Letters to Mix

THE ONE WHO STARTED IT ALL In your article 30 People Who Shaped Sound (October 2007), you forgot the Number One guy. Without him, there wouldn't be another


In your article “30 People Who Shaped Sound” (October 2007), you forgot the Number One guy. Without him, there wouldn't be another 29 people to write about: Les Paul.
Dan Gallagher
Adventure Crossing


Great October 2007 issue! I loved the “30 People Who Shaped Sound.” Two additions to your list (in your 32nd-anniversary issue) might be Les Paul, who invented the multitrack recorder, and Tom Dowd, who was the father of the modern recording console.
Jay Petach
Sound Images Inc.


I'm one of the many who worked in New York City in the late '70s and early '80s, and they were indeed fertile times. One error [in “New York '77,” October 2007] is that Jacques Morali was the producer of the Village People, not Jacques Morales. I worked on a bunch of their stuff at Sigma Sound, as well as all the other stuff that passed through our doors. Yep, we did the best kick drum imaginable.
Matthew Weiner
Manager, Systems Engineering
East Region


Thanks for remembering me with the Dead Boys (“New York '77,” October 2007). So many people called me to tell me about it. Two things I thought you should know: I hired Dave Wittman for basics and then switched to Harvey Goldberg for overdubs, then to Bob Clearmountain when it came to mixing. I knew what I wanted this record to sound like and went through three engineers to get it.

And here's something no one knows: Bob Clearmountain played the bass on the whole Young, Loud and Snotty LP because the Dead Boys had no bass player. I knew Clearmountain was a frustrated bass player at the time; as a matter of fact, he and Harvey Goldberg and Godfrey Diamond (the baby engineers at Mediasound) started a midnight band called The Bats and just jammed during nights when Mediasound was empty and quiet.
Genya Ravan


Bob Clearmountain recalls his brief career as a bass player (and mixer) for the Dead Boys.

It's all true, except that after mixing the entire album, [producer Genya Ravan] fired me and remixed it with Harvey [Goldberg]. We had a big fight over one of the mixes. I've always wanted to thank her for teaching me that it's just stupid to argue with the producer. The producer and/or the artist should always have the final say, not the (idiot) mixer.

Also, I remember standing on 8th Street outside Electric Lady Studios (where the album was recorded and mixed) with the Dead Boys asking me to join the band. I had to explain to them that, as much as I liked hanging out and recording with them, I didn't think it was the ultimate career choice for me.

Oh, and Michael Barbiero and (sometimes) Ron St. Germain were also in “The Bats” at Mediasound; that was later turned into a bar/restaurant ironically called “Le Bar Bat.”
Bob Clearmountain


I enjoyed reading about how each track was recorded on Paul McCartney's new CD, Memory Almost Full [“Recording Notes,” October 2007]. I agree with [producer] David Kahne that this is McCartney's best one in years.

There was one thing wrong. The medley on Red Rose Speedway was “Hold Me Tight,” “Lazy Dynamite,” “Hands of Love” and “Power Cut;” “Little Lamb Dragonfly” was the fifth complete song on the album. I don't fault Kahne too much because I have the “special edition” of Memory Almost Full, and in McCartney's interview about the songs he thinks that the last time he did a medley was on The Beatles' Abbey Road.
Jeffrey Lynn Reid
JLR Productions


Eddie Ciletti's “Tech's Files” article “Learning From a Classic” (September 2007) was the most refreshing column I have read in Mix in quite some time. This is a classic case of giving back to the community and teaching the next group of up-and-comers not just about equipment usage, but about how recordings that are engaging to the listener are made. Thanks, Eddie.
Mike Spitz
ATR Services Inc


As for emulator plug-ins, there is a section [in “Virtual Reality,” August 2007] on the beloved 1176 compressor. I worked in one room where we had three old blackface 1176s. One was dedicated to vocals, one for guitars and one for bass. Why? Because they all sounded different and they all behaved differently. This is what we call a “happy accident,” another thing that you will find more often in analog than in digital. I have found that accidents in the digital domain are rarely happy.

Also, concerning compressor plug-ins, much of the advantage of the compressor is lost if you do not use it prior to the A/D converter. If nothing else, a compressor is used to control dynamics and this is a great advantage when trying to get more signal through the A/D converter without digital distortion.

I'm not going to get into all the other advantages of analog over digital (or the disadvantages). I know that this is not a black-and-white world in which we live. There are some things that digital emulation excels in and others that do not seem as useful to me. I love the reverbs and delays, the de-essers and the time expanders.

Case in point: The engineer at Happy Ending Studio in Silver Lake, Calif., is a total Digihead. My cousin comes in with a Langevin PEQ2 and the engineer tells him that they have some great EQ plug-ins and that he should sell it and get some more mics and stuff that he figures the studio needs. A couple weeks later, he finally uses the Langevin, and says, “Whatever you do, Norm, do not sell the Lang!”
Jeff Sherman

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