Psychoacoustic Manipulation of the Stereophonic Listening Experience

Digital mixing consoles offer the modern engineer access to an incredible range of techniques we can utilize to create great mixes. For now, with few exceptions, nearly all those mixes are created for stereo reproduction, a phenomenon which exploits the brain’s ability to discern direction and relative distance of sounds arriving at our ears at…

Improving Emotional Conductivity

My average adolescence changed forever one summer evening in 1985 at the old Charlotte Coliseum. Excitement hung thick in the audience as the walk-in music faded. House lights dropped and hundreds of sweaty bodies surged forward as the guitars roared the stage to life. The emotional power of that moment has followed me for 34…

Divide and Conquer

Mixing drum kits can be fun. Banging on something to produce a rhythm may have been our first musical experience as a species. Modern recording tools finally gave musicians the ability to share that emotion with a much wider audience of fans and other musicians than live shows alone could reach. Rock and roll can…

PM2000 LED Upgrade

This past year I began upgrading a PM2000 in a recording studio near my hometown. I replaced all the signal path capacitors and repaired all the minor issues I found along the way. After we got it sounding fresh again, it was time to address some cosmetic concerns. All channel strips received a thorough surface…

Deciphering Ramu – Don’t Panic and Do Your Job

Summer. 2006. I had been touring with a few regional bands, including the up-and-coming Old Crow Medicine Show. My reputation for keeping cool in stressful technical situations was becoming established. One afternoon, during some down-time, I got a call from Jason Brodsky, a fellow engineer I’d met while he was working for The String Cheese…

Recapping a Yamaha PM2000

I was recently approached by a local studio owner who has been using a stock PM2000 in his recording studio for many years. Between accumulating maintenance issues and slight sonic differences between the channels, we both agreed that a full recap would be a good place to start. The theory behind the work is simple,…

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, part 2

When we last saw our project, I needed to fine tune the LCR filter component values to arrive at the filters I desired. A surprisingly large amount of time was spent experimenting, trying to get all of the parameters to line up where I wanted them. I quickly found out that the DCR value was…

Careful with that axe Eugene

It’s a practice in capturing extremes. On one extreme you have the single microphone capturing an acoustic guitar. Purity of tone is paramount. If you start with a great sounding Wayne Henderson Dreadnought, you only want to capture its incredible tone. One great microphone, minimal processing and you’re good to go. On the other extreme,…

That Sound

I remember the first time I walked up to a Midas XL4. It was at the third Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, TN. An afternoon set in one of the large tent stages. I was mixing foh for a great americana/bluegrass band called Acoustic Syndicate. I strolled out to the foh riser to see this…

Imitation interrupted to repeat a rebuild

  When we last met, I was working on locating the inductors needed to finish the Low Shelf filters in my API style LCR EQ. That task was sidetracked when I was approached by an engineer/producer and asked to rebuild his Yamaha M1516 console. He wanted transformer direct outs, new capacitors, 8 channels of LCR…

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, part 1

Radically rebuilding a PM2000 input strip to more closely match the great API 312 microphone preamp and 553 equalizer. Yamaha quite obviously wanted their PM2000 to sound like the API 1604 consoles from the 1970’s. Many of the components are very similar. Last year I rebuilt a PM2000 and made a few modifications. That project…

How to Disappear Completely: My Year Without EQ

This past weekend marks the one year anniversary of removing the last few bands of corrective parametric equalization from the input channels of my FoH mix for Umphreys McGee. I spent two full years working out how to give up corrective EQ. Now I feel ready to explain how I did it. It started with…