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May 2013

May 2013


May 2013 Editor’s Note: To Phil Ramone, a Toast!

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

Phil Ramone was special in so many ways. In the days and weeks following his passing on March 30, as the stories and remembrances made their way across our industry and out into the world, it became clear that the tales of his vast accomplishments both technically and creatively, of Phil the Musical Genius, were balanced part and parcel by warm recollections of Phil the Kind and Generous Human Being. They were in fact two sides of the same man; you didn’t have one without the other….


On the Cover: Ben’s Studio, Nashville

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

Its official name back when Chet Atkins built it in 1965, in a building owned by Atkins and Owen Bradley, was RCA Victor Nashville Sound Studios, but around town it has always been simply RCA Studio A. Elvis, Waylon, Willie, Roy Orbison, George Jones, Tammy Wynette…Dolly recorded “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” in the big room on the same day in 1973! There is a whole lot of history hiding in these nooks in crannies, a whole lotta dirt in the walls, as a friend used to say….


My Friend Andy Johns

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Pat Thrall

By 1981 I had acquired pretty good street cred as a guitarist, playing with the likes of Automatic Man, Narada Michael Walden, Pat Travers and even a “supergroup” that featured Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve, Al DiMeola, Junior Marvin, and Phil Manzanera. I was feeling pretty good about myself, but all I really wanted was to meet and work with Andy Johns. I wanted to find out how we could get the famous “When the Levee Breaks” drum sound on the upcoming Hughes/Thrall album. What I got instead was a 30-year friendship with someone who became a mentor, father figure, coach, big brother, little brother and, most important, a lifelong best friend….

Current: News May 2013

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By the Mix Editors

Sweetwater’s annual two-day music and music technology showcase, GearFest, is already billed as the largest end-user festival of its kind in the country, and it just keeps getting bigger. …

SPARS Sound Bite: Choosing a Studio

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Pat McMakin

What do an iPad, a spare bedroom, a converted garage and Abbey Road Studios have in common? They are all recording studios (of sorts). When to use which version of a studio is a frequent topic of discussion among producers and artists. It’s obviously impossible to record a 100-piece orchestral project in a garage, and it makes little economic sense to cut vocal overdubs in a large scoring stage. With decreased budgets, producers are trying to stretch their funds as far as possible while finding a balance between creative and technical considerations….


Phil Ramone: As Remembered By Family and Friends

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM

Last month we lost a true musical genius and a genuinely good man, Phil Ramone. The unmatched accomplishments, both technical and creative, have been listed over the past few weeks, though they only touch the surface in describing a man who helped to shape popular culture over the course of six decades, remaining current and vital to the end. Mix asked some of his friends in the industry to share a story about Phil, something that they will always carry with them. The response was overwhelming, and personal….

Reality Bites: The Making of LeAnn Rimes’ ‘Spitfire’

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Bud Scoppa

During the past few years, LeAnn Rimes’ private life has become tabloid fodder, the result of the public’s insatiable appetite for titillation. Being the constant subject of gossip, rumor and innuendo was understandably horrific for Rimes. So, in a sustained act of self-therapy, the 31-year-old artist, who’s been making records since the age of 13, set about working through the intense emotions she was feeling in the songs she was writing, while also seizing on a handful of outside songs—notably including Missy Higgins’ powerful “Where I Stood”—that perfectly expressed her tormented state of mind….

Vampire Weekend: Adventures in Modern Sonics

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

Just three albums into what is already a hugely successful career, the New York indie band Vampire Weekend continue to surprise and confound expectations. Their latest album, Modern Vampires of the City (XL Recordings), is their most sonically adventurous work so far, at the same time it contains all the hallmarks of the band’s instantly recognizable sound—Ezra Koenig’s dynamic high lead vocals (and intelligent, quirky and sometimes opaque lyrics), the clever blending of lo-fi and hi-fi elements, and a sharp rhythmic attack that often combines unconventional textures in unusual ways. One never senses that they’re pandering to commercial tastes, yet their following has grown with each increasingly idiosyncratic album. They’re making up their own rules as they go along, and thriving….

It’s Time to Annie Up!

