Tag Archives: Steve La Cerra

Mix Live Blog: Help Wanted…But Not Found

I just lately had the necessity to rent a sub on my crew when my common suspects have been unavailable for just a few upcoming exhibits. Having exhausted word-of-mouth (and word-of-text) prospects, I resorted to the unthinkable: I ran a “assist needed” advert.

I knew full properly that putting such an advert in, say, the New York Times, can be a futile effort, so I opted for working it on an internet site that’s turn into a preferred useful resource for folk working within the touring group. In the advert, I said the dates we have been trying to cowl, the talent set required, and the necessity for the candidate to be within the NYC space, the place we’re primarily based.

The responses have been pretty miserable. Almost all of them fully ignored the half about “have to be NYC-based”—although, in reality, if we had discovered a superb candidate in one other metropolis, we in all probability would have taken an opportunity on them. Some of the respondents fessed up about not having all the necessities, a attribute that I respect way over somebody attempting to put a pile of baloney on me. According to their resumes, one or two have been grossly overqualified, which to me is a pink flag… “with that form of expertise, why is that this particular person not booked on a serious tour?”

Of the 13 responses, just one was price investigating, and after vetting the references, it turned out that our solely hope wouldn’t be accessible for these dates because of the truth that journey to a previous dedication would overlap.

Mix Live Blog: My New Favorite Venue

What sticks in my thoughts, sadly, is one response that was native, the respondent emailing: “I’ve labored with quite a lot of large title acts, your is not any unfamiliar territory to me. I’m severe as an A1, A2, LD, and PM, with my resume hooked up be at liberty to take a gander”(sic). So, I did.

What this particular person thought was a resume wasn’t worthy of a cartoon drawing on a paper dinner serviette. The doc posing as a resume was obscure, itemizing artists (some nationwide) however not describing any of the work expertise. Nevertheless, I assumed I’d give the advantage of the doubt. Maybe nobody ever confirmed him the best way to correctly write a resume. I responded, asking for some particulars relating to work expertise, and for 3 references. Radio silence. I can’t say that I used to be stunned.

What did shock me was the dearth of viable responses. I figured I’d get a minimum of two or three that might be price investigating. Maybe it’s as a result of it was just a few exhibits and a lot of the certified techs have already booked out for the summer time. Maybe it’s because of the truth that we have been on the lookout for somebody to work on Memorial Day Weekend. Or perhaps it’s post-Covid hangover, with individuals nonetheless not in a mindset of returning to work—although I don’t actually purchase into that idea making use of to our trade.

One factor stays positive: If you may have expertise, there’s work accessible within the leisure trade.

Mix Live Blog: My New Favorite Venue

The interior of Capital One Hall. The gold-colored panels lining the walls are perforated metal under which are laid acoustic absorption and diffusion materials.
The inside of Capital One Hall. The gold-colored panels lining the partitions are perforated metallic underneath that are laid acoustic absorption and diffusion supplies.

I believe I’m in love, and this time I imply it. A couple of days in the past, I blended a present at Capital One Hall in Tysons, VA, and it could possibly be the best-sounding venue I’ve blended within the States. Ever.

Opening its doorways on October 1, 2021, Capital One Hall is a part of Capital One Center, a brand new mixed-use city redevelopment constructed on 24.5 acres. Capital One Hall options 4 areas able to internet hosting quite a lot of occasions, starting from Broadway productions and live shows to not-for-profit arts features and enterprise conferences.

There’s the Main Theater, a 1,600-cap seated venue with stage, orchestra pit and fly system; The Vault, a black field theater with a capability of 225 supposed for smaller performances and displays; The Atrium, a four-story, open house with most capability of 1,000 individuals standing or 500 individuals seated; and The Perch, a landscaped public rooftop park 100 ft above the road that’s accessible to the general public by means of the inside of The Hall.

A close-up view of the perforated metal wall panels.
A detailed-up view of the perforated metallic wall panels.

Viewed from the road, it’s apparent that this was an formidable undertaking. The exterior facade of the constructing contains 7,000 slabs of imported Italian Carrara marble; every slab has dimensions of roughly 16x48x2 inches and weighs roughly 150 kilos.

Inside the lobby, granite flooring and walnut paneling convey the sensation that this isn’t simply one other theater. The foyer staircase is created from marble slabs 6×54 inches, with a mixed weight of roughly 40,000 kilos. Walking in or out of the auditorium offers you that feeling you get once you open the airlock door to a well-designed recording studio: you may really feel the load of the doorways underhand, even when it doesn’t take a Herculean effort to maneuver them, and you’re feeling assured that undesirable sound isn’t getting in or out.

Once you’re within the seating space, the outside world promptly fades away resulting from room-in-a-room development that options vibrational isolation of the construction utilizing rubber pads and employs 60,000 cubic ft of concrete with a weight of 9 million kilos (!). Eighteen-inch-thick concrete partitions underneath the steel-framed “outer-box” areas (the atrium, lobbies, mechanical methods and back-of-house areas) dampen vibration, whereas a six-inch air hole eliminates any acoustic bridging to the “interior field” of the principle theater.

The inside partitions of the theater function a perforated metallic “pores and skin” that conceals acoustic remedy combining absorption and diffusion, which controls the quantity of mirrored sound contained in the room. It’s one of the vital dead-sounding massive rooms I’ve blended in.

The left main P.A. hang.
The left important P.A. cling.

