John Hansen of AV Vegas discusses dealing with the aftermath of the tragic Route 91 Festival shooting and how the industry came to the aid of his team.
By Rob Tavaglione. Recording a naked speaking voice is tough. Here's five problems you'll encounter and need to solve to meet ever-increasing marketplace standards.
A lot can happen in a year - workflows change, gear gets swapped out, projects come and go. With all that in mind, we asked producer/engineer/regular PSN contributor Rob Tavaglione what plug-ins he's been turning to over the last 12 months. As it happens, he's been using a lot of Waves products, so here's some of his reflections on how and why he's been riding the Waves.
With the restraining order from last year’s Anderton Awards still in effect (but c’mon—no one actually died from the food), this year the world’s only virtual awards show relied on a distinguished panel of judges, none of whom had been convicted of a recent felony. With catering provided by Tony Famolari’s Famous Hot Dogs (their slogan: “It’s the best of times because it’s the wurst of times!”), and with assurances the meat wasn’t from actual dogs, the lights dimmed—I guess we kinda need to pay the electric bill—and the Anderton Awards were again poised to recognize products that might not otherwise gain recognition.
The holiday season is once again upon us, and I have a few hints as to what may be the perfect gift for your favorite engineer or producer—or even yourself! This guide covers everything from tools to goodies for simply enjoying music to even a few tomes of insight into the fantastic and funny.
Guitars are more likely to be associated with tubes and retro technology than cutting-edge software, but that’s changing in everything from recording to live sound. Although guitars aren’t total strangers to technology—MIDI guitar continues to maintain its niche, and there have been other technologies like the Sustainiac, Gizmotron and Gibson’s robot tuning—those ripples are turning into tidal waves.
Noted TV soundtrack performer/composer and longtime Pro Sound News reviewer Rich Tozzoli finishes his look back at the gear that entered his studio this year and never left: "Over the past year, I discovered many new products through the review process that impressed me enough to buy and add them to my daily workflow. Let’s examine some of the review gear that found its way into my studio since late 2016 and discuss just how much of a difference it makes to my productions overall. These are listed in no particular order."
Noted TV soundtrack performer/composer and longtime Pro Sound News reviewer Rich Tozzoli looks back at the gear that entered his studio this year and never left: "Over the past year, I discovered many new products through the review process that impressed me enough to buy and add them to my daily workflow. Let’s examine some of the review gear that found its way into my studio since late 2016 and discuss just how much of a difference it makes to my productions overall. These are listed in no particular order."
It seems like everyone is talking about the newly released season two of Stranger Things. It’s fair to guess that there might be a few audio pros among the show's millions of viewers, so if you're one of them and naturally have been wondering about how its sound is handled, we’ve got you covered. Take a ride through our back pages—we’ve been covering the show since before it even hit the air.
Questlove is a busy guy, regardless of whether he’s touring with the Roots, playing nightly on the Tonight Show or writing yet another bestseller. Somehow in the middle of all that, he’s also found time to become an incisive interviewer with his weekly hour-long show on Pandora, Questlove Supreme, now in its second season. Proving that point is the recent episode where he sits down with one of the most in-demand engineers of the last 30-plus years, Michael Brauer.
I hadn’t used Dean Markley cables before this evaluation. In the past, I’ve only used a Dean Markley acoustic guitar pickup, and that was years ago before Fishman—along with most every major guitar manufacturer—began factory-installing pickups and preamps into acoustic instruments. I’ve thought of Dean Markley primarily as a guitar string company, so I really wasn’t expecting much in the way of cables. Boy, was I wrong!
The annual AES Convention is always the place where you can find all the new audio gear, learn about the latest advancements in audio technology and network your way into a new phase of your career. But it's also a place to do some stargazing as well. In the past, musicians like Judy Collins, Ben Folds, Thomas Dolby and actor Richard Gere have visited the show (the latter who inspired the greatest AES Daily headline ever—"Gere Here To Hear Gear"). This year was no exception.
