RPSNYC course schedules have been posted

The upcoming class schedules have been posted on the RPSNYC website http://rpsnyc.com/calendar.html. Courses will cover a variety of topics including Music Publishing, Music Business, Recording and Production, Surround Sound, and Live Recording and Broadcast. All RPSNYC instructors are working professionals with years of experience in their fields. Classes are taught in a commercial recording studio environment further exposing students to the “real world” of the music business. RPSNYC also offers private lessons in addition to the group class environment.

RPSNYC will be posting addition courses in the near future where students can study such topics as Mixing, Advanced engineering, Running a successful commercial DJ business, and much more!

An RPSNYC representative is ready to answer any and all questions you may have regarding our programs. We are ready to impart our knowledge and experience so you can start start your career in the Music Industry off on the right foot!

 

Classic Mix – RUN DMC JMJ Tougher Than Leather album mixes and recollections by engineer and Intructor Roey Shamir

A quick update to part 1 on Information Society:

Having both communicated with Paul Robb (brilliant composer of South Park Themes and also member of Information Society) before penning part one of this series on classic mixes as well as after sonicscoop published it a few months ago, I was reminded by him that the band saved money during the two week lockout by sleeping at the studio. Another testament to how artists struggle on the road to their success.

I was scheduled to mix “My Adidas” for RUN DMC and JMJ (R.I.P.) but as fate would have it that day the studios tape machines, both 24 track Studers had motor card failure and rendered the sessions impossible that day. Then later the next week I was already booked and another engineer from the stable of super talent we had there at Unique at that time ended up doing that mix so my first mix for the group was not until later starting with this project.

Part two: RUN DMC and JMJ (sessions from the “Tougher Than Leather” Album) Mixer – Mix Engineer: Roey Shamir Year: 1988? Format: 24 track Analog Tape mixed on SSL 4000 at Unique Recording Studio A I may blur the lines here a bit between different days and songs sessions, however, all of my recollections seem to be accurate as I have been working recently with Darryl on his new DMC album project at Area 51 NYC and have done some reminiscing with him as well as checking my facts with my assistant from back then ,and my wife now, engineer Angela Piva. We had a new assistant join us at that time who has recently made some Facebook posts about those days which also triggered memories of things. Lastly I had just brought a video camera then and I purposefully time capsuled often while working at Unique Recording with that camera. The sessions with Run DMC and JMJ are some of the stuff i captured back then and re-watched recently…

The normal work flow was, records made and mixed within 4 hours.Yup 4 hours. Top to bottom. Start to finish. Lock stock and barrel. Mixed done finished. Okay, I think you get my point, “hears” some of the way these songs/finished records would transpire.

Davey DMX a very talented DJ and musician would come in and we would record him for about 3 minutes with him “dropping” the loop from the turntable for two bars (bar one and two) and then “resting” for two bars (bars 3 and 4) then dropping the loop again (bar 5 and 6) and so on and so on. Then we would rewind the two inch multitrack tape back to the top and record for another 3 mins on two new tracks- he would record on all the bars he had rested on. I would then do any process eq and or compression and bounce those four tracks to either two in stereo or one if mono depending on what worked for the loop and since track count was always something we used to have to be aware of due to lack of tracks-something still extremely valid to keep in mind today even with the massive track counts DAW’s offer today.

Next I would create a click track by setting up a tightly gated channel of the loop he had laid down and using a lexicon delay to create quarter note repeats of the “one” and the “three” that effectively created a pulse on every quarter.I would use the mute switch as well as the gate to create the pulses. I would buss those channels into the Dr. Click and print a click track that we would use to sync the Roland 808 and the EMU SP-12 as well. After I would use the AMS sampling delay to trigger my custom bd and snare. Sometimes I would print a click before Davey would throw the loops and he would use the click as ref, but usually he did it live and I would create the sync-click track after.

That freakin 808!

