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January 2014

January 2014


January 2014 Editor’s Note: We’re All Lucky to Be Here

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

Back when my younger daughter Jesse was 11 or 12, she used to love the VH1 nostalgia shows. Behind the Music, I Love the ’80s, that sort of thing. She’s a hard worker, a determined and forward-thinking young woman, and a recent UC Berkeley graduate headed to graduate school in museum studies. But back then, she used to revel in vegging out on the couch for long stretches at a time, taking a break from the sometimes crazy pressure put on teenagers today and soaking up the culture as seen through on-demand television. She still does, when she can, just like her dad….


Larrabee Studios: The Best of Old-School/New School, With Style

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

On a Tuesday night in late 2012, past the 11 o’clock hour, Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood was crazy packed and jumpin’. Jimmy Douglass was mixing Justin Timberlake in Studio 3 with Timbaland, who was also down the hall working with Brandy and a couple of other artists on pre-production in Studio A. Jaycen Joshua was working with T.I. in his room, Studio 1. Manny Marroquin was working on mixes for Bruno Mars and Christina Aguilera back in Studio 2. If not typical, then an almost typical night….

Recording the Perfect Vocal: A Session Checklist for Nailing the Keeper Track

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Francois Lalonde

Anybody who has been in this business long enough can relate: You’ve recorded the perfect track, everything sounds amazing! The bass is phat, the drums have the best sound you’ve ever achieved. The guitars are sounding fresh, and you even worked out a clever hook. Now it’s time to record the vocal, and everything starts falling apart. …

Crisis Management While Tracking: Solving Problems Against the Clock

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Michael Cooper

Like a Polaroid left out in the sun, the hegemony of multiroom tracking facilities in our industry is fading fast. With it goes the seasoned team of recording engineers and technical support staff, a brain bank that green assistants and experienced pros alike could turn to when a session suddenly went off the rails….

The Future of TV Workflow: Dante Networking for ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, Text and Photos by Steve Harvey

“From Stage 6, Sunset Bronson Studios, on the world-famous Sunset Boulevard, it’s The Arsenio Hall Show!” With that announcement, Hall, who in 1989 was the first late-night talk-show host to successfully challenge Johnny Carson’s dominance, returned to the spotlight recently with a new one-hour syndicated show….

The Wireless Crunch…Again! 600MHz Spectrum in Danger, Looming White Space Issues

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Jeri Palumbo

Most people don’t think about the RF spectrum. They love having TV shows on their tablets or songs on their phones, but they don’t really understand what transmitting in UHF means or how it impacts every single person in the U.S. in some way, every day. But it does. Nearly every show on TV was produced using UHF devices. Every concert you attend uses UHF for their wireless mics, IEMs and instruments. Every sporting event uses UHF. Broadway shows use UHF. Breaking news coverage absolutely uses UHF. Oscars, Grammys, UHF. Your favorite game shows? UHF. Houses of Worship, UHF. And, of course, motion picture and film productions use UHF. Smaller venues, corporate events, town halls or local theaters also use the UHF spectrum. Sports, entertainment, worship, July 4th fireworks shows—all of the content we enjoy on a daily basis uses UHF. That is about to change. Again. …


Pearl Jam: Rock ’n’ Roll Power, With Clarity and Definition

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tyler Reed

Few bands can claim the live performance track-record of Pearl Jam. Neil Young, The Grateful Dead and Fugazi spring to mind, but Pearl Jam’s ability to deliver visceral, unpredictable performances year after year is remarkable in today’s music landscape….

Monitor Engineer Brad Baisley Tours with Blake Shelton

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM

Monitor engineer Brad Baisley spent the summer and fall of 2013 supporting Blake Shelton’s Ten Times Crazier tour through the continental U.S., appearing in mid-sized concert venues. In October the CMA recognized Baisley’s work as he received the 2013 SRO (Standing Room Only) Award award for Monitor Engineer of the Year….

EAW On The Big Stage

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny

Introducing an all-new P.A. system—not just an upgrade or a new box—is no small feat, even for a sound reinforcement company with as storied a lineage as EAW. After years of R&D, the system has to be heard by customers in real-world situations. Trade shows are good for marketing and sales, but you can’t just fly a line array, and expect critical evaluation, anywhere you like….

All Access: Arctic Monkeys

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

The Arctic Monkeys—Alex Turner, vocals, guitar (pictured, singing into a Sennheiser e935); Jamie Cook, guitar; Nick O’Malley, bass; Matt Helders, drums—stopped in at the Fox Theater, Oakland, Calif., in late fall 2013, where they took advantage of the Meyer Sound house P.A. …


Rosanne Cash: ‘The River and the Thread’ Weaves Southern Influences

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

In 2009, Rosanne Cash and her husband, producer/musician/recordist John Leventhal, made The List, a selection of covers from a longer list of essentials that Johnny Cash had given to his daughter when she was 18. That album gave listeners new insights into the music that inspired the Man in Black, and a new appreciation of classic country and folk songs like “Heartaches by the Number” and “500 Miles.”…

Classic Track – New Riders of the Purple Sage, ‘Dirty Business’

