Slau takes you behind the scenes at BeSharp, a recording studio in New York City. Listen to excerpts from sessions, gear reviews and equipment shootouts.

Most of my clients come to me by word of mouth, which is great. Even better, I often get sidemen on sessions who have their own side projects and, having worked with me, often approach me about recording their stuff as well. I was working on a project featuring fairy tales and silly songs, aptly titled, "Fairy Tales and Silly Songs." The author of the stories and songs collaborated with a musician named Shay Salhov. He wrote the music for the tunes and did some incidental music for the stories. Shay came in a few days before the main session to lay down piano for the tunes. He was OK on piano but nothing special. In all fairness, I've worked with some extraordinary pianists and, let's just say, I wouldn't necessarily put him in their league. Everything went well during the piano tracking session and at some point Shay said, "Hey, I have a trio and I'd love to have you record us. I live in the neighborhood and I feel comfortable working with you. Would you be interested?" I said, "Sure, that would be great." So I thought nothing more of it because I get inquiries like that all the time from musicians and, until they "book the hall," it's all talk. But a few months later I got a call from Shay wanting to book a session. "OK, a trio session. So, piano, bass, drums? Piano, bass, guitar?" I asked. Shay quickly interrupted me, "No no no—my main instrument is saxophone. I just played piano for that children's project out of necessity but I'm a sax player." I told him that I really enjoy sax trios and that I was looking forward to the session. The setup for the session was really straightforward: a pair of upgraded Cascade Fat Heads  in a Blumlein configuration as drum overheads, an AKG D 112  on the kick drum and a Shure SM57 on snare. For the acoustic bass, I chose a Heil Sound PR-40 and for the sax, a Mojave Audio Ma200. I set up some acoustic screens to isolate each musician a little bit while maintaining line-of-sight between the players. The guys arrived and started warming up and, wow, they sounded way better than I expected. The drummer, Ronen Itzik, was great, the bass player, Gary Wang, was great and shay was an amazing sax player. Here I was, practically writing him off as a mediocre pianist and the guy was a phenomenal sax player and fantastic musician. Anyway, I quickly adjusted the mics on the drums and sax while the guys were rehearsing. When I squatted down in front of Gary, the bass player, he said, "Uh, are you sure that mic is positioned right? Isn't it supposed to be facing up?" Apparently, he wasn't familiar with the Heil PR-40. It's a moving coil mic that looks an awful lot like a condenser and one might assume it's a side-address mic but it's not. The mic even ships with a paper around it saying, "Note: This is an end-address microphone." Anyway, I said, "No, it's an end-address dynamic mic and it's supposed to face this way," and he says, "A dynamic mic? Hmm, interesting." I'm thinking to myself, "What does he mean by that?" I inquire and he says, "I've always seen guys use a U 87." Now, one can use almost anything on an acoustic bass, of course, but the most popular choice has traditionally been an Electro-Voice RE-20, a Sennheiser MD421—moving coils, for sure. I happen to like the PR-40 on bass because it's a little brighter and helps pick up a little more attack. Anyway, I assured him that a moving coil dynamic was a very standard choice for acoustic bass, especially in a jazz combo setting. As I buy cialis adjusted the mic to face the f-hole at about 10 inches away, Gary says, "Is that where you're going to leave the mic?" Now I'm thinking he feels it's going to be in his way or something. I asked him, "Are you in the position you'll be playing in?" He says, "Yeah." And I say, "Well then, it's right where it needs to be." And he says something like, "Hmm, interesting, alright, whatever." So now I'm really wondering what's he thinking? I ask why and he says, "Well,

Direct download: SWS013-Dont_Be_Shay.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:54pm EST

I know so many people that have either met or dealt with Stevie Wonder in some capacity. I had the pleasure of meeting him once, many years ago (almost 20), at a pro audio retail shop in Manhattan. We spoke briefly and I mentioned the fact that I was legally blind which didn't seem to make a big impression on him. I guess he meets blind musicians all the time. oh well. The coolest part of the whole encounter was when I walked around to the keyboard opposite where Stevie was trying a new Ensoniq sampler and I got to hear him singing quietly while playing the keys. Without copper, electrons or speaker cones between us, it was the most incredible thing to hear him move the molecules of air that separated us, only a few feet apart. I'll never forget it. So, it was with great interest that I unzipped the file that "Big Al" from the Project Studio Network (http://www.projectstudionetwork.com) sent me a while ago. It was a set of WAV files from the multitrack master for "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder from his  "Talking Book" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_Book) album released in 1972. It was a 16-track recording that featured mostly Stevie singing as well as playing drums and keyboards along with some horn players. The original recording didn't sound all that spectacular to me. I guess, for that time, it sounded alright but, by today's standards, well, let's say it wouldn't win the grammy for best engineered album. The track list is: 1. kick drum 2. drums (left) 3. drums (right) 4. vocal 1 (final take) 5. vocal 2 (unused) 6. keyboard delay 1 7. keyboard delay 2 8. clavinet 2 mic 1 9. clavinet 2 mic 2 10. clavinet 1 mic 1 11. clavinet 1 mic 2 12. clavinet 1 mic 3 13. clavinet 1 mic 4 14. horns (left) 15. horns (right) 16. synth bass If you dig around the "InnerTubes" you'll find these multitrack files along with other ones from various artists. I absolutely love going through multitrack masters and checking out the individual tracks. It's fun to piece together what happened, trying to imagine what the engineers were thinking, what production decisions were being made, etc. Most of all, what strikes you is that all one needs to do most often is simply bring up the faders and there's the song -- no automation, no plug-ins -- it's just all there. I think multitrack masters, especially ones by some of the legendary acheter viagra artists and bands from the 60s and 70s, should be used extensively in audio education. Actually, not only should they be used in audio programs in schools but they should also be made widely available to those aspiring to learn the craft of engineering and producing. I could just hear the RIAA preparing the documents for the lawsuits... "Superstition" engineered by Austin Godsey and mastered by George Marino

Direct download: SWS012-Superstition_Multitrack.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 5:07pm EST

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