PAR Contributor Of The Month Mike Rivers

Real life got in the way, I went to college, learned to play guitar and sing folk songs, got an EE degree, and spent the next 35 years working as an arcs-andsparks engineer. Recording and sound reinforcement became an avocation.
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Engineer/Technical Writer
Washington DC

"I've been fascinated by recorded sound and the making of recordings ever since, as a kid, my grandfather would take me to the Library of Congress on weekends; we'd sit in a booth with a record player and listen to music collected by John Lomax. By 5th grade, as a seasoned professional, I was recruited to run the tape recorder for school assemblies. A few years later, my cousin gave me his old V-M recorder, and I was producing radio programs on tape with my friends.

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"Real life got in the way, I went to college, learned to play guitar and sing folk songs, got an EE degree, and spent the next 35 years working as an arcs-andsparks engineer. Recording and sound reinforcement became an avocation. In 1975, I constructed a multitrack remote truck and spent vacations recording traditional music festivals, mostly obscure artists for obscure record labels and obscure radio shows. I retired the truck when the tires got tired and I wasn't convinced that re-equipping with two 24-track analog recorders, the format de jour for remotes at the time, was a sound business investment. Gypsy Studio became a laboratory, workshop, and home studio. Presently, I invite good musicians or bands in for a one-off project, which is why, in my reviews, I'll write about how vocals, guitars, banjos, and fiddles sound rather than amps and drums. My remote recording rig is now a digital stereo recorder and a pair of mics that I can carry over one shoulder.

"In my day job, I once rescued a project by re-writing the contractor's instruction manual, which gave me the idea that I could be a technical writer. Combining my theoretical background, my practical experience in electronic design, and my working knowledge of studio gear and principles, I spent nearly five years writing a monthly series for Recording magazine. While ostensibly for beginners, it went all over the map since I believe that beginners who learn fundamental things — signal flow, what's behind technical terms, and skills like soldering and making cables — make better engineers. A brief stint with Mackie produced a couple of instruction manuals and technical reference guides, and publication of my first (and only) book, The Last Mackie Hard Disk Recorder Manual.

"Currently, I'm a retired bum with a strong grounding in grounding and gain structure, digging into new technology for Pro Audio Review, figuring out how stuff works, why it works, and explaining in 1,500 words or less who needs it, how well it works, and hopefully in the process teaching my readers a little about the principles behind whatever I'm reviewing."

Contact Mike Rivers atmm1100@yahoo.com
Read more about The Last Mackie Hard Disk Recorder Manual atwww.cafepress.com/mikerivers