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, undertoneaudio.com, 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 mw@undertoneaudio.com

Sunday, October 14, 2012

UTA Forums

Now you can spend every free minute of your life on our new UTA forum... Eric, Cian, me, the rest of the Undertone Audio crew and you can stay up all night chatting! None of us are ever going to get any sleep ever again!

You can:
*Draw Roger into protracted arguments
*Ask us technical questions
*Get or share tips on using the unusual features of your UTA gear
*Try to pick up women in other countries

So register and let the fun begin!
http://undertoneaudio.com/forum/

MW




UTA MPEQ-1 Finally Being Released!


The MPEQ-1 is going to AES with us this month, then into the hands of everyone who wants them! The first 100 have the iconic porous bronze faceplate (We know it doesn't serve an acoustic purpose here... it's just for fun), our new mic pre/DI and the same amazing 4 band EQ and filters that are in our consoles. As usual, we have a few extra tricks up our sleeves!

We'll keep everyone posted as to when and how to grab them,
MW

Monday, October 8, 2012

UnFAIRCHILDS!!!!!!



It's Arrived!


We're pleased to announce that we have finished assembling the first batch of UnFairchild 670M compressors! Check out our website for more information and photos here.

Availability and Purchase Info


We’d like to thank everyone for their interest, enthusiasm, and patience while we wrap up production on the UnFairchild 670M. Over the past few years, it’s been a true labor of love for us and we are finally ready to let our baby find new homes out in the world.  
 
We were hoping to keep the pricing of the unit at $5000, but the hand wiring and final assembly ended up being more labor intensive than we originally anticipated. 
 
The final pricing is as follows:
 
  • UnFairchild 670M - $5500 USD
  • Optional 10 space Wood Rack - $200
  • Optional pair of “Y” XLR cables for “Feed-Forward” functionality - $50
 
Unfortunately, they are in very short supply.  We have built a total of 10 units. Two of them are going to stay here at Barefoot Recording, three of them will become demo units for folks to test drive, and one will be sold after AES. This leaves us with four units to sell on the UTA website. This is tricky as more than 4 people have expressed interest in buying one, so we are trying to make them available in the fairest possible way.  
 
These four (serial numbers 003, 004, 005 and 006) will be sold through the UTA website on Friday October 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM PST – on a first come first serve basis.  This way, everyone who has expressed interest will have an equal chance of purchasing one of these first 4 available units.  We have never done this before and honestly don’t know how quickly they will sell.  It could be in 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days..  we just don’t know!  The‘Buy’ section of the UTA website will go live at exactly the time given above.  For the best possible chance of getting one of these first 4 units, we recommend the following:
  1. Make sure you are set up with a paypal account and sufficient funds for the total purchase price.
  2. Go to the 'Buy' section of the UTA website immediately after the time given above.
  3. Click on the buy button for the UnFairchild and select the various options to complete the purchase.
If for any reason you are unable to get one of the these first four, the three that are being held for test driving will possibly be put up for sale over the next month or two.  We will sell one in San Francisco Monday evening at the UTA/Tiny Telephone AES after party (see details below). If you still don't manage to get your hands on one, don’t worry – we definitely plan on making more! 
 

Reminder - 133rd AES Convention - Oct 27 - 29


We're excited to be exhibiting at AES this year in San Francisco. We'll be at Booth #1142 showing off the new MPEQ-1 channel strips, the UTA UnFairchilds, and some other possible surprises. We're planning on having individual listening stations so people can get some hands on experience with our new boxes. Eric and the whole UTA crew will be around to show off the features and answer any questions you guys may have.

On Monday (Oct 29th), we've hired out some rooms at Tiny Telephone - our favorite local studio - for our AES after party. We'll have the whole fleet of UTA gear setup in the control rooms so people can get a better sense of how things sound in a more controlled environment. Eric and crew will be around to give demonstrations of the EQ and the UnFairchild in some real world applications. We'll have drinks and snacks, so bring some friends and come hang out with us and the local Bay Area audio community. Here's a flyer with all the details.

