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May 2014

May 2014


May 2014 Editor’s Note: A Couple Days in Denmark

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

I’ve been at Mix for 25 years, and last month I went on my first real junket. I have no moral objection to journalists accepting trips from sources or advertisers. None at all. I know that travel writers stay in Bali for free, that fashion writers are flown to Paris, that tech writers don’t foot their own bill for retreats in Aspen. It’s all part of the dance, at every level of the media, especially the trade press. …


Welcome to 1979, Nashville Style

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny // Photos by Elizabeth Streight

It doesn’t take much sleuthing to find out the basis of Chris Mara’s recording philosophy. It’s right there in the name of his Nashville studio, Welcome to 1979. It’s in the MCI tape machines that ring the control room awaiting restoration and sale, in the lathe he purchased recently because he wanted more consistency in his vinyl releases, in the layout of his 7,000-square-foot, band-first facility, and in the Recording Summits and Tape Camps he hosts. Of course he has Pro Tools, but he’s a decidedly, unabashedly analog-tape kind of guy….


Smart Microphone Selection: What to Grab and Why

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

There’s good reason why the putative majority of top tracking engineers choose a Shure SM57—a $99 Everyman’s mic—to record snare drum. These pros have access to the world’s priciest transducers, but they know expensive isn’t always better. Creative whims aside, a mic’s inherent physical, acoustic and electrical properties are what determine whether it’s the best choice for a given application….

Nathan East: Bass Monster Steps Out With Solo Debut

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

Bassist Nathan East has played on literally hundreds of albums by musicians of every stripe over the course of an extremely successful career that dates back to his teenage years, when he played as part of Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra. …


Tour Profile: Fitz & The Tantrums

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Beginning with select spring concerts and TV appearances, Fitz & the Tantrums are ramping up to take their upbeat soul/synth pop show on a summer tour of theaters, sheds and festivals, including Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and Lollapalooza. In April, the band played the Fox Theatre (Oakland, Calif.) before heading to Napa’s intimate Live in the Vineyard series, and then a sold-out show at the Palladium in their hometown of L.A….

Superstar Quartet at SFJAZZ Center

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

In late February Mix caught an inspired concert in SFJAZZ Center’s Miner Auditorium (profiled in Mix’s April 2013 issue), presented by vibraphonist and NEA Jazz Master Bobby Hutcherson, saxophonist David Sanborn, organist Joey DeFrancesco and drummer Billy Hart. Billed as the Superstar Quartet, the four musicians enraptured the audience with original songs from their forthcoming album on Blue Note Records, Enjoy The View, due to be released on June 24….

The Sounds at Union Transfer in Philadelphia

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

Hailing from Malmo, Sweden, The Sounds are Maja Ivarsson (vocals), Felix Rodriguez (guitars and vocals), Johan Bengtsson (bass), Jesper Anderberg (keys, vocals and guitar) and Fredrik Blond (drums). The band brought its energetic indie pop/rock to Philadelphia’s Union Transfer in April as part of a spring tour of North American clubs, theaters and halls in support of its latest release, Weekend. On May 9, they begin a series of European dates in Germany….

All Access: Empire of the Sun

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

Empire of the Sun—Luke Steele, vocals, guitar, keys; Tony Mitolo, drums; Surahn Sidhu, guitar—played to two sold-out nights at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Calif., in early April. The band is making use of local P.A., in this case the house Meyer Sound system….

Empire of the Sun 2014 Tour Gallery

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM

Mix magazine presents Steve Jennings’ photo gallery of Empire of the Sun’s performance at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Calif., in early April 2014….


TechTalk: It’s About Time

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

We all deal with timing every day. From hitting the stoplights on the way to work to setting a song tempo, making business decisions and even our choices when recording—things always seem to come out better if we get the timing right. I got a memorable lesson on tempo when I first started engineering. …

Robair Report | Avid’s Big Adventure

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Gino Robair

Exactly a year after introducing its Avid Everywhere strategy at the 2013 NAB show, Avid was back in Las Vegas to unveil the first phase of its plan to create “the most fluid end-to-end, distributed media production environment in the industry”—the Avid MediaCentral Platform. The news was announced during Avid Connect, the inaugural pre-NAB meeting of the newly founded Avid Customers Association, whose board and advisory councils are made up of leaders from major media operations ranging from Disney, Fox, ESPN, Turner, Berklee and Universal Music Group to Al Jazeera, ITV, Sky, the CBC and Germany’s ZDF….