If you look at “new product” introductions at trade shows, often they’re more about reminding people of what was a new product a couple of trade shows ago. But as Yoda said, “Always in motion is the future”—and it’s going to get interesting. Here’s what to expect, bearing in mind that some of this involves good news/bad news scenarios.
Having been a Fender and Music Man (MM) player for nearly 20 years, I must say I had some “implicit bias” toward a Peavey instrument. Granted, lots of T-40s, TL-5s, and TL-6s have been used through the years by various artists, and I did play my first bass notes on a T-40 (granted it was borrowed from the local high school) until I could “upgrade” to an import Fender P-bass. So, when Strother asked me to place the Cirrus 4 in my bass lineup for a couple of months, using it from rehearsal spaces to live shows and back—specifically evaluating it as an “all around” workhorse for a wide range of uses and players—I was happy to oblige and intrigued, but proceeded with caution. Here’s what I discovered.
Trying to get ahead in the video game audio business? Get that college degree, pick up some freelance gigs on the side, and above all, network, network, network. Those aren’t just nuggets of advice, however—they’re facts, statistically proven by GameSoundCon’s new 2017 Audio Industry Survey.
Legendary rocker Tom Petty died October 2, following a heart attack in Los Angeles; he was 66. Over the course of his four-decade career, Petty deftly combined roots rock with mainstream pop to create a long string of classics, including as “American Girl,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Free Fallin,” “Refugee,” “The Waiting” and many more. In the live realm, Petty spent the last 22 years shaping his sound with FOH engineer Robert Scovill, and that long, trusted audio relationship began with 1995’s “Dogs With Wings” tour, backing the triple-platinum Wildflowers album. In remembrance of Petty, PSN looks back at the start of that era with a tour profile from our May, 1995 issue—a story that found the artist adopting then-cutting edge technologies like in-ear monitors and Scovill devising a precursor to the modern-day Virtual Soundcheck capabilities found on today’s digital mix system.
After years of declining revenues, the music industry had its second straight year of growth in 2016, as revenues climbed to $15.7 billion worldwide—largely due to the growth of streaming. With digital download sales in decline, there are some industry observers who predict downloads will be phased out as the public continues to transition to streaming, but to look at both that prediction and dropping physical sales and then conclude that consumers no longer wish to own music would be a mistake.
Still lacking lighting, furniture, etc., I configured a temporary setup with gear stacked on folding tables and old cases and, while it looks a bit make-shift, it sounds fantastic. I’m now mixing in Dangerland—yep, the studio is called Dangerland! Marking its inaugural project is a live album that I recorded a couple of years ago featuring saxophonist David Liebman playing Miles Davis’ album On the Corner; Liebman was part of Davis’ band on the original studio recording.
Sometimes I can be a little too focused—like this morning, for instance. During breakfast, I mentally drifted into planning this blog post, only vaguely listening to my 12-year-old daughter, until her comments and my thoughts suddenly synched up. She mentioned how excited she was to go to the convention at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center in October, to which I responded, “Yes, the AES Convention is going to be great.” “Dad,” she said, slightly exasperated, “I was talking about New York Comic Con.” Which made a lot more sense in terms of my daughter, but hey, it’s true: AES will be great.
Recently, I ran across a family photo that was taken in 1890, affixed to a cardboard backing—and was as good as the day it was processed. Will anyone be able to view cell phone pictures 127 years from now, let alone play back a CD or run today’s plug-ins in a musical project? I doubt it. Yet it’s incumbent on us to make sure the 21st century musical arts we create will survive into the 22nd century.
Authors are advised to write about what they know and, lucky for us, J. Daniel Jones knows plenty. In his first novel, CarAlity…A Tribute in New Orleans (Pure Entertainment; 642 pages), he combines two worlds with which he is very familiar—classic cars and broadcast television audio—in an engaging mystery that revolves around the auction of a rare car that once belonged to Adolf Hitler.
