Prism Sound and Metropolis Group recently hosted creative audio production workshops over two days at Liverpool Sound City. Producer/engineer Josh Blair (Duran Duran, Mark Ronson, Beyoncé, and Mos Def) presented the workshops with Metropolis mastering engineer Mazen Murad (Muse, Duffy, John Williams, and Bjork).
Producer/engineer Josh Blair demonstrates recording and mixing techniques at Liverpool Sound City
"When Prism Sound asked me to get involved, I jumped at the opportunity to share my knowledge with other people,” Blair says. “It was great to see that so many people are still interested in recording real people, with real instruments, in real rooms, with real top-end gear."
Blair covered a wide range of recording and mixing techniques during the course of two days. With the support of FX Rentals, PMC, DPA, Neumann, SPL, Audient, and Sonodyne, Prism Sound and Metropolis Group put together a very comprehensive recording rig and arranged for a four-piece session band (drums, guitar, bass and vocals) to perform so that Blair could record and mix original material.
On the first day, Blair focused on microphone techniques, recording the musicians through various microphones (DPA, Neumann, Sennheiser and Shure) into mic preamplifiers (API, SPL and Prism Sound Maselec MMA-4XRs), and then onto a Pro Tools HD system with a complete Prism Sound ADA-8XR Pro Tools HD I/O solution. Hardware processing was carried out using Maselec MEA-2 EQ and MLA-2 compressors.
"Simply put, I tried to show people that you don't just stick a microphone in front of something and hope for the best,” Blair explains. “With an understanding of the fundamentals and some practical examples on where to use these techniques, you can start to make creative musical choices with as little as one or an arsenal of microphones."
On Day Two, Blair covered mixing techniques with the material recorded the previous day. He mixed primarily in the box with analog output bus processing via the MEA-2 and MLA-2. Murad was also on hand to explain the craft of mastering using SADiE 6, Prism Sound ADA-8XR I/O, and Maselec MEA-2 and MLA-2 processors with main monitoring via PMC IB2s.
Murad says, “Doing this workshop was exciting for me to share tips on mastering and shed some light on all the different facets of mastering today. I wish there were workshops like this when I started as a young engineer. It was also fantastic to have the whole process there from recording, mixing, to mastering a song.”
David J. Pichilingi, festival director of Liverpool Sound City, adds, “The addition of Prism Sound/Metropolis Group workshops was amazing. The workshops were filled from morning until night with musicians and technicians from all areas of the international music business. The feedback was hugely positive. One person in particular told me he learned more in 30 minutes than he had learned in three years on his sound technician degree program! The delivery team was professional at all times and the pitch was perfect for our audience. We look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Prism Sound reports that response from the audience was equally positive. Attendee Natty Robby complimented the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that gave him the confidence to ask questions. “I have nothing but the deepest appreciation for learning from people who function in the music industry, people who know their stuff and share their knowledge and wisdom, and the people who made it happen,” Robby says.
“I found all of the sessions very useful and they helped me get past some of the problems I have had when making my own music," adds attendee Josh Edwards. "I took a lot away from these sessions and I just wish I could have taken more notes.”
Prism Sound states that it is planning more events as part of the company's Mic to Monitor and Mic To Master series, in which participants have the opportunity to discover the latest cutting edge technology and learn practical tips and techniques from renowned producers and industry experts. These events have taken place in the UK, Europe, the U.S., and South Africa, in conjunction with accredited universities and educational organizations such as JAMES in the UK.
For more information, visit www.prismsound.com.