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March 2014

March 2014


March 2014 Editor’s Note: The Middle Child

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

While the four mastering engineers pictured on this month’s cover are certainly deserving, each with an extensive and stellar body of work, I admit, as I did to them, that I had my reservations. What about Ludwig and Grundman and Sax and Marino? What about Stubblebine, Jensen, Wilder, Meller and Brian “Big Bass” Gardener? All of them Hall of Fame-level mastering engineers, all very active, but none has ever been on a Mix cover. So why these guys?…


Masters With a Plan: Four Engineers Talk Music, Mentoring and Hi-Res Formats

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny // All Photos by Greg Allen

The job of a mastering engineer today is far different from what it was even 10 years ago. It was once a pretty self-contained world. Tape and sometimes a Pro Tools file came in, and a 1630 went out. Before that a lacquer. Nobody, outside or even inside the industry, was really sure what they did. But their precision, their ears and their musicality brought great value. Nobody questioned that….

Build Your Own Studio: This $50,000 all-in-the-box studio could make a small room sound like an entire production house

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Markkus Rovito

Sometimes physical constraints contribute more to studio planning than budget constraints. However, for 50 grand or less, you can still pack a small- or medium-size room with enough high-end tools for professional work. Generally, the less physical space you have, the more gear you put in the box. …

Build Your Own Studio: This $50,000 old-school studio boasts brave analog in a new digital world

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Wes Maebe

It’s like a breath of fresh air to be asked to put together a setup that is, for the most part, all analog. This is going to be a powerful rig, providing a wide choice of sonic character. Whether you’re tracking and overdubbing or mixing, this tool set will give you access to a nice palette of warm and thick tonal choices….

Digital Audio Workstations 2014


Justin Timberlake Tour Profile

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Photos & Text By Steve Jennings

When Mix caught Justin Timberlake at the SAP Center in San Jose late-January, he was already nearing the end of his first U.S. leg and about to head off to Europe from March to June, before returning to the States for a run through August. That’s more than a year on the road, but for the crew, it’s the third incarnation of the setup and just the middle of a two-year commitment that began back in January 2013 when they flew out to rehearse for that year’s Super Bowl and Grammy performances….

Justin Timberlake 2014 Tour Gallery

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM

Photographer Steve Jennings captured Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience tour stop in January 2014 at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif….

All Access: Young the Giant

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

Young the Giant (Sameer Gadhia, vocals, keys; Jacob Tilley, guitar; Eric Cannata, guitar; Payam Doostzadeh, bass; Francois Comtois, drums) released their much anticipated sophomore album, Mind Over Matter, in late January 2014, working with Grammy Award–nominated producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Paramore, Nine Inch Nails Beck). Mix caught the band in early February, second night of the tour, at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., using the house-provided Meyer Sound P.A. system….

Young the Giant 2014 Tour Gallery

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM

Mix magazine caught Young the Giant (Sameer Gadhia, vocals, keys; Jacob Tilley, guitar; Eric Cannata, guitar; Payam Doostzadeh, bass; Francois Comtois, drums) in early February, on the second night of the tour, at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., using the house-provided Meyer Sound P.A….

Dwight Yoakam on Tour

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

Dwight Yoakam and band—guitarist Eugene Edwards, bassist J.J. Clark, drummer Mitch Marine and multi-instrumentalist Brian Whelan—have been hitting the road hard since he released 3 Pears in September 2012. The shows are musically and sonically powerful, as Yoakam continues to cook up his awesome combination of country, rockabilly and rock ’n’ roll….


Lost in the Trees: Everything Changes in ‘Past Life’

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

Lost in the Trees leader Ari Picker thought he had a well-thought-out map for his band’s latest ethereal prog-folk album, Past Life (Anti). For previous releases, such as A Church That Fits Our Needs (The Wall Street Journal’s pick for best album of 2012), he says writing happened “in my room, huddled up and isolated. My influences were obscure, and my process was homespun.” He’d then take his demos into a studio and teach parts to his bandmates as they recorded….

Eternal Summers, ‘The Drop Beneath’

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

Distorted guitars and punchy drums create an almost harsh sonic environment for Nicole Yun’s ethereal voice, making Eternal Summers’ new release, The Drop Beneath, a study in beautiful contrasts. …

Linnea Olssen, ‘Ah!’

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

Linnea Olssen’s beautiful cello-and-voice album was recorded and mixed in Studio Gix (Halmstad, Sweden). The artist did all of her own recording in Logic, then turned the tracks over to engineer/producer Gicken to be mixed. …

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, ‘Always With Us’

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Gallagher

Grammy Award–winning South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo recently released Always With Us, a tribute honoring the music of Nellie Shabalala, the late wife of Black Mambazo’s founder and leader, Joseph Shabalala. Nellie passed away in 2002 and was considered the group’s matriarch….

