An early Xmas gift for myself (!) that I’ve been awaiting the arrival of. Sylvia has collated not only her own but a raft of “unhinged” techniques for recording... and her accompanying art is equally interesting. Looking forward to some time over Summer to take all this in...
Absolutely delighted to support the release of this sonic tapestry by dear friend and colleague Padma Newsome. The album is a collective of works featuring the wonderful artistry of this beautiful man. I am thrilled to have been involved in bringing this to life. Best wishes and congratulations Padma x. https://padmanewsome.bandcamp.com/album/the-vanity-of-trees
This week and next I am completing the debut release for Erin Downie and Rebellious Bird.
This EP has been over two years in the making during which we have endured: Moving homes (twice), Full Time Study, Floods, Single Parenting and Broken Hearts.
But we persevered.
I am incredibly proud of this upcoming release and consider it some of my best work. Erin sings beautifully on these tracks and the band is wonderful. Horn section will be dropped in next week.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and at times sacrificed part of themselves to complete this project.
This EP is testament to the gift of love and the privilege of sharing music. Not an opportunity to be taken for granted.
I will deliver the masters to Erin before the end of September and sincerely hope something is done with this recording, for a debut release of this quality is a very rare gift indeed.
2020 is the year, which happens to coincide with the test result that shows ‘normal’ vision. I have commenced planning the implementation of a DOLBY ATMOS 5.1.4 speaker configuration to allow for mixing music in the ATMOS format. I sincerely believe this will introduce my clients and their audience to an inspiring and physically immersive sound for their releases. With both YouTube and Facebook using ‘Ambisonics’ for their audio playback engines the ATMOS mixes will be translatable to these platforms, heralding in a new era in music listening.
No longer just a song - with ToKwerX and ATMOS these will become a sonic experience!
the BEAN PROJECT features the very talented Ben Langdon and I've just completed four new masters of some new material, soon to be made available. https://www.thebeanprojectmusic.com/
Also stay tuned for some other great music from the Hills... Erin Downie's Rebellious Bird has just submitted two songs from the upcoming debut EP for the PBS Upstart competition. Fingers are crossed Erin (Yes... and my Toes!)
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!
So nice to be playing the "humiliating mistress" live again; very different to studio. A small guest appearance with the Tracey Roberts Quartet (+1?) but some great moments shared, especially with Jon Magill (Tenor) - as these shots suggest.
Pics by Michéle Photos
When tracking vocals for both a lead and accompanying backing parts it is great to utilise different mic's so the resulting lead and BV's have a contrasting timbre. This assists in providing a separation between the two final sounds within the mix. Additionally different vocal approaches between songs benefit from this to exploit different characteristics in a lead vocal - especially when working with a very accomplished singer - such as Erin Downie.
Thus far we've opted for my OPR Ultra-Mod Ribbon and P12 valve condenser by Peluso. Sitting in waiting is the CM7 FET condenser by Wunder but as yet has not got a guernsey. I've set up three input channels with HPF, EQ and soft-knee compression: OPR Ribbon required several dB cut around 350Hz and a subtle boost at 12kHz; the P12 is actually coming in flat - this mic' has been modified 4 times from stock and is quite sublime. The Ribbon is providing a wonderful thickness in the mids for a female lead vocal whilst the P12 has a very similar body but as one would expect from a condenser has more subtle high end making it wonderful for the more breathy takes. These then matrix out into a single master record buss, which allows Erin to simply move between mic's and audition each characteristic.
,,, and a reminder of the January 19th show to open the Skylark Room for 2018. Link for Bookings here: http://www.theskylarkroom.com/upcoming-gigs/rebelliousbird
Remastering a CD release for Vinyl is a wonderful opportunity to remain as honest as possible to the original mixes and masters, whilst having the benefit of returning to analogue in order to create a truly higher sample rate; albums are generally cut from digital files of 96kHz at 24bit - significantly higher than the 44.1kHz at 16bit on the CD-DA medium. Up-sampling the files digitally would create a larger file but no change whatsoever in the frequency range and the 8 lower bit values would essentially be empty. Passing the signal through pristine converters and valves will produce analogue harmonics above the original frequency range so is an integral process in this remastering. Whilst the difference is indeed subtle it also allows for some slight colour enhancements with EQ and to be vinyl ready ensuring the frequencies below 125Hz are not ultra-stereo for the cutting lathe. So these are "mono-ized" somewhat to guarantee phase alignment in the sub-frequency range. My HARRISON 32C EQ's are then adding some subtle 90Hz over an octave and a 13k shelf to open up the top end for vinyl.
Importantly the audio has already been "brickwall limited" and I believe it's fundamentally importantly to avoid doing this repeatedly, so the optimum use of my analogue Quad Eight CL22 Limiters is a perfect solution. These are out of the Alfred Hitchcock Theatre at Universal Studios in Hollywood and they are wonderful...and incredibly quick; fastest attack time of .002 milliseconds. Yes, that's 2 microseconds and is essentially equal to 96 ÷ .002 samples (that's 0.192 of a single sample geeks) so the use of another aggressive digital soft-clipping limiter is unnecessary. I am always trying to stay out of the way of the music. The remastering shouldn't be heard in my opinion, so as to stay faithful to the original mixing and mastering engineers - and the artist(s) of course. Barney McAll's website is here.
