P&E Wing Retreat Takes Place in Texas

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Rupert Neve displays his Technical Grammy Award.

Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage.com. Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy®/WireImage.com, © 2010

The Recording Academy reports that on Saturday, June 19, 2010, The Recording Academy Texas Chapter and the Producers & Engineers Wing presented "P&E Wing Retreat at the Rock" at Blue Rock Artist Ranch & Studio in Wimberley, Texas.

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Grammy-nominated artist Ruthie Foster performs

Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage.com. Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy®/WireImage.com, © 2010

Blue Rock, founded by songwriter/guitarist Billy Crockett and his wife Dodee, is situated on 19 pristine acres in the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin. At "Retreat at the Rock," 100 guests were treated to a full day of presentations by recording luminaries, professional development workshops, networking, and a special musical performance from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster. Presenters included Steve Lamm, owner of Cryptic Globe Recording (CGR); legendary producer/engineer/designer George Massenburg; Platinum producer/mixer Tim Palmer; Shadow Hills Industries president and founder Peter Reardon; and keynote speaker Rupert Neve, founder of Rupert Neve Designs Incorporated.

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Rupert Neve (left) and George Massenburg

Photo courtesy of The Recording Academy, © 2010

The day opened with Massenburg's presentation, which explored the evolution of quality standards in recorded music since 1992 from technical, artistic and business points of view. Demonstrations illustrate what MP3s really sound like and the audible effects of over-compression. The conversation detailed how a generation of listeners has grown accustomed to the destructive artifacts inherent to inferior forms of digital coding and the resulting loss of emotional impact in music that has dynamics curtailed by over-compression.

Also covered were various theories related to how sound affects the perception of a music recording's value, as well as the marketplace evolution from label-driven to artist-driven incentives and revenue concentration. Audio excerpts of classic and modern artists were compared and contrasted as Massenburg explored the phenomenon of the 20-year de-evolution of the modern record business and the resulting abandonment of substantive quality criteria.

Lamm, a Grammy Award winner for engineering rap gospel album Alive and Transported by TobyMac, discussed how producers and engineers currently work with digital and analog gear, and how to get the best productivity out of the combination.

Palmer's hit list of topics ranged across the expanse of his career, discussing "The Song is King," "Don’t Trust the A&R Guy," "Letting Things Go," and "Don’t Bring Your Analog Multitracks Home." A Grammy nominee for his work on U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Palmer has produced artists such as David Bowie, Robert Plant, Switchfoot and Tears for Fears, written songs with Ozzy Osbourne and the Goo Goo Dolls, and mixed albums for artists including Pearl Jam and The Cure.

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From left: George Massenburg, The Recording Academy Texas Chapter Executive Director Theresa Jenkins, and Rupert Neve.

Photo courtesy of The Recording Academy, © 2010

Reardon's segment, "Beyond Fidelity: The Studio as an Engine of Inspiration," discussed the challenges of facilitating exceptional performances in the studio. The president and founder of Shadow Hills Industries and the former president of Waxploitation Records, Reardon is a producer/engineer/remixer with credits including Choclair, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Chris Vrenna, Barenaked Ladies, Coolio, The Cult, Fear Factory, The Geto Boys, Scarface and Josh Wink.

Keynote speaker Rupert Neve, who was awarded a Technical Grammy Award in 1997, discussed how the sound created by vacuum tubes, integrated circuits, the medium of the CD, and many other sonic anomalies, all affect the perception of music and how the resulting effects on a listener can range from frustration — and even anger — to satisfaction and relaxation. Since founding Neve Companies in 1961, Neve has designed and manufactured professional equipment for the recording, TV, film and broadcast industries worldwide, including the Neve 8078, 8068 consoles and 1073 and 1081 modules. In 1985, he founded Rupert Neve Designs Incorporated, based in Wimberley, Texas, with a new range of high performance audio equipment that retain his original transformer and EQ traditions but incorporate circuitry to take account of recent discoveries about the way we hear music.

"Our Texas Chapter always thinks big, but they’ve outdone even themselves this time," says Maureen Droney, senior executive director of the P&E Wing. "To be able to spend a day with some of the recording industry's finest talent in this beautiful, relaxed, and creative environment has been a remarkable experience. 'Retreat at the Rock' was, simply, an extraordinarily special event."

Visit the Recording Academy P&E Wing at Grammy.com.