Mario Spinetti produces a 25-piece Choir for "Amen To The People"

Composer and producer Mario Spinetti brought a choir of 25 singers to the mezzanine on an evening in December to record his composition, "Amen To The People" with Dubway engineer Adrian Thorstensen.

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According to Spinetti, "'Amen to the People' is a song written for every man, woman, and child wanting to raise a voice in the name of oneness. And so at our session, the task was to offer a song – a singable song – to express the belief that separateness is an illusion: that we're all one, and that we're all love."

Watch a clip of these beautiful voices coming together below:

PREMIERE: "A Dubway Christmas" - Happy Holidays from Dubway Studios

This past month, our staff came together to write and record a song for this holiday season – our gift to you.

We present Holiday Nostalgia (A Dubway Christmas):

Happy Holidays from our Dubway family to yours! See you in 2017!

Dubway-Holiday

Credits: Written by Erica Rabner, Produced by Russell Castiglione, Engineered by Andrew Gualtieri, Mixed by Bea Go.
Vocals: Erica Rabner, Bea Go | Guitars: Al Houghton, Bailey Aldrich, Ben Lapidus, Hayden O'Leary | Piano: Russell Castiglione | Drums: Ben Lapidus | Bass: Zac Suskevich

Dyllan - Sea Anemones

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This summer, independent singer-songwriter Dyllan stopped by Dubway Studios to mix and master her upcoming EP, "All Those Other Windows." The first single, Sea Anemones (mixed by Adrian Thorstensen and mastered by Mike Judeh) has just been released on SoundCloud here.

Dyllan (Dylan Nichols) is an alternative pop artist and Los Angeles native that describes herself as "an honest, passionate lyricist with deep and original music."

Dave Soldier Collaborates with Elena Mindlina

Composer and musician Dave Soldier is back in our studios working on the new classical album featuring opera singer Elena Mindlina.

Soldier, who leads a double life as a musician and neuroscientist and Columbia University, composes music in a variety of genres from experimental avant-garde to classical to jazz. Most of his work is collaborative, with projects including the Thai Elephant Orchestra consisting of 14 elephants in northern Thailand, the cult Delta-punk band the Kropotkins, the Soldier String Quartet, the Brainwave Music Project, and coaching children to compose their own music in Harlem, Brooklyn, and Guatemala.

elena mindlina

Elena Mindlina is a Russian-born soprano singer whose recent endeavors include touring Russia earlier this Spring in collaboration with pianist and composer Ivan Alexandrov. Aside from opera singing, Mindlina teaches voice and violin at her private studio in New York, as well as giving masterclasses in vocal technique in various Russian observations.

D. D. Jackson producing Hunter College's Pop CD

Renowned composer and jazz pianist D.D. Jackson spent time with Sam Palumbo in the mezzanine recording for the CUNY Hunter College Popular Music Combo CD.

The session consisted of three student jazz bands, all of which are Jackson's students at Hunter, in live band tracking format. Each group had one hour to record their songs (both original compositions and covers of popular tunes) that will be compiled in the 2016-17 Hunter Pop CD. Dubway Studios also recorded last year's compilation CD which can be listened to here!

 D.D. Jackson produced, directed and mixed the 2015-16 Hunter Pop Compilation CD.

D.D. Jackson produced, directed and mixed the 2015-16 Hunter Pop Compilation CD.

D.D. Jackson is an Emmy-winning jazz pianist and composer who has recorded and performed with some of the most acclaimed names in jazz music, as well as having frequently collaborated with Questlove and The Roots. Jackson also composes music for film and TV, including music for The Wonder Pets, a children's show by our family at Nickelodeon. As an educator, Jackson has taught part-time at Hunter College for the past 7 years, teaching History of Jazz and was recently awarded the Hunter College 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (part-time).

Composer Jim Papoulis Recording Strings for "Beyond The Backyard"

Composer Jim Papoulis conducted a 9-piece string section in our mezzanine for the upcoming film Beyond the Backyard with engineer Rick Kwan.

Beyond the Backyard is a new coming-of-age film by director PJ Magerko, a recent graduate from NYU in the Spring of 2016.

Jim Papoulis is a composer, conductor, orchestrator and producer from New York City. His compositions are known for "exploring new modes of musical communication by honoring and connecting classical and traditional forms with non-Western sounds. Jim's distinct and ever-evolving approach unites classical with contemporary sounds, world rhythms, R&B, and voices, while combining live instruments with current composing and recording technology." As an orchestrator, his credits include Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole and more.