I had a particularly popular 808 bass drum sample (kick) that i had used on many records back in the day. I made it out of two sounds from the 808 Unique Recording had. A very short hard (compressed to bring out the attack with a quick release time) and a med long one with the attack slightly cut off in its ADSR settings then in addition I had an oscillator sample (sine wave at 55Hz) that was very long that i would use the ADSR on the sampler (a Fairlight that Unique owned) so it would come in after the impact of the two 808 samples and would allow me to have the longest 808 kick in the industry at that time, perhaps even the longest to date!. The proof is heard in the “RUNs House” track. The very same mix i did then as in the same mix that is still being currently used as “RUNs House” reality shows theme. “Y’all know what time it is…” …back to the four hour session explanation…

Davey would then play some live fender jazz bass bass lines on the track. Next JMJ would do awesome turntable cuts and fills over the track. Usually by then Joe (RUN) and Darryl (DMC) would be there if not before making suggestions about the track that Jason (JMJ) and Davey would try in addition to ideas they had as well. All the while RUN and DMC writing furiously on their yellow legal pads*** and within moments of finishing their compositions running into the vocal booth both at same time, face to face, each in their corner, each on a different mic from Unique’s super/vintage mic cabinet. Usually i would use a pair of Nueman m49s vintage tubes. Literally no sooner than the track was cut they would both, but especially RUN would be “eager” to get his part down fresh. He would often kill time if I needed to do any type of setup or mic check or headphone test by doing pushups while asking me “Roseph… are you ready yet???” Again no sooner than one or perhaps two takes as well as any group backing vocals and RUN would run back in to control room “Hey Ro!… Is it mixed yet???” he was not really kidding around but completely serious! I would then assure him it would be mixed any minute but i could not deliver it direct to radio and that he should still have it mastered! “Perhaps after we finished the entire album” (and then I laughed out loud, LOL). I have not seen RUN as recently as I have DMC who I have been currently working with. DMC told me that RUN is still exactly the same fun and fast personality as he was then so many years ago – I don’t doubt that! ***{ hip hop note: in my recent sessions with DMC he has not been writing anything down and seems to be doing a combination of things he preconceived and also off the top off his dome!}

Mixing in 40 mins… A few play throughs to setup some API 560a’s on the drums, automated shuffle drum throws, vocal delay throws to the Lexicon PCM42, compression patches at the insert (la2as), vocal rides, snare bombs via the lex224 and an overdriven aux send feeding it that I could kick on in few key spots. Some “dropouts” which are the hard music mutes under key vocal phrases – in other words the arrangement of the elements of the track. Then, next since I started the mix alone and by 25 minutes in there would be about 10-15 people chilling in the room (sometimes making a distraction sometimes not so much) I would get everyones unanimous head bopping approval and print the final mix to half inch tape.

By then it would be approaching the end of four hours and there where a few cassettes to make for them and the label. And then everyone would be out of dodge and bam we’d be done with a record like: “Tougher Than Leather”, “RUNS House”, “Radio Station”, “Papa Crazy” and most of the rest of that LP. The 2nd assistant at time asked me after everyone had left the building…”holy shite what the heck just happened? I replied “we just made another RUN DMC and JMJ record!” Being that so many projects back then would be weeks in the making – these sessions were always extremely fast, fresh and furious. I always enjoyed them and I did not mind the quickness – as I had already been part of the industry trend setters (a small pack of engineers charging flat rates for their services) and would always “have a pocket full with a G” as the lyric goes…shorter the session goes the more you “make” per hours spent. Definitely one of the better lessons (years prior) that I learned from before I spread my own wings and when I was assisting great engineers like Chris Lord Alge and Bob Rosa.

There are some songs that have live guitar overdubs like Tougher Than Leather. They where also done in the “keep it fresh and fast” school of recording. I believe Jon Sierra was the player when it was not Davey DMX. Using a combo of a Mesa Boogie and Marshall 100watt head amp. close mic-ed by Sennheiser 421 and Shure sm57 and 3 feet off axis with a Neuman Fet47.

On the mastering subject i did not attend, but my friend Howie Weinberg was the mastering engineer. To my ear he did not do anything drastic to my mix although I’m sure on “RUNs House” the lathe used to cut the mother disc was “challenged” by the sub bass levels!