Thanks again for all of your interest and support!
- Eric & the UTA team

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We're Having a Party and You're Invited!

On Monday, October 29th 2012, we will be having a party at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco http://www.tinytelephone.com/ after the AES show. Come join us, we're going to have a blast!

I hope to see you there
Cheers,
MW

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Eric's AES Nashville Presentation

Eric will be in Nashville on Thursday presenting UTA's technology, the stories behind the R&D and demonstrating the EQ and ATWS. The event is open to the public, so if you will be in the Nashville area, check the info in the link and try to get over to Southern Ground Studios. http://visitor.benchmarkemail.com/c/v?e=1DC966&c=1283A&l=9BB2A7&email=YxmTLvLCQCGed3f1%2FcAGWn8vZIV1RHdk&relid=4C4A98B7

Cheers,
MW

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Building a Console in 15 Minutes

This time lapse footage shot during the last week of the build is a lot of fun.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Episode IV: A New Console

We wrapped up another console, this time for Jason Elgin and the day the console shipped, the deposit check came in for the next one! This last console was fun to build and the process was the smoothest of all. We are getting better at this and we are learning how to tighten up the management aspects of building these monsters. Our lives were more in order this time; nobody's marriage fell apart and I didn't have to go to the hospital. Tim did go to the emergency room for a day, though... he was in a major car accident on Vine street with his wrecked Toyota leaking fuel down the sidewalk all over the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is ok.

In terms of the console build, we stayed on schedule and got it shipped out when we planned to. The console is on it's way to Birmingham, Alabama and Eric and Roger will be commissioning it onsite. I have posted specs on this one in my last post a couple of months ago and on the UTA Facebook page, but here's the info again since we are done...

The LC24-JE

*24 channels; 16 input modules with EQ/filters, line trim and four stereo buss sends with trims and pans, no aux sends and no multitrack sends, the remaining 8 channels come in and go directly into summing
*4 solid state stereo busses with insert sends (with output transformers)
*The classic stereo buss and control room tube stages, no transformers on the stereo buss outputs
*Black oxide porous bronze faceplates (same as Eric's LC60 in Studio A)
*Patchbays onboard (this was a first for us)
*Full master section with 8 meters for the solid state stereo busses in addition to the master buss meters
*Input meters on every channel
*Tracking Switch Over, a new feature developed to make the input modules function like channels on an inline console without additional faders/electronics

The people who sell us aluminum have no idea what we do with it

Backplane boards and wiring coming along

View from the tall ladder

Eric, Zack, Tim and Anthony handling bolster duties

The last few weeks is when everything comes together

Roger's master section wire dressing

Meters and panels in place

More level... BLAST IT!!!!!!

Getting closer...

Input modules in place

Finally, ready to go
The Tracking Switch Over feature is interesting, will probably be incorporated into Eric's consoles and will be an option for clients from now on. You can find a detailed description of it here http://www.undertoneaudio.com/trackingswitchover.html. It seems that each time we design and build one of these, there is a new twist.

There was a question on the Facebook page about the console names, I'll explain it all here: LC stands for Large Console, but it is a phonetic spelling of Elsie (Eric's dog who tries to help, but is usually right in the way), the number tells you how many channels there are, in this case 24. Finally the letters after the dash are the initials of the client, JE is for Jason Elgin. So there you have it... the LC24-JE. Of course, there is the LC24-GW and the next one is the LC32-FTS.

Anthony Houser has joined UTA handling parts ordering and he will be getting involved with a variety of aspects of the company from design to fabrication. It is such a relief that we have someone specifically focused on ordering as Eric, Larry and I were trying to juggle that. Also, Eric's nephew, Zack has been with us this summer. Among other things, he put together parts kits for each type of circuit board, making things easier for Tim and I as we stuffed PCBs and finished all the input modules. Zack is leaving us to go back to school in the mid west, so we have started talking about offering an internship for college credit or a paid intern position.