The 73,000-capacity U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN has been a hit with fans of the Minnesota Vikings football team, but it hasn’t fared as well with concertgoers. Having hosted only a handful of shows since opening in July, 2016, there seems to be a growing consensus that the $1.129 Billion venue that took two and a half years to build isn’t acoustically amenable to music.
One of Manhattan's last major recording facilities, Avatar Studios, was acquired by Boston-based Berklee College of Music so that it can establish BerkleeNYC, a beachhead in the heart of the U.S. music industry. Find out more in this new video detailing the school's plans.
Steely Dan may be best-known in pro-audio circles for its impeccably recorded albums, but recent years saw the duo make its presence known mostly on the road. In remembrance of co-founder Walter Becker, who died September 3, we look back here at the band's 2013 Mood Swings tour in this article from our February, 2014 issue. What did it take to reproduce that perfect studio sheen live—and, since the whole world uses Steely Dan songs to check PAs, what did Steely Dan's PA get tuned with? Read on and find out.
It’s always a fascinating thing to break bread with people; somehow adding food to the mix makes any conversation expand and grow in insight. So it was all the more interesting a few weeks ago when I wound up in a restaurant beneath New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, sitting across from John and Helen Meyer—the namesakes and CEO and executive vice president, respectively—of Meyer Sound.
Two recent events underscore changes in the world of digital audio. The first is the end of licensing for MP3 data compression (or more accurately, “data omission”), and the second is the news that Sony is installing six new lathes in Japan (and hiring people with vinyl expertise) in preparation for mainstream vinyl releases.
Here’s a fun fact: I went to high school with former Mythbuster Adam Savage—which is to say, we both happened to attend Sleepy Hollow High School at the same time. While I don’t think our paths ever crossed properly, it’s been fun to follow my fellow SHHS alumn’s career, including a recent episode of his cool webseries, Tested. In the appropriately titled “Adam Savage Visits Third Man Records,” he heads to Detroit to learn all about analog studio gear, ribbon microphones, Blumlein-style miking, the vinyl-pressing process from beginning to end and lots more.
With the death of Glen Campbell in early August, 2017, the music world lost someone who wasn’t merely a great performer, but also a noted session guitarist who played on a wildly diverse range of now-classic music, a TV personality and far more. Back in the December, 2008 issue of Pro Sound News, we chatted with the artist for our Music, Etc. column as he released an all-covers album, Meet Glen Campbell. When we did meet him, he was more than happy to look back at his wide-ranging career, recounting some of his successes with an engaging mix of modesty and pride. He will be missed.
Last month’s column covered the Windows Creators update, and although there was a fair amount of detail on the Surface Dial, I mentioned Pen support only in passing. However, now that a DAW has actually incorporated Microsoft Pen support, it’s time for a follow-up because the Pen concept clearly has the potential to be an important improvement for DAW workflow.
Currently to be seen at a number of showcase screenings around the county, Score: A Film Music Documentary from writer/director Matt Schrader follows the progress of modern-day film-score development, and illustrates how the first few notes on a piano keyboard can transition into dramatic moments within a motion picture’s emotional climax. By throwing a spotlight on the creative challenges faced during the recording of a contemporary film score, Schrader’s carefully researched documentary highlights the way in which composers shape their musical creations within scoring stages around the world; it is must viewing for sound professionals.
Based on a long list of factors—with cost being at the top of the list, but also including building code restrictions, spouse-imposed limitations (“We’re not building freaking Ocean Way in our backyard!”) and a few other factors, I’ve settled on my studio build project with a control room measuring 13 feet, 7 inches wide by 16 feet, 7 inches deep. So, it’s not as big as Ocean Way, but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life sleeping on the couch. It will work just fine.
During a recent trip to Berlin for the AES Convention, and then to London for the V&A Exhibition, guest blogger Mel Lambert encountered a pair of art installations elsewhere that were intriguingly audio-centric: “Moving is in Every Direction - Environments | Installations | Narrative Spaces" at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of the Present, and US conceptual artist Bruce Nauman's “Raw Materials," presented at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall on London’s South Bank.