I’m completely satisfied to report that the oldsters who accepted the development price range additionally accepted a wholesome price range for the audio system. The important P.A. cling consists of 10 d&b audiotechnik V12 cabs (three-way passive line array) per aspect with matching V and SL-G subwoofers. Stage screens and aspect fills are additionally from d&b, consisting of (12) M4, (4) M6, (3) B6-Subs and (2) V7P three-way loudspeakers for sidefill. d&b D80, 30D and D20 present amplification for the mains, fills and screens.

Control is by way of Yamaha Rivage PM5 at FOH and Rivage PM3 at screens, with one RPIO 622 and three RPIO 222. The microphone locker would make most studios blush, with choices from DPA, Earthworks, Miktek, Neumann, Sennheiser and Shure, plus the theater has 24 channels of Sennheiser EM6000 digital wi-fi microphones.

A view of the Main Theater with the orchestra pit raised to floor level, and filled with additional front-row seats.
A view of the Main Theater with the orchestra pit raised to flooring degree, and full of further front-row seats.

Most excursions passing by means of the world will play the Main Theater at Capital One Hall, the place mixing is on the similar time a deal with and a problem. It’s a deal with because of the consideration paid to the room reverb time, which is unusually brief and tight for a room of this measurement—so that you don’t battle the mirrored sound as you’ll in a room with longer reverb instances. Those similar attributes make the setting much less forgiving acoustically talking.

Mix Live Blog: Stone Knives and Bearskins

Mix Live Blog: Stone Knives and Bearskins, Epilogue

The P.A. gives a excessive degree of articulation, that means that dialing in your combine will take slightly longer than in rooms the place you merely can’t hear the distinction resulting from poor acoustics. I’d examine the expertise to that of blending in an unforgiving studio management room the place good, dangerous or ugly, you’re going to listen to the reality. I’ll take that any day.

The coronary heart of any venue is the home crew, and I’ve to acknowledge that they’re completely top-notch.

Tulsa’s Legendary Church Studio Rises Again

The Church Studio. PHOTO: Phil Clarkin.
The Church Studio. PHOTO: Phil Clarkin.

When you hear the time period “recording mecca,” the standard locales come to thoughts: London, New York, Los Angeles, Nashville. Despite its wealthy recording historical past—and the very fact that it’s the birthplace of the Tulsa Sound—Tulsa, Okla., has for essentially the most half flown beneath the radar. Now that recording legacy is now being honored and rejuvenated with the opening of The Church Studio.

As the identify implies, The Church Studio occupies a stone and brick construction initially inbuilt 1915 because the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. It was bought by Oklahoma native Leon Russell in 1972, who (alongside along with his enterprise companion, Denny Cordell) transformed the area right into a recording studio and places of work for Shelter Records.

During the Seventies, the studio served because the epicenter of the Tulsa Sound, internet hosting musicians together with Russell, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, JJ Cale, Dwight Twilley, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Buffett, Kansas and Mudcrutch (later to reform as Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers).

Russell’s tenure at The Church was transient, ending in 1978. Between that point and 2016, the constructing modified palms a number of occasions and was used for quite a lot of functions. It wasn’t till 2016 that destiny would help to its subsequent custodian.

The Church Studio owner Theresa Knox.

“I used to be renovating a property close by,” remembers Teresa Knox, a Tulsa native and now proprietor of the power, “and I discovered myself going to the church to test it out. It was in a extremely unhappy form, sort of a dilapidated property with boarded-up home windows. If you’re from Tulsa, you understand about Leon Russell, and also you’re aware of the historical past of the church. When Leon returned right here in 1972, he was the highest touring artist in America. He had simply completed his third studio album, Carney, and had not too long ago loved success with Joe Cocker in Mad Dogs and Englishmen and The Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison. Leon was a famous person, and it was very thrilling for our neighborhood when he got here again dwelling.

“But it made me unhappy that the constructing— which had such an exquisite historical past, with not solely Leon but additionally with Steve Ripley, founding father of the Tractors—was in such poor situation,” she continues. “I came upon who owned it and wrote the proprietor a letter, asking if he’d take into account promoting it. He replied that it wasn’t on the market, however we began assembly and I type of grew to become obsessive about it. Eventually, I closed on the constructing and walked inside for the primary time after I owned it. I purchased it sight unseen, actually.”

Now that’s dedication.


The first order of enterprise for Knox was guaranteeing the constructing’s structural integrity. “There had been 5 house owners between Leon and myself,” she explains, “and upkeep wasn’t precisely a precedence. My number-one aim was securing the construction, together with reinforcing the muse, and re-doing {the electrical}, mechanical, plumbing and roof. We additionally wanted to make it ADA-compliant, and we added an elevator to make it handy for artists. It took greater than 5 years to revive the property.

PHOTO: Phil Clarkin.

PHOTO: Phil Clarkin.
The spacious dwell room beneath building in 2020. PHOTO: Phil Clarkin.
The live room today. PHOTO: Mel Willis
The dwell room in the present day. PHOTO: Mel Willis

“My second aim was to get the constructing listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a result of there aren’t many historic recording studios which might be acknowledged by their dwelling state, in addition to by the federal authorities. What Leon completed was so extraordinary that it deserves to be acknowledged. I didn’t know for certain what I used to be going to do with it, however early on, it took on a lifetime of its personal. After studying about different historic recording studios, like RCA Studio B, Motown, Stax and Muscle Shoals, it grew to become obvious that they put a giant emphasis on the museum facet. Although I like the music historical past, we took a hybrid strategy: First, studio. Second, public attraction. I needed it to be related for in the present day’s artists and to proceed the legacy that Leon began. That’s once I realized we’ve got to convey this again to being a working studio.

