Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair that tool place in Bethel, N.Y., Warner Home Video has released Woodstock: 40th Anniversary—Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray disc. The release features a re-mastered director’s cut of the original film, including many previously unreleased performances. Legendary producer/engineer Eddie Kramer (pictured), who engineered the original recordings that captured the 1969 event, was called by Warner to mix this wealth of previously material. For the project, Kramer relied on a 5.1 JBL LSR6300 studio monitor system to bring the tracks to life in Capitol Records Studio C control room.
According to Kramer: “The original recording during the festival was pretty scary in the sense that there was no communication between the stage and myself in what was essentially a tractor-trailer,” Kramer said. “We had to mix everything on the fly, so the first song in each set was basically an experiment in identifying where everything was in the mix.”
Thanks to modern recording technology, Kramer has been able to restore and improve the quality of the recordings from those historic three days. “Interestingly, with the technology that is afforded us today, one can now repair things that were irreparable even 15 years ago,” Kramer says. “It’s great, because where a lot of things weren’t working in those first songs, we’ve salvaged a lot of great performances and literally raised tracks from the grave.” The project includes unreleased performances of Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Band, Santana, the Grateful Dead and other iconic acts.
For the project, Kramer used a 5.1 surround system comprised of JBL LSR6300 Series studio monitors during his mix sessions. “For the longest time, I have been looking for a set of monitors that I can feel comfortable with, at high volumes as well as low volumes, because I do a lot of my mixing at low volume. Anybody can turn a speaker up. But when the volume comes down and the relative quality and definition does not change as you pull the monitor fader down, that is a very key element in what I’m doing. I want to hear the detail, and I can hear tremendous detail in these JBL monitors. I think JBL is really doing it right these days.”
In addition to the detail, the neutral and even coverage of the LSR monitors has also proven advantageous for Kramer. “I love the LSR monitors because they’re so smooth and the top end doesn’t take my head off,” Kramer says. “I can sit in the studio all day long, for 12 or 14 hours, and my ears don’t fatigue.
“I needed to get this to sound as good as it possibly could,” Kramer adds. “When people are listening to this on a 5.1 system in their living rooms, I want it to feel like they’re dead center in the middle of the crowd, they can smell the smoke, feel the mud and get the vibe.”