Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom, Redmond WA, USA (virtual only)
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): Jamie Howarth, John Chester, Plangent Processes
Every analog magnetic recording starts with a motor dragging a rusty strip of plastic over rollers and guides, across scraping metal parts. Unfortunately, every inconsistency in the speed of the tape as it traces this obstacle course distorts the music being recorded. The transport's various imperfections create an ever-changing matrix of speed variations, slow or fast, subtle or severe.
At worst, this results in the familiar warps and warbles known as 'wow" and "flutter." It can even (as in the famous case of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue") cause a perceptible tuning change over time.
Even the very best analog recordings - wherein the obvious wow and flutter are fairly well under control — are nevertheless affected by varying and shifting patterns of high frequency flutter, causing random beat frequencies to be introduced which seriously interfere with the natural harmonic structure of the musical material.
Until recently, there was no way to eliminate these defects and to regain the neutrality and transparency originally in the mix at the console output. With Plangent's unique combination of a wideband low-noise repro capture system and forward-thinking DSP it is possible to correct these artifacts.
The Plangent Process Playback System is a hybrid hardware/software package combining state of the art contemporary analog electronics coupled with unique digital signal processing.
It begins with an ultra-wideband low-distortion custom reproduce head and subsequent associated hand-wired preamp, followed by proprietary DSP that provides total speed stabilization and wow and flutter correction. This unique combination of integrated hardware and post-processing provides the archival mastering and preservation community a level of playback quality never before possible.
Join Jamie Howarth, President of Plangent Processes, and John Chester, Chief Transfer Engineer, as they take us through the invention and process of Plangent, with many examples of how it works.
They will show us an actual tape on an actual tape machine (remember those?) and show us the Plangent hardware capturing audio and bias. They will describe a simple case of the digital post-processing doing its thing, but some details are proprietary and won't be discussed.
The difference between the unprocessed music and a Plangent-processed version of the same music can be quite dramatic, and we'll hear examples of each.
The presentation is on Zoom (free registration through Eventbrite required to get the Zoom link; see URL), and non-Members are always welcome.
Posted: Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Location: Seattle Metro, WA, USA
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): Paul Hubert, James D. (jj) Johnston, Jim Rondinelli - Immersion Networks
Immersion Networks, the spatial audio innovators, are launching a cloud platform that allows anyone to upload tracks and mix them in a three-dimensional environment. Remarkably intuitive and affordable, mix3 by Immersion Networks (mixcubed.com; pronounced "mixcubed") is the first 3D audio mixing platform available to everyone—podcasters, content creators, producers, artists, and engineers--that lets them transform files into lush, intimate, headphone-ready mixes. These mixes can be appreciated without special hardware and distributed through streaming services.
The result of years of development, the Immersion Networks Mixtool was originally intended for a high powered studio workstation, but the realization that people weren't going into high powered studios anymore led to making a more decentralized offering. Immersion realized that by moving processing into the cloud, their tool would be accessible to a lot more people at a much lower cost. Not quite as driven by people not going into the studio, it was more about maximizing the impact of the tools with lower costs for all.
In use, Mixcubed is a cloud-based spatial audio mixer, taking mono (or stereo) stems, uploading them to the cloud and processing them there, while providing a simplified user interface in a browser window. Based on moving icons representing your tracks around a workspace with the listener in the center, computation takes place in the cloud, returning a stereo spatialized headphone mix. When the mix placement is complete (including relative levels, both direct and indirect in the virtual space), pressing the render button renders and returns a high quality (96/24) stereo file that is compatible with all players and distribution services. Although the target listener uses headphones, the resulting mixes work remarkably well on loudspeakers.
Mixcubed will be a subscription offering, with additional features (such as motion automation) delivered regularly.
The results are revolutionary.
See for yourself! Headphones recommended.
Other Business: Annual Section Business Meeting and Elections See: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/bio2021.htm for more information.
