Musicians and budding record producers turned out in force for the creative audio production workshops that took place at Liverpool Sound City 2011.
Hosted by Prism Sound and Metropolis Group, the workshops were delivered by internationally acclaimed producer/engineer Josh Blair, who has worked with numerous top artists including Duran Duran, Mark Ronson, Beyonce and Mos Def. Joining him was Metropolis mastering engineer Mazen Murad, whose mastering credits include Muse, Duffy, John Williams and Bjork.
"When Prism Sound asked me to get involved, I jumped at the opportunity to share my knowledge with other people,â€? Josh says. â€œIt 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."
A wide range of recording and mixing techniques were covered during the course of the 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 Josh could record and mix original material.
Day one focused on microphone techniques with Blair recording the musicians through various microphones (DPA, Neumann, Sennheiser and Shure) into mic pre amplifiers (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,â€? Josh explains. â€œWith 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, Josh covered mixing techniques with the material recorded the previous day. This was primarily carried out in-the-box with analogue output buss processing via the MEA-2 and MLA-2. Mazen Murad was also on hand to explain the craft of mastering and carried out some live creative mastering using SADiE 6, Prism Sound ADA-8XR I/O and Maselec MEA-2 and MLA-2 processors with main monitoring via PMC IB2s.
Mazen Murad says: â€œDoing 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.â€?
David J Pichilingi, Festival Director of Liverpool Sound City, adds: â€œThe addition of Prism Sound/Metropolis Group workshops was amazing. Â The workshops were filled from morning until night with musicians and technicians from all areas of the international music business. Â 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 programme! The delivery team was professional at all times and the pitch was perfect for our audience. Â We look forward to working with them again in the future.â€?
Response from the audience was equally positive. Attendee Natty Robby complimented the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that gave him the confidence to ask questions.
â€œI have nothing but the deepestÂ appreciationÂ 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,â€? he says.
Attendee Josh Edwards adds: â€œI 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. I took a lot away from these sessions and I just wish I could have taken more notes.â€?
Prism Sound is now planning more events in its popular 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 US and South Africa, in conjunction with accredited universities and educational organisations such as JAMES in the UK. For more information on forthcoming schedules, please visit the Prism Sound website â€“ www.prismsound.com
About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987, Prism Sound manufacture high-quality professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. The company's product range includes the Prism ADA-8XR precision 8-channel converter unit, which is regularly used for music and film soundtrack projects by clients such as EMI Abbey Road, BBC, Sony, Lucasfilm and Walt Disney. Prism Sound also manufactures a range of audio test and measurement products, including the de facto standard DSA-1 handheld digital audio generator/analyser and the dScope Series III audio analyser system.
For more information: www.prismsound.com
About Metropolis Group:
Metropolis Studios is an independent recording, mastering and production facility, offering unrivaled services for the Music, Film & TV industries. It has fourÂ recording studiosÂ (including two large tracking rooms), nine world-renownedÂ mastering engineersÂ occupying six state of the art mastering suites and aÂ Digital Media & ProductionÂ team offering the ultimate one stop shop experience - Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes LPs, promos, web tools, photography, live shoots and more.
For more information: www.metropolis-group.co.uk