Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Pie Man Sound Ensures Longevity With 32-Channel API 1608 Console
Pie Man Sound opens with new API 1608 console.
Pie Man Sound opened last month in Cary, NC, – co-owners Max and Mitch Dancik were so eager to start using their 32-channel API 1608 that it’s already been used to record several local projects.
Mitch said the studio is already booked solid through the year with musicians from a variety of genres anxious to record. Among others, the studio is looking forward to sessions with a young jazz/rock band working on their debut album, a quartet of Mexican classical guitarists, and a quartet of classical sax players.
Mitch believes the 1608 has been a huge part of Pie Man’s early success: “My standard setup allows me to switch from record to mix mode instantly. In a ‘mix as you go’ world, this capability is critical, and a very good reason for 1608 users to consider that extra sixteen tracks.”
Pie Man was designed and built from the ground up by Wes Lachot, who told the Danciks that the 1608 would take the studio from ‘great to WOW!’
“I visited various studios,” Mitch Dancik added, “including Manifold, and my ears said it was worth it. Another important consideration was reliability and maintenance. My friend Neil Steingart was an engineer at the Record Plant in NYC and he always spoke about the indestructible API console on their mobile studio truck.”
While practical elements like these helped Dancik make his decision, he said, “The most important feature is the magic that the API imparts to the sound. API is one of only a few companies keeping the best of the analog technology alive and I hope consoles like the 1608 will always be available.”
The console has not only been used on a variety of projects, but also for a wide variety of technical processes. Dancik was excited to explain how multi-faceted he has found his new gear.
“The 1608 is integrated with my DAW solutions, with everything going through the API on the way in and the way out,” he adds. “I do hybrid mixing, with fine adjustments in the box, and broad moves on the API.”
His experience with API gear is not limited to his own console, though. He attended a session with producer Joe Chiccarelli at Studio La Fabrique, “and every time he got frustrated with a piece of malfunctioning outboard gear, he’d switch to an equivalent piece of 500 series gear in an API lunchbox he had brought along. The API gear always worked as expected. I told Joe I was considering a 1608 for a new studio, and he said ‘go for it!’”
Posted by Julie Clark on 10/22 at 01:08 PM
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Panoramic House Studio Celebrates First Year With An API 1608—And Great Ocean Views
When 5-year-old console was moved, it was expanded to 32 channels to accommodate the studio’s 16- and 24-track analog tape deck
Panoramic House, a personal recording studio owned by John Baccigaluppi and Bobby Lurie that’s located on the western Marin coast north of San Francisco, now incorporates Baccigaluppi’s recently-expanded API 1608 console.
The duo, who own and operate studios on both the east and west coasts (The Dock in Sacramento, CA and Mavericks in NYC), renovated the historic 1960s structure, which was built entirely from recycled architectural materials salvaged from the Bay Area. Now, Panoramic House is celebrating its first year of operation with equipment relocated from Baccigaluppi’s former recording studio, The Hangar, including the API 1608.
When the five-year-old 1608 moved to Panoramic House, it was expanded to 32 channels to accommodate the studio’s 16- and 24-track analog tape decks. “With more analog tracks, we needed more console real estate,” he says. “The 1608 has served me very well. I love that it has the same API circuitry that runs its large-format consoles. Eight aux sends and eight groups paired with the modular 500-series slots make it a very versatile board. We have a lot of EQ flavors, including a handful of API 550A’s, 550b’s, and 560’s.”
Baccigaluppi’s familiarity with API equipment is a contributing factor to what has made the 1608 the heart of the new studio. “Panoramic House is definitely analog-centric,” he notes. “The first console I ever worked on was an API 2488 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and I love that the 1608 continues in that tradition. Moreover, clients are always impressed. API is a trusted name in the industry.”
Panoramic House has already been host to several big-name indie bands, including My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and Thee Oh Sees. With the first year behind them, Baccigaluppi and Lurie are looking forward to the fall and winter in Stinson Beach and Bolinas.
“It’s funny,” Baccigaluppi says, “that most of the vacation renters come to town during the summer when it’s foggy to the point that you feel like you’re in a cloud. But that’s when people take vacations, I guess. Conveniently, most musicians are touring during the summer. The other three seasons are lovely, and that’s when most musicians want to settle in and create. Plus, that’s when the surfing is the best.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 10/21 at 07:04 AM
Friday, October 17, 2014
New Satori True Analog Monitoring Controller From Antelope Audio
Combines true analog monitoring and summing capabilities in 1RU package
Antelope Audio has introduced Satori, a true analog monitoring and summing system.
Satori expands upon the design architecture of Eclipse 384, Antelope’s mastering AD/DA and monitoring controller. Carefully designed analog circuits and fast, transparent relay attenuators ensure the audio integrity throughout the whole signal path.
The 0.05 dB platinum relays provide accurate volume control and perfect L/R balance, even at the lowest listening levels.
“We wanted to design a clean and transparent monitoring controller that would not compromise the quality of our converters and will provide sound engineers with a genuine listening experience,” states Igor Levin, founder and CEO of Antelope Audio. “Satori is a part of our concept for creating a coherent signal path all the way from the analog source through conversion, recording and playback.”
Four independent headphone outputs allow individual source selection and volume control, enabling separate feeds for musicians or vocalists. The headphone drivers on Satori employ the same circuitry found in Antelope’s line of premium home audio products, and are able to drive both low and high impedances.
