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August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 Mix Issue Table of Contents

August 1, 2011


On the Cover: Blade Studios

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

The week that we telephoned Blade Studios (Shreveport, La.), co-owner/producer/drummer Brady Blade and chief engineer Chris Bell were in Studio A with videogame developers Rob Atkins and Adrian Carmack (Doom and Quake Series) scoring the Fallen Shadows II videogame. Action in the second Fallen Shadows game takes place in New Orleans, and Blade says the score is generally “creepy.” Over the phone, Bell played back some music from the “All Saints Morgue” scene; it’s an eerie sequence of tones and percussive sounds, built around the ominous thump of a heartbeat. …


Tech: New Products, August 2011

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM

Following the release of its Vintage 47 and Vintage 67 inspired by classic Neumann originals, JZ Microphones now offers a version of the legendary AKG C12. The Vintage 12 ($1,913) employs JZ’s Golden Drop Technology, which promises a more detailed and transparent capsule response. The V12 replaces the original C12 tubes with high-quality transistor technology, providing equivalent frequency response with fewer maintenance and care issues. The large-capsule, fixed-cardioid condenser is available directly from the JZ Microphones site. …

Blue Microphones enCORE 100, enCORE 200 Microphones Review

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Steve La Cerra

Established as a leading manufacturer of high-quality studio mics, Blue Microphones has turned its attention to the live sound market with the en•CORE Series. Intended for onstage use, initial offerings in the en•CORE line include the 100, 200 and 300 (all of which are designed for vocal applications), and the 100i, an instrument microphone possessing a tight pattern for reduced leakage. For this review, Mix received the en•CORE 100 and en•CORE 200 models, each of which ships in a cardboard box, along with a microphone stand holder and a plush-lined, cloth mic bag. …

Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 USB Interface Review

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barry Rudolph

The Scarlett 8i6 ($299) and 18i6 ($399; reviewed here) are two new USB 2 audio interfaces from Focusrite, and they differ only in their respective number of analog and digital line inputs (eight and 18, respectively). Both half-rack units feature two XLR Combi jacks for either microphone, line, or high-impedance DI inputs that use Focusrite preamps for up to 60dB of gain. Both units provide up to six simultaneous audio output channels. …

Future Sonics, Monster and Sennheiser In-Ear Monitors Review

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

Getting intimate with your mix is the best way to ensure that you’re covering all the sonic details and not leaving loose ends. It’s often the low-level mix elements that can come back to bite you later. For instance, a shaker, tambourine, reverb tail or delay can sound balanced in a mix heard out of speakers in a room, especially at the end of a long day when your ears are tired. But those mix items can sound out of place when you listen back with fresh ears. …

Lexicon PCM Native Effects Bundle Review

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Michael Cooper

When Lexicon released its PCM Native Reverb Bundle last year, fans of the company’s highly prized reverb algorithms rejoiced: They were finally available in-the-box. PCM Native Effects Bundle completes the circle, adding delay and pitch processing to the mix. …

InfoComm 2011 Show Report

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny

InfoComm (June 11-17, Orlando) has grown into a pretty healthy trade show, with an increased audio presence that has made it the leading U.S. marketplace for A/V installation professionals. . …

Ask Eddie: Transducers Front and Back

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Eddie Ciletti

GEEK: My friend Paul Wolff doesn’t like the moniker, but I embrace it. The positive connotation of “geek” describes someone who is happily hardwired for hardware and technology. I won’t share his negative connotation, in case you’re eating. …

Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones Roundup

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

Large-diaphragm condenser mics are indispensable tools in any audio facility that records vocal tracks. Possessing diaphragms that measure 1-inch or greater, LDCs were specifically designed to capture the human voice. Traditionally, engineers prefer them for vocal recording over mics with small capsules because of the greater sensitivity, low self-noise and deference for presence in the vocal range. …

TechTalk: Quality, No Matter Where It Is

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

I remember the first audiophile playback system I ever heard. It was in a high-end Los Angeles home in the ’70s, long before I was a recording engineer. I could tell I was hearing something special: A great system transcends simple physics and engages the listener on a visceral level. Since then, whenever I’ve heard other such systems, that feeling returns. It’s like a familiar taste in a great meal or a spectacular wine—you may not know exactly what flavors are spiraling your senses to new heights; you just love it. …


Acentech Spruces Up Venue

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

The Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, a 420-seat, 13,000-square-foot performance hall in Stowe, Vt., hosts a variety of music, dance and theater performances, as well as lecture and video presentations, and cinema screenings. Acentech (Boston) designed the A/V systems and acoustics of the space, which is particularly well-suited to unamplified and lightly amplified music gigs. …

Metric Halo to the Theater

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

Paul Kavicky, owner/operator of Pater Street Audio Company (Columbus, Ohio), is working the FOH position for Threesixty Theater’s production of Peter Pan, which will run in four different cities for a total of 350 shows. In his home studio, he creates and records sound effects and voice-overs for theatrical work. New to his space are six Metric Halo FireWire interfaces with eight I/Os each: four 288s, an LIO-8 and a ULN-8. …