“I began exploring what that might appear like and found it was [like many industries] in a state of technological disruption. People get Grammy Awards for recordings made of their properties, however there’s no substitute for analog recordings and the magic that occurs when musicians play dwell in the identical room.”

Knox enlisted the assistance of Nashville studio consultants Chad Hailey and Steve Durr, each of whom labored in tandem with the architects to observe the very best practices set forth by the National Park Service.

“I needed to honor the early church and the best way it regarded in 1915,” Knox reveals, “however its interval of historic significance was throughout Leon’s time, and that’s what certified us for being on the National Register. It needed to have that ’70s vibe, however after all, there have been quite a lot of developments in acoustic design and engineering, so we took it all the way down to the naked bones and repurposed the entire wooden. The dwell room is the unique sanctuary, and the management room occupies the identical footprint as when it was utilized by Leon, however we had been capable of increase barely by including two iso cubicles—so we now have 4.”


What higher method to make sure a ’70s vibe than putting in a classic Neve console? Knox knew that not any Neve desk would do, so she was launched to at least one with an applicable pedigree.

The first piece of gear purchased for the renovated studio was a Neve 8068 console formerly owned by Daniel Lanois. PHOTO: Church Studio Archive.
The first piece of drugs bought for the renovated studio was a Neve 8068 console previously owned by Daniel Lanois. PHOTO: Church Studio Archive.

“The first piece of analog gear I bought was Daniel Lanois’ Neve 8068,” says Knox, “the identical console that was used to file so many nice artists, like Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Neil Young [Editor’s Note: The console was also pictured on the cover of Dylan’s Time Out of Mind]. It wanted some love, so we had Jeff Pinn (San Francisco) restore the console, and it’s now again to manufacturing unit spec. The sound of that room coming by way of that console is wonderful!”

Knox and advisor Hailey have been capable of supply different gear worthy of this prestigious dwelling, together with a Studer A827 Gold Edition 2-inch 24-track, an Ampex ATR-102 (half-inch), and a critical assortment of classic microphones.

According to Knox, “The Studer A827 is gorgeous. It’s just about brand-new, with solely round 180 hours once we acquired it. We even have a 32-in/40-out Pro Tools HDX system with Burl Mothership converters, so we are able to file to tape or Pro Tools, or we are able to work within the field and run the tracks to tape afterward.

“There’s additionally fairly an assortment of traditional microphones, resembling Neumann KM56s, KM84s, U47, U67, AKG C12 and C24, Telefunken ELA M 251, all maintained by The Mic Shop (Franklin, Tenn.),” she continues.

“I discovered a U47 in Nashville that was new outdated inventory (it nonetheless had the wax seals) and was initially at an outdated radio museum in Oklahoma, so I introduced it again dwelling. Almost each piece has a extremely cool story as a part of the provenance, such because the LA-2A and two LA-3As that we not too long ago acquired from Christine Lakeland-Cale. (JJ Cale’s widow—Ed.) JJ, a recording alumnus of The Church Studio, was signed to Shelter and was a Tulsa native.”

Durr custom-designed the management room’s most important screens, using TAD parts and Bryston amplification. The mains are supplemented by a pair of ATC SCM50 ASL mid-fields and Yamaha NS10Ms. The studio additionally has an in-house assortment of latest and classic devices, together with a Yamaha C7 Conservatory Grand piano, Hammond B3 with Leslie 122, Fender Rhodes 73, Wurlitzer 200A and a Hohner Clavinet D6.

Visitors to The Church Studio pass by a sign commemorating the structure’s status as a National Historic Landmark. PHOTO: Erin Conrad.
Visitors to The Church Studio cross by an indication commemorating the construction’s standing as a National Historic Landmark. PHOTO: Erin Conrad.


Historically, The Church Studio occupies a rightful place alongside legendary studios resembling RCA Studio B, Stax, Motown and Muscle Shoals, and the power features a complete assortment of Leon Russell artifacts and memorabilia—a lot of which has been personally collected by Knox over time. “One of the good elements of the studio,” she observes, “is that if an artist desires to take a break, they will discover the gathering and see unique compositions or lyric sheets from Willie Nelson, Leon or others. Musicians discover it inspiring—particularly in the event that they’re writing whereas they’re recording. And we’re discovering that artists turn into very emotional after they stroll into the studio—some even get teary-eyed! That sort of response is what makes all of the onerous work price it.”

Knox emphasizes that the power is “initially a working studio. The week that we opened, 4,200 folks walked in our doorways to tour, and we’ve since had 1000’s of tourists. My greatest concern was that it might seem too touristy. I didn’t need what’s occurred to different music landmarks, the place tourism overshadows music manufacturing. I feel it’s nice that we’ve got landmarks that remember music historical past, however just like the entrepreneurial imaginative and prescient of Shelter Records, our technique is to make new music and be related to in the present day’s artists. That’s the easiest way we are able to pay tribute to Leon’s extraordinary life and profession.”

Mix Live Blog: Stone Knives and Bearskins, Epilogue

The Midas H3000 in query.