Satori functionality such as talkback and level trims, as well as stereo effects like mute, mono, dim and mid-side. The mid-side effect is rarely implemented in monitor controllers, yet routinely requested by mastering engineers.
Gain offset is available for any input and output, making A/B testing extremely easy and efficient. In addition to monitoring capabilities, Satori includes a fully analog 8-channel summing mixer. This kind of analog summing, with warm punch and excellent dynamics, allows engineers who work completely “in-the-box” to mix signals in the analog domain for a more natural blending of instruments.
It packs eight stereo inputs, four stereo outputs, and a range of connectivity options including XLR, 1/4-inch TRS and D-Sub 25, into a 1RU package. In addition to four stereo loudspeaker outputs, Satori offers a dedicated subwoofer output. The D-Sub 25 connectivity solves the issue of connecting to multi-channel converters such as Orion32.
Satori’s machined aluminum volume knob and large LED front panel push buttons allow easy access to the most commonly used monitoring functions such as input and monitor selectors, gain adjustment and level trimming.
The unit also ships with the next generation of software application [Mac and PC] enabling flexible and accurate control. The software control panel allows fast and responsive source and speaker switching, accurate volume control, stereo effects selection, headphone controls and user-recallable presets. Analog summing is fully controllable via the software application.
Satori is scheduled to ship later in Q4 of 2014 and will be priced at $1,475.
Friday, October 10, 2014
dbx Introduces 676 Tube Mic Pre Channel Strip
Vacuum tube-based microphone preamplifier that offers flexible sound-tailoring options for live and studio applications
Harman’s dbx Professional has introduced the new model 676 tube mic pre channel strip, a vacuum tube-based microphone preamplifier that offers a host of flexible sound-tailoring options to deliver audio quality in recording and live sound applications.
The dbx 676 employs a high-gain, Class A tube preamp section based around a 12AU7 vacuum tube that can be adjusted to be clean and pure-sounding or “dirty” and full of harmonic character. The 676 incorporates the compressor/limiter design from the dbx 162SL and a 3-band parametric EQ, enabling exacting control of dynamics and tonal balance.
“We created the dbx 676 to be nothing less than the ultimate mic preamp,” says Jason Kunz, market manager, Portable PA and Recording & Broadcast, Harman Signal Processing. “Whether you need a preamp that provides pristine, rich sound quality and tube warmth, want to add some edge and personality to vocals and instruments or are seeking to improve the sound of your recording or live rig, the dbx 676 is the ideal tool for taking your sound to the highest level.”
The dbx 676 offers 1/4-inch and XLR inputs and outputs, a front-panel instrument input and a side chain insert. An optional digital output card is available. The 676 allows for precise tailoring of input and output levels which can be monitored by its large multi-function VU meter.
The compressor/limiter section provides extremely flexible control of dynamics including threshold, attack, gain and release, auto attack and release, hard and soft knee compression, dbx-exclusive AutoVelocity manual and OverEasy modes and PeakStop limiting algorithm and many additional functions. The 676’s 3-band parametric EQ allows adjustment of level and bandwidth at frequencies that have been carefully chosen for maximum musical effectiveness.
The 676 is designed for ease of use, with vintage-style controls and VU metering. It has a military-grade build for added reliability, and mounts in a 2U rack space.
The new dbx 676 tube mic pre channel strip will be available in January 2015 at a U.S. street price of $999.95.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Antelope Audio Unveils Pure2 24/192 kHz AD/DA Converter & Master Clock
Leverages top-quality Burr-Brown converters and same Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) technology present in Antelope's Trinity master clock
At the 137th AES Convention in Los Angeles later this week, Antelope Audio is introducing Pure2, a mastering-grade 24/192 kHz AD/DA 2-channel converter and master clock.
New Pure2 employs an all-new design that leverages top-quality Burr-Brown converters and the same Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) technology present in Antelope’s high-end Trinity master clock. It also offers Antelope’s low-latency USB circuit on both Mac and PC, which is in use in thousands of studios inside the Orion32 and the new Zen Studio.
Pure2 comprises five distinct components:
• An A/D converter with optimized overloads handling
• A D/A converter with dual DAC architecture
• A high-end headphone amplifier with a dedicated D/A
• A relay-based analog volume control for accurate monitoring
• A master clock with 4th generation of Antelope’s AFC jitter management
In addition to its conversion and AFC technology, the unit also includes Antelope’s analog circuitry, which is driven by a proprietary, multi-stage linear power supply. When monitoring through loudspeakers, Pure2’s relay-based stepped attenuator ensures transparency and L/R balance, even at low listening levels.
Additionally, Pure2’s dual-DAC technology — with separate DAC chips for left and right channels —guarantees excellent stereo separation and imaging.
“As digital devices and software-based tools become more and more ubiquitous in recording and playback environments, advanced clocking and conversion technology is now a prerequisite towards getting great sound,” states Igor Levin, founder and CEO of Antelope Audio. “Pure2 puts world class mastering functionality within the reach of just about anyone, at a fraction of what it would have cost just three years ago.”
The device includes an intuitive software control panel (compatible with both Mac and PC), enabling users to manage all facets of its operation from a computer. The front panel of the unit also includes user-definable presets for added routing convenience and efficiency.
With several Word Clock outputs, Pure2 can function as the master clock for an entire studio and can also be locked to Antelope’s 10M Atomic Clock for even greater clocking stability. Further, Pure2 can be connected via S/PDIF, TOSLINK, AES and USB, making it suitable for nearly any studio environment.
Pure2 is scheduled to ship in late Q4 of 2014 and will be priced at $2,195.
