Audio Tech Workshop Series

Have you ever fantasized about being a DJ and making that perfect mix?

Have you ever wondered what happens between the artist’s performance and you listening to great music on your LP or CD?

Do you have an interest in the digital and analog side of audio electronics?

Or… have you just wondered about those crazy looking microphone contraptions by the pipes of the Spreckels Organ… especially when we note that we never amplify the organ or use electronic sounds.


If you are curious, we can scratch that itch. Beginning in October, Gordon Stanley, the audio engineer and his associates from the Spreckels Organ Society will be offering a 12-part class for members of the Society and curious people who want to learn more about the technical side of audio and might be interested in exploring the idea volunteering to help at some of our events.  This course will start at the beginning so no engineering background is required, just curiosity.


While the blowers of the Spreckels Organ create the equivalent of 50,000 watts of power, we do use microphones and electronics for public address, to record performance for archival purposes, productions for future CD sales, and to supplement the sound of guest soloists playing a variety of instruments including piano, flugelhorn, cello, trombone, and violin along with operatic voices.  As beautiful as these instruments are we have to supplement their sound to fill the 2,500 seat organ pavilion.


So if we have peaked your interest and you want to learn a little or a lot about the sound chain and workflow that makes beautiful sound from microphone, pre-amplifies, mixer, equalizer, recorder, amplifier to speaker, send an email to and let us know your name, best contact phone number, and your interests.  We will be sending invitations at the end of August and classes will be held once a month on Sunday afternoons after the 2-3pm concert beginning this fall.



There is still time to invite a friend: HAVE THEM EMAIL ME. –




Place: Stage/Green Room, Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Date: 2nd Sunday of each Month except December

Time: 12:00 Noon – 1:30pm before the Organ Concerts,
which are every Sunday, 2-3pm, rain or shine, 52 weeks a year.



Here is an outline with schedule of some of the topics that will be covered:

  1. General Introduction: Sunday, October 13, 2019
  2. Survey of class member skills, knowledge and interest
  3. General background on recording, compression, live recording, multichannel recording.
  4. Important terms we will use in the classes.
  5. The special challenges of recording a pipe organ
  6. The challenges of recording other instruments along with the pipe organ
  7. Review overall outline and answer questions
  8. Microphone types: Sunday, November 10, 2019
  9. Why pros use certain types of mics such as omnidirectional, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and bi-directional ribbons to record
  10. How specific mics are used to enhance certain musical instruments like piano, brass, strings, drums, guitar.
  11. Using the directionality of mics to control bleed
  12. Dealing with phase issues
  13. Testing mic types and placement
  14. Microphone setup techniques: NO CLASS IN DECEMBER, Sunday, January 12, 2020
  15. Rock versus classical, close v. ambient
  16. Techniques specific to classical and organ music,
  17. Why organ recordists put mics on a giant tripod
  18. How the Jecklin disk works, the classic Decca mic tree.
  19. Safety considerations when mounting and flying mics
  20. Recording techniques: Sunday, February 9, 2020
  21. Portable recorder, remote recording, studio recording
  22. PCM v DSD v Analog – pros and cons of each
  23. Resolution 44.1 PCM, 88.2 PCM, 96 PCM, 176PCM, 192PCM,
    2.6 DSD, 5.2 DSD, 11 DSD, 384DXD
  24. Effects of compressing files for distribution MP3, etc. (lossless v lossy compression)
  25. Tricks for balancing the ambient noise when recording for posterity versus a live recording archive
  26.     Choosing time to record, baffles, noise gates, gain riding
  27. Finding the balance point of direct v reverb sound in enclosed venues
  28. The special echo of the Spreckels Organ
  29. Effects to enhance or ruin recordings: Sunday, March 8, 2020
  30. Equalization, BAX, Graphic, Parametric
  31. Compression, Voltage, Opto, MU, Digital, Parallel
  32. Reverb, Room, Plate, Digital
  33. Delays and echoes
  34. Harmonic expansion
  35. Flanging, phasing
  36. Noise gating
  37. Capturing performances: Sunday, April 12, 2020
  38. Live v. multitrack,
  39. Phases of a project – tracking, editing, mixing, mastering
  40. Live ambient recording (minimal mic) performance versus multitrack
  41. Magic of mixing: Sunday, May 10, 2020
  42. how multitrack recording works, sel-sync – Les Paul
  43. how we blend the organ or symphony with a soloist
  44. Our special blend of omni and cardioid mics to make the organ sound real
  45. Evening out/bending sound v. emphasizing sounds