Cool Spin: Lake Street Dive, ‘Bad Self Portraits’ (Signature Sounds)

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

East Coast quartet Lake Street Dive blends elements of jazz, soul and Americana to create an eclectic pop that’s hook-y yet deep. …

Classic Tracks: “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read,” Asleep at the Wheel

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

Asleep at the Wheel co-founder and leader Ray Benson estimates that around 100 musicians have cycled in and out of his group over the course of more than 40 years. He is the lone original member of the band that started up in West Virginia in late 1969, was talked into moving to Berkeley by George Frayne (aka Commander Cody) in 1970, wowed the Bay Area with its spirited and eclectic mix of Western swing, hardcore country and Big Band flavors, and then was lured down to Austin by Willie Nelson in late ’73, shortly after Willie himself had relocated there. Four decades later, Benson and his ever-shifting band are still going strong, a vital part of Austin’s musical landscape. …


Austin News & Notes

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

Austin-based band Royal Forest likes to fly in the face of limitations and laugh. Sometimes literally. So far, the band has recorded four songs under what one would normally consider bizarre conditions. …

Austin Session News

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

Songwriter Bill Carter worked on new material with studio owner/engineer James Stevens—cut to Pro Tools and mixed on an SSL to ½-inch tape…Punk-rock band Yuppie Pricks, along with producer Mark Hutchins and engineer Stevens, cut material to 2-inch 24-track, transferred to Pro Tools, and mixed on the SSL…

The Continental Club: Austin’s Home Base for Performing Musicians

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

Jamie Wellwarth, production manager at Austin’s Continental Club, has been mixing shows, advancing dates and maintaining gear at the venerable roots-music house for more than seven years, and he jokes that he’s still sort of the new guy….

Blue Rock Artist Ranch: Deep in the Heart of Texas

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

As Texas’ music mecca, Austin has developed a healthy recording scene to service the ever-growing number of acts who have grown up there or, just as likely, migrated there from all over. (Few cities have a calling card as compelling as South By Southwest—SXSW—which started in 1987.) There are studios of every size and for every budget dotting the metropolitan area, and one of the coolest and most beautiful recording spots is found about half an hour southwest of downtown, in the scenic Hill Country, in the small town of Wimberley (pop. 2,600)—Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio….


Tech Talk: Old Tricks, New Dogs

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

All through high school and years beyond, I played in bands. I made my living that way. When I first moved to L.A. after a year of college, it was to study with great guitar players and interact with a better pool of musicians. Los Angeles was and is a hub for musicians, much like Austin is now—a place where live music is everywhere and live recordings capture the moment. …


ADAM F7 Monitors: Great-Sounding, Small Footprint, Two-Way Speakers

Mar 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Bobby Frasier

This German company started out in 1999 with strictly high-end offerings, which were endorsed by many high-profile audio engineers. That “high dollar, rarified air” club has been brought down into the realms of affordability, with several offerings in the home studio and project arena, all of which keep the philosophy of the air motion transformer tweeter design intact. This high-frequency transducer has characteristics all its own, which some engineers prefer. The ADAM F7 is the latest offering that breaks price barriers and delivers performance to the tabletop production environment that has been, in recent years, unobtainable in a speaker with this tiny of a footprint. Built for near-field environments, the F7 delivers reliable, linear response for home, project studios and editorial stations, at an affordable price point….

Solid State Logic Sigma: 16-Channel SuperAnalogue RackMixer for Your DAW

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

Solid State Logic’s Sigma Summing Engine is a remote-controllable 16-channel analog summing engine with a monitor section. It uses the same SuperAnalogue technology as SSL’s Duality and AWS consoles, accepting 16 stereo channels of line-level audio from any DAW I/O unit(s) over Tascam standard AES59 25-pin D-sub connectors—four stereo pairs per DB25 cable. No other hardware is required for basic summing of 16 stereo pairs to a stereo mix bus plus monitoring….

FabFilter Pro-MB: Groundbreaking and Intuitive Multiband Dynamics Plug-In

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

To provide the most flexibility and power, a multiband processor should be able to increase or decrease gain not just in select frequency bands but also at either end of a track’s dynamic range, top or bottom. Pro-MB provides upward and downward compression and expansion in up to six independent frequency bands. Each band can operate in stereo or M/S mode and use variable stereo linking and sidechain filtering. The plug-in’s extremely comprehensive and powerful feature set is augmented by highly intuitive operation that breaks the mold….

Bettermaker and Maag Audio: Two 500 Series EQs

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

Over the past two years, 500 Series preamps and processors have matured in design sophistication and sonics. Processors such as the Empirical Labs DocDerr, Elysia nvelope and xfilter have set the bar high, and others have answered the call. The two units reviewed here offer a unique look at EQ for the format and will ring the bell of those looking to step beyond plug-ins into hardware solutions. Both have their strengths and unique features that put them in the best-in-class category. …