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

After psychedelic music had its heyday in the late 1960s, many musicians decided to take a trip sideways down country roads. The Flying Burrito Brothers and Poco both put out their excellent first albums in 1969, and that was also the year that Dylan cut Nashville Skyline and The Band released their roots-y “Brown Album.” …

Nir Felder’s ‘Golden Age’

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

Jazz guitarist Nir Felder touches on different “ages” on this solo release. The former sideman for contemporary artists Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Meshell Ndegeocello and more plays in various styles—echoing artists from Wes Montgomery to Lou Reed—and points to significant historical periods by sampling political speeches in a couple of tracks. The voices of Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson, Hilary Clinton and many others are woven through the songs “Lights and “Sketch.” …

The Reverend Horton Heat: ‘Rev’

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

Jim Heath’s longtime psychobilly outfit releases its debut for Victory Records this month, and Rev does not disappoint. There’s plenty of freaky tongue-in-cheek thrash on songs like the single “Let Me Teach You How to Eat,” but Heath’s approach is also nuanced and authentic. His vocal on “Scenery Going By,” for example, has a certain sensitivity juxtaposed with the rapid-fire rhythms of bassist Jim “Jimbo” Wallace and drummer Scott Churillo….

Sam Roberts Band’s ‘Lo-Fantasy’

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

Engineer Michael Rendall uses the word “ecstatic” to describe the playing on Lo-Fantasy, the latest rock-via-’70s-funk-and-punk album from the Sam Roberts Band. The dynamic vibe on the release grew from live sessions in Montreal’s Mixart Studios, where Rendall and producer Youth captured the players in 12 high-energy days. …

Cool Spin – Various Artists: Music From and Inspired by ’12 Years a Slave’ (Columbia)

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

Forget the brutality that suffuses Steve McQueen’s brilliant film, 12 Years a Slave. This album, assembled by John Legend, who also sings a couple of tracks, is all about our shared humanity. …


Robair Report: An Improvement on Reality

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

One question that comes to mind when NAMM rolls around is: How much does audio quality and resolution really matter when recording? Not just in terms of capturing the full range of frequencies and dynamics—we certainly want that capability when we need it—but rather, to what degree does fidelity influence the act of music making? What does it do to the creative process when the technology is not transparent?…

Tech Talk: Traveling Rigs

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

My first exposure to audio tech was as a guitar player. My band had a Shure VA-302-C Vocal Master, and I played my Gibson 335 through a gigantic Acoustic amp with two 15-inch speakers and a blue horn for HF. For me that was the tops. When I moved into recording, I started with a TASCAM Portastudio, then onto a ½-inch reel-to-reel 8-track recorder with an M-216 mixer. I got pretty good at bouncing to take full advantage of the real estate. Fast forward to now, and I have a portable Pro Tools rig on a laptop that provides me plenty of UAD-2 powered plug-ins, to go with stellar I/O via Benchmark. I can fit it all in a backpack. Tons of power and capability. …


Barefoot Sound MiniMain12 Monitors: Seven Drivers and Speaker Emulation Bring Honest Reproduction

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Butch Vig

Thomas Barefoot may not be a household name, but any serious recording engineer has heard of his speakers, even if they have not had the pleasure of working with them. I first heard about Barefoot Sound studio monitors about five years ago. At the time, I had been using several different and well-known reference models, including ADAMs, Genelecs and B&Ws. …

SSL Live: Legendary Console Maker Enters Sound Reinforcement

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

It’s not every day that Solid State Logic introduces a new mixing console, and since the company has never designed one for live sound, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the SSL Live. The Live console is a natural outgrowth from SSL’s presence in the broadcast industry, where downtime is not an option and the highest audio quality must be maintained. Based upon SSL’s new Tempest digital audio platform, Live is a scalable system supporting 192 simultaneous mix Paths and a staggering 976 physical inputs and outputs. There is local and remote I/O, and the desk can interface via MADI with SSL’s Live Recorder option for recording and playback of up to 64 audio tracks at 96 kHz. …

Grace Design m905 Reference Monitor Controller: Stereo Unit With LCD Display, Remote and USB Interface

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

When I first began making records, I quickly came to the understanding that everything in the signal path contributed to the quality of my system’s output. In the recording and mixing process, I would typically listen through the monitoring section of a console, but when attending mastering sessions, I began to notice these studios had unique monitoring controllers that allowed them to interface different sets of speakers, clocks, converters, CD players and more. When DAW recording became more popular, many of my peers and the studios I worked in became more reliant on the same types of interfaces. …

PreSonus Sceptre S6: High-Tech Studio Monitor Features Coaxial Alignment and DSP

Jan 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Michael Cooper

Coaxial, or dual-concentric, speakers have been around for several decades, falling in and out of favor. The PreSonus Sceptre S6 active studio monitor combines the best attributes of coaxial design with corrective built-in DSP that purportedly removes the artifacts that have been the archetype’s downside….

Warm Audio TB12 ToneBeast: Versatile, Great-Sounding, High-Gain Preamp

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

Getting a signature sound isn’t achieved by simply running audio through an old Neve or API console; it comes from variations of cranking up the input gain, bringing down the fader and creating big beautiful tones through harmonic distortion. These days, in the new world of recording, I find that it’s not as easy to play with gain structure, if I even can at all. Warm Audio, with its solidly built TB12, aims to give back this option….