Dharma Studios Finds Balance With Audient ASP4816 Small-Format Console
Provides key features of a large console packed into an ergonomic footprint for studio in northern Italy
Dharma Studios owner Paolo Tubia is a fan of the hybrid set up. “I like analog outboard—a tasty compressor and some boutique preamps—to be a part of the mix. So I needed a centerpiece to manage the various control room components effectively and creatively,” he explains, describing the studio he has aspired to—and, with the arrival of his new Audient ASP4816 small-format console last month—ultimately brought to life.
“The Audient definitely has the ‘wow’ factor,” Tubia says. “A real analog console at the heart of a control room, surrounded by mystical and esoteric machines full of LEDs and gauges really helps customers get into the mood. It encourages them to do their best in the professional environment.
“We all know how hard it is to stay in budget when looking for a reliable and high-quality analog mixer,” he adds. It wasn’t just the competitive pricing of the console that was attractive, however.
“What I love about this console is the clean punch that comes out when you start to push it a bit, allowing me to have 16 clean preamps—incredibly useful for recording acoustic instruments without adding color,” he says. “Thanks to the routing design, with balanced inserts everywhere, it is still possible (if necessary) to color tracks, stems and even the mix bus with my outboards.”
With all the key features of a large console packed into an ergonomic footprint, the ASP4816 comprises fully-featured in-line architecture, well suited to this small studio based in northern Italy in the town of Vercelli.
“The foldback section is also useful and intuitive,” he notes. “I don’t have to waste time creating strange ways to allow musicians to listen to what they are playing, The compressor does a great job of gluing the whole mix together and above all the build quality is exceptional, right down to the smallest component.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 10/08 at 01:59 PM
Friday, October 03, 2014
Put Another Nickel In…
Somewhere in its early years, the coin operated record player acquired the name “jukebox.” There are several theories about the origin.
The most accepted is that the word “juke” is a corruption of the word “jook,” an African American slang term for dancing. The source of the music for this dancing would have been called a “jookbox.”
A second version is that “jook” meant “sex” which may have made sense since brothels were some of the first establishments to install jukeboxes, thus replacing the piano player. A third source of the word may have been from the term “jute,” or “jute joints” where jute pickers would relax, drink and dance.
Whatever the source of its name, the jukebox of the 1920s was generally associated with “speakeasies” and the “low-life” of prohibition since they were featured entertainment in such places.
To pay to hear a record played first started through the entrepreneurial activities of carnival and penny arcade operators who made their own recordings and then charged admission to hear them on the newly invented gramophone. It was in response to requests by this group of users that the phonograph/gramophone manufacturers began to produce prerecorded product.
This was an unexpected life-line for the Columbia company that in 1890 seemed headed for liquidation, because the intended use of the phonograph as a dictating machine had been a dismal flop. Columbia and Edison began to realize that their market was somewhere else. They also recognized that in order to sell players, they had to produce and manufacture prerecorded product that the public wanted to hear.
Initially the preferred programs for coin-operated players were comic songs, bands, monologues, and whistling. The revenues from these “pay for play” machines was amazing in light of the fact that the quality was poor and the selection meagre. In 1891, some machines earned up to 14 dollars a day—a lot of money at the time.
A penny arcade from the early 20th century.
While accepting there was a market for coin operated carnival players, Edison feared they might create the impression that the phonograph was only a toy. His worries were unjustified, since the showman-operated players cultivated a consumer appetite for recorded music and a desire for home players.
As the turn of the century approached, mainstreet penny and nickel arcades were becoming an increasingly popular center for entertainment. There were hundreds of different coin operated amusements. The most popular of these were those that played music. Into this market came the nickelodeon and the jukebox.
The first jukebox appeared close on the heels of the introduction of the phonograph. Louis Glas installed an Edison cylinder system at the San Francisco Royal Palace in 1889.
The Automatic Entertainer from the John Gabel Company.
In 1906, the Automatic Entertainer, which used flat disks recently invented by Berliner, was introduced by the John Gabel Company. The system was entirely mechanical but required regular winding of its spring mechanism. It was popular in spite of the poor quality.
In Paris, at the Pathe Salon du Phonograph, patrons could choose a musical selection, which would be played for them from the floor below where there were a battery of players. As in San Francisco, they would hear their selection through long listening tubes connected to the player’s diaphragm.
Composer Claude Debussy, after hearing this system for a few coins, was concerned that the low cost of the disk and its availability would have the effect of cheapening the music. He did, however, acknowledge that the discs preserved a certain magic.
In 1913, Debussy wrote: “In a time like ours, when the genius of engineers has reached such undreamed proportions, one can hear famous pieces of music as easily as one can buy a glass of beer. Should we not fear this domestication of sound, this magic preserved in a disc that anyone can awaken at will? Will it not mean a diminishing of the secret forces of the art, which until now have been considered indestructible? “.
Debussy, like so many other classically trained musicians had fears that this new technology would impact on his beloved art, and probably his concert income. The jukebox and nickelodeon changed the way people heard the music of the day by placing it within reach of the masses.
Mechanical jukeboxes continued to be one of many amusement machines in these penny arcades, but in the late 20s with the introduction of the electric phonograph, motors and amplification, the modern jukebox became a reality.
In 1926, J.P. Seeberg, a Swedish immigrant to the U.S., invented an electric system that was coin operated and would play any of eight records. A year later, Automated Musical Instruments introduced its electric jukebox. Unlike their mechanical predecessors, that could only be heard by fee-paying patrons standing near the machine, these systems were capable of filling an entire room with sound.
