Julia Messenger @ the Melbourne Recital Centre: Sept' 22nd

I'll be very proudly performing trumpet with the wonderful Julia Messenger later this month at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Sept' 22nd. The band behind Julia is seriously awesome: David Jones (Drums), Mark Fitzgibbon (Piano) and Craig Newman (bass). Event is apparently SOLD OUT but rumours of a few still at the door on the night. SO looking forward to this one...



Grand Baxter ... No Beans - Sorry!

A previous post of mine contained incorrect information, largely due to the fact Ben Langdon and I never actually discussed it. So I listed his latest SOLO EP incorrectly as a release by the Bean Project (Ben's other project). So...

Ben Langdon's SOLO project Grand Baxter has recently completed a four-track EP, mixed and mastered here at ToKwerX. CORRECT ;)

No Beans!

No Beans!

A Boy Called Sailboat Soundtrack: Grigoryan Brothers

ToKwerX this weekend is welling in the sounds of the Grigoryan Brothers. Their superb classical guitars have been the centre of the soundtrack for upcoming film “a Boy Called Sailboat.” Mixes by my graduate Mark Farrell through my matched pair of AVALON 737sp hardware units. Mastering chain is: Audient SUMO VCA Compressor, Avalon AV747 Compression and EQ, Harrison 32C Filters and EQ, Quad Eight CL22 Limiter - all captured in DSD @ 5.6MHz sampling rate. Release of the soundtrack will be shortly.

Dolby Atmos for ToKwerX - Plan for 2020

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This evening I experienced the most inspiring sound mixing format ever in Dobly Atmos. Think of Surround Sound (with Left, Centre, Right, Left Rear, Right Rear and a Sub') but now add another Four Ceiling speaker channels. This introduces HEIGHT into the sound stage and has been adopted by the film industry for cinemas and home theatres as the new standard.

But what about MUSIC in Atmos? It is beginning; slowly. Several artists have embraced the format. In 14 months when ToKwerX upgrades the studio for what is likely my final business lease, the speaker system will be an ATMOS 5.1.4 system. With so many artistic possibilities I have launched the plan to build my new system around this format. PROTOOLS Ultimate (formerly HD) with a Dolby ATMOS monitor array is the future at ToKwerX. Music for the new era in the most incredible advance in sound mixing since stereo! So excited!

Broken Zips

You and I are like a broken zip

Sometimes, with patience

We can hold together

But it never quite feels nor looks the same


Without warning


We tear apart

Trumpet through a Ribbon...

My 1976 OLDS Recording is a beautiful sounding Horn; not too bright or shrill. Recording for a Sydney artist's upcoming release and have opted for the OPR Ultra-Mod Rocket Ribbon as the microphone. Running through one of my AVALON 737SP modified valve units (on High Gain of course!) the tone is thick and moody but still with an upper presence. A little boost at 1.2k and another at 10k and the sound was there. A touch of compression. DONE!

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Sydney Morning Herald Review: Chris Young double CD

Last year I was fortunate enough to record, mix and master a double CD for Melbourne Jazz artist Chris Young. Also had a cameo on trumpet for a track. This release was mixed and mastered entirely at ToKwerX on the hybrid system to DSD then brought down to CD audio formats. John Shand from the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) has published a very positive review of this release, attributing 4/5 Stars. LINK to On-line article.

JAZZ Christopher Young Trio



Christopher Young has a gift for crafting charged atmospheres in which to improvise. This gift is especially prominent on this double album's 20-minute centrepiece, the slow, dreamy Out of Time, which has minimal harmonic movement, instead using layers of post-Robert Fripp guitar played by guest Brendan Hains, whose long, sustained notes frost with tension the improvisations from Julien Wilson's tenor saxophone and Young's bass clarinet. This sharp edge of anguish is passed between clarinet, saxophone and guitar, without either the effect becoming overwrought or its impact diminishing. Meanwhile bassist Alistair Watts and drummer Daniel Brates maintain a soft, restrained, but nonetheless buoyant dialogue to keep the piece afloat. It is among the most compelling works I've heard this year, and amazes me afresh with each hearing. The rest of the album keeps you in its grip, too, with Young developing such full-blooded sounds on his saxophones, clarinets and flute, and his compositional ideas asking different questions of himself (sometimes multi-tracked) and his collaborators. Wilson's brawny tenor also guests on There Is Always a Way to Know and trumpeter Tony Norris spices up EternityJOHN SHAND

Does this count ?

I’m usually posting about gear that allows us to colour or process a signal but none of the chain is very useful without something in front of the microphone. How about this...

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

I am utterly besotted. How absolutely gorgeous is “she?” So now I need about $7.5k AU... #hornfancy

I hereby invite the Universe to provide me with the means to own this beautiful instrument :)

My Two Mistresses...


Since the age of 7 I've had an affair with the Trumpet. At 15 I entered my first recording studio and fell in love with the art of recording and all it's machinations.

Finding a balance has always proven problematic for me, especially over the last two decades where folks have been more than happy to pay me six times what they'd pay for a Jazz gig on the Horn and have me record, mix or master their performances. This is still essentially the same, with musicians being paid around the same performance fees that we were thirty years ago; sort of depressing isn't it?