Although concerns about Apple’s commitment to pro-level creators are likely overblown—Apple probably has a few tricks up its sleeve for 2018—Microsoft is doing a carpe diem and targeting the creative market. In fact, its third major update to Windows 10 is called the Creators update. But does “creators” include pro audio?
Pro Sound News exclusively premieres Styx guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw, producer Will Evankovich and studio owner John McBride discussing how they recorded the band’s latest album, The Mission, as an analog production at Blackbird Studio in Nashville.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s first single, “Arnold Layne,” the Victoria and Albert Museum in Central London is hosting an impressive Pink Floyd retrospective. The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Moral Remains comprises a multi-room audio-visual journey through the band’s unique past, while chronicling its music, design and staging from the Sixties to the present day. Each section features a specially recorded commentary and vintage tracks replayed to visitors via Sennheiser IR headphones, culminating in a realistic concert replayed back via a multichannel AMBEO immersive system. The exhibition, which marks the first collaboration in decades between the band’s remaining members and is promoted by Michael Cohl plus Iconic Entertainment Studios, continues until October 1.
New York-based traditionalist jazz/big-band leader Glenn Crytzer continues his in-depth discussion of how, in his experience, traditional 1920/30s-style jazz combos should be miked in order to best capture and convey an authentic vintage sound. For explanations and examples of the aesthetic Crytzer is aiming for, and the reasoning behind his methodology, make sure to read Part 1 first.
Nobody starts at the top; just ask Derek Brener. Years of working his way up the ladder in the L.A. music scene led to mixing world tours for Bruno Mars and, these days, The Weeknd—his regular gig since he mixed the 2015 Coachella headlining show that pushed the artist’s career into overdrive. Success doesn’t come from merely paying your dues, however; it comes from the way you pay your dues. With that in mind, when we asked Brener his advice for people breaking into the live sound field, he had five thoughts to share.
You know that you’ve been away on an island when the pilot for the return flight home says, “We’re first in line for takeoff, but there will be a wait. The air traffic controller went out for lunch and is caught in traffic.” Then there’s the email—accompanied by a photo—about the large scorpion sent back in the return box of some of the gear we used (sorry, Genelec). With that in mind, the 4th annual St John, USVI recording retreat was a blast and, as usual, much was learned.
At a playback event at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, producer Giles Martin talked at length about remixing the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album for its fiftieth anniversary. “Doing a fiftieth [anniversary edition] of Pepper seemed so obvious," he opined as he discussed in-depth the process of creating the reissue. "The world was going to celebrate it anyway, so we should make sure that we’re prepared and do something really special for this record.”
A few months ago, we reviewed The Vinyl Detective: Written In Dead Wax, the first in a series of humorous, music-oriented mystery novels following the exploits of an unnamed vinyl collector who makes a living finding rare records and answers to the deadly mysteries surrounding them. Last time, he had to uncover what dastardly deed happened 60 years ago in a West-Coast recording studio; now he’s back with the series’ second installment: The Run-Out Groove.
Since its introduction, the Mac’s share of the pro audio market has been hugely disproportionate to its general market share. It upended the Amiga—at the time, a better choice for multimedia—and the Atari line, which promoted its musical chops. Even during the dark days of Mac clones and continuing PC dominance, the Mac was the choice of creative types. For music, I was raised on the Mac for a decade before adding Windows to the mix in 1995. To this day, I use both Mac and Windows desktops and laptops. But there are signs Apple might be losing its grip.
The National Association of Music Merchants and The Audio Engineering Society will team up to create "AES at NAMM," a new slate of educational offerings debuting at The 2018 NAMM Show. Just 10 years ago, the idea would have left the industry scratching its collective head, as AES Conventions were seen as attracting the tech-minded while NAMM had a rep for drawing the rock n’ roll crowd. Neither stereotype was accurate, but the fact remains: Back then, AES at NAMM would have sounded like a weird sitcom premise—can two trade groups share a convention without driving each other crazy?