One day in the studio to track six (6) songs of Horn Section parts. Setup at 11:00am and finally walked out with files in hand at 5:00pm. A huge and frankly exhausting day but extremely happy with the results. A reality-check of just how much energy it takes to complete such a production task. All parts were double-tracked and in some cases tripled with alternative parts. EP has been mixed and upon several listens appears to be “I.T.C”… IN THE CAN!!
The current mixing and mastering facility at ToKwerX is a beautiful balance of analogue and digital devices. Allowing the immense control and immediate recall of digital but gifting the ability to enhance with saturation, warmth and real vacuum-tube harmonic distortion to the mix or master. Add to this an expanded perception of stereo image and depth of field derived from 16 stems into analogue summing. The modern mixing & mastering facility need not be huge but can be incredibly powerful, whilst retaining the sonics that only analogue produces.
Um, ok. Let's try that again?
Take 2 for ToKwerX relocation in the beautiful forested area of the Dandenong Ranges. The studio is now located in Upper Ferntree Gully (UFTG) alongside the State forest and close to the famous 1000 Steps National Park. Beautiful. Let's see how the birdlife enjoy the soundscape?
Well, it’s been nearly six months of “no studio” status - profoundly affecting my general outlook on life and definitely impacting my creative output. Relocating the teenagers and myself to my partner’s home was never going to be an easy or simple task, so the December 30th flooding of the house that rendered the allocated studio space, master bedroom, ensuite and laundry uninhabitable certainly added a few more layers of complexity that none of us could possibly have prepared for.
But we are somehow nearly there and beginning with the studio, finally commence putting all our plans into action - only then will we really have any idea of how this “tree-change” has worked. It is when faced with unimaginable hurdles that dealing with the other elements in our lives becomes exaggerated and amplified. I am the first to put up my hand and state I’ve not dealt with it very elegantly at times and sitting in the studio space for the first “listen” last night was profoundly confronting.
So here’s a very sincere message to those I dearly love. Those closest to me who have literally put up with me during this studio-hiatus and soul-searching period. The same people who actually feed my heart and soul with the very reasons I have to create - you are each my muse and my sustenance. To each of you, for all you’ve done for me over the last six months… THANK YOU.
Next post: Re-Opening special rates on Mastering.
Due to changes in my parenting responsibilities I am relocating my studio system back into our home. This means the space I built at Coloursound Studios in Altona Beach will be available for rent.
Comprising of a customised acoustic space complete with floating floor and rear-wall bass trap that "eats everything" below 300Hz this room sounds incredibly flat. Therefore lending itself perfectly to mixing and mastering duties.
The space will accommodate up to larger midfield monitoring easily and also has an area that would quickly become a vocal isolation booth without too much expense.
For details contact Mat Robins on:
+61 405 312 061
We had to go almost underground at RMIT to find a new place ...
For this ...
Happy Mr Thomas!
RMIT Sound Production proudly houses our flagship console in Studio 1; Neve's Genesys. The last week has seen "her" take on some upgrades and servicing, including a new system computer. The console is now the best "she" has ever been. Sonic Velvet!
It has been 30 years since I graduated from the VCA, in the inaugural stream of what is now referred to as Improvisation; back then we just called it JAZZ. Today I looked through the newly commissioned studio at the School of Music, delighted to find it has been dubbed the Brian Brown Studio. Brian was both founder, creator and head of the Jazz program. His legacy to the national and international music scene. We lost Brian not that long ago but he will always remain in my fondest memories - a true inspiration and mentor. Tomorrow I'll be recording a short-film score for Blood Trust in this studio and no doubt Brian will pop in for a 'visit.'
RMIT Sound Production took delivery of three HD-X 3 systems to upgrade our TDM studios. This will see the program remain the premier place of study in the field of audio engineering in AU with not only amazing staff but up to date tools to teach with. Now for the upgrade process - speak to me in a couple of weeks and I'll let you know how it's gone :)
Soon to be available to up and coming engineers. Elite and private studio sessions outlining the full production process. These will be for no more than four junior engineers over a two and a half day session, covering full tracking techniques using the 1980 Neve console and classic outboard gear, editing and mix session prep' at ToKwerX room upstairs, Mixing in the analogue domain both through the Neve and through ToK's unique hybrid system. Finally a Mastering walkthrough at ToKwerX. Stay tuned.
