A string of up-and-coming record producers and musicians attended the Creative Audio Production workshops which were recently hosted by Prism Sound and Metropolis Group in Liverpool Sound City, featuring expert advice from acclaimed producer/engineer Josh Blair (Duran Duran, Beyonce) and Metropolis mastering engineer Mazen Murad (Muse, Duffy).
A wide range of recording and mixing techniques were covered during the two-day event, which was also supported by a number of other pro-audio companies including PMC, DPA, Neumann and FX Rentals. Prism Sound and Metropolis Group put together a comprehensive recording set-up for a four-piece session band (drums, guitar, bass and vocals) to allow Blair to record and mix original material.
"When Prism Sound asked me to get involved, I jumped at the opportunity to share my knowledge with other people,” Blair reveals. “It was great to see that so many people are still interested in recording real people, with real instruments, in real rooms, with real top-end gear."
Day one focused on mic techniques which saw Blair recording the musicians with various microphones (Sennheiser, DPA, Neumann and Shure) into mic amplifiers (API, SPL, and Prism Sound Maselec MMA-4XRs), and then onto a Pro Tools HD system with a Prism Sound ADA-8XR Pro Tools HD I/O solution.
Day two covered mixing techniques using the recordings from day one, which was primarily carried out in-the-box with analogue output bus processing via Maselec MEA-2 and MLA-2 processors. Murad also delved into the craft of mastering and carried out a live workshop using SADiE 6, Prism Sound ADA-8XR I/O, and MEA-2 and MLA-2s, with main monitoring via PMC IB2s.
“Doing this workshop was exciting for me to share tips on mastering and shed some light on all the different facets of mastering today,” Murad explains. “I wish there were workshops like this when I started as a young engineer. It was also fantastic to have the whole process there from recording, mixing to mastering a song.”
David J Pichilingi, festival director of Liverpool Sound City, says the addition of the workshops was a total success all round.
“They were filled from morning until night with musicians and technicians from all areas of the international music business,” he insists. “The feedback was hugely positive. One person in particular told me he learned more in 30 minutes than he had learned in three years on his Sound Technician Degree programme! We look forward to working with them again in the future.”