These innovations further popularized the jukebox, and so began the modern jukebox craze.
The other two major manufacturers of jukeboxes appeared in the early 1930s. Wurlitzer, a long-time manufacturer of pianos and player pianos, introduced its first jukebox in 1933. And in 1935 David Rock-Ola (his real name), whose company had been building scales and coin-operated games, introduced its first jukebox.
When the great depression occurred in the 1930s, the jukebox business became the one bright spot for the record industry. For the public, a nickel would pay for six plays and like the movies of the day provided a few minutes escape from the depression.
A 1936 Wurlitzer Model 35 prototype jukebox.
There were two other historical events that helped the jukebox gain prominence.
The repeal of prohibition in the U.S. in 1933 meant that there were now tens of thousands of bars, clubs, and other drinking establishments that were installing jukeboxes for entertainment.
The second was the outbreak of World War II, and the relocation of millions of young soldiers to camps in far-away locations. For entertainment, the armed forces installed hundreds of jukeboxes in PX’s and service clubs all over America and overseas.
While these young people would have frequented their local jukebox back home, those machines would have had only a couple of types of music in the 24 available selections, and would have been chosen to suit the area and the jukebox’s clientele.
But the military jukeboxes were unique in that they were stocked with a range of music to satisfy the varied tastes of those who had come from every part of the country and ethnic background. American blues, gospel, country and pop records were all thrown together on military jukes that introduced GIs to all sorts of music that came from outside of their home community and culture.
Almost overnight, American regional music, never really played on radio before, was heard by those from every region of the country. Many of these young people were also musicians that would now explore, absorb, learn, appropriate, and embrace pop music styles they had never heard before.
After the war this would have a significant impact on the coalescing of those musical roots that would form rock and roll.
On the home front during World War II, there was a growing juvenile delinquency problem with so many parents unable to pay attention to their teenagers. Dad was away at war, and Mom was working in a defense plant.
During the early 1940s, throughout America, youth centers were opened for after-school and weekend activities. To bring in the teens, free jukeboxes were brought in, turned up, and rarely turned off. The program was successful.
But, by the late 40s, the jukebox had fallen out of favor with the conservative establishment and was increasingly considered a corrupting influence. One prominent critic wrote in 1948 that the jukebox was responsible for “the musical tastes of America’s youth starting on a steady decline.” That year Frank Sinatra was the most popular artist in the country. For such critics, things would get far worse.
For many Americans in the early 1950s, rock and roll was the devil’s tool, and existed for no other purpose than to morally corrupt the youth. For the first time teenagers had their own beat, and it could be found blasting out of the malt shop jukebox.
The Wurlitzer Model 1015.
By 1956 there were somewhere around 750,000 jukeboxes swallowing dimes in America. Since most radio stations were only playing the most sanitized rock and roll selections, the jukebox was the source for the majority of rock music, particularly those machines in racially mixed neighborhoods. These machines had records of black artists who were singing rhythm and blues and early rock.
The public had heard from the pulpit and conservative press about the evil, passion firing sounds thumping from those machines sitting at the end of the bar or in the middle wall of the malt shop, but when Evan Hunter’s book, The Blackboard Jungle, was made into a movie in 1955, the older public was convinced. They had not beaten Hitler to see their children’s minds lost to the devil’s music.
The Rowe RPM45.
When you added up the title song “Rock Around The Clock” with the images in the movie, it was obvious to anyone over 30 that rock and roll equaled teenage delinquency. The jukebox had become an integral part of rock and roll imagery.
In many areas of America, the government required a sticker on the jukebox stating that “minors are forbidden by law to operate this machine,” but generally, the jukes remained uncensored.
However, the jukebox operators were frequently placed under suspicion of jukebox stacking, a form of payola where they would be paid to put a record in the machine. Those who operated jukeboxes didn’t kick this image until the 1970s.
Coin operated music delivery systems did not decline as gramophones became a common addition to homes. The opposite was the case. With the spread of domestic record players within the upper middle class, along with radio, a desire was created for recorded music throughout the entire population.
Coin operated systems allowed anyone for the price of a few pennies to hear their favorite and/or the latest record. Increasingly, these customers were the young. In general the first phonographs were controlled by older people (parents) whose musical tastes were toward classical and music of their generation.
To hear the latest. young people had to go to the juke at their local hangout. Not until the late 1950s was the cost of reproduction systems, headphones, and the records themselves so affordable that young people could have a record player of their own that they could control.
Most of them got that first record player with the detachable speakers as a Christmas present from parents who never realized that from that day forward “turn it down” would become one of their most-often used phrases.
The record player: hi-fi in its day.
Choosing what records would go in the jukebox was probably the origin of the “Hit Parade,” due to the limited number of records that could go into a machine, and the practice of installing new records weekly based on which ones were and were not played.
The jukebox brought the choice of what music would be played down to who wanted to hear a song badly enough to spend a nickel. Often these would include recordings of local acts that were prominent in that specific community. In the mid 1930s, every jukebox held a smattering of local releases.
By 1940, those who chronicled the U.S. record industry were recognizing the importance of the jukebox. Jack Nelson wrote in Billboard that “coin operated phonographs, through a tremendously wide distribution, appeal to millions of individuals everyday, thus ensuring for this industry an important part in the next phase of American music.”
The inner workings of a vintage jukebox.