It's a slow process refitting the new room for ToKwerX @ Coloursound, in between my teaching at RMIT, current projects at ToKwerX and a family life. Nonetheless the wall panels have begun to take their place in specific positions. I am using a simple but extremely effective approach and very affordable materials to construct the initial panels that will ensure minimal transfer into the adjoining rooms. Beginning with pine lattice, lined with cushioned foam then earth-wool batts bolted onto the walls with the timber facing outwards. A mixture of absorption and diffusion whilst retaining a sense of life without creating an entirely anechoic space. These will then be lined and further polystyrene panels affixed to create the final diffusers. Next the floating floor.
Where many iconic artists began their career, SUN studios and the home of SUN Records, Memphis TN USA. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others. The tracking room is quite small but houses some classic RCA ribbon microphones and a hand full of wonderful vintage gear. The museum section upstairs has a couple pieces of gear that will not be seen by any young aspiring engineers, namely the AMPEX 1/4" 2 track tape recorder and the classic RCA direct to disc lathe used for cutting direct to records. Now classed as a national treasure the SUN studio will be protected from development and destruction for many generations to come. The studio is still a working concern of an evening and houses a nice blend of both analogue and digital devices. Once again the ability to be surrounded by history has made a wonderful impression, one that will no doubt last a life-time ... just like the SUN.
Just when you thought your new studio setup was rockin' yet another technical issue arises to test you. In my case I have two studio set-ups and you guessed it, two major issues. ToKwerX is all reset, acoustics of the new room are wonderful; now my Graphics Card decides to die. Don't you hate it when anything Apple turns Pear-shaped? According to many, many forums there is a known issue with the ATI Radeon 9600 series of cards Apple used in their Mac Pro's. After much juggling of clients and some pretty colourful language towards the "black screen" I'm picking up a refurbished card in the US whilst I'm there; a difference of nearly $400 to purchasing a new one here! And then there's my new "girl-friend" NEVE HARRISON. Well, that's not her real name. Neve just won't talk to Protools like she's meant to and I must add that the AMS-Neve User Manual does not do well in covering this aspect of the console setup - Grrrr!
I leave for the US in 3 days with Stevie Paige so I'm spending tomorrow doing all I can ... and then I'm walking away. Actually I'm flying away, far far away, and the Tech' issues can await my return. I intend to enjoy my performances for the next 2 weeks, without any interference - gotta love that about an instrument like the trumpet; open the case, pop in the mouth-piece, warm it up, take a few deep breaths and voila, there's sound!
It certainly has to be the most stressful process known to anyone in the audio field; rebuilding a studio. I am still a day or so away from completing my own having moved, albeit only a klm or two. Tomorrow the Sound Production team from RMIT begins the NEVE Genesys fit-out for Studio 1 and it promises to be a major rebuild. Every loom, every patch-bay, even the studio furniture will require disassembly to accommodate the new console from England. I'll send some feedback over the next few days as both RMIT and ToKwerX studios approach readiness for 2012. Hint: For all those contemplating a career in audio engineering never underestimate the number of occasions you will find yourself crawling into tight spaces in order to connect something, with barely enough room to turn a screwdriver, let alone swing that cat! But we DO love it. The very first moment sound is emitted from any new studio is a magical moment worth cherishing.
So "she" has arrived. The NEVE Genesys bound for Studio 1 at RMIT landed today. You can just leave me here with "her" - I have need for little else!
It's not deep beneath the sea nor some mythical world, it's a recording studio in Melbourne - and it's a beauty. Had the pleasure to record at Atlantis Recorders today for some jazz tracks by vocalist Yolanda Kuhn. Centred around a beautiful AMS-Calrec console from the late 80's Atlantis is rockin'. This board was flown out from the states and features impeccable EQ, great PRE's and amazingly transparent Dynamics - on each and every channel strip. If you want to hear a classic console and get your hands all over it head down to Atlantis in Port Melbourne - just short of the bottom of the sea!