I’m pleased to report that I survived the Stone Knives and Bearskins present, i.e., the one the place I needed to combine utilizing an analog console. I’m additionally pleased to report that the blending desk — a Midas H3000 — was in fairly good working situation. It seemed like hell, although. I’ll by no means perceive why individuals who personal costly gear can’t take a clear paintbrush to it as soon as per week to mud it off.

The solely technical problem the desk had was one non-working VCA group, which was annoying resulting from the truth that it was VCA 5—smack in the midst of my VCA fader financial institution. When I sat behind the desk, I used to be shortly reminded of how simple it’s to see each console setting with out paging by way of menus, and the way the controls are immediately accessible (taking a taxi to get from one finish of the desk to the opposite however!). Much to my shock, I even remembered the way to program the VCA and Mute teams.

The venue had loads of outboard gear, all of which I wanted after which some. There was a pair of Summit DCL200 tube compressors, which I used for lead vocals and bass, eight channels of Drawmer DS201 gates for drums, 12 channels of Drawmer DS241 comp/gates, two Yamaha SPX2000s, tc digital D•Two and M2000, and so on. I needed to borrow one other pair of DS241s from monitor world as a result of I wanted extra compression at FOH, however the monitor engineer didn’t miss them as a result of he had a digital desk. Hey, wait a minute… how come the monitor engineer will get a digital desk?

The H3000 sounded positive, however I didn’t precisely roll my eyes in ecstasy uttering, “Oooooh, analog audio…” What irked me in regards to the setup was that the genius who put in the gear positioned a lot of the outboard gear in a rack beneath the console, the place it was tough to succeed in and inconceivable to see. The the rest of the outboard gear was in a rack to the fitting of the console, someplace round knee-high. Really? Not as soon as throughout the complete night time was I in a position to alter the outboard gear whereas listening to the outcome. Instead, I’d bend down, make a change, then stand up to listen to the distinction. I’d gladly have sacrificed all that outboard analog processing for a display, mouse and keyboard that I may truly see and alter whereas listening to the combination. Mix positions designed by individuals who’ve by no means blended a present of their lives—greater than mildly annoying.

The different factor that difficult the day (and this was a day filled with tour managing-related problems) was that, in fact, I needed to construct the combination from scratch. We had been underneath a time crunch to finish soundcheck earlier than doorways opened, and I had different TM duties ready, like counting in merch, submitting the visitor record to the field workplace, coping with settlement, and making certain that the entire visitors could be taken care of. It may additionally have been good if I used to be in a position to eat dinner, however no such luck (we’ve all seen that film).

It’s the sort of scenario the place the deficiencies of engaged on an analog system rear their ugly heads. Analog gear is nice in case you have the time, and use the identical gear on a constant foundation.

The scenario jogged my memory of a few of the early competition exhibits I blended for Blue Öyster Cult within the Nineties, the place “throw and go” actually meant beginning your present at zero on an analog desk. Nowadays, after we say “throw and go,” we’re nonetheless in a position to load a digital desk with a present file that has some form of combine dialed into it, even when there’s no time for a soundcheck. I’ll take that over the nice ol’ days of analog in a heartbeat.

Point Source Audio Series9 Microphones – A Mix Product of the Week

Point Source Audio Series9 Microphones
Point Source Audio Series9 Microphones

New York, NY (April 27, 2023)—Brand new from the oldsters at Point Source Audio is the Series9 line of miniature microphones supposed to be used in theater, movie and different purposes the place discreet miking of expertise is required. Products within the Series9 embrace GO-9WL lavalier, EO-9WL ear-mount and GO-9WD dual-ear headset microphones, all accessible in single- and dual-element variations.

The headworn mics characteristic a 3mm omnidirectional back-electret capsule, whereas the lav capsule is a 4mm omni back-electret design.

Capsule specs embrace frequency response of 20 Hz to twenty okayHz; sensitivity -39 dB 1V/Pa (at 1kHz); most SPL 142 dB; and output impedance 1300 Ω. All fashions are IP57 waterproof-rated for resistance to sweat, water and make-up, will be cleaned with 70 % isopropyl alcohol, and have patented Endure connectors in 3-pin Lemo-style, TA4F and three.5mm locking ring, examined to 12,000 bends. The mics could also be powered throughout a voltage vary of 1 to 10 volts.

DiGiCo Quantum 225 — Product of the Week

Series9 microphones can be found in beige, brown or black. Headset fashions characteristic a increase that bends 360 levels, enabling the headset to reverse for mounting the mic on the correct or left aspect.

Dual-element variations of every mannequin present redundancy for important purposes and could also be paired with the BBX-SK/BBX-SH backup field to be used with a single wi-fi transmitter.

Point Source Audio manufactures a big selection of equipment for Series9 microphones, together with windscreens, headset frames, alligator clips and magnetic clips for discreet mounting. Series9 microphones embrace a two-year guarantee.

Point Source Audio Series9 Microphones – A Mix Product of the Week

Point Source Audio Series9 Microphones
Point Source Audio Series9 Microphones

New York, NY (April 27, 2023)—Brand new from the parents at Point Source Audio is the Series9 line of miniature microphones meant to be used in theater, movie and different purposes the place discreet miking of expertise is required. Products within the Series9 embrace GO-9WL lavalier, EO-9WL ear-mount and GO-9WD dual-ear headset microphones, all obtainable in single- and dual-element variations.

