Recording Master Classes in Santa Barbara, Live + Online!

A Recording & Mixing Masterclass
After an intense day of recording Alan Parsons showcased ParSonics' newly installed Dolby Atmos mixing capability

ParSonics Studios
Date: August 5-6, 2022
Country: USA
Venue: ParSonics Studios
Event: MCTS Level 3
Producer: Alan Parsons
Artist: Andie Bronstad
Engineer: Noah Bruskin
Media: Charlie Steves

Recording, and Immersive Mixing

A long awaited return to our master classes after health issues global and personal knocked us off our normal schedule. However the delays enabled us to mix this masterclass in glorious Dolby Atmos that Alan had just had installed at his personal recording facility, ParSonics.

'Immersive Audio' is the favored handle for a number of different formats and platforms from a myriad manufacturers now offering us an audio world 'beyond stereo'. Immersive Audio is beyond Surround in that it adds 'height' information in order to create a full ('immersive') spectrum of source points in a 360 degree environment - in front, behind, on top and everywhere all around and in between.

Right now, the leading immersive audio format is Atmos from Dolby, which has been around for a decade in the cinema market. Ever since Apple announced its support for Dolby Atmos in Apple Music in 2021, studios, producers, and artists have rightly begun to feel the need to climb aboard this bandwagon before becomes a runaway train... without them on board.

Which is where this masterclass came in.

Immersive or spatial audio is still predominantly a mixing format using tracks that have been recorded conventionally in mono or stereo. Day 1 saw Alan record the winner of Santa Barbara talent contest TeenStar, Andie Bronstad and her band of accomplished Berklee music school students on a new song from Bronstad. Initially coming in at well over five minutes, Alan's first assignment was to trim the number down to a fighting three and a half minutes, with Andie playing the new arrangement on acoustic guitar live in the control room.

Adding further excitement to the day Attendees got a sneak preview of the new Rhodes Mk8 electric piano - serial number 001 no less!.

Immersive audio is a complex subject. For a start, there are numerous formats on the market in addition to Atmos. Another complicating factor is that there are various quite distinct ways you can listen to an immersive mix: in a movie theater with maybe up to a hundred speakers, in a studio with a dozen speakers, in a home theater setting using a soundbar to bounce 'height' information off the ceiling, or 'binaurally' (i.e.using two speakers/headphones) with 360 degree sound being delivered via special encoding in the software.

On hand at the session was immersive audio expert David Reyes, who has been working with Alan Parsons and ASSR over the past year on a new online course entitled, appropriately enough, "Immersive Audio."

The Artist - Andie Bronstad

Not a lot is yet known about Andie Bronstad except that she is extremely talented but not quite turned 18. Andie won Santa Barbara's TeenStar contest, adjudicated by a constellation of luminaries including Randy Jackson and our own Alan Parsons was accompanied by her band featuring Trevor Hurvitz (guitar), Ben MacAvene (bass), Ashton Pelly (drums), and James Gotenhuis (keys). Influenced by Joni Mitchell (who's appearance at the Newport Jazz festival last month was truly astounding we eagerly look forward to witnessing more fine music from Andie at the beginning of her career.

Mixing With Alan Parsons

Mixing used to be something of a team sport. Band members would end up with their paws on the faders; invariably, the ones relating to their own instrument! No prizes for guessing in which direction they'd progressively creep as the session wore on. As Alan recounted with a sigh in the Art & Science Of Sound Recording video series: “Chaos.”

Although Alan uses an analog Neve 5088, over which several pairs of hands could certainly hover and on which you will definitely get to hear the true value of analog summing, this will still be a fully integrated mix recorded in ProTools using plug-ins and automation. That said, Alan always encourages attendees who are willing and interested to balance the track at various stages along the way. There's nothing quite like sitting at the controls of a Neve board mixing an Alan Parsons record with Alan offering words of encouragement and wisdom over your shoulder.

