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Music Production

Hart’s Got Soul with New Live Release

Artist tapped Sweetwater to record, mix new live album out November 30.

London, UK (November 16, 2018)—”Beth has got soul for days and it’s something special,” says Mark Hornsby, senior producer and engineer at Sweetwater Studios. “Being able to capture that in a live performance like this is really incredible.”

Singer-songwriter Beth Hart called on  Hornsby to capture her new album, Live at the Royal Albert Hall, which will be released on Blu-Ray, DVD, CD, LP and digital on November 30, 2018.

“Beth is a very emotional performer and it’s pretty epic to put her in a space like that. You have one shot when you’re trying to capture something like that, so you’ve got to make it count,” says Hornsby, who has years of surround-sound mix experience with the likes of George Strait and Allison Kraus and as staff engineer at Nashville’s Seventeen Grand Recording.

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Having previously worked on several other video concert performances, Hornsby was already aware of the requirements for a 4K video shoot and set up for a 24/96 kHz 5.1. mix with roughly 40 tracks. “I’m creating what Nigel [Dick] is going to use to edit the entire show,” Hornsby explains. “You have to mix it like it’s a live show, bringing up the faders for solos, while keeping a close ear open for anything that could possibly go wrong.”

Controlling the hall’s famed natural reverb occasionally became a challenge when Hart belted out louder portions of the performance. But as Hornsby notes, “You can’t fight the room. If you try to dial it back down, then you might as well have just recorded somewhere else.”

Audio was fed to the remote truck over fiber from front-of-house, running through a set of Sony DMX preamplifiers and into the DAW. The feed was monitored by a Solid State Logic broadcast console and a pair of ATC SCM25A Pro speakers.

Once the recording was completed, Hornsby returned to Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, IN, to create the surround sound mix in Sweetwater’s Studio B, making use of the studio’s SSL AWS 948 Delta console and ATC SCM45A Pro monitors.

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And the key to creating a strong live record? Hornsby shares, “You want to capture the energy of a good performance and you want that to translate whether you are listening to it or watching it.”

Sweetwater Studios •