The Clunk Orchestra 2nd Album is almost complete. Final mixes going down to DSD tonight - Stay Tuned...
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.
Within minutes of ToKwerX this is where you can be. So special and unbelievably close to the new studio. So whilst you're undertaking editing, mixing or mastering at ToKwerX take a break and breathe some of the amazingly fresh air and listen to the birds chatter over the symphonic chorus of the forest.
Most clients just send through their projects these days but I invite and encourage you to come, stay a while; complete your project amidst the peace that is literally moments from our door.
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?
Not long after my 15th birthday I ventured into a professional recording studio for the first time. It was the old ABC Studios in Waverley Road, Malvern, which was then also the home of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO). This year now becomes my 40th year of making records... and I still love it. Not sure if I'm likely to register 40 more but I'm not seeing any signs of stopping yet!
Thank you to everyone I've ever been blessed to record, or record with, or be recorded by.
This Easter Sunday the Renaissance Festival is proud to host a live performance by the latest incarnation of Stereo Volvo. Formed as a 5 piece with 2 live drummers the original line up released their debut album almost a decade ago, receiving an on-line GOLD INDY award and inclusion on the “Kiss My Grass” compilation album by KISS FM released shortly thereafter.
Life intervened and a hiatus followed while as members raised families and developed music studio businesses as well as recorded and toured internationally with other artists. Late last year in 2016 the two original composers Pete Warren-Smith and Anthony “ToK” Norris re-formed Stereo Volvo with an entirely fresh batch of material but in a smaller lineup than the former quintet.
Now a trio featuring “ToK” on Trumpet (electric), PWS on Bass (electric) and former drummer Scottie Bennett on Percussion (not electric) Stereo Volvo melds their elite musicianship and improvisation atop def beats and grooves, that results in a “Space Dub ’n’ Jazz Experience.”
The trio is currently in pre-production for a second album and bring this soon to be recorded material LIVE to stage this Easter Sunday 4pm @ the Renaissance Festival. (100 Tarrango Road, Yarra Junction)
When Quad Eight ceased making high end consoles in the US out of Hollywood CA a company known as Orphan Audio bought most of the assets from this historic contributor to the film-sound and music industries. Orphan later recreated two newer incarnations in salute of the iconic companies Quad Eight and Electrodyne.
I wrote to Orphan Audio asking if they knew anything of the specific history of my QE CL22's, and to my romantic delight, this is the reply from director Ken Hirsch: "Anthony,
This pair of CL-22's has had an interesting life.
They were originally built for a custom 27' long, Quad-Eight film dubbing console, installed in the Alfred Hitchcock theatre at Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA. All the console modules were custom ordered by Universal Studio's fitted with those distinctive natural finish aluminium "Alco" knobs and flat black faceplates... Can you imagine the world famous films your modules have mixed?
Although the final factory design notes show a date of Nov. 1978 and first release was indeed very early 1979, I believe your pair was built for the Universal Studio's console no-later than about 1980... in addition they have been one of my favorite dynamics units since I bought my first pair in 1984."
So, what's their nickname to be? Shall we pass the entire master through the Alfred's? Tonight the first client to be blessed by the CL22's at ToKwerX was band Formiles. Back to master another single "Xenox." The Quad Eight's were amazing, embedding the punchy VCA Limiting that resulted in an entire stage of otherwise digital virtual-VCA dynamics being eliminated. Most processing for this release was done in the analogue domain.
Signal path Analogue: AUDIENT SUMO Buss Compressor - AVALON 747 Opto-Valve Compressor @ EQ - HARRISON 32C EQ - QE CL22 Compressor/Limiters - Captured in DSD @ 5.6MHz. Digital processing: UAD FATSO - UAD Limiter - OZONE 7 Inter-sample Clip Prevention. Sample-rate and DSD~PCM conversion in Saracon by WEISS.
New home for my pair of Quad Eight CL22's. Proudly sharing the ToKwerX right-hand rack with the Harrison 32C's. Both units were racked and modified by Rob Squire @ Proharmonic in Adelaide. Even passing signal through the CL22's adds a density and low-mid body to the signal. Very reminiscent of the UA1176 and Empirical Labs Distressor. One Happy ToK!
In 1979 from Hollywood, California, the Quad Eight company released the ground-breaking CL22 compressor/limiter/expander. These are incredibly fast VCA-based feed-forward topology featuring the famous vintage DBX VCA. A pair of these classics pulled from a Quad Eight console, racked-up by Rob Squire at Proharmonic in Adelaide are about to call ToKwerX home. They've been proudly living at Coloursound Studios with Mat Robins until now and I am delighted to offer them a special place in the ToKwerX system alongside my Harrison 32C EQ's - also racked-up by Proharmonic. Found this ad' from Studio Sound magazine announcing their release in 1979. The pair coming to ToKwerX are the black-faced models, which I'll have to ascertain the year of manufacture with Rob Squire. These have been my all-time favourite device at the end of my chain for tracking vocals and have featured on albums by Jesse Valach and Blue Eyes Cry.
If you happen to find yourself LOST over the Easter Break, fear not. Just follow the signs ...
Have a SAFE break everyone x