Geek Out with Nathaniel - Episode 5 - Synchronization

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There are lots of ways and lots of reasons to synchronize audio/video workstations. No matter if you're syncing two Pro Tools systems, Logic to Ableton Live, or an old-fashioned video deck and Nuendo, the concepts are the same. Clock reference determines how fast everything is going. You can get clock from an AES/EBU signal, a video signal, or even an optical audio signal. Clock keeps systems from drifting. Positional reference tells the systems where they are. System A says "I'm at 1 hour, 12 minutes, 3 seconds and 19 frames... NOW!" And in each case you need to have a master and a slave.


Today, I sent old-fashioned LTC (longitudinal timecode) from Pro Tools on my laptop (the master) to the SYNC I/O connected to our desktop Pro Tools system (the slave). As long as the desktop system was online (flashing clock in the transport), it responded as the slave.
But there was an important oversight: I didn't connect the word clock output of the laptop/Ensemble to the word clock input of the SYNC I/O, so my demonstration was lacking a common clock reference. Next time, I promise!


Reading the manual on the train tonight, I was happy to discover that our old SYNC does support the HD video frame rate of 23.976: "The 24 fps LED flashes to indicate 23.976 fps." Which is exactly what we saw went I sent 23.976 LTC.


Homework: I've been reading up on RTS (Remote Transport Sync), which is a proprietary method of synchronizing two Source Connect systems over the internet. To make it work, you must instanciate the "Se ReWire" plug-in in Pro Tools so SC and PT can speak positional reference.

Geek Out with Nathaniel - Episode 3 - Calibrated Listening Levels

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Adrian and I are marking down the listening level for mix sessions. This can be really helpful to you and to clients when you're working on the same project over multiple sessions. Everyone gets accustomed to what "loud" sounds like in the room, and as you get used to it, you can take your eyes off the meters and your ears will tell you if you're in spec.


To do it, download the calibration files from the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee). Put "MidRngPinkNoise_-20dB.wav" on a new track in your session, and set the fader for unity gain (make sure the master fader is also at unity gain). Then pan it hard to one speaker and play it in loop mode. Get an SPL meter, set it to C weighting, slow mode, and hold it at the listening position, but pointed to the loudspeaker. Turn the gain knob on your monitor up and down. You might find that working on a mix for the web, or on a music mix that you're in the 65db range. I discovered that our television clients like to mix at 73db, some of our film clients like it at 77db. Crazy-dynamic film mixes in bigger rooms than ours can be set to 85db.


Keep in mind that calibrated levels are not terribly important for tracking. But they're great for mixing. And if you're disciplined, you can set the level at the start of a project and never change it. This will result in more consistent mixes without any guesswork.

Geek Out with Nathaniel - Episode 4 - Mastered for iTunes

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Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) is less complex than it seems. Click here for Apple's documents and droplets for diving deep. I recommend reading them all. But here's the short version:

Apple figured out a way to make AAC encoding sound better in some ways than CD. To do it, Apple has to feed the encoder mixes that are at least 44.1Khz/24-bit. 96Khz is preferred, but 44.1 is tolerated. Must be at least 24-bits. When you're close to done mastering, you run your mix through afclip in the Terminal app, which will tell you if your mix will clip on AAC decode (the decode happens when users are listening to iTunes or their iPhones).

After some experimentation, I found that I needed to leave at least -0.7dbfs headroom on my mixes, and sometimes even more (I did -1.5dbfs recently which is a lot). This is contrary to the old CD-mixing advice which was to push the mix way up to the ceiling, like -0.3dbfs. Those mixes will fail MFiT.

You can also "round-trip" your mix by using the AAC>WAV droplet and sending the file back into Pro Tools. This will let you A/B the process. There you can cancel the two mixes and then really hear what AAC is (AAC always sounds like a swishy fish tank to me when I do this, but a good swishy fish tank).

Full Choir Tracking for David Rowan

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This past week engineer Sam Palumbo tracked a thirty person choir in our Mezzanine studio for David Rowen. The music features David's original arrangement of the hymn, "Joyful, Joyful" and his talented performance. 

David is a Helen Hayes Award-nominated actor and musician based in New York City. Hailing from Washington, DC, he has performed at the Tony Award-winning regional theaters, Signature Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company, among others.

As a musician, David is a classically trained singer and pianist, and a self-taught guitarist. He has worked as a music director, accompanist, and private piano instructor, and he specializes in a cappella arrangements and piano/vocal transcriptions. His arrangements have been featured on the Best of College A Cappella, and Voices Only compilation albums.

