ASSR News


Dateline: January 30th 2010. Santa Cruz: The second batch sections from the ASSR series is due to be released online the week of Feb 12 2010.

The new sections, all featuring narration by the inimitable Billy Bob Thorton, individually examine the topics of Studio Acoustics, Consoles and Controllers, Digital Audio and Computers, Monitoring, Microphones, recording Keyboards, and recording Bass. Details of each include:

Studio Acoustics

Although recording frequently – possibly mostly – now takes place out of a conventional recording studio, there is wisdom and value in whatever ‘space’ you use to generate or mix your music being suitable for the purpose. In this section Alan looks at the various properties of sound being played in small rooms and examines everything from soundproofing techniques to room modes as a ‘studio’ is seen being constructed.

 

Consoles and Controllers

During one filming session in Los Angeles Alan is alerted to the whereabouts of the mixing board that he’d used when working with McCartney, Pink Floyd, and others at Abbey Road. After this emotional opening (he’d not set eyes on the board for more than thirty years) Alan examines conventional modern consoles, looking at each item on a typical channel strip in detail. Finally Alan assesses how they – and their cousin, the controller – relate to and can enhance the experience of using a DAW.

Digital Audio and Computers

To all intents and purposes recording has become a computer-based activity. What can be learned from the veterans of the analog recording art and what knowledge can be carried over to the digital world? Alan takes us on an extensive tour of the equipment currently available – hardware, interfaces, applications, and software, and injects some old-world sanity into this brave new platform.

 

Monitoring

Monitoring is listening, and, especially in the age of the iPod, how you hear your music as it’s being recorded and mixed will impact on how the listener hears or feels about it. Alan investigates the components and roles of monitoring devices and looks at all the options, from a multi-thousand dollar system in Los Angeles’ Record One control room to ear buds. Alan also unearths the speakers he used to make The Dark Side Of The Moon and ponders their role in that classic production.

Microphones

Microphones are effectively the inverse of loudspeakers, a fact ably demonstrated at the beginning of this scene using the ‘two tin cans connected by a piece of string’ experiment that’s been beloved by kids for decades. The section goes onto look at the science behind microphones, from their various designs and applications to the art of using and placing microphones. Along the way Alan talks to many producers and engineers, including self-confessed mic junkie John McBride, at Blackbird Studios in Nashville.

Keyboards

Keyboards have the widest range of sound and sensibility of any instrument ‘type.’ From a synth string pad on a plug-in to a sampled drum loop, from playing piano to programming… all can be required of the keyboard player. Alan discusses approaches to recording keyboards with Foo Fighters’ Rami Jaffee, and then looks at some specific approaches to miking specific instruments such as a grand piano, and B3/Leslie.

 

Bass

The role of bass in rock, pop, and hip-hop is absolutely crucial. Alan discusses bass recording techniques with Nathan East during a live tracking session for a new Alan Parsons track, All Our Yesterdays and also meets one of his long-time bass heroes, Carol Kaye, who contributed to many groundbreaking records with Phil Spector, Quincy Jones, The Beach Boys and others in the sixties and seventies.

As in the entire collection of The Art and Science Of Sound Recording, this second batch of sections, presented and produced by Alan, offer you his exclusive insider access to legendary musicians, producers and engineers and to their award-winning recording techniques. This collection offers something for everyone interested in recording their own music, from novice to professional engineers. Supported by extensive musical examples, custom diagrams, and interview clips, The Art & Science of Sound Recording takes a classic approach to recording and listening - followed by informed experimentation – and shows how this approach can live in the modern DAW-based environment. These are scenes that you can watch over and over again, and still enjoy nuances.

The final set of sections will be released online approximately a month after this release, just ahead of the complete DVD boxed set.

Those pre-ordering the DVD will simply be able to log into their account and find the new sections as soon as this release is live.

The Alan Parsons’ ASSR Team

Dateline: December 11th 2009. Santa Cruz: After almost two years in production, the first sections from Alan Parsons’ highly anticipated living encyclopedia on sound recording are being made available for streaming and digital download.

During the week of Dec 18th more than two hours of material will be available on-line here at www.artandscienceofsound.com. The sections, all featuring narration by the inimitable Billy Bob Thorton, individually examine the topics of MIDI, EQ, Delays, Drums, Noise Gates and Recording a Choir. Details of each include:




MIDI


Alan demonstrates exactly what MIDI is and explores its current uses and applications. Featured guests include Dave Smith, who developed MIDI in 1983, Madonna producer Patrick Leonard, and Simon Rhodes, senior classical recording engineer from Abbey Road Studios, fresh from his work on the Avatar movie soundtrack with James Horner.

