A couple of years ago, veteran engineer/producer/studio owner Joel Jaffe replaced the Amek board in Studio D Recording (www.studiodrecording.com, Sausalito, Calif.) with a Digidesign ProControl and Pro Tools HD3, and he hasn't looked back. Jaffe and business partners Dan Godfrey, Jeff Shea and Robert Hatchett also had the facility completely rewired at that time and created a new patchbay to tie in their collection of analog outboard gear. The last major project Jaffe engineered on the Amek console was a Ringo Starr concert DVD; the first one to come out of the new Pro Tools system was the DVD documenting Henry Rollins' Shock and Awe tour. It's the latest phase in the evolution of a studio that Jaffe has operated for a quarter-century.
Ray Manzarek, seated next to Roy Rogers, holds Studio D’s mascot, Cowboy. Standing: Joel Jaffe and assistant engineer Ashley Lewis.
Today, Jaffe's work is divided pretty evenly between music DVDs and CDs. Recent album projects have included engineering, producing and mixing Maria Muldaur's Number One-charting blues album of Dylan covers, Heart of Mine (Telarc, 2006); tracking four re-recorded Bonnie Raitt songs for iTunes; the debut by singer/songwriter Liz Kennedy; and a forthcoming release from Roy Rogers and Ray Manzarek.
“That one is very eclectic,” Jaffe says. “Roy and Ray had the idea to do an instrumental, acoustic-type project, though there is some electric guitar on it because Roy likes to blend in different sounds.”
The two musicians played live in the studio, with Manzarek at the grand piano in the main recording room and Rogers in a smaller room. With the keyboardist isolated, Jaffe used a close-miking configuration (two AKG 414s inside the instrument) blended with a couple of Neumann U67 room mics. He combined a selection of ribbons and condensers to capture Rogers' various instruments and vintage amps.
Jaffe is also excited about the March release of his 5.1 mix/post-production of a Carlos Santana/Wayne Shorter concert captured at the Montreux Jazz Festival. “It's a blend of rock, fusion and jazz,” Jaffe says. “I had to take the NTSC digital file that was a composite of the show and sync all the audio to it. What they had for the audio was the original multitracks that Jim Gaines had recorded in Montreux and it was all done in PAL, so all the frame rates were different. It was a challenge, but it was a blessing because it was so great to work with Carlos.”