On July 22-23, 2011, 16 attendees gathered at the prestigious Village Studios in Los Angeles for Alan Parsons' Master Class Training Session. The two-day event was based around the recording of a brand new song “Do You Live At All” from Parsons and writing partners P.J. Olsson and Guy Erez.
Alan Parsons (center) conducts his Master Class Training Session at The Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles.
In addition to observing a recording session with Alan Parsons and A-list session musicians, the Master Class Training Session allowed attendees to participate with Alan Parsons in music production, and gave them the opportunity to be recorded by Parsons. Throughout the event, Parsons gave a running commentary on each procedure.
Musicians included Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Nathan East (bass), Rami Jaffee (keys), Michael Thompson (guitar) and singer P.J. Olsson.
Attendees participated in every aspect of the recording, from setting mics on the drums to equalizing the grand piano. East demonstrated his new four-figure instrument cables; Jaffee and Parsons traded Leslie miking stories; Colaiuta discussed studio playing dynamics and showed his beautiful vintage Gretsch drum kit in detail; and Thompson showcased his recording rack and pedal array.
With the live tracking session in the bag, Day One concluded with overdubs, including grand piano, electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin and percussion.
Day Two began with vocals, with Parsons demonstrating a number of recording techniques, including having the singer monitor the track on speakers, and demonstrating how to use reversed phase to reduce spill into the mic. With lead and backing vocals completed, Parsons led all the attendees into the studio to record a choir track. “You guys sounded really, really good,” he said at the reception in The Village’s theater at the end of the event.
The working portion of Day Two began with a demo from JCF Audio of the company's new Audio AD8 converter, which is on sale through Vintage King Audio, and continued with the mix.
Alan Parsons (center) at the console with attendees
By the end of the session, a total of 64 tracks had been recorded and attendees got to take home not only the stereo mix but also a copy of the multitrack Pro Tools session.
According to MCTS, discussions for future Master Class Training Sessions are already in the works, including the possibility of a follow-up to this event comprising a scientific study of mixing in-the-box and with hardware, studying both methods side by side. This event would look not only at the audio results but also the psychological impact of the two approaches.
For complete information about this event, visit www.artandscienceofsound.com/mcts-la.