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Mix Regional News: Southwest

Evil Triplet, Nina Diaz, Beach House at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas

Things have been busy as usual over at Sonic Ranch. Engineer Charles Godfrey has been working with the band Evil Triplet from Austin. Rob Halverson is producing the project, with Godfrey engineering. Evil Triplet has been with Super Secret Records for just over a year now. Frontman Steve Marsh imagined doing their new record at Sonic Ranch in the Adobe Studio, utilizing its Neve 8088 and Studer A827 to make a record ideal for vinyl. “I looked at their website and was able to reserve my bucket list of vintage amps and instruments,” he says. “Some of my favorites to use were the Gibson 61 Les Paul SG, the Ministry Marshall Super Lead, ’59 Fender Delux, Komet 60, as well as an amazing ’50s Watkins Dominator, which runs at 220 volts. We’ve also been able to accomplish some great overdubs using the synths on hand like the Dave Smith Prophet 12, Elka Synthex, and a Roland RE-301 Space Echo.”

Producer Halverson says, “My buddy Thor Harris [Swans, Sheerwater] recommended we contact Charles [Godfrey] to engineer. Our pre-production notes enabled us to use the studio to its full extent with him at the helm. The performances captured through this rare Neve 8088 are sounding simply amazing. Plus, we were able to use the separate Echo House as a chamber. It. Is. Awesome.” They plan to release the record summer 2016.

Nina Diaz with Manuel “Many” Calderon

Engineer Manuel “Many” Calderon has been working on a variety of projects, including new material from dream-pop, Baltimore-based band Beach House. Calderon (Comanche Sound) was the engineer, and the band self-produced in Studio A. While the project was tracked at a studio in Louisiana, it was mixed at Sonic Ranch. “We mixed ‘in the box’ for easy recall and used stereo compressors [Shadow Hills Limiter] to print the mixes,” Calderon says. “They brought a combination of printed reverbs like Spring, Plates, and some UAD plug-in reverbs, as well. Tony [Rancich, owner of Sonic Ranch] purchased the PMC twotwo.8 monitors for this session and they sounded great, and we kept them for the Mix Room.”

Calderon also worked with singer/guitarist Nina Diaz of Girl in a Coma on her solo project, scheduled for release this year. Calderon engineered and co-produced the project (with Diaz and David Garza).

The record was tracked at Adobe Studio using a Studer A827. “I used the Studer as master and Pro Tools as slave; that way, we could dump tracks into Pro Tools and keep using Pro Tools as playback but still record into the tape machine,” Calderon says. “We used numerous mics on drums, but mainly Coles 4038; and we used the Dave Smith Tempest Drum Machine and Roland TR-909 for most drum loops.”

They also used Roland Juno 106, Moog Voyager, and the New Mellotron for most keyboards; Royer R-121 mic for guitars, usually two amps at the same time, one with lots of effects, and the other cleaner; the RCA 77 for piano; a Neumann U 47, Shure SM7 and the RCA 77 for vocals, with AMS RMX16, Lexicon 480L, and Furman Rev1 for vocal effects. “It was mixed at the Mix Room, fully spread,” Calderon says. “I did some parallel processing with [Thermionic] Culture Vulture and [Standard-Audio] Level Ors. I used Shadow Hills for stereo bus, Chandler Zener Limiter 12413 for drums, Manley Variable Mu stereo compressor for vocals, [Inward Connections TSL-4] Vac Rac for keys, and Neve 2264 for guitars.”

Calderon also engineered new material for Kid Parade, with producer Jean Baptiste Ayoub in the Mix Room; engineered for Jumbo in the Mix Room, with producer Camilo Froideval; produced and engineered for The Chamanas (Calderon’s own band) in Adobe Studio; and engineered for Enjambre, with producer Phil Vinall (recording was done by another Sonic Ranch engineer, Jerry Ordoñez). 

Justin Merrill at the Grammys.

CRAS Graduates Win Grammys

The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS), based in Tempe, Ariz., recently announced that two of its graduates won Grammys for the 58th Grammy Awards: Sam Holland for his work as recording engineer on Album of the Year for Taylor Swift’s 1989, and Justin Merrill for his engineering work on Best Engineered Album, Classical, for the album Ask Your Mama by George Manahan & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

Thirteen graduates received credit for their work on 17 Grammy Award-winning categories. Overall, 38 CRAS graduates worked on numerous 2016 Grammy Award-nominated albums and songs across 36 categories.

Luca Pretesoli at CRAS

Additionally, on Feb. 19, CRAS’ AES Student Chapter hosted Luca Pretesoli, Grammy Award-nominated engineer/producer, who spoke to students about his engineering and workflow. The entire event was streamed live; you can watch it on the CRAS YouTube channel.

FOX Sports Audio Engineer Fred Aldous teaching students about mixing audio for basketball.

CRAS students also recently learned about live broadcast audio for an NBA game with the Phoenix Suns. The school’s Mobile Broadcast Unit received a live feed from FOX Sports AZ, in which students were able to mix the audio during the game.