As discussed above, the mix day not only looked at stereo, but also Surround and Dolby Atmos; including the order in which different mix formats should be created. Katie and Alan

The Venue

ParSonics studio is situated on Alan Parsons' at his Tres Vientos Ranch in the hills above Santa Barbara. This state-of-the-art facility has a 32-channel Neve 5088 analog console, 5.1 monitoring through B&W 802 Diamond Loudspesakers, Dolby Atmos, and a selection of microphones collected by Alan over his 40+ year long career such as his Neumann U47 FET (Field-Effect Transistor) and British Coles 4038 ribbon mics as well as interesting newer items like the Neve RNR1 ribbon mic, personally given to Alan by Rupert Neve. Talk about bragging rights! The control room looks through to a generous sized tracking room with adjoining iso booths. The facility has its own luxurious green room and catering area; a spacious patio area overlooks the Pacific Ocean and can accommodate both dining and outside seminars. ParSonics was completed in 2018 and was used in the recording of Alan Parsons' album The Secret, released in 2019 and From The New World, released July 2022, both on the Frontiers label.

The Producer/Mixer

Alan Parsons was trained at Abbey Road Studios in London, working under the direction of Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick and Beatles producer George Martin. After working with The Beatles on Let It Be and Abbey Road Alan started working as a full-fledged engineer with Paul McCartney, Wings, George Harrison, and countless other artists who came to Abbey Road studios.

In 1972 Alan became the sole engineer working with Pink Floyd on Dark Side Of The Moon, a record which would go on to sell more than 45m copies. (Alan's legendary 'Quad' mix of Dark Side Of The Moon was finally included on the Immersion Edition 6 CD Boxed Set.)

Alan went on to become one of the most successful producers of the 1970s and 1980s, producing a string of hits with artists such as Pilot, Al Stewart, Ambrosia, Cockney Rebel, John Miles and of course The Alan Parsons Project, a concept created by himself and Eric Woolfson.

Post 'Project' Alan Parsons has continued to work as an independent producer with such artists as Jake Shimabukuro, Steven Wilson and Yes. Alan runs a highly successful touring band (The Alan Parsons Live Project).

July 15th 2022 Alan released his sixth solo album From The New World, much of which was recorded and all of which was mixed at ParSonics Studio. The new album features the track Give 'Em My Love, which was recorded at the Aug 2021 ASSR Master Class. The track, co-written by ASSR founding partner Julian Colbeck, features vocals by James Durbin and guitar solo by Joe Bonamassa.

Recommended Hotels:

  • Ritz-Carlton Bacara 8301 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117-2474 • (844) 631-0595 Upscale resort with fine dining. Very expensive!
  • Hilton Garden Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta 6878 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117 • (805) 562-5996. Very pleasant facility a short drive from the studio.
  • Pacifica Suites 5490 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara (805) 683-6722 Professional mid price option.
  • Motel 6 5897 Calle Real, Goleta, CA (805) 964-3596 Only a 2-star but clean and perfectly acceptable.


Friday August 5th, 2022

  • 09.30–10.00 Welcome, Registration. Coffee and pastries.
  • 10.00–11.00 Alan introduces Andie Bronstad & band, plays demos, discusses arrangement
  • 11.00–12.00 Miking the instruments
  • 12.00–12.30 Run-throughs
  • 12.30–1.30 Catered lunch with Alan and team on the patio
  • 1.30–2.30 Tracking session
  • 2.30–3.00 Breakout session: Showcase the new Rhodes Mk8
  • 3.00.00–4.30 Vocal and instrumental overdubs
  • 4.30–4.45 Tea break!
  • 4.45–6.30 Continue recording
  • Saturday August 6th, 2022

    • 09.30–10.00 Breakout session with David Reyes on the new Immersive Audio course over coffee and pastries.
    • 10.00–10.45 Review of Day 1's recording. Alan discusses the order of the mix formats
    • 10.45–12.45 Mixing
    • 12.45–1.45 Lunch with Alan and the team.
    • 1.45.00–2.15 Breakout session on Immersive Audio format options with David Reyes
    • 2.15–4.15 Mixing
    • 4.15–6.30 Mixing
    • 6.30–7.30 Drinks with Alan in the Green Room. Certificates.

    This class was sold out! See you at the next class, everyone.

    All enquiries to or to KEYFAX NewMedia on 1-800-752-2780