Santa Barbara MCTS July 19/20, 2024


Introducing "Music Production Workshops" at ParSonics!

ParSonics Studios
Date: July 19-20, 2024
Country: USA
Venue: ParSonics Studios
Event: MCTS Level 3
Producer: Alan Parsons
Artist: James Durbin and others
Engineer: Noah Bruskin

Introducing our new Music Production Workshops!

The word 'master' and even 'masterclass' now seem a little outdated, and out of whack with today's needs and sensibilities. Do you really want to become a 'master?' Wouldn't you rather just validate and flesh out your knowledge so you can flex your muscles whenever you need?

Being a producer in 2024 is also less about dictats and issuing unchallengeable directions and more about collaboration; quite possibly even as far back as writing - and certainly arranging - the song.

To reflect these changes in attitude and aspiration we're making our live training events broader and more inclusive.

In 2023 we launched a song search for one of our session and the song that won (from then Full Sail student and currently LA studio intern!) Steffie Anthony Tjandra, was and is a real joy and is currently being prepared for release, complete with a new music video.

This workshop will start with an examination of 'The Song.' Alan knows a bit about good songs. He assisted on the recording of McCartney's Maybe I'm Amazed, on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, engineered Dark Side Of The Moon of course, produced innumerable hit singles and albums, and co-wrote (or in the case of Sirius wrote by himself) countless incredible songs for the Alan Parsons Project. And he's still at it. All Our Yesterdays, which is the featured song on the ASSR Art & Science Of Sound Recording video series and online course, is a modern masterpiece.

Labels used to like to say "all we need to hear is someone whistling a song and we can tell if it's a hit." Right. One of but many pieces of utter balderdash record companies would have us believe. For a feast song to be a hit it first needs to be arranged well. This includes the feel, the key, the tempo, the structure in terms of when and how verses, chorusses, and breaks occur, and what instrument plays what when. Without these properly in place your recording - even if of a great song - can still sound dull and uninteresting. And it WON'T be a hit.

Next on our workshop schedule we'll get down to the nitty gritty of recording, to include any and all of tracking session with live musicians, miking drums, guitars, and in particular, vocals.

With a basic track in the bag we'll do instrumental overdubs, record vocals with American Idol star James Durbin, and talk about vocal chains and vocal arrangements - BVs versus harmonies?. Nowadays, like it or not, vocal tuning (AutoTune or Melodyne) has become a must. At this point our resident ProTools wizard Noah Bruskin will come to the fore and amaze you with his his tuning prowess so that you can achieve digital perfection without the 'autotune effect' unless that's what we're going for.

At some stage during Day 1 we'll also venture outside for some field recording using the interesting 3Dio binaural mics.

Mixing will be both in / for stereo and Dolby Atmos. We have enticed David Reyes from his Boise Idaho lair to lead a technical intro to immersive before Noah and Alan wheel out the renderer.

The Rare, the Rad, and the Difficult

ParSonics Studios

Alan Parsons In Your Mix

Recording is where it all begins. Mixing is generally where it ends, unless you're doing your own mastering that is.

Although we'll be mixing the material that's been recorded the day before, Alan is also keen that everyone (who wants to) can get their fingers on faders, and EQ or processing controls at his trusty Neve 5088, including, potentially, working on some of the incredible work he's been commissioned to do recently.

ParSonics Studios

Immersed in Immersive

As mentioned earlier, we'll not only be mixing in stereo but also immersively, in Dolby Atmos. David Reyes is the course author of our latest online course Immersive Audio that you can read more about in the ASSR Online course pages

Multi Mix

ParSonics is now a fully equipped (though not to theater levels) Dolby Atmos studio. Alan uses B&Ws, now supplemented by side and ceiling mounted speakers. New formats are still constantly evolving and one couldn't be in better hands than Alan Parsons, who has long championed multi-format mixes from the early days of Quad (on Dark Side Of The Moon), through ambisonics, Surround (for which Alan won the Best Immersive Album GRAMMY in 2019), and now Dolby Atmos, and Noah Bruskin, who's grasp of these new sonic adventures is both detailed and deeply practical.

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.

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.

Schedule

Friday July 19th, 2024

  • 09.30–10.00 Welcome, Registration. Coffee and pastries.
  • 10.00–10.15 Introductions
  • 10.15–11.00 Alan / Julian 'songwriting' interview w Project demos and masters
  • 11.00–12.30 James Durbin - creating arrangement for his new song 'Lights Out'
  • 12.30–1.30 Catered lunch with Alan and team on the patio
  • 1.30–3.00 Recording guitars (including binaural mics/re-amping)
  • 3.00–3.10 Tea Beak
  • 3.10–5.00 Recording Vocals and any additional overdubs
  • 5.00–6.00 Vocal tuning w Melodyne and/or processing
  • 6.30–7.00 Drinks with Alan Parsons and Team ASSR in the Green Room
  • Saturday July 20th, 2024

    • 09.30–10.00 Review yesterday's work
    • 10.00–12.45 Complete vocals and Vocal tuning session
    • 12.45–1.45 Lunch with Alan and the team.
    • 1.45.00–2.15 Mixing in stereo
    • 2.15–3.15 Tutored talk "Challenges and Opportunities of Immersive Audio," including where AI fits into the picture!
    • 4.15–6.30 Approaches to mixing in Dolby Atmos
    • 6.30–7.30 Drinks with Alan in the Green Room. Photos, signings, Certificates.

    Tickets for July 19th & 20th,
    Recording Day $1199 or $2199 for both days.

    We are now sold out! Please contact julian@keyfax.com if you want to get on a waiting list

    Purchase your tickets for July 19th, Recording Day $1199

    Purchase your tickets for July 20th Mix Day ($1099)

    Purchase your tickets for both July 19th & 20th ($2199)

    All enquiries to info@artandscienceofsound.com or to KEYFAX NewMedia on 1-800-752-2780