Posted: Sunday, May 23, 2021
Location: Seattle Metro area, Seattle, Washington, USA
Moderated by: Dan Mortensen
Speaker(s): Michael Lawrence & Jamie Anderson - Rational Acoustics
Smaart is an FFT-based audio analysis program. The name stands for System Measurement Acoustic Analysis Real-time Tool. Smaart can be used in many ways to examine sound systems in detail in order to diagnose and solve problems, and to confirm proper setup and operation. It can also be used to characterize the performance of and diagnose problems with the components of those sound systems, as well as components of the system's acoustic output itself and the space containing the sound. In many ways, the program's capabilities are only limited by the user's imagination, and this meeting will explore these capabilities and more.
Starting off with a brief history of FFT audio analysis, we'll look at how it got translated into audio use, and how Smaart came to be and to evolve into what it is today. Rational Acoustics' President Jamie Anderson, who has been present and active in much of the history of FFT audio analysis, will share some of that history with us.
Jamie and Michael Lawrence, Rational Acoustics' Application Support Specialist and Smaart SPL Product Manager, will guide us through some of the ways Smaart is used to assist in evaluating sound, both conventional and unconventional. This includes the idea of "sandbox engineering," which is using your available tools to design experiments that allow you to answer your own questions rather than waiting for someone else to answer them for you.
Our own Bob Smith will be on hand to share his experiences and usages of Smaart. Other attendees' experiences and usage stories will be welcomed.
This Zoom meeting is free to all, and free tickets are available at the Eventbrite link below. We require that all present use their real names in Zoom, mute your microphone and turn off your video during the presentation except when asking questions, and that each attendee gets tickets through Eventbrite (no account needed, no ticket sharing) so we can know how many people are going to attend. Our Zoom account has a finite capacity.
Other Business: Election notice: The following persons are nominated: Chair - Greg Dixon, Vice-Chair - Bob Smith, Secretary - Gary Louie, Treasurer - Lawrence Schwedler Section Committee: Jess Berg, Micah Hayes, James D. (JJ) Johnston, Dr. Michael Matesky, Dan Mortensen The actual election takes place at the June 2021 Meeting.
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Location: Seattle WA metro area (Zoom meeting)
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Bellew) - Babypantsmusic.com
Seattle-based artist Caspar Babypants has released 18 albums of clever, catchy, and irresistible music for children since 2009. The mastermind behind Caspar Babypants is Chris Ballew, who first gained national notoriety in the '90s with the group The Presidents of the United States of America. Ballew records and produces the Caspar Babypants albums at his studio where he works and occasionally collaborates with other musicians. Across his catalog of recordings he has created a unique high-fidelity sound with both acoustic and electronic instruments that remains remarkably consistent across all of his albums. At this meeting, participants will get a chance to learn from Ballew about his approach to recording albums and get an inside look at the artist at work in his studio. We encourage families, children, and people of all ages to attend this online meeting. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and talk with Ballew about his musical legacy.
WHO? Caspar Babypants is also known as Chris Ballew. Chris is the three time Grammy nominated songwriter and lead singer for the four times platinum Seattle based rock and roll band The Presidents of the United States of America.
WHAT? Caspar Babypants makes high quality, thoughtful, simple, acoustic sing along songs for parents and kids 0 to 6 years old to enjoy together. In addition he writes children's books with his wife Kate Endle. Kate illustrates the books and creates the cover art for the Caspar Babypants albums.
WHEN? Caspar began writing songs for kids in the summer of 2008 and put out his debut record in 2009. The 18th album "HAPPY HEART!" came out on 11/13/20. There are also a bunch of books written by Caspar and illustrated by his wife Kate Endle. "My Woodland Wish" and "Bunny Rabbit In The Sunlight" were published in 2011 and a third book called "Augie to Zebra" came out in 2012. There are two new books titles "Penguin On A Scooter" and "Ocean Motions" both of which came out in 2018.
WHY? Caspar says: "Having young children is a joyous and unforgettable experience. However, the home of new parents can also be a stressful, sleepless and nervous environment. That is why I make music that is a positive, helping component in the home and car where young families spend a lot of time together. I want to help parents sing to and with their children and provide a shared happy musical experience for the whole family. I specifically want to make music for newborn to 5 year old kids because I admire their associative, inventive imaginations and as an adult I nurture that same creativity and state on mind in myself." Caspar is also involved with several non-profits that focus on parent education and outreach to neglected and abused kids and homeless families.
