Me in Studio B

Me in Studio B
If you were googling Undertone Audio and found my blog here, well...welcome! You should visit the official website,, but here you can follow my adventures as the crew and I build these mixing consoles, EQs and other oddities. Some, most or all of my work wouldn't be very interesting to a lot of people, but for recording junkies who get excited about vintage German tube mics, cool, eccentric compressors, studio history and some of the fun ins and outs of studio life, this could be for you. Hey, make it your home page and impress chicks! I can be reached at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Scary Roger Situation

On Monday night, Roger, Eric and myself did another round of recording to test how these transformers would react to particular tube mics and a Queens of the Stone Age style tune. Roger played bass and during the session we would check up on the thread on Gearslutz (that is a whole other topic... wow).

After I got home, Roger called me at 11:00pm and this was our conversation...

ME: Hello.

ROGER: What time did we leave the studio?

ME: 10:30.

ROGER: Seriously?

ME: Well the session ended at about 9:45.

ROGER: What did we do all day?

(I thought he was asking what to put on his invoice, hours, etc.)

ME: Testing transformers in the mic pre.

ROGER: What did I do?

ME: One of those guys on the forum is posting again.

ROGER: What forum?

ME: The Gearslutz forum.

ROGER: I have no idea what you are talking about... I can't remember anything that happened today.

(Roger jokes around a lot, but he was serious)

ME: Seriously? Are you at home?

ROGER: I think this is my house, I'm pretty sure that's one of my cats.

ME: Where's Tammy?

ROGER: She's on her way home.

ME: Can you give me her number?

ROGER: It's (gives me his number).

ME: I need Tammy's number.

ROGER: It's (gives me his number again).

ME: I need Tammy's number.

ROGER: Try this one (finally gives me the right number).

ME: I'll talk to you soon, I'm calling Tammy.

I called her, she was about a block away from their house as I explained the strange conversation I had just had. He called her while driving and told her that he didn't know how to get home.

She took him to the hospital... Roger came down with a case of amnesia brought on by a bunch of different factors. His memory has been returning and he is doing better now, but that was scary.

He didn't even remember calling me.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blind Listening Test Online

Eric started a thread on asking people to participate taking an online blind A/B listening test and to state which one they prefer and which one they think was utilizing an expensive external clock. The thread was started on Friday and when enough responses are in, he will reveal which is which.

Give it a try!

This past week, Roger and I worked on the EQs on the small console (aka The Sidecar) and we worked on outboard wiring for Jon and Greg, taking that stuff over to Capitol on Thursday.

I thought we had a definite winner with the transformers, but I was wrong. After another round of recording, this time Motown style drums, piano and vibes -all recorded with ribbon mics, there is a favorite. We are getting closer...


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Video shoot, Research & Development and the 24 Channel Console

Taking Back Sunday came in to shoot a video last Friday, along with a crew of about forty people. It was madness... cameramen, make up artists, wardrobe and catering -the full deal.

Eric and I escaped and drove across town to Santa Monica to Bob Clearmountain's studio where we did some testing on his vintage Neve console. Earlier that day we walked over to Paramount Recording and ran some tests on their SSL J9000 with Tom Doty. This is all a part of comparing our specs against other consoles and outboard gear. Eric went through a pretty big selection of his outboard mic preamps and EQs as well, compiling all of this data in one place. So far, this research has been extremely revealing and is helping us fine tune our UTA gear. On the way back we were stuck in traffic and wanted to eat, so we went to Versailles Cuban, my favorite restaurant of all time and I had the lechon asado, my favorite dish ever!

Recording is an important part of the research and development process, so to audition transformers for the mic preamp, Eric played drums (only one mic on the kit, ELA M251), bass and two guitar parts -on this very aggressive, short Jimi Hendrix style song. Each part had to be recorded every time transformers were changed and the results were fantastic. I think we have the final choice on the input transformer, now which one to use on the output has to be determined. We may post the short songs that are being recorded on the website in the "Hear it" section.

The editing on the UTA EQ instructional video is almost done, so that will be up on the website soon.

We finished sanding this round of faceplates for the 24 channel console (we were not satisfied with the way the first ones came out last year) and they are at the silk screener's for the final artwork now. We went into a round of testing the potentiometers in the EQ/filter section of each module and we are getting new faders for that console as well. We had a Flying Faders II system on it for the AES show, but now we are outfitting it without automation with custom UTA fader faceplates. Very soon that console will be available for people to borrow for evaluation.
                                            24 input modules getting tested

Today I have to follow up on parts that we ordered and work on the 24 channel console's EQs a little more. Cian and I had good old California Chicken Cafe for lunch.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Wombats live

Last Monday we had a barbecue at the studio -some of our friends came by, Cian and Inga made burgers and hot dogs, I wanted to start a food fight with Roger, but we behaved and people had fun.

On Tuesday we went to The Troubadour to see The Wombats... they were amazing, they sounded great, the club sounded good and we hung out with them for awhile after the show.

On Friday, Niall Murphy came over for lunch and to see the consoles, we had Larchmont Wine and Cheese shop sandwiches -the usual.

The transformers came in for the mic pres, so that final decision will be made soon, we're getting there. The first 100 will have bronze porous metal faceplates like the console in Studio B, it wont serve any acoustic purpose, but it will have the UTA aesthetic that people are getting used to. After that we will switch to something more traditional for the outbaord gear.

Eric and I did a round of stenciling faceplates with the new jig -the jig is great, but this time the paint clogged the holes after one or two passes and we had to clean it. The paint was oil based, so water didn't work, so we will be switching back to acrylic. I would love to just pass the whole process on to someone else, but we are going to be more picky that most people.

Matt and Cian have been recording drums, Eric has been mixing and I've been doing wiring -Roger came over and helped me out with some of that and we had Captain Thai to go.

Cian updated the Barefoot Recording website, adding a pretty complete list of the gear Cian, by the way, is June's reader of the month.

Taking back Sunday will be back in later this week to film a video, that should be fun.