Meeting Topic: Tracking Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Speaker Name: John Hanlon
Meeting Location: University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA
This meeting we had the pleasure of hosting guest lecturer John Hanlon, an accomplished recording/mixing engineer, most notable for working with Neil Young. Fresh out of sessions for Neil Young and Crazy Horse's latest record, "Americana", John presented to us an intimate gaze into what went into the completely nontraditional sessions. Starting with the months of pre-production, to the puzzle of setting up a live to multi-track session in Young's house, John took us through what went into satisfying Young's expectations. Using pictures and diagrams, he revealed how he set up a typical living room space to record an entire band, including drums and vocals, all playing at once. *This included monitors that reinforced the vocals, and a subwoofer reinforcing the kick drum. On top of that, he described the control room, set up in a bedroom. This featured several vintage analog consoles, tape machines, a pro-tools rig, and outboard gear. While a signal flow nightmare, John was able to maintain an organized studio. Extensive planning, pre-production, and having a dependable, hard-working assistant were all credited to the success of the sessions.
We were lucky enough to hear a sneak preview of the record, including tracks from the blu-ray disc with 24bit, 192kHz audio. From the listening, it was clear that the extreme tracking method was not just to satisfy Young's requests, as the sonic character lent by the vintage gear resulted in a uniquely raw sound.
We'd like to thank John Hanlon for coming and sharing his expertise and experiences. It truly provided us all with a new perspective on how recordings can be made