But as life see-saws and weighing up the need to prioritise finances over artistic indulgence alters the scales it appears the balance is beginning to change. I am managing to find small pockets of time between parenting and engineering to devote to practice.

Today I bought a new stand for the Horn so 'she' can sit alongside me whenever I'm engineering. Within arms reach like the rest of my analogue hardware, so is now the first love of my life; and the affair continues...

Facts Drive Education

Science is not a belief or difference in world view to religion. Science does not require faith in order to exist.

Please take the time to arm yourself with knowledge, for the best way to contribute to enacting upon Climate Change is to talk about it.

Lizzie O'Donnell

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I met Lizzie back in the early days of Woodstock Studios in the 1990s and have had the pleasure to record her fantastic voice on a few occasions but likely the best of these was the album for the Lumière Project. Incredible pitch and control with a beautiful warmth and tone Lizzie’s voice is easily one of the best I’ve recorded, but she was always so hard on herself. There really wasn’t any need as her recordings lay testament to the immense beauty she possessed.

Lizzie passed away today after battling cancer and even in our messages of a couple of weeks ago she was determined to win this battle. So sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye, but part of me thinks that’s the way you wanted it my dear friend. I will always be grateful for being able to spend precious times both in the studio and in life with you Lizzie O’Donnell. Thank you X


HARRISON Consoles enters the Cross-Platform Plug-in market

HARRISON Consoles out of Nashville Tennessee have been designing, developing and manufacturing ultra high end consoles for decades, with the company founder Dave Harrison introducing the "in-line" configuration of a channel fader and a tape return (baby fader) on the same channel strip. His now famous 32C console and the same-named EQ are synonymous with musicality and technical perfection. The company has been developing it's own DAW known as MixBus and I've lauded their products over the past few years both here on ToKwerX and also under my role with RMIT University's Sound Production program.

Harrison have ported one of their digital designs long available in their flagship consoles across to other formats to allow engineers access to these within the AAX, AU and VST systems and it appears this will not be the last; the AVA Mastering EQ.

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Unique in it's ability to create a flat curve between adjacent frequency bands this final stage EQ is designed to add the final touches to a mix or master. So far I've run this across some projects recently completed as a comparison and it's subtle ability to open up air in the top end, add presence to upper mid range and depth to subs in the 60-80Hz realm has proven wonderful. Harrison are offering a special price on this EQ so check out their site whilst this remains available. Harrison Consoles.

Jeff Lang: Superlative Gentleman

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I was absolutely humbled this evening, both as a musician and engineer. Very fortunate to do FOH mix for Jeff Lang @ the Skylark Lounge. Awesome. Sincerely - absolutely awesome. I have not heard lap steel and guitars played this well since jamming with Lucky Oceans (pedal steel) and Jeff Lang is so in the same league. If you've not had the pleasure to hear Jeff perform please add it to your bucket list 'cos this guitarist is one Superlative Gentleman indeed. Thank you Mr Lang.

ToKwerX eBook Series: Recording & Editing Techniques

If you're into audio engineering or are just fresh to this field of art and technical expression it's likely you've been given advice from those who may not actually have been doing this for long; I'll offer you the benefit of my forty years in studios through my eBook series. There are currently two releases published in ePub format for use on a myriad of devices: 1 investigates Recording Techniques whilst 2 delves into the workflows I've developed for Editing, predominantly in ProTools. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy or bundle.

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PS. the 3rd eBook is currently underway - Stay Tuned: Mixing Techniques

It's Back!!!

Many of my peers and colleagues don't get it; why do I love our footy so much? Perhaps it was growing up in the city this unique sport still calls it's "Mecca?" Maybe it is the uniqueness of this game and the colloquial pride and passion it invokes? Then again, I have always drawn a parallel between surviving on original music for most of my life and the "struggle of the underdog." Many would say that goes hand in hand with being a Melbourne Demons supporter since the age of 5 after seeing a life-size poster of "Hassa Mann" on my neighbour's bedroom cupboard door.

Many theories. None of which I have too much time for...'cos Footy Is Back and I love it..

Not quite today "Dees" but a stronger display against the Cats than we've seen in many a year. Bring it on...

Kids are again allowed on the MCG after the game for kick to kick. Fantastic.

Kids are again allowed on the MCG after the game for kick to kick. Fantastic.

3 point victory to Geelong.

3 point victory to Geelong.

the Hills Are Alive...

Oh my how the local music scene has changed since I lived here almost 13 years ago - and it's alive. So many quality artists performing their own material. It's a wonderful and vibrant music community here in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. One of the serendipitous events since relocating here is the number of live shows I am now mixing FOH. All of these are at "the Skylark Room" in Upwey, which is an oasis of Roots and Groove music. It's a refreshing change attempting to bring studio and mastering values to a live mix and certainly a challenge at times, but I'm really enjoying it. So if you're up in the ranges out east and feel like a taste of fresh homegrown sonic fare - come join us; for the Hills Are Alive...