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February 2014

February 2014


February 2014 Editor’s Note: Science and Emotion

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

The best thing about being editor of Mix is that I get to meet such a wide variety of creative, smart, interesting, technical, curious, articulate, well-rounded, passionate and simply fascinating people—from all types of backgrounds, from all walks of life. There are mad scientists who know more about electricity, physics or acoustics than anyone I will likely ever meet, and there are high school dropouts who have a creative bent for mixing chart-topping music. They all have a story….


Producer Dave Tozer: Philly Musical Roots, With New York Production Style

Feb 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny // All Photos by Michael Vecchio

Dave Tozer is a true music junkie, and his passion is infectious. Writing, recording, arranging, producing, editing, mixing—he just thinks of music that way, as a complete picture, a visual, a mood, a vibe, an emotion. From the concept of the song, to building the melody, rhythm and lyrics, he conceives of the process as one unified piece. You can almost see him flipping the sheets while conducting a big band at the Copa, bopping and waving his arms. Music with style. Music as a moment….


John Meyer: A Lifetime of Sound Science

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

John Meyer is smart. Everyone who meets him comes away with that. And he can talk about an endless variety of subjects, learned and articulate in them all, with a rare ability to break down complex technical concepts into simple, often visual, analogies. He’s scientist smart, and at the same time infinitely accessible, often displaying a dry wit or drifting off into his passion for cameras and lenses and the visual arts. But his lifelong passion has been sound, sound reproduction in particular. Linear sound reproduction systems to be even more particular….

Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O’Keeffe: Album Emerges from Long Friendship and Inventive Process

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

The latest from Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen is a collaborative record that took years, and a couple of different forms, to arrive. Jorgensen and drummer Greg O’Keeffe—longtime friends who have been bouncing musical ideas off of each other since they met in 1995—kept things loose at first, with writing/demo sessions in their personal studio (Brooklyn, N.Y.)….

A London Taxi in New York City

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

It was quite visible at the October 2013 AES convention in New York. Right outside the front door, Karen Brinton parked her newest addition to the Remote Recording family and opened the doors to anybody who was curious. “Is it a PT Cruiser?” some asked, admiring the sleek black finish with the tall, wide-body profile. “Actually, it’s a London Taxi,” Brinton would respond. “Do you want to climb inside?”…

Studio Monitors Guide


Capital Audio Post: Bringing Sound Synergies to D.C.

Feb 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Mark R. Smith

For Frank Scheuring and Chip Sovek, it was a matter of necessity. After many years in the audio post business, much of it with an established Washington, D.C.-area facility, the doors closed in late 2012, and it was either start making calls to see who’s hiring or take the plunge and open up their own space. They chose the latter, opening as Capital Audio Post last March in nearby Fairfax, Va….


Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Rhythm & Soul Greats ‘Give the People What They Want’

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

In an interview for Electronic Musician magazine last summer, Questlove of The Roots mentioned that he’d learned some eye-opening drum-miking techniques from Gabe Roth, the bassist, producer, engineer and label owner for the Dap-Kings. This sure makes sense when Roth describes the process of recording Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ gorgeous new soul release Give the People What They Want. Roth is at least as likely to move the mic or move instruments as he is to try different microphones…

Classic Tracks: “First We Take Manhattan,” Jennifer Warnes

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

With 20/ 20 hindsight, it makes perfect sense that Jennifer Warnes’ exquisite 1986 album, Famous Blue Raincoat: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, became a critical and commercial success. After all, Cohen is now widely regarded as one of the great songwriters and poets of the modern era, and the always-underrated Warnes was enjoying a hot streak that included singing two Best Original Song Oscar winners—“It Goes Like It Goes,” from Norma Rae, and her inescapable chart-topping duet with Joe Cocker on “Up Where We Belong,” from An Officer and a Gentleman—and another nominee, “One More Hour,” from Ragtime….

A.J. Croce Tells ‘Twelve Tales’

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

Artist/songwriter A.J. Croce’s latest comprises a dozen songs, made in pairs with six different producers: Allen Toussaint, Mitchell Froom, Kevin Killen, Tony Berg, Greg Cohen, and the late Cowboy Jack Clement in one of his last sessions. …

Peggy Sue, ‘Choir of Echoes’

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

British alt-rock group Peggy Sue wrote and demoed the songs for their latest album, Choir of Echoes, in their North London practice space before going into the famed Rockfield Studios in Wales to record with engineer/producer Jimmy Robertson….

Springsteen’s ‘High Hopes’

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

The powerful title track from Bruce Springsteen’s new album was recorded with engineer Nick DiDia, mainly at Studios 301 in Sydney, Australia. Producer Ron Aniello first asked DiDia to record some of Tom Morello’s guitar parts for songs that had already been started. “Once we did that,” DiDia says, “the idea came up to possibly record the entire band….

Cool Spin – Paul Rodgers: ‘The Royal Sessions’ (429/Pie Records)

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

What an unexpected surprise this is. English rock and blues belter Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm, etc.) revisits his roots on ‘The Royal Sessions,’ named for the legendary Memphis recording studio (formerly helmed by the late, great producer Willie Mitchell) that has churned out a zillion soul, R&B and rock nuggets since it opened in the mid-’50s….


Robair Report: Ears Wide Open

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

In Zen they say: If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, try if for eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and so on. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all but very interesting.”—John Cage, “Indeterminacy”…

Tech Talk: What’s Your Reference?

