August 12, 2010

A great review of the Bobby Bookout CD

Freelance entertainment writer Sean Claes wrote a great review of Bobby Bookout’s debut CD, which I had the pleasure of producing, recording, and playing on. Read the review here. If you don’t have the CD yet, you can purchase it on iTunes. Bobby is an amazing artist who really needs to be heard.

July 20, 2010

Perhaps the coolest gig ever…

Over at my studio (the Amusement Park), we just completed a project for the Silent Wings Museum. They hired me to rebuild their audio environment for their main exhibit: a glider landing pre-dawn, Normandy. It was an amazing experience.

I spent the last year researching what our grandfathers and great grandfathers went through over there. I researched the weapons, equipment, process, and the flora and fauna of Normandy. Our mission was to create a historically accurate audio “snapshot” of what it was like to land behind enemy lines on that fateful day.

One of the coolest aspects of the job was recording the WWII weapons. We got to meet some wonderful people who passionately believe in keeping the memory of WWII alive. They reenact WWII events and collect WWII memorabilia including the actual weapons. And they were kind enough to share it with us.

Prior to this project, the only gun I had ever fired was a BB gun when I was a child. As we were recording the Thompson submachine gun, the owner turned to me and asked if I wanted to shoot it. So on that day I lost my gun virginity to a Thompson on fully automatic! What a way to go!

This video was shot in a canyon in Texas. Enjoy. I know I did.

July 6, 2010

Helping a brother when he’s wrong…

A while back a friend of mine named Drew wrote a book. It had a controversial title (The Naked Gospel) and was released by Zondervan. A pretty big deal in for a church pastor from Lubbock, Texas.

Imagine my surprise when I came across an advertisement in the newspaper that totally refuted his premise! I, of course, needed to correct him quickly. So here’s our email exchange along with a copy of the ad below. Enjoy!

My email to Drew:
From: Scott Faris
To: Andrew Farley
Sent: Sun, January 3, 2010 10:43:41 PM
Subject: Who knew?!?

Apparently Drew, you have it wrong. This news paper advertisement proves it. It’s actually Jesus plus copper plus magnets!

:)

s

His response:
I had no idea, Scott. Thank you! I am contacting the publisher right away so that we can do some edits to the next printing of my book and add some insights regarding the truth of the magnet. I cannot thank you enough.

Drew

Jesus plus magnets plus copy - All of the healing powers rolled into one!

April 23, 2010

Kind words from The Voice @ Bloomsburg University

I had the pleasure of speaking at Bloomsburg University last week. The students were fantastic and I had a great time there. I’ll post some more info about it soon, but here’s a link to the article:

Dreams In Progress: Indie Producer Shares His Story

April 9, 2010

Will Terrell – an amazing cartoonist

Scott, cartoonist Will Terrell and Mr. Nelson, technology teacher at Plainview HSI had the pleasure of speaking at Plainview, HS Wednesday. Mr. Nelson, the technology teacher, invited me up. When I arrived, I found out that Will Terrell was also speaking. He’s an incredible cartoonist and just an all-around really nice person. It made the day so much more fun and I learned a ton by listening to him. If you haven’t seen his work, you should. Check it out here:

willterrell.com
superzeroes.net

Oh, and I used to teach his sister Heather guitar… It’s a small world.

April 5, 2010

Problem Solving – a key to success in the studio… and anywhere else.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the idigifest at South Plains College. I was on an amazing panel that truly was wide ranging. We had a video game developer, a web developer, an indie film maker, an educational video business owner, a cartoonist, a television station manager, and myself representing music production. I got so much out of the other speakers, I actually took notes while I was on stage with them. The station manager actually turned out to be a former student of mine, Brent McClure. Brent was a good guitarist in his youth and studied with me at Brandon Guitar Studio. Now he’s the General Manager of News Channel 10 in Amarillo, Texas.

He said something that really stopped me in my tracks. He was relating a story about how they had a huge ice storm hit Amarillo, Texas. So they sent their weather team out into the thick of it with their new quarter-of-a-million dollar mobile satellite truck to capture the essence of the storm. Unfortunately, the ice came down so fast that it completely froze their state-of-the-art broadcast truck.

So instead of throwing in the towel, the crew went into problem solving mode. Luckily, someone on his staff had the foresight to pack a laptop and a webcam. So here they are in the middle of the ice storm broadcasting with a webcam. A gigantic media company would have had zero live coverage of the storm if it hadn’t been for the simple problem solving and forethought of one individual. It might not have been hi-def video, but it was news and they got the job done.

How does this apply to the studio? If you own one, you know things are constantly breaking down and you have to fix them on the fly. If you own a studio where more than one engineer works, things get misplaced easily. Case-in-point:

'66 Super miced with a 414 and a vintage 421.The reverb and vibrato jacks on a 1966 Fender SuperI had a session that needed that big Fender vibrato surf-thang. I own a ’66 super, so that’s an easy tone to achieve. Except the pedal for the vibrato was missing. If you own an old Fender, you know that you can’t turn vibrato on without the switch. So I searched. No dice.

Rigging a Super reverb  with an RCA cable and desoldering braidDesoldering Braid

So I had to solve a problem. How do you turn the vibrato on? It’s a simple RCA jack. Connecting the tip and ring turns it on. So I pulled out the tool kit to see how I could rig it. I had some desoldering braid in there. So I wrapped it around the tip until it filled the gap and touched the ring.

The vibrato turned on!
Volia! We had vibrato! If you’re out there and want a studio job, learn how to solve problems. It seriously impressed an owner (not to mention the client) when you can solve problems creatively and quickly.

April 2, 2010

A Badly Design Shockmount

I recently purchased a stereo matched pair of AKC C414 XLSs. I absolutely love these mics… especially for overheads. I’ve used so many different pairs and these just take the cake. But I have one serious complaint: their H-85 spider shockmounts are poorly designed. As a matter of fact, I believe they are designed to fail.

This sucks. When you own a studio, something is always breaking.I have no complaints at all about how the mount holds the mic. I actually think it’s quite brilliant. It’s very easy for you to adjust angles, etc. But they break way too easily at the neck between the clip and the mount itself. One recently fell over at my studio and snapped in half. Then, not more than two weeks later, I was working at Studio 1916 down in Austin and, low and behold, I see an AKG C414 shockmount on their shelf broken in exactly the same way.

Dusty Wakeman over at Mojave Mics says most manufacturers spend very little money on their shockmounts. In the range of about 50ยข (see this video from audiomidi.com at about 7:30). That’s pretty frikin’ cheap. I have no idea how much AKG spends on these, but they sure sell for a small fortune. $120 bones or so. And the warranty doesn’t cover “accidents.” That sucks. Bad business, AKG.

Luckily, the guys over at Sweetwater are fantastic and gave me a hook-up on a replacement. AKG, I love your mics. They make me happy every time I use them. Please. I implore you to make your shockmount more durable.