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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. – email@example.com
CRITICAL INFO NOW SET:
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:
- General Introduction: Sunday, October 13, 2019
- Survey of class member skills, knowledge and interest
- General background on recording, compression, live recording, multichannel recording.
- Important terms we will use in the classes.
- The special challenges of recording a pipe organ
- The challenges of recording other instruments along with the pipe organ
- Review overall outline and answer questions
- Microphone types: Sunday, November 10, 2019
- Why pros use certain types of mics such as omnidirectional, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and bi-directional ribbons to record
- How specific mics are used to enhance certain musical instruments like piano, brass, strings, drums, guitar.
- Using the directionality of mics to control bleed
- Dealing with phase issues
- Testing mic types and placement
- Microphone setup techniques: NO CLASS IN DECEMBER, Sunday, January 12, 2020
- Rock versus classical, close v. ambient
- Techniques specific to classical and organ music,
- Why organ recordists put mics on a giant tripod
- How the Jecklin disk works, the classic Decca mic tree.
- Safety considerations when mounting and flying mics
- Recording techniques: Sunday, February 9, 2020
- Portable recorder, remote recording, studio recording
- PCM v DSD v Analog – pros and cons of each
- Resolution 44.1 PCM, 88.2 PCM, 96 PCM, 176PCM, 192PCM,
2.6 DSD, 5.2 DSD, 11 DSD, 384DXD
- Effects of compressing files for distribution MP3, etc. (lossless v lossy compression)
- Tricks for balancing the ambient noise when recording for posterity versus a live recording archive
- Choosing time to record, baffles, noise gates, gain riding
- Finding the balance point of direct v reverb sound in enclosed venues
- The special echo of the Spreckels Organ
- Effects to enhance or ruin recordings: Sunday, March 8, 2020
- Equalization, BAX, Graphic, Parametric
- Compression, Voltage, Opto, MU, Digital, Parallel
- Reverb, Room, Plate, Digital
- Delays and echoes
- Harmonic expansion
- Flanging, phasing
- Noise gating
- Capturing performances: Sunday, April 12, 2020
- Live v. multitrack,
- Phases of a project – tracking, editing, mixing, mastering
- Live ambient recording (minimal mic) performance versus multitrack
- Magic of mixing: Sunday, May 10, 2020
- how multitrack recording works, sel-sync – Les Paul
- how we blend the organ or symphony with a soloist
- Our special blend of omni and cardioid mics to make the organ sound real
- Evening out/bending sound v. emphasizing sounds
- Advanced techniques for recording specific instruments: Sunday, June 14, 2020
- strings, violin, viola, cello,
- guitar and bass
- the special case of the French horn, and
- Handling equipment, cables, and protecting your audience, Sunday, July 12, 2020
- Moving equipment
- Moving and setting speakers
- Rigging, Gaffers Tape (NOT Duct Tape)
- Safety (lifting, power, gravity)
- Differences between live remote and studio recording: Sunday, August 9, 2020
- Audience noise
- Environmental noise
- Sound of live versus studio space
- Testing and final mix and master: Sunday, September 13, 2020
- Why certain places like your car might sound better,
- listing to several different monitor speakers,
- using headphones like the pros, and
- the way the listener hears in various venues
- Considerations for live sound reinforcement, front of house: Sunday, October 11, 2020
- PA and music
- stage monitors,
- outdoor and large venues versus clubs,
- splitting mics for FOH and recording
- dealing with background noise, audiences, dynamics, feedback
- specific mics to deal with bleed – hyper-cardioid dynamic (Shure SM-58)
- cooperating with lighting, potential interference, 110 v 75 ohm
- 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
- Other resources to continue learning
- Blogs and YouTube, FaceBook Groups
- 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.