416-841-0991 (CAN) / 615-491-1741 (US)

A Brand New Production Suite

We are re-developing office and production space at Noble Street Studios and building me a customized production suite.  In this space, I’ll be writing with artists, programming tracks and taking/making calls as well as working with Roar Records.  It should be completed early February 14.  Here are a few pictures of our work in progress …

 

A Man of Immeasurable Talents
Donny DaSilva, A Man of Immeasurable Talent

 

keyboard mounts

 

slatwall is the solution

 

Fitting all the keys in the room

 

a quick panorama

And here’s a picture of my cat, Jasper:

A picture of my cat, Jasper

Noble Street Studio B

Noble Street Studios Studio B has been expanded to include an SSL 6K series console and recording room/booth.  Great vibe in the room [can I take credit for the red highlights?].  Beautiful sound in the booth and very tight monitoring in the control room.  I believe I’m the first to track vocals since it opened [Cheryl Thibideau and Chase Aden projects] and WOW, does the booth sound great.  Just drop a Neumann U47 through a REDD 47 pre / LA-2A and you’re rocking.

 

 

Fire Escape Recording – STUDIO SALE

Fire Escape Recording Studio Close-Out sale. Many interesting instruments and recording equipment for sale at extraordinary prices.

ONE DAY ONLY!!

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2011
  • 10 am – 5 pm
  • Location:  258 Wallace Avenue, Suite 207
  • East Fire Escape Entrance

Mellotron 4000D – A Personal Review

 

I recently acquired a M4000D directly from Mellotron.  For those of you who may remember, Mellotron was [arguably] the first sample playback device in the 1960s to use tape cartridges to recreate the sound of other instruments.  The mechanism was clunky and suffered from tape wobble and hiss and artifiacts, which ended up adding to its charm.   Mellotron was resusitated in 1989 and has been building newer, sturdier Mellotrons ever since.   With the advent of digital playback [sampler] systems, the call for this kind of instrument is small though, but for those “in the know,” they are highly esteemed.

This new digital instrument from Mellotron is everything I could have hoped for.  It sounds beautiful, offering high resolution capture of the Mellotron and Chamberlain sound sets and delivers the uncomplicated warble and kitsch of the original tape instruments.  It has amazing horsepower and playability, allowing instantaneous playback of libraries that few could afford in the past.  The wooden keyboard is expressive [full polyphonic aftertouch] and the sound combinations are beyond what any tape-based instrument could offer.  Undoubtedly, there will be skeptics who prefer the original, but this is not your father’s sampler.  A dream come true.  Dave and Markus indulged my request and signed mine.

The Future is Retro

Having fun working on Nick Perreault’s CD with an original Model D Minimoog running through guitar pedals.  Old is new again.

Why Mix Analog?

For about a decade, I tried to get a warm saxophone sound using a ‘warm’ tube condenser microphone.  But no matter which mic/pre-amp I used, I would end up notching out 3 KHz with an EQ.  Then one day a kind-hearted producer took pity on me and suggested I try a ribbon mic.  Problem solved.  Instantly.  The ribbon mic just didn’t hear the ugly rasp of the reed and let the buttery warmth and tone flow through.

Hold onto that concept and jump with me into the controversy between engineers about analog vs digital mixing:

My opinion:  No matter what the specs of digital workstations purport, the simple truth is that the more high end analog components used to make music, the ‘better’ the music sounds.  By better, I mean more believable, honest tones are created that have a psychological [and perhaps physical?] impact on the listener.  I will go so far as to say that whether you’re a seasoned audio professional or a casual listener, if I put you in the ‘sweet spot,’ right between the speakers, and play  music mixed ‘inside the box’ [processed in a computer] and music mixed on a traditional analog console, EVERY ONE of you will choose the analog option.   Yes, one can do a lot to get good sounds into a computer to begin with [and I love the tools available], but presentation is everything in this business, and the mix is one area we simply can’t make compromises, regardless of the project budget.  Use the right tools and you’ll get to where you need to go. With all the compression, compression and more compression being applied to music files from mp3s to final broadcast, you better have a FAT sound to begin with, because you know by the time it gets to radio, it won’t be what you started with.  And who knows?  In ten years, we may well be listening to 24 bit, 96Kz files on our iPods.  Let’s keep the hope and the standards up.

Options!

Santa Clara keyboard setup

Working with Santa Clara on their next single has been a blast!   I’ve rediscovered the Crumar string machines and it continues to blow my mind how effective the minimoog is for layers, sweeps and aggressive melodic lines.

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