Gear Paradox: More is worse! For every piece of gear used between your sound source
and your ears, you only introduce a probability for error. Fidelity exists in
choosing the right tool and only the right tool for the specific function.
To learn how I like to use gear, click “the process”.
- Analogue-Digital conversion: Firewire Interface Presonus FireStudio 10x10
(Software - Logic PC) - Preamplifaction: Art’s DMPA Gold Tube/High Plate
Voltage preamp. [Upgraded with Mullard 12AX7 tube branded ROGERS. Made in Great
Britain in May 1967.] - Compression: TCS Art optical compressor with Tube gain
stage. (live applications)- Monitors: Behringer Truth 2031
- Microphones: Condensors:ADK – Vienna (vintage German sound)ADK –
A51 Audio Technica - 3035 Shure BG 4.1 small diaphragm Shure PG8.1 small diaphragm
Dynamics: Shure sm58 x2 Shure sm57 Shure pg drum kit mics Astatic Vintage (1950s)
Ribbon: Apex 15 Amplifiers: Fender twin reverb (1974) (refurbished components)
Traynor Bass Mate II (1970) (with Celestion greenback speaker) Acoustic Instruments:
1997 Martin HD-28 Guitar 1960 Epiphone 12-string Guitar 1937 C-37 Gibson Flat
top Mandolin 1906 Strad copy, Violin Hand made Cello Synth- Roland SH-201 Drum
Kit – custom built Maple Canwood LoopStation Roland-RC-50
Don Brownrigg Tanya Davis Dammien Alexander Archie Gillis Amelia Curran Wheeler
Feral Bliss Jenn Grant CoolDad Night Owls Troy Arsenault Dan Voltan Andrea
Curry Becky Simon Jordan Croucher Trobiz Caledonia Night Owls Troy Arsenault
The Studio Environment Softwood warmth is the sonic aesthetic of this space.
All our lives we’ve been astounded by the relationship of wood and sound.
Here we’ve designed the walls to absorb and reflect sound energy using
a limp suspension framing design and a spaced wood surface. (See image below)
These walls provide excellent reverberant attenuation (in both the low and
high frequency range) to ensure clarity in recordings. Yet any remaining reflections
(you can never get them all) have been sifted through the wood spaces and
retransmitted in a very round and warm fashion characteristic of wood itself.
Combine this effect with a warm microphone and tube preamp combination and
we’re happy listeners.
Philosophy: Simplify.Listen first, think second. Cherish and love the sound
source. Keep asking, “What would waves do?”
Experiment with insight. Fathom the spaces between the lowest and highest
frequencies and lowest and highest volumes.
Feel the music in technicolours. Microphone placement outweighs microphone
choice. Microphone choice is very important.
Tubes are limited and beautiful. “The Midrange is the key” –
Bob Katz The Recording Process Engineering Summary: Simplify.
Sound source refinement and equalization are very important. Find the sound
that is worth recording. Place the mic where it sounds best and listen for
room reverb/bleed control; strive to capture only the direct field waves and
choose the most appropriate kind of microphone. Don’t forget about impedance
settings (it makes a big difference). Be cautious of multiple mics picking
up the same sound. There is always interference.
“The perfect mix requires no master” - Bob Katz Neutralize the
monitors and the control room to ensure the sound you hear is as white as
possible. The art and science of blending instruments is challenging but exciting.
Many different mixing techniques and secrets exist. The most importance aspects
overlapping frequencies: Instrument clarity is compromised if there is competition
for specific places in the sound spectrum. Recognise there is limited room
in the mix for everything. Don’t rest until you know what should take
precedence and why. Listen, scrutinize, and compare famous recordings made
by genius engineers - these records hold a wealth of useful information. Compression:
Compression is a beautiful and sophisticated tool, however it impedes dynamic
range. Use it cautiously. Be confident in knowing why the settings are the
way they are. The knobs do change the sound, even if it takes a while to hear
The stereo image: Locating instruments in a stereo image is fascinating and
exciting. Explore panning and pre-delay, and how together they can clarify
the stereo image. Strive for 3D – it can be done!
The last step to polish, balance and perfect the sound image. Experience dominates.
Neutral environments, tool knowledge, and critical judgment are your best
Who: Donald Mackay (P. Eng/musician) Aaron Sinclair (Asst eng/musician)
What: A warm, private, and conditioned atmosphere facilitating creativity.
Live sound services as well.
When: The studio has been functional since 2005. It’s open all year
around, but plan ahead as Mackay enjoys traveling.
Where: Close to the bridge on North St. Halifax on the corner of Wood Ave.
(5440 North St.)
Why: We love the concept and practice of recording, production and mixing,
science and art, building community ties and birthing exciting new products
for musical artists.
Hourly, 25$ with Engineer, 15$/hr without Engineer
Prices are subject to change. If you have an idea, or
are interested in the space for a certain project, feel free to present your
notion. We’re flexible.