio interface is its most affordable option, built on a foundation of features that should please a variety of users. …

Mackie MRmk3 Series Monitors: Three Affordable Speakers and Companion Sub

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tim Dolbear

Mackie has been a mainstay in the studio equipment world since the early ‘90s, making its early mark with mixers and making big inroads with the introduction of the HR824 monitors in 1997. The new MRmk3 series of monitors fits right into the company mission of quality and affordability….


New Gear from Musikmesse Prolight + Sound 2014

Apr 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Mike Lawson

Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound 2014 once again offered a spectacular look at the technology and tools designed for today’s music, sound and media producers. This year the annual trade event was held March 12-15 in Frankfurt, Germany, and spanned nine massive exhibit halls covering everything to do with music and sound, all housed in one extraordinarily large complex known at the Frankfurt Messe Hall. More than 110,000 reported registrants were in attendance….