The jukebox had become a significant centerpiece anywhere small-town America gathered, and record sales to the jukebox operators were becoming significant. It provided anyone with nickle instant grass-roots musical satisfaction.
As Chris Pearce describes it, “It was the jukebox into which the lonely trucker at the coffee shop dropped his nickel to inspire dreams of his baby back home, the jukebox that the kids made for in Chuck Berry’s song when they wanted to hear something really hot, the jukebox that linked communities whose local operator stocked it with songs and dances from the old country.”
From the 1920s to the 1960s, jukeboxes electronically and mechanically advanced by increasing the capacity of their changers, better amplifiers and speakers, selectors at each table, roll around selector, and so on.
Of paramount importance was the “look” of the machine. The jukebox had to be visually exciting. The exterior design became a key to the jukebox’s success. Seeberg and Wurlitzer hired top industrial designers just when Modernism was coming into vogue.
Translucent colored plastic was starting to be widely used and was ideally suited for the illumination of the jukebox. Most manufacturers believed that the customer wanted to see the record changer work and a cabinet that lit up.
Wurlitzer dominated the post W.W. II market with its classic machine, the 1015, which featured colored arcs and floating bubblers. But in 1948, Seeberg introduced the first jukebox to handle 100 selections, the Select-O-Matic 100.
The number of records that could be played had gone from a couple of dozen records to 50 records, with both sides available for play. Until the introduction of the Select-O-Matic 100, the industry believed that 24 titles were all that were necessary for a selection of “pop” songs.
The other jukebox manufacturers quickly redeveloped their mechanisms to accommodate more records when it became obvious that the customers wanted a wider selection, and by 1956, 200 titles were available in a jukebox.
The Rock-Ola Bubbler.
The expansion in capacity also meant that a wider variety of records could be available. Country and western and rhythm and blues could finally live in the same jukebox with Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Bill Haley and Elvis.
Unquestionably the biggest change to hit the jukebox industry came in 1948, when RCA introduced the 45. Not only did they sound better than the 78s. but they were lighter, smaller, and the center hole was large and more suitable for automated operation.
In short, it was the perfect record for a jukebox. The 45 in the jukebox of the 1950s would become the focal point of the teenager and the first line source of rock and roll.
Until television forced radio to reinvent itself, radio was the mass medium, and with few exceptions had generally ignored blues, country, and other regional or “fringe” music. The jukebox filled this void.
The tabletop jukebox—personalized music from back in the day.
In the 1950s, it was the jukebox where teenagers would find the latest in music. They were doing what Teresa Brewer suggested - “put another nickel in…”—but they were selecting Chuck Berry, whose advice was to go “up to the corner and round the bend, right to the juke joint you go in. Feeling the music from head to toe, round and round, and round you go. Hail, hail, rock and roll! Deliver us from the days of old!”
Teresa didn’t know it, but Chuck was saying her days as a pop artist were numbered, as was the style of recordings she made.
These machines were more than music delivery systems, their external designs were trend setters in the art deco movement and an important aspect of their popularity. They offered the latest music at a time when most of the public could not afford to buy a record, much less their own playback system.
A Wurlitzer magazine ad.
The jukebox was key to the popular spread of country, hillbilly, rhythm and blues, and of course the development of rock and roll music. For a generation, the jukebox at the local hang-out was the only place that some of the “hippest” and latest rock and roll could be heard.
Their significance has declined over the last few decades but in the 1940s through the early 1960s they were an important focus for the young. Rock and roll might have been beaten down by the establishment if it had not been for the existence of jukeboxes in every bar, hamburger drive-in, bowling alley and malt shop where young people congregated.
For some of those who were there, Buddy Holly and Bill Haley will never sound better then when they were first blasting from a jukebox after inserting a nickel in a Wurlitzer. For those who weren’t there, its hard to capture it all, since it wasn’t just the jukebox that held the sound, it was where it was happening in time and place when teenagers and rock and roll were being invented.
As a 1950s Wurlitzer ad stated, “For millions, the jukebox was ‘America’s favorite nickel’s worth of fun’.”
Tom Lubin is an internationally recognized music producer and engineer, and is a Lifetime Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy voting member). He also co-founded the San Francisco chapter of NARAS. An accomplished author, his latest book is “Getting Great Sounds: The Microphone Book,” available here.
Australia’s Studio One Flight Up Achieves Fantastic Sound With API 1608
Australian studio installs API 1608.
A self-proclaimed ‘analog-minded person,’ Nick Irving, owner of Studio One Flight Up in Sydney, works with independent singers, songwriters and musicians who are driven to create great records. While the studio is home to several vintage analog outboard gear pieces, Irving wanted a brand-new, reliable analog console to bring together the sound he works to achieve.
Deb Sloss of Studio Connections Australia advised him towards a 32-channel API 1608 console, fitted with twenty-four classic API 550A EQs, and eight 560 EQs.
“It’s a dream console, really,” said Irving. “Computers make great multi-track recorders, but for the actual work of recording and mixing sessions, I need to be ‘hands-on”.”
The moveable size of the 1608 played a role in Irving’s decision, allowing the studio to eventually grow into a new building. It also comes in 16-channel sections, allowing the actual console to expand, or even be retrofitted.
“It’s chock full of API’s sensational EQs and mic preamps, silky-smooth faders, nice, bright, clear LED lights in all the buttons, and full metering with the brightly-lit VU meters.”
Studio One Flight Up uses the 1608 for both recording and mixing needs. “My sounds just get better and better now that I have an API console. Switching the metering between input and direct out is fantastic and very useful. Having buttons to engage the insert points is also a great and useful feature.”