Geek Out With Nathaniel - Episode 2 - Plug In Automation

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I've often wished that every time an engineer created a new Pro Tools session that a big window popped-up and asked "Plug-In Controls Default to Auto-Enabled?" This preference box is unchecked by default, but is absolutely essential for modern mixing workflows.


Let's imagine Al is mixing dialog, with maybe an EQ, de-esser and compressor in the chain, and then he gives me the session. I keep mixing, but then I notice that the de-esser threshold is too high for one line, but everything before it sounds fine. If I pull the threshold down, it will affect everything before it, so it must be automated. But just looking at the plug-in, I have no way of knowing whether or not the threshold parameter has been auto-enabled!


To keep from going insane, I auto-enable absolutely everything in a session, but start a mix in auto-suspend mode. In auto-suspend, you can tweak, fiddle and play for hours, and then when it starts to sound good, use write-to-all-enabled for all tracks and turn off auto-suspend. This will lock your mix in, and give you the freedom to make moment-to-moment tweaks.

Geek Out With Nathaniel - Episode 1 - Dante

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I've been reading about AVB, Dante, AES67 for a while, but didn't really understand what was going on until now. Here's what I discovered over the last few days:


AES67 is a standard for pushing hundreds of channels of totally pro audio over Ethernet. Dante is a commercial implementation, and AVB is a related implementation (which MOTU and Avid are deep into). I downloaded the Dante Via demo software, which lets you send audio between applications on a Mac. It's very cool. Pro Tools can use Dante as a playback engine.


You can also test Dante Virtual Soundcard. This lets you plug your Mac's ethernet cable directly into all of these zillion devices without using USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt or PCI cards! There's no doubt in my mind that all the young engineers will need to understand it in the years to come.

Mastering for the Washington Squares

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Lo Boutillette was in the studio this weekend mastering the Washington Squares new album. Though they haven't performed since the 80's the album features cuts from their live shows and band commentary. Tom Goodkind brought the project to Dubway where he explained how the album is a labor of love for himself and the other members of the Washington Squares

The the first album will be released in 2016 through the Washington Squares official Website. 

Music Tracking for Rick Baitz String Quartet

Rick Baitz was in Our Mezzanine Studio this past week tracking a string quartet for his original composition, Chthonic Dances. The piece features very detailed interlocking melodic patterns that highlight the rich tones of the string instruments. Chthonic Dances is approximately 30 minutes in length and can be played throughout or a shortened version with an alternate ending. The Work was funded in part by the composer assistance program of the American music center

Rick Baitz is an American Composer and educator based in New York City. 
 

Music Tracking and Mixing for SOCAPA

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Music tracking and mixing has commenced for the annual SOCAPA sessions at Dubway. Several engineers will be tracking and mixing sessions for the young people enrolled in the program to foster their creativity in music. 

SOCAPA , The School of Creative and Performing Arts, was founded by a small collective of New York artists in Greenwich Village in 2001. It has quickly become one of the premier visual and performing arts programs for young people. This combined effort allows students to have a fulfilling summer experience. 
 

Mixing for John Luther Adams

 Nathaniel Reichman & John Luther Adams

Nathaniel Reichman & John Luther Adams

John Luther Adams has been in the studio with Nathaniel Reichman mixing his latest album. Cantaloupe Music has set out in part with Dubway to turn one of John's sound installations into an album to experience at home. The 10 channel installation has previously been heard in Church and art gallery performances but never before released to the general public.

Mixing the Album proved a unique challenge for Nathaniel and John as they had to translate the immersive experience of the instillation into an equally immersive experience for the home listener. The 6 hour long piece will give the listener full immersion while using head phones and in surround sound. 

Cantaloupe is working on a unique packaging to accommodate the full length of the piece. This is one of John's entirely electronic pieces, it is unusual for him to work exclusively in the electronic domain.

 

 

 

Album Tracking for the TriBattery Pops

The TriBattery Pops were in our Mezzanine Studio this past weekend tracking their latest album Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Days. The album features arrangements of popular seventies hits like Staying Alive, Hot Stuff, and Rock the Boat and will mark the TriBattery Pops 13th studio album. 

Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Days includes vocals from the TriBattery Pops Conductor, Tom Goodkind, as well as Dubways's Communications Manager, Lo Boutillette. Upon the albums completion the songs will be featured by CMJ

Photos kindly provided by: The Broadsheet/Robert Simko©2016