Feb 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Kevin Becka

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking about how the data our brains reference affects the outcomes of anything we do or think about. For example, those who saw Michael Jordan, Magic, or Kareem play their best have a better appreciation of Kobe and LeBron. It’s also the reason audio engineers bring their own speakers to gigs, love the mics, consoles and outboard they do, and have their favorite sample rate—it’s all about the reference. I’ll never say no to a good reference, even if I know I’ll never hear or see it again. …


San Francisco Bay Area News & Notes

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

Studio 401 recently completed the Duduvudu project, which celebrates the music of the late South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and the long, unique history of South African jazz. Dudu and the all-star band, The Blue Notes, left South Africa in 1964, the same year that the late Nelson Mandela began his 27-year prison sentence. The Blue Notes (Dudu, Johnny Dyani, Chris McGregor, Mongezi Feza and Louis Moholo) came to London and changed the face of European jazz with their wild inside/outside/folkloric “who cares about the label—no boundaries” approach to music….

San Francisco Bay Area Sessions

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

JingleTown, Oakland, Calif.

Reggae-rock band The Expendables worked on an upcoming album in Studio A with producer Gordon Brislawn and engineer Lee Bothwick, where all drums, bass and guitars were tracked live together. …

Chris Dugan: From Nu-Tone to JingleTown

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

It was one of those right place, right time situations. Chris Dugan and his partner, Willie Samuels, had been recording local punk, metal and assorted bands for a couple of years at their Nu-Tone Studio in Pittsburg, Calif. (east of Berkeley/Oakland), when their paths crossed that of the best-known rocker in the area—Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Armstrong had (and still has) his own record label, Adeline Records, and in 1999 he tapped Dugan to come to his home studio to record a few songs for a band he was producing, The Criminals. The resulting album, Burning Flesh and Broken Fingers, delivered 14 blazing punk songs in just 21 minutes, including “An Angry Ouija Board Has Sent Us to Destroy the City of Berkeley.” Yeah!…

Studio Trilogy: Recording Oasis in Downtown SF

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

Located smack dab in the heart of San Francisco’s ultra-creative and growing SOMA (South of Market) district, on the edge of downtown, Studio Trilogy is exactly the type of recording and production facility that mirrors the city’s changing face as a hub for all sorts of different types of artistic expression. Whereas in the past, some of the “hot” studios in The City have been focused primarily on music recording or commercial production/post work, Studio Trilogy revels in its eclectic approach, offering a one-stop shop for almost any audio project imaginable….

Light Rail Studios: SF Music Center With High-End Recording

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

You can find sound facilities like Light Rail Studios in most major markets, typically in the warehouse district. Affordable lockout rehearsal spaces for local bands, sometimes a shooting or concert stage, a facility wired for sound and all types of production, including video. Often there is a recording studio, ranging anywhere from duct-taped wiring to full-on professional. These types of facilities, often unnoticed, occupy a core place in the music and recording industry, exposing countless musicians to their first taste of real technology, but more importantly, serving as a hub where creative musicians, engineers and budding producers first come together and feed off of each other….


Apogee Quartet and One Audio Interfaces: USB Audio I/O for iPad and Mac

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

When it comes to digital audio hardware, there seem to be two different classes: devices offering the most connections, features and best possible sample rates for the most affordable price, and hardware that shoots for the highest possible sound quality regardless of the resulting price. Apogee has always embraced the latter approach, taking great care to consider every component’s role, from clocking, to converters, to power supply, and the quality and cleanliness of the analog portion of D/A and A/D converters. …

Focusrite Red 1 500 Series Preamp: Vertical Unit Brings Legacy Topology and Sonics

Feb 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barry Rudolph

In a way, the Focusrite Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre is the modern return of the microphone preamp design and sound used in the original Focusrite Red Range line of 2U processors. The Red 1 Quad Mic-Pre, Red 6 Mono Mic-Pre Equalizer, Red 7 Mono Mic-Pre & Dynamics and the Red 8 Dual Mic-Pre variants all used that same preamp circuit topology. The Red Range was first released in 1992 and then discontinued in 2010, but its lineage goes back to the mid-1980s with the Focusrite ISA 110 Mono Mic-Pre & Equalizer. The vertically mounted ISA 110 was a Rupert Neve design from being commissioned to supply 16 extra inputs for a Neve console at AIR Studios in London. …

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 511 Preamp: 500 Series Unit With the “Rupert” Touch

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

Rupert Neve Designs has produced a number of signature products that bring Mr. Neve’s touch to the modern age of recording. While the price of these products are out of the reach for some, the newest offering from RND hits the affordability target dead center while maintaining quality and excellent sonics. The 511 preamp features a range of controls plus the signature Silk circuit….

Shure BLX4 Wireless System: Scalable, Affordable Rig for Mics and Instruments

Feb 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Steve La Cerra

The BLX Wireless System from Shure was designed to provide a professional level of audio and RF performance at an entry-level cost. Comprising three receivers and two transmitters, the BLX System enables easy setup and offers a choice of bodypack or handheld wireless transmitters. BLX bodypacks may be used with either a ¼-inch instrument cable or a variety of lavalier, headset or clip-on microphones, while the handheld transmitter is available with a choice of capsules including the industry-standard Shure SM58 and Beta 58. Several different BLX receivers are available: the BLX4 (single-channel) and BLX88 (dual-channel) receivers are designed for tabletop operation, and the BLX4R may be rack-mounted. Mix received the BLX4, BLX2 handheld transmitter with a Beta 58 capsule, BLX1 bodypack transmitter and WA302 cable for connecting the BLX1 to a guitar or bass. …