With the 1608, Irving and his crew do not need extra DI boxes, as each channel of the console has an instrument input. “It’s also great that the power supplies are quiet enough that they don’t have to be housed in a separate machine room,” Irving added.
Now that the studio renovations are complete, Irving is recording and collaborating on an album with Grammy award-winner Myles Heskett (ex-Wolfmother).
“It is proving to be lots of fun. We’re really enjoying working on the API console. Everything I’ve done on it sounds fantastic – solid, crisp, clear.” Irving proclaimed, “I’ll never need another console in my lifetime!”
Posted by Julie Clark on 10/03 at 10:46 AM
Monday, September 29, 2014
Church Sound: The Value Of Input Sheets
Now that I’m traveling to even more churches than ever, I’ve seen some very creative console layouts. And pretty much everyone looks at me funny when I ask them for an input sheet.
I used input sheets every weekend for over eight years—even though most weeks we could have gotten away without one. But I’m a big fan of consistency, and once I settle on a good way of doing things I like to keep doing it.
Keeping You Organized
As I said, I’ve seen some interesting console layouts. Sometimes, those things happen because it’s the fastest way to something done, and it just stays that way.
But when you put it on paper, it’s easier to see that having the drums scattered all over the console doesn’t make sense. I also find that putting things on paper is a great way to think through better ways of doing it. Sometimes, we get in such a routine that we don’t even notice there is a better way of accomplishing a task until we write it down. Then it leaps off the paper to us.
I’ve also realized that we have been doing something the hard way for a while, and it’s time to simplify. Again, this comes from writing it down and looking it over.
Spot Problems Ahead Of Time
Ever show up for a weekend service and find you are short a few vocal microphones? Or perhaps you don’t have enough direct boxes (DIs) to cover all the keyboards and guitars. Or maybe you’re just out of channels on the console.
These issues are a lot easier to solve on Tuesday than they are on Sunday morning. Making up an input sheet earlier in the week will head those issues off at the pass. Even if your set up is relatively stable week to week, it’s still nice to know that you have what you need.
When you have an input sheet, you can hand a copy to someone on your team and they know how to set up the stage. Everyone knows what plugs into what. I figured I could either spend my set up time answering questions from my guys on where to plug things in, or empower them to do it themselves. I always prefer the latter.
Help With Troubleshooting
Ever been working your way through sound check only to find you have no signal from the acoustic guitar? After checking the tuner, we tend to start looking at all kinds of exotic problems that it might be.
But before doing that, make sure it’s plugged in to the right input. An input sheet will help you verify that you’re in the right snake, sub snake or stage input, and patched into the right channel on the board. Instead of tracing wires, you can quickly verify patching. Often, that solves the problem.
I really can’t find any downside to using an input sheet each week. They only take a few minutes to make and often save a lot of time during the weekend. Next time, I’ll give you a few examples of input sheets so you have some ideas for creating your own.
The easier we can make the mixing process for our team, the more successful they can be. We already know mixing is hard, but let’s not make it harder with poor organization.
Here I’m going to show you a few examples of input sheets so you have some ideas on what information to include and how to organize it. This first one is one of the first I did. Looking back on it, I already see some issues that I would address today. But it served it’s purpose back then, and was a huge improvement over what we had (which was nothing).
This input sheet could be divided into three groups of information. The first three columns provide the patching information. Here, you find the board channel, the stage input and any sub-snake assignment.
The next three columns provide application information. What type of input is it, who will be using it and are there any special notes to be aware of. Finally, we see routing, monitoring and bussing information, along with a note on phantom power.
Armed with nothing but this input sheet (and a stage plot), my volunteer set up crew could completely wire the stage for me during the week, and I could quickly verify it on rehearsal night.
Looking back on it, I would change some things if I were doing it today. I would rearrange the console to follow a more conventional layout, and would color code more. But at the time, it worked well. Equipment-wise, we were using a 32-channel analog console and an Aviom system for monitoring.
This next sheet was developed by a friend of mine, Tyler Kanishero. He’s using a Yamaha M7 console with a couple of cards, and did a great job of putting all the information you’d need on a single sheet.
On the left side, you see all 48 input channels on the console and what plugs into them. Inputs are direct, stage and cards. In the middle you have the mixe and matrix assignments. On the right, the Aviom and output assigns are clearly listed.
This example goes into more detail, but still keeps the information clearly and easy to find. About the only thing I would change on this is to add color. As you can see, he has the same information I had in my basic example, but it’s organized differently.
Like a console setup, it doesn’t matter so much how you do it, as long as it makes sense in your context. Of course, there are advantages to doing things similarly to industry standards. But make sure it works for you.
This is the sheet I developed jointly with Isaiah Franco. I started it, he did a lot of work on it, then I tweaked it some more after he left. We use a lot of cool Numbers features for drop down menus, and a ton of if-then statements to auto-fill much of the content.
This sheet is four pages long and presents the information in a few ways. The first two pages are for the stage team. They get all the information for patching and set up through the patch list and stage diagram. All of the wireless mic and IEM assignments are also clearly spelled out.
The second two pages are for the front of house engineer. In reality, most of that info was already dealt with in the baseline show file, but it’s good to know what is there.
This one was tweaked and massaged over five years, and I’m pretty happy with it. It’s overkill for many situations, however. If you have a smaller set up, you don’t likely need this much information. However, there are principles that should be useful.
Remember, it’s less important how you do the input sheet, and more important that you do it. Figure out what works for you and start. You’ll be glad you did.
