Parsonics Master Class February 2023


A Masterclass in Classic Recording & Modern Mixing
Two days of intensive recording and mixing with the legendary Alan Parsons at his renown Dolby Atmos studio in Santa Barbara

ParSonics Studios
Date: March 3/4 2023
Country: USA
Venue: ParSonics Studios
Event: MCTS Level 3
Producer: Alan Parsons
Artist: TBD
Engineer: Noah Bruskin
Media: Charlie Steves

Recording, and Immersive Mixing

A not-to-be-missed two days of recording and mixing at Alan Parsons' personal state-of-the-art recording facility in Santa Barbara. Each session is unique and, for many, life-changing. Use the session to learn or re-learn new recording techniques, or simply soak up the atmosphere of spending time recording and mixing with one of the word's legendary engineers and producers.

At this event the song to be recorded is out for tender from those who've been to MCTS events in the past or those who've taken one of ASSR's online courses. including Full Sail students. The chosen song (selected by Team ASSR) will be recorded by none other than the Alan Parsons Live Project band featuring seasoned session players such as GRAMMY winning keyboardist and arranger Tom Brooks, producer and bassist Guy Erez, and guitarist extraordinaire Jeff Kolman.

This session will initially focus on the nitty gritty of recording: the song and its arrangement. At this stage we don't know if the songwriter will be a current attendee or not but either way their ideas and wishes will be communicated to attendees. However Alan Parsons is the producer of the session and Lesson #1 will be that on a recording session it's always 'producer's call' should there be any disagreements!

Once the song structure is agreed upon Alan and his trusted second engineer Noah Bruskin will set mics; primarily for the drums but also, most likely for guitar, utilizing one of the iso rooms for a guitar cab. Bass and keys will almost certainly be DI-ed.

The key aspect of a live tracking session such as this is that the musicians can see and hear other sufficiently well to interact and create a unique basic feel for the track. This 'classic recording' technique pays dividends. It's also time-effective as once a take is in the bag you've now got three of four main parts recorded. No searching for loops on Splice at this class!

Instrumental overdubs and vocals will complete Day 1. At some stage during the day we will be recording with the Rode NT-SF1 Ambisonic mic that'll be featured in a new ASSR online course on Immersive Audio.

Day 2, unless some emergency parts still need to be added, will focus on mixing. Although this is a ProTools studio, Alan will actually 'mix' i.e. in terms of levels and prime EQ, on the Neve 5088 console. Plug-ins will still be essential though and Noah Bruskin is always happy to share his latest installations and reasons why.

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. You'll get to hear the mix in stereo, Surround and Dolby Atmos. This is a still constantly evolving process and you 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.

If you need help blending today's various mix formats, their optimum levels, which channels to use and more, you're coming to one of the most qualified studios in the world.

At the end of Day 2 there will be an informal reception with drinks and light snacks, where you can pick up your certificate and spend a pleasant hour or so with Alan and Team ASSR. Alan will be happy to take photos and sign records for those with a nice collection of Alan Parsons Project vinyl etc.

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.

Schedule

Friday March 3rd, 2023

  • 09.30–10.00 Welcome, Registration. Coffee and pastries.
  • 10.00–11.00 Playback of song / demo with group discussion on arrangement
  • 11.00–12.00 Miking drums and guitar, setting up other instruments for the tracking session
  • 12.00–12.30 Tracking session
  • 12.30–1.30 Catered lunch with Alan and team on the patio
  • 1.30–2.30 Vocals
  • 2.30–4.30 Instrumental overdubs
  • 4.30–4.45 Tea break!
  • 4.45–6.30 Final overdubs
  • Saturday March 4th, 2023

    • 09.30–10.00 TBD
    • 10.00–10.45 TBD
    • 10.45–12.45 TBD
    • 12.45–1.45 Lunch with Alan and the team.
    • 1.45.00–2.15 TBD
    • 2.15–4.15 TBD
    • 4.15–6.30 TBD
    • 6.30–7.30 Drinks with Alan in the Green Room. Certificates.

    The last class at ParSonics was sold out two weeks prior to the class! Book as soon as you can if you're interested in coming.

    Tickets for March 3rd & 4th,
    Recording Day $1199 or $2199 for both days.

    Purchase your tickets for March 3rd, Recording Day $1199

    Purchase your tickets for March 4th Mix Day ($1099)

    Purchase your tickets for both March 3rd & 4th ($2199)

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