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Author Topic: An Appreciation for Music Producers and Engineers - A Visit to Skywalker Ranch  (Read 3253 times)

Offline astrotoy

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Hi folks,

I now have a much better understanding of what a recording producer/engineer does. I was able to spend a good part of this afternoon in the recording booth of the Skywalker Ranch Scoring Stage in Marin County, witnessing part of a recording session with a string quartet. The quartet was recording the Barber String Quartet (including the famous Adagio which is usually performed separately). The recording engineer was not only controlling the computers recording (in both stereo and 7.1) at 96-24, but also closely following the score measure by measure of all four parts and making appropriate comments about intonation, ensemble, accents of grace notes, as well as determining with the artists whether the take was satisfactory and/or what needed to be rerecorded. After the sessions were completed (they began yesterday with the placement of various baffles and exact location and balances of the different microphones) and continued with 10 hours of recording today, the engineer will edit all the parts of the various takes and do other digital magic to remove extraneous sounds until the CD and hirez digital files are ready. Wow!  The engineer/producer in question had invited me and Pearl (who coincidentally runs a concert series in San Francisco where the quartet has performed) to the session. I had hired him to teach me how to use the software used in my digital recording project. It is same pro software which he was using for the recording sessions (although he was recording on 10 channel (2 stereo and 8 channels for the 7.1) and I only use two channels. Skywalker Ranch Scoring Stage is also an amazing place, much nicer and larger than any studio that I have ever been in.  The stage itself can accommodate up to 125 musicians - a full orchestra and has 30 foot high ceilings.  The monitoring speakers are B&W Nautilus 802, better than any that I have seen except for Paul Stubblebine's Focals and his prior Magicos.

Interestingly, I learned that much of the software being used for denoising and declicking (I am using Izotope RX2) was developed for the film industry - where digital restoration of old film prints and negatives is not dissimilar to the removal of clicks and pops from an LP.

Again, watching and listening all that goes on in a recording session was a real education and gave me a much greater appreciation for people like our own Paul and Romo.

Thanks, Larry
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Offline ironbut

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Wow,.. that must have been very cool Larry!
I missed a tour of the Skywalker Ranch that was offered during the AES convention a few years back and regret it.
I'm sure that your visit was most enlightening.

I've been using Rx since it's introduction and the Rx2 version is very much improved (they added lots of tools that I'd requested like the "lasso" and the "paint brush").
Even though we use the program for different needs, we should get together and compare notes (I seldom use the DeClicker and use the Spectral Repair module the most).
steve koto
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Offline Ki Choi

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Hi Larry:

Wouldn't it been beatiful to think the session was also recorded in direct two track R2R...?
Ki Choi

Offline MylesAstor

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Hi Larry:

Wouldn't it been beatiful to think the session was also recorded in direct two track R2R...?

What you been smoking Ki :)
Myles B. Astor
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