Recording Master Classes in Santa Barbara, Live + Online!

Recording & Mixing It Up: Live and Livestreamed!
Alan Parsons Opens His ParSonics Studio for a Virtual and in-Person Master Class

ParSonics Studios
Date: August 13-14, 2021
Country: USA
Venue: ParSonics Studios
Event: MCTS Level 3
Producer: Alan Parsons
Engineer: Noah Bruskin
Event Manager: Terry Shields
Event Producer: Julian Colbeck

Back in the Saddle

The popular MCTS master classes, hosted by the 'master of sound' Alan Parsons himself, return in August with a 2-day mix of live in-person seats plus livestreamed, on-line seats for those who can't make the trip right now.

Regardless, this will be an unforgettable experience. You'll come away knowing more, armed with tips and tricks, and with quite possibly a completely new perspective on the realities of recording and mixing music intended for public consumption (aka released/successful).

And there's a good reason for this. You'll spend two days with Alan Parsons, not just listening to him tell you how great he is and what he did back in the day, but actually working with him now - recording musicians, setting mics, EQ-ing a guitar, voting on a particular take or part, i.e. things one would expect to encounter on a real recording session.

Which, of course, this is. That's the whole point. Live musicians will be present, along with a song, and you'll help Alan turn that into a recording arrangement and a production.

On Day Two you'll mix what you recorded the day before. Normally, Alan will do a 5.1 mix and a stereo mix. As a recent GRAMMY winner in the Immersive Audio category, it's always fascinating to see what factors come into play when Alan's mixing music beyond the confines of Left And Right.

Livestreamed Seats: For those attending online, you'll be there every step of the way (lunch, drinks and plain 'hang time with Alan' aside of course). You'll get to experience, hear and participate in all aspects of the class, including a virtual tour of ParSonics before the session starts on Day 1. At the end of the class you'll be delivered full bandwidth audio files so you can review all the work that took place. Registration and login details will be sent to you the week before the event.

Limited Live Attendance: For reasons that don't need to be stated, we are limiting live attendance to just 10 seats per day for the event. For everyone's safety and peace of mind we also require that attendees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Alan Leading

Take Our On-Line "Summer Program" for free!

Starting August 1st, ASSR-Online has a special "Summer Program" comprising 10 lesson modules from our popular online course, the Fundamentals of Recording & Music Production.

Signing up for either a live or an in-person ticket to this event gives you access to the course (regular price $295) for free. Details will be sent to you once your purchase has been processed.

The Music and the Musicians

Everything starts with the song and at this Master Class the song has been written by none other than Alan’s long-time friend and ASSR co-founder Julian Colbeck.

Before migrating to the world of writing about music production, Julian was already a successful keyboard player, songwriter and producer in his own right. As a member of the rock band Charlie, Julian co-wrote and co-produced multiple Top 100 albums and Top 50 singles including LA Dreamer and Watching TV. Julian later joined the John Miles Band - John Miles of the Alan Parsons produced classic, Music. He also toured and recorded with Yes iteration Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and recorded and co-wrote extensively with Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. He is currently arranging and producing the soundtrack album for a new musical, Equinox.

Julian’s playing career began with the intriguingly named ‘Greep’ who was signed to boutique UK label, Charisma Records, in 1973. In another of several career coincidences, Steve Hackett was also a Charisma signing, both with Genesis and as a solo act, and Alan Parsons’ debut album Tales Of Mystery and Imagination came out on Charisma in 1976. Both Charlie and The Alan Parsons Project subsequently released albums on the LA based Janus label before both being picked up by Clive Davis' Arista in 1979.

Julian and Alan didn't actually meet until 1985, on a session for British duo Vitamin Z’s debut album, with Alan as producer and Julian as keyboard player. Fast forward three years and Julian joined ABWH as second keyboardist on their extended world tour to promote the band’s eponymous album. In 1993 the band went on to record The Symphonic Music of Yes, produced by none other than A. Parsons Esq. and also featuring Julian on keys. (Interestingly, this album is being reissued July 30th on Voiceprint.)

It’s now been almost thirty years since the pair have worked together on a pure music project and several people in the ASSR camp felt it was high time this was rectified.

Spearheading the A-list musicians on the session will be Alan’s arranger, musical director and keyboardist Tom Brooks, a Grammy award winning arranger and producer with 6 Platinum and 18 Gold Albums to his credit.

In the rhythm section will be Danny Thompson and Guy Erez, both long-serving Alan Parsons Live Project super sidemen with a slew of recording and touring credits to their names. Plus they’re tight as hell. You’ll really enjoy this dynamic duo.

Finally, on guitar, will be Jeff Marshall, top-flight session guitarist (including with Alan Parsons) and faculty member at Hollywood’s Musician Institute.

Santa Cruz native James Durbin was first discovered by Alan Parsons in 2010 when he sang on what became the trailer for The Art & Science Of Sound Recording video series. Shortly thereafter James auditioned for American Idol Season 10, got through, and went on to reach the Top 4. Subsequently, James has enjoyed a multi-faceted vocal career on stage and in the studio, generating a raft of solo albums plus a stint as the lead singer with Quiet Riot.

James is a quite outstanding talent, with a range (note and style-wise) the envy of all who hear him.

In addition to being a stellar lead vocalist and front man, James is also a highly skilled musician, capable of creating powerful and imaginative backing vocal arrangements seemingly in seconds flat. Well, perfectly in tune, actually!

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. 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 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' most recent album The Secret, released on the Frontiers label May 2019. Another album, slated for a 2022 release, is in the wings.

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).

In 2019 Alan released his fifth solo album The Secret, much of which was recorded and all of which was mixed at ParSonics Studio.

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 13th, 2021