Here (below) are the sheets in PDF. Everyone is going to ask for the originals; I don’t have all of them, so just build them yourself in Excel or Numbers. It’s good practice.
Mike Sessler now works with Visioneering, where he helps churches improve their AVL systems, and encourages and trains the technical artists that run them. He has been involved in live production for over 25 years and is the author of the blog Church Tech Arts.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Wide Hive Studios Reopens With Expanded 48-Channel API 1608
Expanded 1608 unifies studio’s sound, streamlines workflow, and allows clients to tap into huge collection of outboard gear with ease
Wide Hive Studios in San Francisco’s Bay Area re-opened its doors earlier this year after a number of recent renovations and updates.
A decade ago, veteran producer, engineer, and musician Gregory Howe folded his costly studio in San Francisco for a cozy, less expensive space in nearby Albany, CA. He centered the studio around a 16-channel API 1608, which he later expanded to 32 channels through a 16-channel expander.
Now, with his most recent round of upgrades, Howe has added another 16-channel expander to create a 48-channel API 1608.
“I’ve been working with API gear for a long, long time,” Howe says. “I love the API sound. To me, it walks the perfect line between cleanliness, straight-up rock, and audiophile fidelity.”
The recently-expanded 48-channel 1608 unifies the studio’s sound, streamlines its workflow, and also allows clients to tap into Howe’s huge collection of outboard gear with ease. “The new 16 channels primarily serve as returns from the equipment racks. We now have the flexibility and sound to do whatever we want,” he says.
Wide Hive books jazz, funk, hip-hop, and soul artists exclusively. Since the console’s expansion, Howe has used it to record several tracks, which are receiving airplay, brisk sales, and profuse blessings from critics. Of note, swing jazz guitarist Calvin Keys cut Electric Keys with the help of the 1608 and the Wide Hive Players, an in-house collective group of jazz musicians.
Reviews of Wide Hive releases often comment on their excellent sound quality. “I’m a huge believer in analog summing,” he notes. “Digital summing involves a massive calculation that necessitates sacrifices. I can hear those sacrifices in the music. I’m looking forward to the cohesion we’ll have when the whole console is API.”
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
AES Unveiling Inaugural “Raw Tracks” Series At 137th Convention
New series will offer an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the making of various recordings by influential artists spanning decades and genres.
The Audio Engineering Society (AES) is pleased to debut their new “Raw Tracks” series as part of this year’s Recording and Production Track at the upcoming 137th Audio Engineering Society Convention, taking place October 9-12, 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
This new series features top-name producers and engineers who will discuss and deconstruct influential, classic recordings from some of music’s most highly regarded artists. Attendees can learn firsthand about details of the sessions — the gear that was used, recording technique, and other insightful production information.
Sessions in the new series include:
Recording & Production: RP1 - Raw Tracks: Fleetwood Mac — A Master Class presented by Ken Caillat about the recording of a classic song from the hit album, Rumours.
Recording & Production: RP2 - Raw Tracks: David Bowie — A track-by-track Master Class featuring a classic David Bowie recording, presented by Ken Scott.
Recording & Production: RP3 - Raw Tracks: Pet Sounds — A Master Class by three-time GRAMMY®-winner Mark Linett about two songs – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows” – from the Beach Boys’ seminal album Pet Sounds.
Recording & Production: RP7 - Raw Tracks: Red Hot Chili Peppers — A Master Class featuring Andrew Scheps that explores the classic song “Pink As a Floyd.”
“We are pleased to be able to offer this new ‘behind-the-scenes’ track featuring the names behind the hits. Attendees are in for a truly unique experience – when it comes to learning about how the biggest hits came to life in the studio, there’s nothing like hearing it directly from those who were there,” said Bob Moses, AES Executive Director.
For further information about the Raw Tracks series, FREE Exhibits-Plus badges (pre-registration required), premium All Access badges, Hotel and Technical Program information, and more visit the AES website.
Audio Engineering Society
Audio Engineering Society
Posted by Julie Clark on 09/24 at 10:50 AM
Friday, September 19, 2014
Allen & Heath ZED Mixer installed In Indian Medical Institute
Audio Cratz installs new Allen & Heath ZED console in new interactive seminar suite at SAIMS.
The Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) situated at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, recently installed an Allen & Heath ZED-420 4 bus analog USB mixer in its new state-of-the-art interactive seminar suite.
SAIMS provides a wide range of clinical diagnostic facilities and manages major surgical procedures including Open Heart surgery, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Knee & Hip Joint replacement. The Institute’s building is also a teaching facility, housing all clinical and non-clinical departments, lecture theatres, fully-equipped labs, dissection halls, a museum, and a library.
Systems integrator, Audio Cratz, was appointed to fulfill the AV requirements for the new centre, specifying Allen & Heath’s ZED-420 in the control room to manage the live audio requirements and also capture stereo recording and video feed from the operations.
The latest addition to the building is the LASER 60-capacity interactive seminar suite, where live operations can be streamed from up to 3 theatres simultaneously. Doctors demonstrate using endoscopic and conference cameras, and students are able to ask questions during the operation.
“Allen & Heath has always designed great quality audio products and we wanted the best for the new centre, which is one of the top seminar facilities in India. We have successfully conducted a number of interactive sessions following the installation, and the system is proving to be very successful,” concluded Dr. Vinod Bhandari, chairman, SAIMS.
