How I Spent My Weekend

Our little industry is very much a community, and nowhere is that more evident than in Nashville.

As I write, it’s now a few days after the 2nd annual Nashville Recording Workshop + Expo. Even with a bit of time gone by, the experience is still resonating with me. The conference offered two days of compelling content, highlighted by a number of active onstage demonstrations. NRW+E (nashvillerecordingworkshop. com) is a production of the AES Nashville Section and Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business, in conjunction with the international Audio Engineering Society organization. This year NRW+E moved into spacious digs at the Belmont Curb Event Center.

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Pro Audio Review was well represented at NRW+E 2010. Technical editor Lynn Fuston picked up where he’d left off from last year’s program with a discussion of microphone basics, focusing on microphone characteristics and considerations when capturing vocals. Lynn brought along nine of his favorite mics and lined them up on stage for practical demonstration of polar patterns, proximity effect, and other microphone concepts. Taking it a step further, four of the mics were part of a shootout with a local session singer providing the vocals. Nathan Chapman joined Lynn on stage for the conclusion of the shootout, and then produced a vocal track live on stage (the vocalist ensconced in a Whisper Room booth).

On the second day of NRW+E, PAR contributor Russ Long (I’d call him “senior reviewer” if we had such a title) produced and engineered overdubs on stage in a “Capturing Electric Guitar and Bass” session, with an assist from Lynn (the Whisper Room became the amp locker). I emceed most of the two days of presentations, with the title of “NRW+E program chair.” I wouldn’t even begin to take credit for the NRW+E program, though. A very talented group of individuals with a passion for audio, and for seeing audio knowledge disseminated, tapped into their own experiences and those of a host of top engineering talent and other industry luminaries as the backbone of the conference.

Our little industry is very much a community, and nowhere is that more evident than in Nashville. From the creation of a nonprofit corporation that gives back to the local audio community in times of crisis and need (the Nashville Engineer Relief Fund or NERF) to the rip-roaring golf tournament that funds NERF (a two-day event — the 13th annual Audio Masters is coming up in late May) to the monthly AES meetings and social events to the numerous lectures and presentations available from the local schools with audio production programs (MTSU, Belmont, SAE, IADT, AIT, Nashville State Technical Community College — there may be more...) to organization and manufacturer- sponsored events at local studios.

It’s my home market that I know intimately, but I’m sure if you look around a bit, get yourself on a mailing list or two, make some local industry friends on Facebook and the like, you’ll find that there are resources for continuing education and peer interaction near you as well. It’ll be worth the effort.