EQ

This epic scene gets to the heart of what EQ is all about, from frequency response to the range of human hearing to every form of EQ process and device. Instrument by instrument, Alan looks at all the major sound types: what they need and some of the danger areas. Blackbird’s John McBride and Green Day producer Jack Joseph Puig provide invaluable observations on this key aspect of recording.

Delays

Tracing its development from tape echo in the 1950s, Parsons looks at modern delay devices, parameters, and applications. This scene features an extended free-form section where Alan uniquely twists, turns, and distorts delay effects on vocals.

Drums

In this scene, the Art and Science of Sound crew descends upon legendary British session drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Toto) in his Los Angeles studio. Simon reveals many of the secrets of his phenomenal sound, from tuning, to miking – choice and positioning – to recording and processing. Additional insights on phase are offered from Tool producer Sylvia Massey.

Noise Gates

In this scene, Parsons finds Paul Buff, the man who invented the noise gate (and who happened to sell Frank Zappa his first studio), and moves on from there. A complete set of practical demonstrations of ways you can use a noise gate in the studio concludes the scene.

Recording a Choir

While almost every school, college, and church has wanted to record a choir at some stage, and most likely already have the equipment – most need the knowhow. In this scene, Parsons shows up for class one morning at a California High School and teaches them the art and science of recording a jazz choir. The result is pure magic.

As in the entire collection of The Art and Science Of Sound Recording, the initial scenes, presented and produced by Alan, offer you his exclusive insider access to legendary musicians, producers and engineers and to their award-winning recording techniques. This collection offers something for everyone interested in recording their own music, from novice to professional engineers. Supported by extensive musical examples, custom diagrams, and interview clips, The Art & Science of Sound Recording takes a classic approach to recording and listening – followed by informed experimentation – and shows how this approach can live in the modern DAW-based environment. These are scenes that you can watch over and over again, and still enjoy nuances.

The second set of scenes will be available for download in January 2010, and the final scenes a month after that, just ahead of the release of the complete DVD boxed set.

We are tremendously excited at this initial release and feel this will become a landmark work on music production that will be essential viewing and listening for many years to come. Much like Alan’s own music and productions!

The Alan Parsons’ ASSR Team

Dateline: November 17th. Los Angeles: Nominated for no less than thirteen GRAMMYs over his career to date, Alan Parsons felt very much at home during October’s filming session at the GRAMMY Museum, a backdrop for the first section: An Introduction To Recording.

Alan Parsons in the GRAMMY MuseumSituated in ‘currently-being-revitalized’ downtown Los Angeles, the GRAMMY Museum features interactive exhibits that let you monitor recorded sound quality from the wax cylinder to 96k Surround, and investigate everything from the role of the producer to the power of a plug-in.

Alan recorded a number of segments in and alongside many of the ‘pods’ and ‘spaces’ in the museum’s Third Floor, drawing frequent attention from a stream of visitors who felt that an exhibit had somehow come to life in front of their eyes.

An Introduction To Recording traces the development of sound recording from Edison, Emile Berliner, and Valdemar Poulsen, through to multitrack tape and digital. Along the way Alan comments on his own personal experiences with The Beatles and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road as the studio moved from 8 to 16 to 24 track systems.

“But as the Grammy people know so well, great music is not about the technology, it's what people do with it that counts,” says Alan in one sequence. In another, Alan reveals that Academy’s original name of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences was a “natural influence” for the title of the program.

Dateline: September 24th 2009. Los Angeles: One of the final pieces of the puzzle fell into place this month when Billy Bob Thornton recorded dialog for the Art And Science Of Sound Recording DVD project.


Alan Parsons and Billy Bob ThorntonThe recording, which took place at Billy Bob’s ‘Cave’ Studios in Los Angeles, was produced by Alan Parsons, and engineered by Thornton’s partner in the BoxMasters, JD Andrew.


Billy Bob’s voice is featured in all the various sections of the program, complimenting Alan’s on-screen and hands-on explanations and demonstrations.




Billy Bob Thornton
“Delivering lines out of context on a music and technology based project would have been a challenge for anyone else.” Said Alan. “But Billy is both an actor and a musician with his own recording studio. He was the perfect choice. We had a tremendous time doing it, and had plenty of laughs along the way. I’m hoping I can reciprocate by helping out Billy and the BoxMasters on a future project.”



The Art And Science Of Sound Recording now moves into its final stage, with release now expected in November.







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