About a month ago, I decided to move. I had been living in the same apartment for nine years. It had been a decent place for a long time and the rent wasn't bad, but the place deteriorated with bad neighbors and bad management. Just this past New Year's day, early in the morning, one of my neighbors had a shoot out with police across the hall and I slept through it. In 2010, someone carelessly started a fire and I had to escape a burning building with serious smoke and about ten fire engines on the scene. After more problems in the building, I had to go. I got lucky and found a great place, but the move was right on top of the crucial tail end of Jason's console build. I finished my work on the console and moved at the same time. I was exhausted and I've been taking time off to enjoy my new place. The UTA crew came over and we went out for dinner at the HMS Bounty to celebrate finishing the console and to talk about how we are going to handle the work load in the next few months.

The MPEQ-1 rackmount units are finally in production and we will start selling them very soon. We start the final steps of building nine more of the UnFairchild compressors next week and we still want to try to build a small, 10 channel side car to take with us to AES. We have made plans and attempted to build small side cars in the past, but building big consoles for clients is more important.

I've kept up on Greg's studio at Capitol, but between UTA and moving, I haven't been over there in weeks... I'm going to be over there tomorrow night finally.

I've been finding time to play the pianos at Barefoot. It seems that I forgot that I play and I should take time to do that. Especially those pianos. I get so caught up in UTA that I ignore the instruments and studio that I am surrounded by so much of the time. I've also been spending time just sitting and listening to music, it's so rewarding to do that in Studio B.

Last month, most of the UTA crew went to Yosemite and climbed the back side of Half Dome. I stayed back at the studio and kept things going. To prepare for the hike and climb, they had been training for months, going on long hikes that I call, "The Death Marches."



Slash got his star on the Walk of Fame, so congratulations to him and we got word that Foxy Shazam will be opening for him in October, which is going to be a blast.

I need to try to get some sleep, I'll be back in the studio tomorrow.
MW



Monday, May 21, 2012

Consoles, Everywhere I Look I See Consoles

After we wrapped up Greg Wells' console last month, we got the final word and the deposit to build another one, so console number five has already started coming together. Eric is designing one for another client in Europe and we have very serious quotes that may turn into more console building right away. One of the interested parties came to Barefoot Recording to experiment with the console in Studio B last week and ended up doing a full on tracking session. We'll see what happens and I'll keep you posted.

To keep the rackmount EQs, the compressors and now a bunch of other stuff on track in addition to all of this, Eric is taking the rest of the year off from recording to focus all of his attention on UTA. Tim O'Sullivan, who has been working with us part time since last year, is leaving his job at Capitol to join Undertone Audio full time (the humiliating hazing process is due to begin soon). Ken Miller is getting more involved and he is able to do much of his UTA work at home in Mammoth and Roger is preparing for the workload ahead. As I've done a lot of work on the side (The work I've done with Bock Audio, Capitol, Jon Brion and others has been independent of UTA and Barefoot), I have to scale it back. I haven't worked with Bock Audio since November or December -those guys are great, but I've had to juggle so much, so Anthony Houser has taken over my post with David. I want to keep Jon and Greg happy and Anthony is helping me out with that as well. I hope to work with those guys for a long time, but outside of that I'm too booked to take on much more and that's a good thing.

We had an Undertone Audio BBQ at Roger's house last weekend. Eric, Larry, Roger, Ken, Tim and I sat down and discussed what we have ahead of us for the rest of this year, including the AES show in San Francisco this October, and how we are going to handle it all.
Eric triumphant after grilling burgers
Roger and I spent about a week with Art Kelm installing a studio for My Chemical Romance. Art, by the way, is now the Chief Technical Engineer at Capitol Studios in addition to everything else he does... talk about having your hands full!

I was just making myself at home in someone else's studio
I went straight into putting Greg Koller's mix room together (Art is onboard with that one, too). The new studio is in the Capitol tower and there is interesting history behind it -it used to be Glen Ballard's room, he moved out long ago and the room sat dormant until last week. Greg bought a Euphonix CS3000 (he is mixing a movie for which Jon has been composing the score and he really needed the recall) and a small crew of us had one week to get it up and running. Meanwhile, Jon, Greg and Eric Caudieux (AKA French Eric) were in London. As soon as I finished the bulk of my work on that, it was back to Jon's live rig downstairs in Studio B and back to Barefoot to continue on this new console. I had to take a couple of days off, I returned to Capitol on Friday evening and promptly came down with a cold.. so I've been home sick since.