The headworn mics characteristic a 3mm omnidirectional back-electret capsule, whereas the lav capsule is a 4mm omni back-electret design.

Capsule specs embrace frequency response of 20 Hz to twenty okHz; sensitivity -39 dB 1V/Pa (at 1kHz); most SPL 142 dB; and output impedance 1300 Ω. All fashions are IP57 waterproof-rated for resistance to sweat, water and make-up, will be cleaned with 70 % isopropyl alcohol, and have patented Endure connectors in 3-pin Lemo-style, TA4F and three.5mm locking ring, examined to 12,000 bends. The mics could also be powered throughout a voltage vary of 1 to 10 volts.

DiGiCo Quantum 225 — Product of the Week

Series9 microphones can be found in beige, brown or black. Headset fashions characteristic a growth that bends 360 levels, enabling the headset to reverse for mounting the mic on the correct or left facet.

Dual-element variations of every mannequin present redundancy for important purposes and could also be paired with the BBX-SK/BBX-SH backup field to be used with a single wi-fi transmitter.

Point Source Audio manufactures a wide selection of equipment for Series9 microphones, together with windscreens, headset frames, alligator clips and magnetic clips for discreet mounting. Series9 microphones embrace a two-year guarantee.

Mix Live Blog: Stone Knives and Bearskins

A venerable analog Midas Heritage live desk.
A venerable Midas Heritage analog console.

My, how occasions have modified. I’m advancing a present the place we’ll be utilizing an analog console at FOH and presumably one for screens. Yikes. I couldn’t keep in mind the final time I blended a present on a large-format analog desk, so I seemed via my outdated advance sheets. Apparently, it was July 2017 at House of Blues in Cleveland, the place I had a Midas H2000 [Ed. Note: House of Blues recently updated all its consoles]. Other than that, my notes point out that analog desks have been all however useless and buried by round 2013.

Of course, the very first thing that pops into thoughts is the age-old debate between analog and digital know-how. While I won’t do not forget that present in 2017, I do keep in mind my response once I began pushing up faders throughout sound test: I breathed a sigh of reduction and thought oh yeah, that’s what good EQ seems like. I had develop into so accustomed to the final character of the preamps and EQs on digital desks that I had forgotten what an analog audio path seemed like. It was a pleasing shock.

Given the time that’s handed between my final analog expertise and the one on the horizon, I ponder if I’ll nonetheless have the identical response. Digital mixing desks have advanced a era or two since then, and there’s little question that the present yield from any considered one of a wide range of producers sounds higher than their earlier product. But does it arise in opposition to the analog benchmark? Tough to say with out an A/B comparability, which is extremely unlikely.

Mix Live Blog: The Audio Community Has Spoken

Mix Live Blog: Southworst

As this present will get nearer, my foggy reminiscence of the outdated analog days is beginning to clear. I recall utilizing one other analog Midas desk at a membership someplace within the Midwest within the 2010s which was a microcosm of every little thing flawed with analog mixing know-how. Several channels on the console didn’t work, and I keep in mind crawling behind the FOH rack to troubleshoot patching outboard gear. I’m positive that I “modified” one of many snakes that led to the doghouse as a result of I couldn’t get an insert cable to stretch throughout the again of the desk to channel 25. Good grief.

That expertise reveals a flood of questions that engineers don’t actually should ask anymore. Analog desks require outboard processing, so I’m trying on the venue “tech pack” (the checklist of substances accessible) to see if there are a ample variety of compressors and gates to accommodate the wants of the enter checklist (there aren’t).

Now I’ve to fret about issues like: Are there sufficient insert cables to patch these gates and comps, and do the cables attain from the outboard rack to the far facet of the console? Does all of the outboard gear work correctly? Do all of the console channels work? How many VCAs does the desk have? What’s within the drive rack? And, the large kicker: Has this outdated gear been well-maintained in a world the place upkeep is a dying artwork?

Adding insult to harm is the truth that there’s no present file to load, so I’ll begin a combination from scratch for a present that’s comparatively new and runs 46 inputs from the stage. Well, no less than I’ll have time for a sound test.

In distinction, all of those points disappear in a digital mixing system, and—fairly frankly—if you happen to can’t get a combination going with the onboard assets offered by even essentially the most cheap digital mixing system, you have got an issue that no quantity of substances will repair.

I kinda really feel like Spock in City on The Edge of Forever when he says to Joan Collins, “I’m endeavoring, ma’am, to assemble a mnemonic reminiscence circuit utilizing stone knives and bearskins.”

Lauten Audio LA-120 V2 Microphone — A Mix Real-World Review

The Lauten LA-120 excels up close on drums and piano
The Lauten LA-120 excels up shut on drums and piano.
MIX VERDICT: Lauten Audio LA-120 V2 Microphone
THE TAKEAWAY: “The total package deal isn’t solely worth but additionally fairly versatile, providing a variety of tonal choices.”
COMPANY: Lauten Audio • www.lautenaudio.com
PRICE: $499/pair, together with cardioid and omni capsules; inline pad: $79/pair.
• Very good sound
• Great bang for the buck
• Versatile system
• Output can overload some mic preamps even with the pad inserted
• Pads are usually not included
• Labeling is troublesome to learn

Several months in the past, Lauten Audio introduced up to date variations of its profitable Series Black line of microphones, which incorporates the LA-320 (tube condenser), LA-220 (FET condenser) and the topic of this overview, the LA-120 condenser microphone. V2s incorporate a variety of refinements over the originals, together with a refined and engraved nickel head grille, engraved hand-filled lettering, inset badge and an aesthetic replace—all whereas sustaining the sonic attributes.