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

Performing the title track of their debut, Hell on Heels, for the first time, Lambert and collaborators Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe had the A-listers clapping along. Standing side by side, they traded vocal leads on the verses, and flashed their gorgeous harmonies on the chorus of a bad-ass song about unrepentant gold-diggers: “I’m hell on heels/Say what you will/I done made the devil a deal/He made me pretty/He made me smart/And I’m gonna break me a million hearts.” …


Classic Track: “King of the Road” – Roger Miller’s Smash Breakthrough

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

It’s hard to remember back to a time when Nashville’s vaunted Music Row was really just a couple of studios and music publishing houses dotting tree-shaded 16th Avenue. This month’s Classic Track, Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” takes us back to the fall of 1964, an era when the top dog on the Row, studio-wise, was CBS’s Quonset Hut, a utilitarian structure that had been one of many thousands of identical small, prefabricated corrugated galvanized steel buildings with semicircular roofs made during World War II. …

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell: Roots Music’s Odd Couple

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

Comedian, actor and author Steve Martin has been a dedicated banjo picker as long as he’s been in show business, but he has only occasionally elevated that interest to the top of his priority list. Perhaps you heard the Grammy-winning album he made in 2009 called The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, or the exceptional bluegrass CD he made two years ago with the Steep Canyon Rangers, called Rare Bird Alert. The guy is serious about his music, and it turns out he’s also really good….

Goo Goo Dolls

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

The Goo Goo Dolls’ latest, Magnetic, has already yielded Top 40 single “Rebel Beat,” and the production’s blend of bright, pop band arrangements with anthemic rock vocals is bound to make the album a hit, as well. The first three tracks (including “Rebel Beat”) were recorded at Rewind, the former Quad studio that serves as the home base of producer Gregg Wattenberg….

William Tyler’s ‘Impossible Truth’

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

William Tyler’s breathtaking instrumental album Impossible Truth takes inspiration from the American landscape. But it’s how the landscape sounds in Tyler’s mind: darkly shimmering in layers of intricate acoustic and electric guitars, delicate pedal steel parts, and soft echoing brass notes. This thing of beauty was created in the Beech House, personal studio of engineer/producer Mark Nevers (Laura Cantrell, Jason Isbell, Mount Moriah)….

Sevendust @ Architekt

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Gallagher

Hardcore/progressive metal band Sevendust—Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Morgan Rose (drums/vocals), Clint Lowery (guitar/vocals), Vince Hornsby (bass/vocals) and John Connolly (guitar/vocals)—followed up a rare hiatus from touring in 2012 by reconvening in the studio to self-produce Black Out the Sun, the band’s ninth studio album. During the break, Lowery and Rose had discovered Architekt Studios ( in Butler, N.J., where they recorded the debut album for their new band project, Call Me No One, with Architekt’s chief engineer, Mike Ferretti….


Tour Profile: Imagine Dragons

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Gallagher

The year 2013 will be remembered as the breakout point in the four-year career of Las Vegas–based indie rock/pop quartet Imagine Dragons—Dan Reynolds (lead vocals), D. Wayne Sermon (guitar), Daniel “Z” Platzman (drums), and Ben McKee (bass), with Ryan Walker on keyboards and second guitar. The band launched into its current Night Visions tour of mid-size venues and amphitheaters in support of its 2012 major label debut album of the same name, produced by Alex Da Kid for Interscope. Mix caught up with the band at The Warfield Theater in San Francisco in March….

Imagine Dragons Gallery

All Access: Green Day

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

Green Day is back! And Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool put on a stellar show at the Greek Theater in their hometown of Berkeley, Calif., which is located not more than two miles from their storied roots at punk rock club 924 Gilman….

Green Day 2013 Tour Gallery

May 6, 2013 6:21 PM

Mix magazine’s Green Day 2013 Tour Gallery features photos of the band in concert at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, Calif., taken by photographer Steve Jennings….

Umphrey’s McGee Shares Mix With Fans

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Gallagher

Six-piece progressive/improvisational rock band Umphrey’s McGee is in the middle of a nationwide tour supported by ECTO Productions of Elmhurst, Ill. Mix caught up with front-of-house mixer Chris Mitchell and Kevin Browning, who is in charge of the band’s Creative & Business Development, at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., where Umphrey’s played to a packed house on March 16….

Coheed and Cambria

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Gallagher

Hard-rocking band Coheed and Cambria—Claudio Sanchez (vocals, guitar), Travis Stever (guitar), Zach Cooper (bass), and Josh Eppard (drums)—spent early 2013 touring the U.S. in support of their 2013 release, The Afterman: Descension, with gear supplied by Clair Brothers. Mix caught the band’s appearance in Philadelphia in mid-March at The Electric Factory….

JBL Loudspeakers on New ‘American Idol’ Set

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Gallagher

ATK Audiotek of Valencia, Calif. (, recently revamped the American Idol set at CBS Television City in Hollywood with JBL Professional loudspeakers. “We had to accommodate a number of needs for the new set,” explains Pat Baltzell, sound designer for American Idol….