Classic Tracks: ‘September Gurls,’ Big Star

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

When most of us think about Memphis music, we probably conjure the country blues singers and jug bands of the late ’20s and ’30s, or, even more likely, the immortal Stax and Hi Records soul acts of the ’60s and ’70s—Booker T., Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Rufus and Carla, Ann Peebles, Al Green, et al; it’s quite a list of certified hitmakers. …

Rodney Crowell: ‘Tarpaper Sky’ Follows Grammy-Winning Duets

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

I felt like we were making a record that lived someplace between Memphis and New Orleans,” says engineer Justin Niebank about Rodney Crowell’s new album, Tarpaper Sky. “It was a Delta record to me. I felt the humidity and the groove. Everything was carved out of that.”…

Cloud Cult Strips Down for ‘Unplug’

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

For their tenth album, the eclectic Minneapolis-based indie band Cloud Cult, led by the extraordinary singer and songwriter Craig Minowa, decided to try something new: They recorded live in the small (220-capacity) Southern Theatre in their hometown, and performed a selection of tunes from the group’s earlier albums acoustic, sans amplifiers, electronic loops and such; hence the title, Unplug. …

The Old 97’s ‘Most Messed Up’

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

The Old 97’s new album, Most Messed Up, is a raucous, debauched rock-on-the-road concept album. Yet, the band recorded in a private, light-filled villa near Austin. Texas Treefort Studio is home to retired aerospace engineer Jack Rock’s jazz label, Viewpoint Records, and his constantly expanding collection of rare vintage and hand-built equipment….

Katie Herzig and Cason Cooley ‘Walk Through Walls’

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

Katie Herzig’s Walk Through Walls—her third project with producer/engineer Cason Cooley—blends acoustic and electronic sounds that grew from a process the pair have developed using Cooley’s personal studio and key matching equipment. …

Cool Spin: Dolly Parton, ‘Blue Smoke’ (Sony Masterworks)

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

Dolly Parton has put out a whopping 42 studio albums since her 1967 debut, and to her credit, she’s still giving her all—her voice is the fantastic instrument it’s always been, and she has not lost her knack for writing strong, heartfelt country songs. …


Nashville/Memphis News & Notes

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

Colorado band You Me & Apollo first visited Ardent Studios in Memphis to cut a two-song single with renowned producer/engineer Jeff Powell. However, following the success of that single—“I Don’t Want to Be Loved” and B-side “Finding Peace”—the band recently returned to record its as-yet-untitled album, due out this month….

Nashville/Memphis Session News

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

Country singer-songwriter Martina McBride worked on tracking/overdubbing/mixing in Studio A with producer Don Was, engineer John McBride and assistant engineer Allen Ditto…

Southern Ground Studios: Zac Brown’s Production Home on Music Row

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

When Zac Brown and producer/engineer/musician Matt Mangano began searching for a studio base for Brown’s Southern Ground Artists label, they envisioned purchasing and converting a small house. Mangano trolled the Nashville real estate listings, and occasionally sent Brown a link to consider. …

Mic Roundup May 2014


Coles Electroacoustics 4030L Microphone: Great-Sounding, Affordable Ribbon Transducer

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

Since 1964, Coles has been manufacturing microphones and OEM speaker components for broadcast, studio and other uses. The 4038 is the company’s most popular and recognizable product, sporting its frying pan–styled head and magnets strong enough to pull in passing cars. Kidding aside, the 4030L’s ribbon is the same size and material as the 4038, but the mic employs different magnets that help tame the stray magnetism of the 4038. The 4030L is priced to bring Coles sound and quality to an affordable level. For this review, I had a pair of the 4030Ls and used them on a variety of applications….

iZotope RX 3 Advanced: The Cadillac of Noise-Reduction Software

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

I’ve been a huge fan of iZotope RX 2 Advanced since its introduction more than three years ago, consistently using the comprehensive suite of noise-reduction software on all my post-production sessions. Now a major update brings new modules, comprehensive metering, and augmented and optimized algorithms to the mix….

Sonnox Fraunhofer Codec Toolbox: Handy and Affordable Mix Encoding Solution

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

The Sonnox Fraunhofer Codec Toolbox is a streamlined version of the Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec Version 2 plug-in for auditioning and encoding mono, stereo and surround audio mixes using Fraunhofer codecs. Codecs included are: MP3, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2, MPEG Surround and, on Macs only, Apple’s latest version of the iTunes+ AAC-LC codec as used in the current iTunes Catalog….

Universal Audio Apollo 16 Audio Interface: Portable I/O with UAD DSP and FW or Thunderbolt Connectivity

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

My first introduction to Universal Audio’s Apollo came two years ago at Winter NAMM. I was thrilled at the idea of having a single-rackspace unit that provided so many options for 8-channel, high-resolution recording with UAD plug-ins. This past year, UA introduced the Apollo 16, which is directed at the pro audio user looking for an alternative I/O solution. There is plenty to love about the new unit, including the ability to expand to 32 channels, Thunderbolt I/O, flex routing and more. …