The LA-120 is a small-diaphragm (17mm), transformerless condenser microphone with a detachable capsule, and the stereo set comes with a pair of cardioid and omnidirectional variations. Preamp circuitry employs through-hole development and is spec’d for a dynamic vary of 120 dB (minimal) with a sensitivity of 10 mV/Pa, -40 dB (0 dB = 1V/Pa @ 1 okayHz).

Controls on the mic physique embody three-position highpass (flat, 50 Hz, 150 Hz) and lowpass (flat, 15 okayHz and 10 okayHz) filters, every with slopes of 6 dB/octave. The -10 dB pad is an inline, screw-on kind that matches in between the physique and capsule.

LA-120 V2s are packaged in pairs in a pleasant presentation field that homes the 2 microphones, two cardioid and two omnidirectional capsules, a pair of mic stand clips and a pair of mic stand mounts. Pads can be found as an possibility.

Operation of the LA-120s is simple, although I really feel like there must be a warning someplace that phantom energy must be turned off earlier than altering the capsules or mounting/ eradicating the pads, as that is all the time observe. Phantom energy necessities are spec’d at 48 VDC, however I used to be ready to make use of the mics with an outboard phantom provide that gives 24 VDC.


Lauten LA-120I examined the LA-120s in a wide range of conditions, and the very first thing that turned obvious is that the output stage of those mics is sizzling, a attribute indicative of Lauten’s philosophy of offering gear that may carry out at a excessive stage (pardon the pun) even when a consumer doesn’t have entry to lots of costly outboard gear. Have no worry when connecting to a desktop recording interface that doesn’t present lots of achieve—the LA-120s require minimal achieve, even when used with a quiet supply.

In line with that idea, I recorded a Taylor acoustic guitar utilizing a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface and was slightly shocked to search out that the instrument didn’t sound all that completely different than it did after I recorded it utilizing some slightly expensive outboard gear.

Using the cardioid capsules (no pads), replica of the instrument was clear, current and articulate, and background noise was barely audible—after which solely when the studio screens had been cranked to unreasonable listening ranges. Using the highpass filter within the 50 Hz place cleaned up a little bit of room rumble, in addition to some foot-tapping that might in any other case have been transmitted by the mic stand.

Sticking with the Scarlett and utilizing the LA- 120s in cardioid for stereo drum overheads, it turned evident that these microphones are able to punching above their weight. Overall, the package was well-balanced—although an in depth mic on the kick would have been useful for including a little bit of weight and assault (not attainable with the Scarlett, because it’s a two-channel interface). Cymbals, hi-hat and snare had been crisp and clear, and the resonance of the toms got here by very properly. The LA-120s additionally captured a sensible illustration of the room sound.

It’s value noting that no matter what preamp I used, the pads had been required when utilizing the LA-120s as overheads. Combining the LA-120s (cardioid) with a pair of Vintech X73i preamps for overheads on a unique drum monitoring session once more yielded an amazing recording, the place the imaging was spot-on and you possibly can really feel the nylon tip of a drumstick on the hi-hat.

It was throughout these classes that I began experimenting with the lowpass filter, which produced some very fascinating outcomes. On overheads, switching the LPF to the 15 okayHz setting was akin to creating the hi-hat and trip cymbal take a step again within the combine, whereas decreasing a few of the sizzle from the trip and crash cymbals. Moving the change to the ten okayHz place took that attribute one other step, mellowing out the crash cymbals and offering a nod within the route of a ribbon transducer with out sounding too darkish.

The LPF was good for sweetening up a tizzy hi-hat or tambourine when the LA-120 was used up-close on these devices. The LPF was very delicate when used on acoustic guitar, the place the 15 okayHz setting eliminated a little bit of the metallic ringy-ness from the strings, and the ten okayHz setting darkened the sound ever so barely.

These are delicate modifications, not jaw-dropping variations, which makes all of them the extra helpful. Changing the settings on both filter does produce an audible “tick,” so I’d counsel muting your audio system when doing so.


Spurred on by a suggestion from the parents at Lauten Audio, I made a decision to attempt the LA-120s close-up on some drums. First up was a snare, with the pad and cardioid capsule. Initially, I believed that the mic couldn’t deal with the SPL, however that proved to not be the case. It turned out that the output of the LA-120 was so sizzling when used shut on snare that almost all of my preamps—together with a Vintech X81, Drawmer 1969, Focusrite ISA110 and Avalon AD2022 (the latter with its pad change on)—couldn’t deal with the output with out being overloaded. Using an exterior phantom energy provide to run the LA-120, the mic may drive the X81 or ISA110 line inputs with loads of stage—through which case the mic produced a meaty, impactful snare sound.

Audix A127 Microphone — A Mix Real-World Review

When I positioned the LA-120s (with pads) close-up on toms, I skilled related outcomes, with most preamps incapable of dealing with the extent. One of the few preamps that did work on this utility was the AEA TRP. I set the LPF off and the HPF to 50 Hz to tighten the underside finish a contact, which produced a spherical, full tone from the toms (be aware that I once more used the outboard phantom energy provide as a result of the TRP doesn’t present phantom energy).