A separate detail:

Russell Simmons (RUN’s older brother and head of Def Jam/Rush Management- at that time) often stopped by to listen in and give his “2cents” but Rick Ruben never came by at all. I’m sure he was involved back at the label but on these session he was never around. He did do two of the other tracks with engineer Steve Ett (R.I.P.) at Chung Kings original studio on Centre Street before he moved and modernized. An amusing story I like to share is we would often have a rather full control room towards the end of the session as the posse would arrive and listen in. During that time jokes and “ranking” on each other would occur. Once Russell made some kind of a sexist “joke” that Angela would purposefully overhear. Something like “I think women should really just stay in the kitchen” as the room dropped to total silence and all eyes turned to Angela. To which she did not even flinch and replied “Oh Russell your older, things are different now for women!” At which point eleven people fell out of their chairs rolling and laughing and pointing at Russell and him crying “Oh Angela you hurt me, you did not have to go there!” Very memorable moment in my audio history and to this day when seeing Russ at events he still smiles, I’m quite certain remembering our good old days…He did make a point out of including footage of Angela working with Naughty By Nature in his feature film about hip hop at that stage of its development called “The Show”.

Well I close this segment with a link to a short lo res video clip from some of the footage I have from back then. Next time I am going to write about yet an entirely different type of session description and analysis by dissecting an all ITBH (in the box hybrid) band I mixed and then mastered in recent past for a heavy metal group from another country and singing in their mother tongue (They are from Latvia) and in English. Until then Mix On!

http://www.infx.net/RUNDMCJMJ.htm

September classes

We are about to post this September’s class schedule. Courses we are offering include basic engineering, working in surround, music business, mixing and publishing. All our subjects are taught in a commercial recording facility by industry veterans with years of experience. Out teachers not only instruct you in the skills you need, but also pass on invaluable knowledge based on their career experiences. One on one instruction is also available. Email us and a company rep will contact you to discuss your interests and skill level and assist you in tailoring a program best suited for your needs.

News…

We have had a great response to our one on one student/teacher instruction. We will tailor a personalized schedule for you with one of our skilled instructors based on your budget and availability.

If you are looking to hone your engineering skills, or learn more about publishing and other music related subjects, we are the school for you. All our instructors are working industry professionals with years of experience. 

New group class schedules will be posted shortly! 

RPSNYC plans for 2014

Happy New Year to you all. RPSNY has some great plans for the New Year. We have gathered experts and industry veterans to instruct you this coming year in a variety of subjects. We will be offering courses in basic and advanced audio engineering topics, music business, music publishing, video production and more! All of our courses are being taught by industry professionals with years of experience in their fields. We also offer private lessons and tutoring in a number of subjects.

If you are interested in learning from the best, go to our website at http://www.rpsnyc.com, fill out the registration information form, and one of our representatives will contact you to discuss what course best fits your skill level and needs.

Co-Owner and instructor Roey Shamir discussing a mix he did for Information Society

Mix analysis -
Song: Pure Energy – What’s On Your Mind

Artist : Information Society

Mixer: Mix Engineer: Roey Shamir

Year: 1988

Format: 48 track Analog Tape mixed on SSL 4000 at Unique Recording Studio A
Producer: Fred Maher and Information Society (InSoc).


Songs and their respective mixing sessions are not all the same at least not in my experience; hence I decided to write a few mix analyses in several posts. I hope my words are read as a historic recollection as I am trying to humbly do just that.

I worked on this album in the late 1980′s so please forgive me if I don’t have all the details right. As reference I used my recall notes that were deep in storage as well as reached out to my assistant on the project Angela Piva (Engineer for Mary J. Blige,
Naughty By Nature, Color Me Badd). This really was not a difficult thing to do as we are now married and living together. Moving on.…

This trend-setting record came to me to mix after a fellow producer, Craig Kafton, recommended me to Fred and the Band. They listened to some of my known mixes at the time and were eager for me to put my swerve on what they had already artfully created in preproduction and recording of the song. They had gathered industrial sounds with their own portable recorder — I believe it was an F1 digital beta.

At that time I was one of the chief engineers at Unique Recording where I did most of my mixing up until 1989. Studio A was my main room; although I also had tracked and mixed some well know records up in Unique’s Midi City Vintage Neve 80 series room.
The console setup was already done, as I have a method for placing all my favorite sends and returns as well as insert and line level patches that I would generally make. Unique had a plethora of great outboard classics, and I had developed a healthy couple of racks of my personal favorite, more rare stuff that most studios did not have — my
“RoTools” as they were called. As usual, back then I did not listen to any reference tracks that they had previously made, but rather pushed up the faders and cycled the tape for a few plays as I got a vibe from the tracks as to determine which direction would be best for me to follow. Fred, being a brilliant drummer as well as producer, had selected really great drum samples with the band, so tweaking up a phat drum sound did not take me long.