WHERE? Caspar Babypants lives in West Seattle and Vashon Island by the beach and in the woods where the songs are.
Other Business: June Election Notice. If you're interested/willing to participate in the operation and activities of your Section, you can do so by serving on the Section Committee. If this interests you, please contact any Section officer or committee member for further details.
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2021
Location: Redmond WA, USA Via Zoom
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): Dr. Angela Dane, Atrocity Drums; Maria Garcia, multi instrumentalist & producer, Ryan Lee, multi instrumentalist and live sound engineer; Lillian Blair, Staff Engineer @ Vera Project
Note: the meeting time is Pacific Time, UTC -8.
AES PNW Section | March Meeting Notice
Diversity & Inclusion within the AES PNW Section
Dr. Angela Dane
Teacher, Writer, Musician, Producer
AES PNW Section
ZOOM MEETING 6:00PM PST (UTC -8)
Wednesday, 10 March, 2021
At the 133rd AES Convention (San Francisco, 2012), Karrie Keyes and Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato participated in the "Women of Professional Concert Sound" panel; SoundGirls was then established to provide women working in professional audio a community to come to for support and advice, and for empowerment and inspiration.
Dr. Angela Dane, our presenter, thinks the PNW Section could provide similar mentorship programs, perhaps in conjunction with the Audio Production Certificate program at UW, of which she is currently a student. As of now, there are zero women or people of color as instructors in the program.
Dr. Dane created the Facebook group Womxn & Audio (Seattle), to connect women and non-binary engineers and audiophiles and to learn from others' wisdom and experience without fear of intimidation or inherent bias. It began as a small group of 5 and quickly grew to 200. They have invited legendary engineers like Susan Rogers to speak to their group as well as holding masterclasses on the basics of audio, mixing, and mastering.
Professionals in the field, like Latin Grammy nominee Maria Elisa Ayerbe, have given demos of their mixing techniques and methods. On January 14th, Leslie Gaston-Bird, author of Women in Audio was interviewed by our group to discuss her research as well as the lack of representation of women of color in the field. Seattle is no exception in this regard. The group is extremely productive and encouraging, clearly responding to a demonstrated need within the community.
Dr. Dane's band, Atrocity Girl, built their own DIY studio at home, due to unfortunate incidents with male engineers in Seattle studios, including one who threatened their bassist, another who hit on their guitarist, and another who sent inappropriate Facebook messages and another commented — the moment the band walked in — "women are always wasting time talking." This immediately made everyone feel insecure and guarded. These four instances occurred in 2020, weeks apart, as they attempted to find a fit for their all-girl band to record their debut album.
Message from the AES Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs: Mary Mazurek and Cecilia Wu
This is a Zoom meeting, and your RSVP is required to attend.
The RSVP link and the presenter's bio sketches can be found at the AES PNW Section website: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw
Posted: Monday, March 1, 2021
Location: Around the Puget Sound, WA, via zoom
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): Bob Olhsson - Former Motown Engineer
Note: Meeting time is Pacific Time Zone!
Imagine being a fly on the wall at Hitsville Studios (aka Motown Studios). Bob Olhsson began his Motown Career in the cutting room at Hitsville where he interfaced with every part of the company: cutting, recording, mixing, and mastering. Gradually, he moved into doing all of those functions, while learning their unique approach to the record business. Remember, it was 1965 and studios were very homespun; the techniques we take for granted today were being invented!
It was truly an amazing wall, and an amazing time.
About Bob Olhsson
Bob Olhsson spent 7 years at Motown. While he was there, he recorded and mastered nearly 100 top ten singles including 42 #1s. One of only two people to hold every recording engineering position in the company, he worked on Stevie Wonder's first productions and Motown's first successful rock act, Rare Earth.
More to be found on our website. RSVP required to attend.