Greg's new room is only temporary -we are going to tear it all down when the movie is finished and reinstall everything in a more permanent manner later... with or without the Euphonix, it depends on if he likes it or not. Here are a few shots:
Euphonix in place before the temporary floor
Anthony Houser prepping Elcos
Racks of Greg's gear and engineer who didn't want to be named
Secret undercover engineer who's face must not be revealed
I visited Alan Yoshida at his mastering room at Oceanway. Alan, Robin Lynn and I went out to eat dinner at Cafe Gratitude http://cafegratitude.com/, it's a raw, organic, vegan restaurant. Excellent food.
We spent time discussing wiring for mastering... always interesting with Alan.
They didn't just break the mold after they made Yoshida... they sold the pieces to tourists just to make a quick buck
As for the newest console we're building -it has 24 channels, 16 of them on channel strips with EQ and filters, in interesting feature that will make it behave as though it's inline (meaning the monitor path is on the same channel strip as the send to tape or digital domain), it will have four separate stereo busses, the faceplates are black, like the first one we built, final tube output stages and the patchbays will be onboard. This one is going to Birmingham, Alabama and I'll post pictures as we go.

Slash's album, "Apocalyptic Love" will be released this Tuesday (May 22nd), so go out and buy it on CD and mark your calendars for AES (October 26-29), we will be there with lot's of special goodies and we may have some tricks up our sleeves.

Best,
MW

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Greg Wells' Console and Surviving March

Here goes... the first blog post in quite some time. I stayed off of it while we were building Greg Wells' console. Although I posted updates and pictures on the Undertone Audio Facebook page, we didn't put very much information about the console or its progress out there until it left the building. I've been working more or less exclusively on this console since I finished my work on the Capitol install and it's so easy to lose sight day in and day out about taking pictures or writing about progress... it's sort of like practicing something; it can be easier for other people to see how much it has changed when the one practicing is fixated on the details.

March was a particularly difficult month. My health fell apart as I wound up in the hospital for awhile with heart issues and Roger's marriage came to an abrupt end. Ken Miller came all the way from Mammoth to help keep the console on track as Roger and I both came unglued. We're both doing a lot better now, but that was a rough period to get through.

It's a long five hour drive between Mammoth and Los Angeles and Ken made the trip regularly. He discovered that the quietest place in the building for sleeping is the "Slash Box," one of Studio A's isolation booths, big enough for the grand piano. He set up a bed under the piano and when he wasn't in, I ended up sleeping in there half the time... it was some of the best sleep I've had.

Ken did an amazing job from the wood and metalwork to everything else and we are very grateful to have him onboard. He is going to take over the building of all future console power supplies, woodwork and a new product that we will announce soon.

Eric was mixing Slash's record until about mid March, then he spent about two weeks with us on the console, soldering iron in hand. He enjoys being involved in the process and as we hand build these things, Eric and Larry are there seeing it through to the end.

So here are some details on Greg's console:

*It has 24 channels; eight of which show up on channel strips with EQ/filters
*The remaining 16 channels come into balanced inputs, stay at unity gain and quickly sum
*There are two solid state stereo busses with insert points (those 16 channels are selectable to the busses via switches on an internal PCB, 14 in L&R pairs, channels 15 and 16 are mono)
*Those two stereo busses feed into the tube stereo buss with transformer outputs and the tube Control   room circuit
*The 8 channels with EQ can send to those stereo busses and have panning. There is a +-10dB trim on each channel strip, no aux sends and no multitrack sends
*The middle bucket has rackrails (isolated from the console's chassis) for his favorite stereo gear, which is normalled on the Buss A insert points
*The surface of the console is made from the porous bronze, but the best place for the stereo compressor, etc was right in the center, so the reflections are at least balanced... not just on one side
*There is no metering on the channels, just a custom pair on the master section. There is no meter bridge, this allowed for a lower overall height

Roger getting the frame together
Eric and the faceplate stencil jig
Faceplates ready for silkscreening

Ken soldering resistors on the control room level switch
Eric getting the input bucket together
Eric and Roger on the master section
8 custom input channels
Master section in place
Bolster finally on
Onsite at Greg's studio during commissioning
As we wrapped up this console, we have serious inquiries for more. We may start another one or two within the next two weeks or we're starting in on two smaller, 10 channel consoles that are very portable. Whatever the case, we will be at AES in San Francisco this year and we will have rackmount EQs and mic pres with us.

