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OUT OF THIS WORLD
 
The dawn of a new era with audio recordings from Mars: Are You Prepared?
 


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The phrase Spatial Audio takes on new meaning this week as audio recordings are starting to be released from Perseversance’s EDL camera and microphone subsystem as it begins its search for life on Mars.

Music has long been used to express and give emotional support to our fascination with space, from Holtz’s The Planet Suite to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, to Bowie’s Life On Mars – recorded exactly fifty years ago, with its many now-uncomfortably precient lyrical references.

Congratulations to DPA microphones for supplying the 4006 Omni mics (we’re not sure if this was the system that captured with first Martian wind, but it’ll surely come into play at some stage if Perseverance’s lead engineer at JPL, Dave Gruel (truly) has anything to say about it.

Low Resonance
We wonder if Perseverance’s ‘ears’ will be able to detect any Martian Schumann Resonances or indeed detect planet Earth’s 7.83Hz monster sub-bass tone but such matters continue to fascinate ASSR’s Alan Parsons, who played his space-sounds-focused One Note Symphony at NASA’s 50th Anniversary Apollo 11 mission back in 2019 at Cocoa FL back in 2019, supported by Neil Armstrong’s son Rick Armstrong and his prog rock outfit Edison’s Children. You can’t make this stuff up! 

 

 
Don’t miss the ASSR-Online Recording Course FREE Trial!

And speaking of not making stuff up, how is your knowledge of audio? No, seriously. Wouldn’t you like to feel confident about technical terms, processes, how to use pre-delay and the best way to record a kick drum…?

Well you can.

Enroll in ASSR’s online recording course www.artandscienceofsound.com/assr-online and be prepared to turbocharge your knowledge of recording. With a renewed level of interest in all things audio you’ll thank your lucky stars you did.

The value might be Sun and Moon but the cost is absolutely down to earth. ASSR-Online is simply the best value course of its kind on the planet (or any other, so far as we know–but that could change!). Not only does it come with 26 lesson modules to get you up-to-warp-speed with acoustics, consoles, microphones, EQ, compression, delays and reverbs and more, there’s a ton of music multitracks to download and play with, quizzes to take, private forums to surf and post on, and much more.

And if you’re still skeptical, enlist in the FREE Trial where you can browse and take the entire first lesson module.


Alan Parsons in a world of his own from ASSR-Online’s video lesson module on Computers & Digital Audio. 


 
BEATLE (INSPIRED) MANIA
Get a suite of amazing products from ASSR normally priced at $338 for just $129!


 

It’s been A Hard Spring’s Year, to twist Ringo Starr’s comment-turned-song- album-movie A Hard Day’s Night by the Fab Four more than 50 years ago.

The Beatles inspired a generation back then and their legacy continues to inspire music and musicians to this day.

London’s Abbey Road studios, The Fabs’ spiritual home and crucible for almost all of their recorded work, was both home and home school to Alan Parsons. Alan went to work at the studio as a lowly tape op on what would become the albums Abbey Road and Let It Be and emerged a decade later having engineered Dark Side Of The Moon and produced a string of hits for countless artists including himself as The Alan Parsons Project.

Talk about an inspiration.

So this month, to give you something to watch, do, read, enjoy and work with, we’ve put together a media mix of Abbey Road related goodies and slashed its price by over 60%!

First, the watching and learning…

Downloadable Videos

In 2015, we spent two weeks at Abbey Road hosting a pair of recording sessions and master classes produced by Alan Parsons in Studio 3. Everything was filmed and we subsequently released two lengthy Video On Demand videos that give you immersive, blow-by-blow insight into an Alan Parsons recording session. If you want to know how a professional recording session is conducted—what happens when, who does what, how long should you spend on…? This is how to find out. These are unapologetically lengthy videos that don’t gloss over any aspects of a session so, perfect things to watch when you have a bit of time on your hands.

Abbey Road Video On Demand Session 1 (8 hrs 46 mins)

Abbey Road Video On Demand Session 2 (9 hrs 37 mins)



Now the doing…

Raw Multitracks

Load the actual raw session files from these two Abbey Road sessions into ProTools® direct (or load the raw wave files into any other DAW) and get to work! The two artists at the above sessions were Edward, an interesting folky / rocky band from Sweden led by singer, writer and pianist Johan Lagerstrom Pollack and Fish On Friday, a prog rock institution in their homeland of Belgium. At the session the band was augmented by bass monster Nick Beggs and British prog rock stalwart John Mitchell on guitar.

These two premium “Session Files” not only let you climb inside an Alan Parsons session but also into the ’sound‘ of Abbey Road and comprise the folder of 88.2kHz wave files, .ptx file, full track sheet with instrumentation, microphones used and session notes and photos from the session.

Getting behind the wheel on sessions like these you’ll find is a highly educational and also exhilarating experience.