After liking that, I muted them and then moved to the vocals and effects for the vocals tracks — EQ and dynamic compression, some
Publison doubling (this was a popular technique that still works today where left channel is set a few cents flat with a short 3ms delay and the right a few cents sharp with 7 ms delay). That is mixed via send
–return along with the “dry” vocal channel. A well know version of this is heard on Phil Collins vocal “In The Air Tonight” and Quantec
simulator (a warm realistic “Hall” ), plus controlled delay throws using Lexicon pcm 42′s.

I dialed in the bass with some vintage Neve 1073 EQ and Neve
compression, then I panned it hard left and brought a Yamaha Rev 1
chorus1 up on the right (of course, checking for mono compatibility with the Auratone mix checker). The cello, which was a super Jupiter patch was really the main baseline and then I blended in all the keys , doing some dramatic volume on the pads.

Next all the Star Trek samples including Spock and the Hunamana
Gundas. We ran into an unexpected problem when the band found out that the samples of Star Trek had to be cleared! This was remedied by getting Adam Nimoy involved. He liked the band’s stuff and later convinced his father Leonard Nimoy (Spock) to agree to the usage of his voice (“Pure Energy” “Illogical”). Another degree of separation as my business partner at Area51NYC – Tony Drootin — is the Nimoy’s cousin.

The “Guitar” part: Working unattended for the first few hours as I would always request from whom ever I would work with, and being a guitar player and fan, I felt a need for some guitar timbre in the orchestration. Naturally I patched a second version of the Rhodes pad into a line-matching box to bring it to -10db, then into the Rockman
sustain-or rack mount – A popular Guitar channel that Tom Sholtz from Legendary rock Group Boston had invented, this was where the distortion that transformed the original pure Rhodes tone was generated, then back to the match (up to +4) and then to a channel on the SSL. I set that channel’s gate to external trigger, and then patched that trigger to a buss so that I could send more than one
pre-fader drum part to trigger the gate. A combination of the hats kick and snare triggered the gate, creating the rhythm for that groundbreaking sound.

I set the gate for super tight with fastest release, about 60 db of
gain reduction – that was the most the SSL dynamics could do at that time. Now the resulting distorted rhythmic keyboard part was given some panned shuffle delay to further groove it up.
Liking the result I soloed it up to further tweak it when the Band
(Kurt Harland, Paul Robb, James Cassidy) arrived to see how it was going. Before Kurt even said “Hello” he blurted out, “What the Heck is that part? Where did it come from? We should use that!” (We did and then it later was lifted by MTV as a bumper that ran for years “new music, you hear it first…”)

A few years later my buddy Mic Murphy from dance group the System was working with another well known mixer man – Keith Cohen on the left coast, and my name came up. They called me and Keith and I were introduced on the phone, as he wanted to talk with me. He told me how Information Society’s whole album had been his benchmark when he was mixing, especially when he mixed Paula Abdul’s stuff.

Another interesting story was when Shep Pettibone was working a remix for the song, he called Fred asking where is the “guitar”
part? Fred replied, “Oh that was something Roey created in the mix. It ran live, and we did not print it on the multi.” (The multi was full, and the part partially sounded the way it did because it was not on tape.) Running live to the two track mix down kept the tone zingy and edgy. I later explained it to Shep, but in the end he just sampled it from mix parts passes (stems) and then flew it in to the remix. The technique I used also inspired C&C Music Factory’s gated “guitar” track.

Moving back to that day, I then further automated the mix and used constructive criticisms to tweak a mix everyone was satisfied with. This was the first of eleven mixes we did to complete their self-titled 1988 album over the course of a little more than 15 days. We stayed locked out, and the majority of the patches and gear settings stayed the same, although used on different elements from song to song.

I would take ear and room breaks every 90 minutes or so, and we worked about 10 hours a day. Generally I got the mix close and printed refs
for everyone to “check” outside the studio, then the next day perform any tweaks and print to half-inch tape. The remainder of that day I would get the next tune to a state of readiness, print some refs etc…
until the album was done.

Next I went to see Herb Powers at his mastering room at the Hit
Factory where he mastered my mixes, which he always did so tastefully and without ego. He would often do very minor and subtle adjustments, finding my work almost radio-club ready without him needing to do much to it.

Stay tuned as I will be writing about other sessions I had the pleasure to be part of. Next time in part two: Run DMC – Run’s House.