Allen & Heath
Posted by Julie Clark on 09/19 at 11:06 AM
Thursday, September 18, 2014
API 1608 Console Powerful Solution For Chile’s CHT Estudios
CHt Estudios adds 1608 console to handle expanding business.
With sound quality a top priority, mix and mastering engineer Gonzalo González E. wanted to expand his studio offerings, while maintaining the high quality of recording for which his clients are accustomed.
With the needs of his growing studio in mind, González was advised by 57 Pro Audio, API’s Chilean distributor, to add a standard 1608 console.
The 1608 is a perfect match for the size of CHT Estudios, as well as both the independent and bigger international label clients that it works with.
“We usually record bands of rock, pop, hip-hop, reggae, and folk music of Chile,” said González. “Many people in Chile receive this new console as good news for the recording industry.”
Along with the 1608, CHT Estudios has a pair of 3124 preamps, which González says he uses on everything. He also uses a 527 compressor in his API lunchbox.
“With the 1608, we can now use the preamps and EQ, and send to record in DAW, and at the same time. We can also use faders of the same channels to listen to tracks from DAW, which is very useful.
“My favorite feature is the ability to use EQs as an insert for gear outside the console. We can also sum thirty-two channels of DAW using sixteen channels on faders, with eight stereo returns and eight program bus ins.”
Coming up in the next few months, the studio will continue recording and mixing for an array of recognized artists.
“All of the features make the console a powerful solution for a studio like ours,” said González. “It is a good inspiration for us, and for everybody who likes music with a very good quality of recording.”
Posted by Julie Clark on 09/18 at 01:04 PM
Monday, September 15, 2014
Audient At Heart Of New Studio For Film & TV Star
Actor Michael Chiklis installs Audient ASP8024 console in his home studio.
New Audient ASP8024 console-owner Michael Chiklis has spent the last few weeks getting acquainted with his 24-channel Audient desk before hot-footing off to New Orleans to start shooting the television series, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.
“I recorded the first tracks through the ASP8024,” enthuses Chiklis, who is better known for his acting career than for his high spec, Los Angeles home studio. “I recorded a cover of a Police song just to test the system and it really went beautifully.”
“Very basic bass, drums, guitar and vocal tracks sounded warm and clean through these mic pres,” he continues. “In fact, I’m very impressed just how good everything sounds with no compression or effects, just solid musicianship captured with Bob Heil mics through the Audient pres into ProTools 11—gorgeous.
“I’m very excited to start recording originals now. We have some soundproofing and trapping tweaks to finish, but we’re essentially ready to go at this point and now it’s all about the music.”
Chiklis grew up in a musical family and is himself an accomplished drummer and vocalist, and also plays guitar and bass with his band MCB.
“I am over the moon with this console! I even engineered one of the songs myself,” he confesses. “I am definitely not an engineer but between the intuitive lay out of the board and the relatively self-explanatory new ProTools 11 HD, I was able to do it - the tracks sound amazing!”
The British-made desk in Chiklis’s studio comes complete with ‘Dual Layer Control’ module, allowing the console to operate in both the analogue and digital domain. The pres are warm and lush and with no added compression or plugins - the sound is gorgeous! So far so great!
“The three engineers that I work with can’t wait to really put the console through its paces. They seem to all be very impressed with the clean, simplicity of its layout as well as its warm analogue sound,” adds Chiklis. “I have a number of incredible musicians waiting in the wings to lay down tracks as soon as we are up and running.”
Posted by Julie Clark on 09/15 at 02:38 PM
Drawmer Introduces 1973 FET Stereo Compressor, Distributed In U.S. By TransAudio Group
Includes three independent compressor sections with two variable-frequency 6 dB/octave crossovers to separate them into low, middle, and high frequency sections
Ivor Drawmer, maker of analog—and now digital—signal processing equipment, drew on his 30-plus years behind the soldering iron to create the Drawmer 1973, a new 3-band FET stereo compressor. It is being distributed in the U.S. by TransAudio Group, available now at a price of $1,825.
The Drawmer 1973 includes three independent compressor sections with two variable-frequency 6 dB/octave crossovers to separate them into low, middle, and high frequency compression sections.
Each section contains familiar threshold, gain, attack, and release controls, along with gain-reduction metering. Moreover, each section can be independently muted or bypassed for confusion-free setup and monitoring.
The low section possesses a “Big” switch for enhanced low-end, whereas the high section possesses an “Air” switch for enhanced high-end.
The three sections are recombined to form the “wet” signal, which can be mixed to variable degree with the dry signal for easy parallel compression. Illuminated VU meters make monitoring compression and output intuitive and, yes, fun.
“Certainly, the Drawmer 1973 owes some of its sound and functionality to Ivor’s experience designing the classic Drawmer 1960 and 1968 compressors, as well as to the Drawmer S3 signature series multiband tube compressor,” says Brad Lunde, president of TransAudio Group. “But it also has a sound and operation all its own. It’s capable of solving problems single-band compressors simply cannot, such as compressing only the low end, raising its average level relative to everything else, and giving your mix a bit more bass without changing the overall level.
“It has a sound quality that cannot be matched by other analog processors, never mind plug-ins,” he continues. “It will be popular among mixers and EDM mixers alike. The 1973’s layout is impressive. Unlike most other multiband compressors, the 1973’s controls are easy to understand at a glance and work to inspire creative use.
“The real news here may be the 1973’s affordable price. Those in need of stereo multiband compression with Drawmer’s quality can have it for the cost of Drawmer’s famous single-band stereo tube compressor, the 1968.”