Session File Dogs by Edward Session File The World’s A Stage by Fish On Friday

Some light and enjoyable reading…

the BookBook

If the downloadable videos and raw multitracks give you a bird's eye view into how Abbey Road looks and sounds today, Kenneth Womack’s brilliant book Solid State, The Story Of Abbey Road And The End Of The Beatles transports you back to the 1970s where their time making Beatles music was coming to an end but their legacy and enduring influence began to take shape and take off.

With a foreword by Alan Parsons, who was there working with The Beatles at the time, Womack captures the tone and tenor of the era like you’re in the room, as the world’s most captivating recording artists' conjoined careers come to a close. The total price for all of these is a worthy $338.64.

 
But for a limited time only were taking out the machete and offering this ASSR

BEATLE (INSPIRED) MANIA
package at just $129.00!

   


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Dateline: April 28 2020
The magic of video that the public sees when a band ‘big’ or other, or cast of thousands of singers appear to performing together at the same time over the internet is of course just that. You can’t have multiple performances over the internet in real time, in sync.

There’s a variety of ways to seem to be achieving this feat and last weekend Alan Parsons and recent MCTS vocal star David Pack delivered a beautiful performance of The Beatles' Tell Me What You See for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Fund to assist those on the front line in the fight against against Covid-19.

David took the lead on this and simply recorded (on video and audio in ProTools) his part, which he then sent to Alan as two tracks of audio (vocal and guitar) with his accompanying iPhone video. With his trusty engineer Noah Bruskin safely in his own home in Santa Barbara, driving Alan’s ProTools session remotely using TeamViewer (’a bit slow and fuzzy so Noah couldn’t work at his usual lightning fast pace,” says Alan), Alan then miked up his own voice and acoustic guitar and played along to David’s track. They didn’t use a click, just a count-in as you can hear on the broadcast.

A sprinkling of reverb on the vocals and that was about it, a quick balance, and that was about it. David didn’t hear or see Alan until Alan had recorded his part.

Even once the current health/isolation crisis is over no one is going to forget this in a hurry nor figure that it can’t happen again. But even though we won’t be able change the laws of physics, we will get better at these domesticated concerts. Whether it’s Paul McCartney in his kitchen (does he really keep a Rhodes in there?), Elton John in his shrubbery, or Eddie Vedder on his harmonium ’somewhere,’ this might not become the new norm exactly but it will become commonplace and we will - and dare I say need to - get better at it.

We’ll be offering more thoughts on options, equipment and more in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Dateline: April 24 2020
Exactly what is the nature of learning? You don't suddenly get infused with knowledge. Knowledge and aptitude comes by studying what others have done, or are doing, and then... doing it yourself.

So what does a conventional classroom offer that a virtual classroom doesn't? A conventional classroom is, firstly, a space. OK, let's look at that. What (else) is in this space? Is it hot, cold, drafty, cramped? Does it have a distracting view, at which it's easy to gaze? Does it have a distracting view of other people, at who it's also tempting to gaze?

Then there's the deliverer of your education. No matter if they're a genius. Did you manage to catch everything they said?

What was that? "Most people find a 57 Magnum best on a snare" 'Is that some sort of shotgun mic?'

"Singers love reverb." What, you mean like the website?

You can't rewind a teacher. And if you constantly ask for something to be clarified or repeated you'll soon become the class pain.

Flippin' heck!

We're living in a time where whole school systems, never mind individual classrooms have been flipped on their heads. Change is scary. Especially when preceded by a complete stop. But times like these are also precious moments where we have a bit of space to re-assess, re-examine, see if 'actually' there is a better way of doing something. Maybe we can turn adversity into advantage?

The process of learning is the transfer of knowledge. There are many types of knowledge generator: teachers, tutors, guides, masters, peers, authors, presenters and program makers. But there's only one you. You know how quickly you can grasp a concept or how long it takes you to perfect a skill. No matter how the learning process is being conducted, there's a distance between giver and receiver and between the giving and the 'getting.' There always has been.

Distance learning as a concept is nothing to be afraid of. Teachers will always be needed, whether they're standing in front of a class or standing in front of an iPhone.

Long before the current health crisis that decimated the 2020 Academic School Year there's been a steady stream of products and technologies that are closing the physicality gap. Digital Audio Workstations are virtual recording studios. VSTs are virtual instruments (would we really like to go back to heaving an actual Hammond B3 around with us?). We now have virtual mics, and virtual rooms thanks to 'impulse response' technology.

Thanks to Facebook Live or Zoom or Google Hangouts you can be your own virtual teacher. But you still need a support network of materials to show and tell much as you do or did in your real classroom or school studio.

Now is the time not to be afraid but to get on top of or ahead of the technology.

All learning is distant. Technology, actually, is helping to make it less so.