On Saturday, May 14, 13 members of the Boston chapter of the Audio Engineering Society headed north at the invitation of mastering engineer Adam Ayan to tour the diverse audio facilities that abound in Portland, ME. The tour was offered in conjunction with the Portland Music Foundation, a four-year-old Portland-based professional organization founded by Ayan with the intent to support and promote the thriving music scene there.
Boston AES section chair Anthony Schultz says, "It was such a great opportunity to be able to experience the different aspects of the Portland scene all in one day. All of us on the tour were impressed with the level of activity and the collaborative efforts going on in Portland to support it."
Members of the Boston chapter of the Audio Engineering Society are pictured at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine. Top row, from left: Kirk Bushen, Paul Shiner, David Tweed, Mark Vincenzes, and Rob Pemberton. Middle row, from left: Mike Bavec, Lou Clark, Dustin O'Reilly, AES Section Chair Tony Schultz, Mark Dubosky and Rick Scott. Bottom row, from left: Event hosts Jim Begley (Port City Music Hall, The Studio) and Adam Ayan (Gateway Mastering, Portland Music Foundation founder).
The tour began at The Studio, a state-of-the-art full-service recording studio that has been a cornerstone of the Portland recording community since 1981. Recording engineer/producer Jim Begley led the group through the facility, discussing many of their recent projects, including 5.1 surround mixes for National Geographic and new albums from Paranoid Social Club and Jonathan Edwards.
Begley then took the group to Port City Music Hall, the three-year-old 600-capacity venue in the heart of the city's thriving Arts District, where he is production manager. The venue has consistently garnered critical raves from audiences and industry people for the room's stellar sound. Port City presents a wide spectrum of artists, including appearances by Ween, John Scofield, Neko Case, Coheed & Cambria, Dierks Bentley, and more. Begley gave the group an in-depth look at the equipment and discussed the ins and outs of live music mixing.
The AES tour then moved two blocks down the street to the Citadel Broadcasting suite at One City Center, home to four commercial radio stations: 94.9 WHOM (light rock), the Q97.9 (hits), 94.3 WCYY (alternative rock), and a powerhouse of Maine radio at 100,000 watts, 102.9 WBLM (classic rock). Herb Ivy (program director and The Captain on the WBLM morning show) led the tour, displaying Citadel's facilities and technological achievements, including their new "I Drive 'CYY" listener interactive programming.
The tour culminated at Gateway Mastering & DVD, where founder Bob Ludwig and four-time Grammy winner Ayan run one of the country's premier mastering facilities. Their extensive client list includes Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Foo Fighters, Rascal Flatts, and a veritable who's who of the rock, jazz, country and Latin music worlds. Ayan led the tour, explaining the art of mastering, as well as the history of Gateway Mastering's facilities.
The day was rounded out with a mixer hosted by Portland Music Foundation members at Sonny's in Portland's Old Port, and tickets to hear Brooklyn's World Inferno Friendship Society at Port City Music Hall.
"It was a fantastic opportunity to share aspects of Portland's thriving audio and music community with members of Boston's audio community," says Ayan. "Also, a perfect collaboration between the AES and the PMF—a fun and informative day for all!"