  1. Advanced techniques for recording specific instruments: Sunday, June 14, 2020
  2. vocalists
  3. strings, violin, viola, cello,
  4. drums,
  5. guitar and bass
  6. reeds,
  7. brass,
  8. the special case of the French horn, and
  9. piano
  10. Handling equipment, cables, and protecting your audience, Sunday, July 12, 2020
  11. Microphones
  12. Cables
  13. Moving equipment
  14. Moving and setting speakers
  15. Rigging, Gaffers Tape (NOT Duct Tape)
  16. Safety (lifting, power, gravity)
  17. Differences between live remote and studio recording: Sunday, August 9, 2020
  18. Retakes
  19. Audience noise
  20. Environmental noise
  21. Sound of live versus studio space
  22. Testing and final mix and master: Sunday, September 13, 2020
  23. Why certain places like your car might sound better,
  24. listing to several different monitor speakers,
  25. using headphones like the pros, and
  26. the way the listener hears in various venues
  27. Considerations for live sound reinforcement, front of house: Sunday, October 11, 2020
  28. PA and music
  29. stage monitors,
  30. outdoor and large venues versus clubs,
  31. splitting mics for FOH and recording
  32. dealing with background noise, audiences, dynamics, feedback
  33. specific mics to deal with bleed – hyper-cardioid dynamic (Shure SM-58)
  34. cooperating with lighting, potential interference, 110 v 75 ohm
  35. Stump the engineer – open mic question session and celebration event along with a tour into the heart of the organ (the wind chest): Sunday, November 8, 2020
  36. Other resources to continue learning
  37.     Blogs and YouTube, FaceBook Groups
  38.     Books

iii.    Classes

  1.     Associations, AES, NAMM, THE Show, LAOCAS, SDMAG


Audio Bio on Gordon Stanley

  • Began recording with a 3” reel to reel at age 8 making “Squeaky the Squirrel” recordings for brother and sisters.
  • Advanced in electronics at age 11, when his dad gifted him with a broken Collins R-388 high selectivity military 30-band receiver.  Shocked himself, learned about capacitors, and then managed to repair the power supply.  Along the way he learned to read schematics and trouble shoot electronic circuits.
  • At age 12 he enrolled in an adult HAM radio and basic electronics course and began listening to the Beatles and Stones via Dad’s headphones on a Sansui tube receiver. Favorite saying in our house became “turn that down, you’re going to go deaf.”
  • At age 18 as an engineering freshman in college at TAMU he assembled a quad system for his dorm room with open reel recorder, SQ turntable, and discrete amps.  Had to sit two weekends on guard duty when Stanley and his roommate decided to entertain the Texas A&M Corp of Cadets senior staff with a full volume version of Patton’s theme one Friday night – he had entered into the world of sound reinforcement.
  • At age 19 his roommate and Stanley opened a small DJ business over the summer. They recorded local bands and choirs, and played gigs for local parties while expanding their knowledge of sound reinforcement.
  • At age 21, he took a job in the Texas Medical Center producing educational photos, film and videos for medical students, which included professional sound production. And the rest is history.  He has always had 2-3 working mid to high end stereo systems in his house. Today in addition to two two-channel rooms, Stanley has a 9.2.2 home theater system and a mixing and mastering room in my house.  He collects and restores old classic equipment, recently having restored and modified a couple of Carver and Dynaco systems including a hybrid system with Dynaco Mark VIs and three classic Denon turntables.  He plays and collect SACDs, and also plays his DSD masters via a Tascam DA-3000 studio archival recorder.  His favorite phono cartridge is a Koetsu Redwood Signature.
  • Today in terms of pro sound Gordon uses an 8-channel Tascam, DA-3000 DSD remote tracking system with analog mixing and effects based around a Trident mixing console in a home studio.  He has a complete DSD/analog/remote recording workflow, Dangerous Bax EQ, Dangerous Compressor, Bricasti M7, and Lexicon reverb, and can switch to PCM digital workflow when needed, which he does reluctantly for final mastering and distribution via CD format.  He is also currently producing a jazz/basso nova band.  His mic locker includes a variety of mics from Shure, DPA, Beyer, AKG, and he is a big fan of Earthworks Microphones.
  • Projects this year include experimenting with REW room measurement and correction software and installation of an extensive set of GIK sound treatment into his mixing and mastering room.

See you on the 2nd Sunday of October and we will get started.


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