FixIt: Luke Bryan Monitor Engineer Ed Janiszewski

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM

I have one musician who requests changes more frequently than the rest of the band. In the past, it meant flipping to his mix to make the changes. On the [DiGiCo] SD8, I have one of the three sets of assignable rotary encoders assigned to his mix, which means it’s always accessible without flipping banks or hitting a button, and I still have the other two sets of encoders for other purposes. Also, having two talkbacks is really helpful. I have one assigned to the crew mixes and one for the musicians…

Iron & Wine Tour Profile

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

When Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam put together a big band for their current tour, he needed someone to mix the new arrangements. As front-of-house engineer Jeremy Lemos knew most everyone in the band, bringing him onboard was a no-brainer. With 11 bandmembers onstage, it was imperative to bring along their own monitor package as most of their stops—ranging from Chicago’s Millennium Park for 15,000 people to a beat-up rock club—couldn’t accommodate that many monitor mixes; monitor engineer Tim Iseler is manning an Avid SC48. The tour also has a full Shure mic package, with Lemos saying it’s the only way he can tame so many variables in different club P.A.s and mixers every night. …

Al-Tee, Jay Sean on the Yamaha Train

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

Currently out with Jay Sean, FOH engineer Al-Tee is mixing on a Yamaha PM5D, noting that it’s a board he can easily find no matter what venue he finds himself in. “The console’s dynamic performance helps [Sean] keep the rhythm pumping on the stage. Jay and I flew into India for a show with no time to do a soundcheck, and I was able to load my scenes into the console and make some EQ changes, and off we went. I was mixing monitors and front of house from the same mixer.” …

All Access: Florence and the Machine

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

Florence Welch is having a good run, basking in the critically acclaimed success of her debut, Lungs. As for “The Machine,” it can be Welch and a drum kit or a piano, but right now it’s a seven-piece band including long-term collaborators Rob Ackroyd (guitar), Chris Hayden (drums), Isabella Summers (keyboards) and Tom Monger (harp). “I’ve worked with most of them for a long time and they know my style, know the way I write, they know what I want,” says Welch. And she’s bringing them out onstage for her current run of dates. Mix caught the first show of the tour at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Calif. …

Blue Man Group Tour Profile

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

You’re never really quite sure what to expect from a Blue Man Group performance. It’s a visual experience, with numerous antics onstage to draw the eye—tickers displaying political messages; commentary on social media and human interactions; directions for the audience; flashing-lights costumes; very large inflated balls bouncing around the hall. And for those seeing their current tour—which is happening simultaneously in a number of cities—you get the best of all “Blue Man” worlds, a “greatest hits,” if you will. From their iconic “three guys pounding on bottom-lit oil cans” splashing colored paint on every down stroke, to booty-shaking hits from their album The Complex, to striking their mallets on instruments created from PVC piping, the Blue Men enthrall their audience. …

Ray LaMontagne Tour Profile

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Candace Horgan

It’s the voice that first hits you. A mixture of yearning and heartbreak, delivered in a raspy, delicate fashion that bypasses the ears and punches deep within. You realize that the music is very well written, a perfect backing track for that sad, aching voice. …


Beyonce Runs Her World

Aug 1, 2011 1:43 PM, By Blair Jackson

It only seems as though Beyonce has been a superstar forever. Since her days fronting the hit machine known as Destiny’s Child in the late ’90s, she has conquered the world with her four solo albums—selling 75 million records and picking up 16 Grammys along the way—triumphed on a succession of increasingly extravagant tours, been praised for her acting in several major feature films, launched successful fashion and fragrance lines, and become one of the highest-paid commercial spokespeople in the U.S. Her latest album, 4, was an instant smash when it was released in late June while she was on tour in France; two days after it came out, she headlined the Glastonbury Festival in England in front of 170,000 people. She’s beautiful, talented, independent—and driven. …

KickDrums on Their Own

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

Producers Alex Fitts and Matt Penttila, under the nom de plume KickDrums, had to turn the mirror back on themselves. The same critical eye and creativity used to create beats and tracks for the likes of 50 Cent, Kid Cudi and John Legend was put into play for their own release, Meet Your Ghost. While working on other artists’ material, the duo began to build the songs, fusing hip-hop tones with rock melodies. Working in their own personal studios in New York City, the two would mostly swap tracks with each other, coming together to work in Fitts’ space …

Orbit Audio

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

Orbit Audio (Seattle) recently had an acoustic (by Guy Staley) and aesthetic makeover, as well as installed an SSL 4056 G Series with Ultimation. The control room features eight inches deep of 705 Corning in the front wall, covered with FR701 purple and black acoustical fabric. The back-corner bass traps offer 30-inch-deep Rocksol. Six acoustical clouds hang over the listening position. Helmholtz resonant bass absorbers line one wall in the live room….