Using the LA-120s to document an upright piano proved to be enlightening in a number of methods. As a reference, I A/B’d the LA-120s with a pair of cardioid condenser mics from one other producer that price greater than thrice the Lautens. The microphone pairs sounded surprisingly shut, although one may argue that the LA-120s had a bump within the low-mids, whereas the opposite pair proved a bit smoother and tighter in that area. The high finish, nonetheless, was very related.


Lauten LA-120In the piano session, I additionally tried the LA-120s with the omni capsules, which I most popular to the cardioid. Given that the mics had been about six inches from the hammers, there was a noticeable proximity impact with the cardioid capsules. Switching to the omni capsules cleaned this up and improved readability within the low-mids, and turning on the LPF mellowed out the assault of the hammers on the strings.

On acoustic guitar, swapping the cardioid capsule for the omni made the guitar sound fairly completely different, with a lot stronger midrange in comparison with cardioid. Combining the omni capsule with the ten okayHz filter offered a timbre nearer to what you’d anticipate from a ribbon microphone.

In basic, the cardioid capsules yielded greater output ranges, sounded extra “hi-fi” than the omni capsules, and, after all, decreased room sound within the recordings. The omni capsules produced a a lot flatter and fewer flattering character, usually sounding extra midrange-y than the cardioid capsules. Omni capsules on drum overheads softened the highest finish, giving the recording a retro vibe.

Lauten Audio has carried out a wonderful job on the LA-120 V2, largely by resisting the temptation to “enhance” the sonic traits of a microphone that has already gained lots of followers. The total package deal isn’t solely worth but additionally fairly versatile, providing a variety of tonal choices because of the filter settings and the completely different capsules (the quick-start information even supplies filter settings for varied purposes). My one caveat to a possible purchaser can be that the pads are obligatory in case your intention is to make use of the LA-120 close-up on loud sources.

Still, should you’re in search of a pair of small-diaphragm condensers on this value vary, you owe it to your self to take a look at the LA-120s.

Mix Live Blog: The Audio Community Has Spoken

PHOTO: Shalom Jacobovitz/Brocken Inaglory – Cc-by-sa-2.0; Waves Audio

Way again in 2012, Adobe introduced that it could be altering its software program supply mannequin from license-for-purchase to subscription-based. At the time, customers of Adobe merchandise had been surprised and never notably joyful. Anticipating this response, the corporate provided its subscription mannequin alongside the normal ‘software program for buy’ mannequin for nearly 5 years, till they ceased to supply the latter possibility in 2017. The firm was clear in regards to the transfer, going as far as to publish an open letter to customers informing them of the upcoming adjustments in an effort to make the transition as painless as attainable.

This previous week, Waves Audio took an analogous path — albeit not the one they had been planning. On March 26, the corporate introduced that they’d transfer instantly and solely to a subscription-based mannequin known as Waves Creative Access. The Waves consumer base went ballistic, posting damaging feedback on social media. Having heard these collective voices screaming outrage, Waves retreated, asserting solely three days later that they might once more provide the subscription-based mannequin alongside the unique license-for buy mannequin.

What higher solution to resurrect the recent debate of licensed- versus subscription-based software program? If you missed that scorching debate, right here’s a synopsis:

Subscription-Based: Customers pay a month-to-month or yearly payment in change for entry to a whole suite of software program (on this case, the catalog of Waves plug-ins). Updates are “free” and tech assist is included. If you cease paying the payment, you lose entry to the software program. This association can also be known as SaaS (Software as a Service).

License-Based Software: A consumer pays an upfront value for the software program, and in idea, has entry to the software program endlessly (thus the time period ‘perpetual license’). They should, nevertheless, pay for updates and presumably for assist.

Those who go for Waves Creative Access might be provided two tiers: Waves Essential ($14.99/month or $149.99/12 months) and Waves Ultimate ($24.99/month or $249.99/12 months). Essential will embrace 110 plug-ins and can add choose new plug-ins as they change into out there. Ultimate consists of greater than 220 plug-ins and can incorporate all new plug-ins. Both embrace free updates and assist, in addition to StudioVerse and SpliceSounds+.

The Pros

Waves Creative Access gives customers with entry to a heckova lot of plug-ins for an affordable payment—most likely far more than most individuals may afford in the event that they needed to buy a perpetual license for every plug-in. And, for the reason that subscription consists of updates and assist, you now not must cope with the Waves Update Plan. Waves Creative Access guarantees a streamlined course of when in comparison with the outdated mannequin.

The Cons

Many Waves customers voiced the sensation {that a} subscription-based mannequin forces them to pay for software program they don’t want. To some extent, I agree with them: Am I actually ever going to make use of a “one-knob” plug-in? I doubt it, so why ought to I’ve to pay for it? Waves presents many plug-ins for a value of round thirty or forty bucks every, which could be very affordable. In my opinion, the corporate has discovered the “no-brainer-sweet-spot” for the license value: It’s reasonably priced sufficient that you just don’t must suppose very a lot earlier than pulling the set off. And there are all the time gross sales providing ‘purchase two and get one free,’ or some related kind of perk.

The roster for the Essential plan consists of loads of fashionable and helpful plug-ins, and naturally the Ultimate plan much more—however many customers will discover that the Essential plan is a non-starter. Quite a lot of the plug-ins I exploit incessantly (API, SSL, and so forth.) aren’t out there in Essential, so I’d be extra inclined to stay with my license-based plug-ins over the Ultimate package deal. At $249 yearly, it’s not exorbitant, however some customers will argue that they don’t price range that quantity for brand new plug-ins every year, opting as an alternative to retain their license-based ’plugs.