Jason Isbell: Vocals Come First on ‘Southeastern’

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

ason Isbell broke away from Drive-by Truckers several years ago to focus on his own records and his own songwriting, and his latest album, Southeastern, is his most personal-sounding effort to date. Raw and introspective, these songs are all about the singer—his voice and the brilliant stories he tells….

MixTips: Andrija Tokic at the Bomb Shelter

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix

Andrija Tokic has had a pretty good year, but then you get the sense that he considers every year a pretty good year. The East Nashville engineer, owner of the Bomb Shelter, has been getting a lot of attention for his work on The Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls, but these kind of “breakthroughs” don’t generally come out of nowhere. Tokic is a quintessential analog studio rat, and he has paid his dues, amassing a houseful of vintage instruments and gear and a track record of quality recordings from the likes of Clairy Browne and The Banging Racketts, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Majestico, and Clear Plastic Masks. He works fast, and he makes use of every available space in his new standalone home-based studio. He has Pro Tools, but prefers tape; he likes his music live….

Peter Rowan and Friends Pick It ‘Old School’

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

For The Old School, bluegrass great Peter Rowan assembled an incredible cast to interpret 10 of his engaging original tunes and a traditional spiritual. Though certainly bluegrass-flavored throughout, there are also nods to blues (“Ragged Old Dream”), old-time folk (“Doc Watson Morning”) and more contemporary shadings (“A Mountain Man’s Dream”). Among the stellar array joining Rowan were several bluegrass/country legends—fellow Bill Monroe alumnus Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, Buddy Spicher and J.D. Crowe—and such top-flight players (and singers) as Stuart Duncan, Robbie and Ronnie McCoury (Del’s sons), Don Rigby, Bryan Sutton, Dennis Crouch and the other three members of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band: Keith Little, Mike Witcher and Paul Knight. These boys can play!…

Easy Eye Makeover

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

Easy Eye Sound, the production base of Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach, saw a lot of action last year, including Auerbach’s Grammy-winning productions of Dr. John’s Locked Down and the Keys’ massive, soulful album El Camino. In the midst of all the music making, the studio also received an acoustical revamp from veteran designer Steve Durr. …

Nashville News & Notes

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By The Mix Editors

Welcome to 1979, the decidedly analog Nashville facility owned and operated by Chris Mara, recently acquired a restored Neumann VMS 70 disk-cutting system and this month will start offering lacquer-cutting services in-house. …

Session News: Nashville

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix

Gavin DeGraw and Tove Lo worked on an upcoming release (DeGraw also produced) with engineer David Hall at the SSL 9080 XL-K in Blackbird’s Studio C…Over in the API Legacy Plus-based Studio D, John Oates was fleshing out a solo project with producer Tom Bukovac and engineer Justin Niebank. …


New Products May 2013

May 2, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By The Mix Editors

The much-anticipated release of Pro Tools 11 brings a bevy of upgrades, with the most striking of them under the hood. The fully redesigned audio engine brings 64-bit architecture and many times the processing power of Pro Tools 10 on the same hardware configurations. …

Universal Audio Plug-Ins

May 2, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tim Dolbear

I have been a longtime user of UA’s DSP Accelerator cards, and I must say that a lot has changed since my first one in 1999. The emulations have grown beyond simply capturing the response curves to modeling the entire signal path of its hardware counterpart. I ran the review of these new plugs on Sequoia 12 running on a Windows 8 64-bit machine with all new SSD drives. …

sE Munro Egg 150 Monitoring System

May 2, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Wes Maebe

Andy Munro is known to most of us as one of the top acousticians in the field of studio design, with some seriously heavyweight clients to his name including Air Studios, the BBC, Coldplay, Massive Attack, Metropolis Studios, Sphere Studios and U2. Studio monitors and the design of a top-flight recording facility go hand in hand, and Munro had already been involved with the main monitor design for various high-end studios with models like the M4, C4 and 3 and the THX-approved M3F. The development of a near-field speaker was bound to happen at some point….

Sony SpectraLayers Pro

May 2, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Michael Cooper

SpectraLayers Pro lets you extract in turn the various embedded elements of a mono or stereo audio file, transfer each component to a discrete layer (a track synced to the original audio) and process the layers independently to create an entirely new mix of the material. And that’s just the beginning….

Mix Guides: USB Microphones


Robair Report: Betting on the Future

May 2, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix

It’s all about incentive, right? For example, if we let companies patent genes, thus giving them a “temporary” monopoly, they are incentivized to do further research in the field. Because why else would someone work in the medical field other than for capital gain? …

TechTalk: The Tower Is Dead

May 2, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Kevin Becka

Last month I wrote about the anticipation surrounding the release of Pro Tools 11 and the next Mac Pro computer Apple will release to appease the audio community—if that is still an option; maybe I’m dreaming. …