Smashing Pumpkins in Pre-Production

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

When Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan came into Coldwater Studio (Beverly Hills), he had 30-plus songs but whittled that number down during a month of pre-production for their upcoming album, Oceania. “The studio is situated in a guest house so we were able to jam in a comfortable room with lots of light that faced a pool,” says studio head engineer Kevin Dippold, who works with owner/producer Kerry Brown. “When Billy was happy with a particular arrangement, we’d move into the studio section of the guest house to do a quick acoustic guitar demo. …

Vanessa Carlton’s Rabbits on the Run

Aug 23, 2011 1:36 PM, By Matt Gallagher

Preserving Culture at WAM

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

Non-profit Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) recorded a trio of master Mongolian musicians, with funding from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. WAM founder and chief engineer Terri Winston oversaw the tracking sessions with engineer Jenny Thornburg, while Thornburg mixed the album at WAM; Michael Romanowski completed mastering at his facility. “They have to be recorded together and have really close sightlines,…

Recording Vocals | Start With the Singer

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Mike Levine

From the breathy smoothness of Diana Krall to the growl of Tom Waits to the screams of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, no two singing voices are quite alike. For producers and engineers, the challenge is to find the most flattering way to capture a particular singer’s sound. But successful vocal recording requires more than engineering skill; you also need psychological chops. Coaxing the best performance from a singer is often a lot trickier than selecting the right vocal chain. …

Classic Tracks: The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Nothing says 1980s L.A. like The Go-Go’s on the radio. Those sweet, bright, infectious songs were the perfect soundtrack for a sunny day—still are, though 30 years have passed since one of rock ’n’ roll’s first all-female bands released their debut album, Beauty and the Beat. The Go-Go’s formed in the midst of L.A.’s late-’70s punk scene. None of the founding members—Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin and Margot Olaverra—were professional musicians. They were friends who bonded over shows by bands like The Germs and The Dickies. …

‘I Love Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow’

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Country Music Hall of Famer Tom T. Hall was pleasantly surprised when singer/songwriter (and former Mix Nashville editor) Peter Cooper said that he and Eric Brace wanted to produce a remake of Hall’s 1974 album, Songs of Fox Hollow. It had been unlikely enough when Hall wrote and recorded a hit children’s album at the height of his career success, “And I’d never even heard of someone redoing a whole album,” Hall says. “But of course, I said, ‘Yes.’” …


‘Cowboys & Aliens’

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Blair Jackson

On paper, it’s an idea that can’t miss: Cowboys (and Apaches) in 1873 Arizona are confronted by an alien invasion! It’s spaceships against horses; six-shooters, single-shot rifles, bows and spears against horrifying, zapping destructo rays from beyond the galaxy. Cowboys & Aliens is two—yes, two!—movies in one: an Old West saga about a mysterious amnesiac who stumbles into the town of Absolution only to learn he’s wanted there for committing heinous crimes he doesn’t remember, and one of the strangest sci-fi adventures you’re likely to see. Jon Favreau (the two Iron Man films) directed this intriguing hybrid, which is based on a 2006 graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. The appealing leads are Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. …



Aug 1, 2011 1:40 PM, By Sarah Benzuly

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum now features a Beatles exhibit, with nearly 70 artifacts, including some “never-before-exhibited” items such as bandmember clothing and Paul McCartney’s handwritten arrangement for “Birthday.” The exhibit also displays John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E acoustic guitar, George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar…

Martin Rushent, 1949-2011

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, Compiled by Sarah Benzuly

British record producer Martin Rushent died on June 4 at his home in Berkshire, England. His first experience in a recording studio was at London’s EMI House where his school band (he was the lead singer) recorded a demo. After graduation, while working for his father, he applied for studio jobs and was employed by Advision Studios as a 35mm film projectionist. Soon after, he transferred to the audio department as a tape operator, where he worked on sessions for Fleetwood Mac, T-Rex, Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many more. He moved up the ladder to senior assistant engineer…

OCA Alliance Announced

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, Compiled by Sarah Benzuly

To secure the standardization of the Open Control Architecture (OCA), the Alliance (PreSonus Audio Electronics, Bosch Communications Systems, d&b audiotechnik, Duran Audio, Loud Technologies, Media Technology Systems, Salzbrenner StageTec Mediagroup and the TC Group) will complete the technical definition of OCA and then transfer its development to an accredited public standards organization, which will then render the OCA spec into an open public standard for control of professional media network systems. …

SPARS SoundBite | What Makes a Quality Recording Studio

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Kirk Immamura, president/director

SPARS has embarked upon a quest to seek out recording studios that have not only survived but are thriving today, in an effort similar to what Tom Peters did when he wrote In Search of Excellence. We recently talked to a few studio owners who have done a really good job adapting to the conditions of their respective markets….


Editor’s Note: Where Have All the “Good” Hackers Gone

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny, Editorial Director

Okay, so maybe “good” isn’t the right word. Probably not “noble” or “moral,” either. But at least back in the early ’80s, when the term “hacking” entered the vernacular, there was something of a code to the practice, and a certain Bonnie and Clyde–type appreciation for the culture. Hackers were the outcasts, the pale skinny kids who were bullied and belittled in their teens, who stayed in their rooms and played Dungeons and Dragons and customized videogames. These were the inhabitors of the earliest chat rooms, the nerds who used their skills anonymously to expose corruption or change their own letter grades. They were odd, borderline cultish. They were no doubt criminal in some cases. But they weren’t evil. …