Posted: Sunday, February 7, 2021
Location: Redmond, WA - Via Zoom
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): James D. (JJ) Johnston - Chief Scientist, Immersion Networks
Posted: Friday, January 8, 2021
Location: Zoom Meeting, Seattle, WA USA
Moderated by: Greg Dixon
Speaker(s): Tom Fine - Tom Fine Audio Services
Our November meeting traces the technical history of one of the world's most highly regarded classical music labels. Recognized for a catalog of groundbreaking recordings from the 1950s and '60s, the label began to flourish in the early 1950s with the single-microphone technique to record an entire symphony orchestra. When stereo recording dawned in the mid-1950s, Mercury's technique evolved to 3 spaced omni-directional mics. The label focused on symphonic music with conductors Antal Dorati, Paul Paray, Howard Hanson and Rafael Kubelik, and on Frederick Fennell's pioneering Eastman Wind Ensemble. Among many firsts was a 1962 recording trip to Moscow, the first time an American crew recorded Russian musicians using American equipment. Long loved by vinyl collectors, Mercury Living Presence was entirely out of print at the beginning of the CD era. The original producer, Wilma Cozart Fine, was hired to remaster most of the stereo catalog and some mono titles for CD. In the past decade, Universal Music Group – Decca Classics, the current owner of Mercury Living Presence, brought back into print all of the 1990's CDs, plus 27 newly-remastered titles. In no prior era was this much of the catalog available at the same time! The full catalog will soon be available on the major streaming platforms, and new reissues are planned for 2021.
Tom Fine, son of Wilma Cozart Fine and C. Robert Fine (original producer and engineer), was consulting engineer and booklet co-author for two of the 3 CD box sets, and remastered 20 of the newly reissued CDs. He also oversaw all-analog LP reissues of two titles for Chad Kassem's Analogue Productions. In this presentation, he will detail MLP's progress from single-mic mono through the 3-spaced-omni stereo techniques. He will also discuss the 35mm mag-film recording medium and detail the 1990s CD reissue program and the more recent remastering projects.
Registration required. Please refer to our website: https://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2020
Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom, Redmond WA, USA
Moderated by: Jim Rondinelli
Speaker(s): Maureen Droney - Recording Academy; Dick Huey - SVP US, Jaxsta; Vickie Nauman - CrossBorder Works
This month's PNW Section meeting features a panel discussion with 4 media creation professionals. The entertainment industry was ill-equipped to handle the massive amounts of data generated by the shift from physical to digital distribution. The importance of metadata (data about data) is still mysterious to many content creators. Today, audio engineers are dependent on the logging of proper metadata in session records to insure proper credit for their work. In the near future, clean metadata will be necessary to guarantee proper payment for works in which they've participated.
We've brought together three of the industry's leading experts to share their stories and advice about metadata. We'll also discuss best practices for data capture as we learn more about this critical aspect of content creation and distribution.
Please join us for this exciting discussion
Posted: Monday, October 5, 2020
Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom, originating from Seattle metro area and Ashland OR.
Moderated by: Bill Gibson
Speaker(s): Sylvia Massy - Studio Divine
You've Never Ever Seen Anything Like This!
Sylvia Massy shows some of the most compelling, interesting, and extremely rare mics in her collection while sharing stories about the first 100 years of microphone development. And, she's going to let us hear some of her classic mics in action.
In addition to owning the largest microphone collection in the world, Sylvia maintains the world's largest library of original microphone documentation and supporting materials. She keeps over 1000 unique vintage microphone models in her studio and that's only a portion of her entire collection, which contains several historically significant and unusual microphones that simply don't exist anywhere else.
Join the AES PNW Section for this special online presentation. This is a unique opportunity to see and learn about some extremely fascinating and rare microphones, from one-of-a-kind prototypes to industry changing — Marconi-Reisz carbons to original Telefunkens, Neumann Gefells, to Amelia Earhart's Western Electric, from the Rauland Duo 1247 to the MGM church, and pretty much everything in between. You migh use microphones every day in your job, but you've never seen anything like this!
Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020