Mix Live Blog: Hang On to Your Antenna—Here Comes WMAS

Also, there’ll all the time be customers for whom Essential has all the pieces they want besides <insert identify of 1 plug-in you completely should have that’s solely out there in Ultimate>; they now have the choice of including a license for that single plug-in. But I suppose that purchasing as much as Ultimate will certainly yield extra plug-ins which finally make the “can’t stay with out” checklist.

Response to information of Waves Creative Access on social media and Gearspace has been fierce, starting from audio execs who really feel that is much less complicated than coping with the present replace plan, to those that are fuming mad and promise by no means once more to patronize the corporate once more, no matter how they market their software program. Yikes. As of proper now, there are greater than 70 pages of feedback on Gearspace and 1000’s of feedback on the Waves FB web page, the overwhelming majority from individuals who had been dissatisfied with the choice and angered by the way by which it was dealt with.


The subscription mannequin is a extra environment friendly one for touring engineers and sound firms, who can now “lease” plug-ins for the size of a tour and keep away from paying for perpetual licenses when they don’t seem to be wanted. Creative Access will permit Waves customers to improve and downgrade between Essential and Ultimate as wanted—so when you’re doing an enormous venture, you’ll be able to step as much as Ultimate at some point of the venture after which step right down to Essential once more when it’s over. Professional engineers and studios may merely view a subscription as the price of doing enterprise, whereas hobbyists who solely wished a couple of choose plug-ins will most likely keep on with the license-based mannequin. Whether Waves will proceed to supply each fashions deep into the long run stays to be seen.

Judging from the response of the Waves consumer base, Adobe could have been onto one thing once they deliberate their transfer from license-based to SaaS over a interval of years. The transition helped ease the shock to the consumer base, which is one thing that Waves apparently uncared for to contemplate. The retraction of the unique announcement has quelled among the fury, however I can’t assist surprise if Waves hasn’t irreparably broken its relationship with their customers.

Mix Live Blog: Southworst

blog: southworstA number of weeks in the past, Southwest Airlines dominated the headlines after a debacle wherein it canceled greater than 16,000 flights smack in the midst of the vacation season. According to CNN, the episode was brought on by a mixture of a extreme winter storm and an outdated crew scheduling system, and value the airline greater than $800 million.

To save face, Southwest reportedly refunded fares for canceled flights, reimbursed passengers who bought tickets on different carriers (which is unprecedented), gave 1000’s of bonus factors to frequent fliers, and provided journey vouchers—although the fact is that journey vouchers will be pretty ineffective because of the restrictions which are sometimes connected.

The fallout produced a flurry of controversy, together with the promise of a authorities probe, in addition to outrage from public officers demanding a traveler’s “invoice of rights.” Good luck with that. The airline trade will take this slap on the wrist—and the related wonderful—because it has carried out prior to now. They’ll pay it and proceed to do enterprise in manners that boggle the thoughts.

Touring as I’ve for years with Blue Öyster Cult, I’ve had many a dialogue with the band’s journey agent relating to airfares. Sometimes the value construction is sensible, like the way in which taking a 7:00 a.m. flight is cheaper than taking a ten:00 a.m. flight—in any case, who the heck desires to be on the airport at 5:15 for a 7:00 a.m. flight? We’ve additionally skilled the price-gouging that occurs this time of 12 months, when flights will be priced double what they’d be if it weren’t Spring Break.

There are just a few gouges that also have me baffled, like the way in which a direct flight is often dearer than one with a connection. A visit with a connection requires extra sources to get you to the identical place, however then it additionally virtually ensures a full airplane on every phase of the journey—and airways love full flights. Still, they’ll cost extra for the direct flight as a result of individuals are keen to pay to keep away from connections.

Mix Live Blog: Hang On to Your Antenna—Here Comes WMAS

Another thriller is the “Saturday evening keep” stipulation, whereby reserving a round-trip flight is at all times cheaper whenever you “keep over” for a Saturday evening. Book a visit that begins on Wednesday and returns on Saturday afternoon, and it’s inevitably dearer than in the event you departed Thursday and returned residence on Sunday.

That riddle was just lately hammered residence with a brand new stage of ugliness: While the journey agent and I have been researching fares from the U.S. to Eastern Europe, we discovered that the value of a flight with out the Saturday evening keep is $1,500 per particular person greater than if we have been to remain an additional evening. Multiply that quantity by eight to accommodate your complete band and crew. What is that each one about?

It’s a gouge, and a superb indication of what’s mistaken with the airline trade. Compare shopping for a quart of milk to purchasing a airplane ticket. You will pay for that quart of milk, however you’ll be able to’t essentially have it (aka, overbooking)—otherwise you is likely to be pressured to attend to obtain it (in the event you get bumped). You might pay extra for that very same quart of milk than I do, particularly if you are going to buy it on the final minute. You might not be capable to open that quart of milk if the climate is dangerous, wherein case the grocery retailer shouldn’t be at fault as a result of it’s an Act of God. As Spock stated, “That, is illogical.”

So, once I hear a politician hold forth that the Feds are going to step in and create an airline traveler’s invoice of rights, I snigger. It received’t occur. As lengthy because the airline foyer has Congress in its again pocket, they’ll proceed to do enterprise in no matter method they please.

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