New York, NY (September 2, 2004)–The team of executive producer Quincy Jones, producer Mark Ross and engineer Paul Logus chose Sound On Sound as the place to mix the much-anticipated We Are the Future CD, the follow-up project to We Are The World. The live music CD compilation of selected songs is available exclusively at Starbucks Coffee Company locations. The team plans on returning to Sound On Sound to do the 5.1 Surround mix for a forthcoming DVD.
The five-and-a-half-hour concert, recorded in Rome, Italy, and attended by a half-million people, benefits the “We are the Future Program,” a non-profit initiative dedicated to the children who struggle daily to survive in conflict and post-conflict areas. The concert featured an impressive line-up of international artists including Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Juanes, Karina Pasian, Kazem Al Safir, Angelique Kidjo, Noa, Riffat Sultana & Party, Simon Shaheen & Qantara, Stomp, Take 6, Caiphus Semenya and Zucchero. The 22 artists performed 37 songs.
The concert was broadcast live on Italian MTV and tape delayed on MTV in the U.S. and the VIASAT platform in Europe. It was also simulcast on the Web on Yahoo! Using the 168 channels recorded at the scene, Logus mixed 13 songs at Sound On Sound, 11 of which are featured on the Starbucks-marketed CD. Starbucks donates 100 percent of each CD’s purchase price to We Are The Future.
“We had a 10-day deadline; I don’t think a lot of places would have been able to get it done on time,” noted Mark Ross. “Sound On Sound gave us all the support we could have possibly asked for, and we never had any downtime. We had some technical hurdles and ran two Pro Tools systems simultaneously. Paul was just spectacular: I’ve never seen fingers so fast and ears so good. Zach Wind (Sound On Sound assistant) was unbelievable too.”
“Whenever Mark calls me up we do something more amazing than the last time,” reported Logus, who has teamed with Ross on projects for the past 15 years. “He phoned me out of the blue and said he had done a concert in Rome and wanted me to mix it, but he had a tight schedule. I booked Sound On Sound but wasn’t sure what kind of materials we’d be getting.”
Instead of getting a 48-track digital recording of the concert, Logus received raw back-up FireWire hard drives from seven 24-track Alesis hard-drive recorders. “We didn’t know what kind of system the drives were used in when we got them,” Logus recalls. “After I talked to the recording company in Italy, I realized they were back-ups of seven hard-drive recorders and were not meant to be used in a JBOD array as I had originally thought. So we needed to transfer everything.”
The drives totaled approximately 700 Gigs and Logus planned to record back into Pro Tools so he estimated that a Terabyte would be sufficient to keep everything online enabling him to mix rapidly.
“I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find a terabyte system,” he revealed. “You can’t rent them. And the companies that make fibre channel systems or modular RAID systems have to build them from scratch. So you can’t call anybody and tell them to overnight you a system.”
Wind put Logus in touch with Glyph Technologies, which recommended installing the gt 103, a modular FireWire system. “I was reluctant,” said Logus, “because FireWire is not typically thought of as a stable work platform, and I had never used one in a pro application. Well, it turned out to be very stable, and we ended up buying two systems: one for load in and the other for mixing. It saved a lot of time.”
That’s not to say that Logus didn’t have his hands full. He was tasked with cleaning up leakage in the live concert tracks many of which were “at set-it-and-forget-it levels. It was pretty unprocessed, and I had to do a lot of creative EQ’ing,” he explained. He re-recorded some vocals and rode faders manually to capture the artists and eliminate feedback. “Compression and processing would have enhanced the leakage,” he noted. “The end result sounded like the vocals were recorded in a studio, and everybody was really pleased.”
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