There is a great interview with Eric for Sonicscoop http://www.sonicscoop.com/2012/04/10/eric-valentine-the-best-sounding-console-ever/, be sure to check that out.

More behind the scenes videos documenting the making of Slash's record have been coming out, here are some that focus on the studio:





You can find more on Youtube and on Slash's website.

As for me, I have a lot of inventory to look over and we are going to figure out how much parts ordering we have ahead for more consoles. I've been back over at Capitol working on Jon Brion's live rig, I'm rewiring patchbays for Greg Koller and I may work on another studio install with Art Kelm next week. I've slowed down, been getting rest... I need it. I'm going to start moving parts to the loft upstairs as we will be building the next consoles up there and that's where we built the majority of the first two. We built Greg's console in the Studio A live room and we made quite a mess... I still haven't finished cleaning that up.

I'll be posting more frequently... sorry for the delay and we'll keep everyone posted on the progress of products we have coming out later this year.

Cheers,
MW


Friday, February 17, 2012

The Rock & Roll Keeps on Going

It's been nearly four weeks since I posted on here and what a wild ride it has been. I finished up my work on the Capitol install on the 4th of this month, not even two weeks ago, and it feels like a year has gone by. The last few days I was there, the wall between Studios A and B was opened up (they are able to do that for larger sessions) and they carpeted the entire area. It was strange to see carpet in a live room that big with two control rooms, but it was all a part of setting up for the first big session with the new console. The artist was Paul McCartney and it was a live broadcast. I stayed far away from all of it... but I heard there were two film crews -nearly a hundred people making it all happen. By Friday they changed over the room again for a Grammy event and this week more wiring and testing was underway.
That's Studio B's window viewed from A's liveroom
Andre Rice and James Goforth
Taking a late night break with Chandler Harrod in Studio C
Art Kelm was deeply involved in the project and I have to say I had a great time working with him. I had known his name for a about twenty years, hadn't met him until the start of the install and I have so much respect for him. Here is a link to an interesting interview with him for Mix magazine http://mixonline.com/studios/design/mix-interview-arthur-kelm/. It was tough work and we were all happy that Andre Rice joined us for a couple of weeks. I'm proud to have been a part of it.

After I finished up at Capitol, I took a couple of days off and last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to go with Slash, Brent and Trevor to a private Van Halen show. It was their dress rehearsal with the big stage... the whole production, at the Forum. The band was amazing -I've never heard Eddie Van Halen play that well, the sound was great and there were musicians everywhere. If the roof at the Forum had caved in... the entire rock guitar player community would have been taken out. It was a very special treat after spending seven straight weeks on the install.

Here at Barefoot, things are quieting down as Slash and the band have left and cartage took away all their gear. I'm going to miss those guys, it was serious fun to spend time with them everyday and watch and listen to the record come together. They are serious, hardworking musicians and the record is going to make a lot of fans very happy. The rehearsals and the recording process were filmed and short episodes will be released online each week until the album comes out (May 22nd). He released the cover art for the record http://slashonline.com/ and had mentioned that he wanted a pin up girl in there somewhere. I am a pin up fanatic, so I brought in some of my books of pin up art for inspiration. Of course, the Bettie Page life size cut out was in the live room with the band the whole time and is in a lot of the documentary footage as well as in the Mativision shoot that happened here last week.



While Dre and I were at Capitol, Roger and Ken Miller were at Dolby, working on an install with Audrey Wiechman. We still had to keep on top of Greg Wells' console at the time and it was a little hard to try to balance my schedule, but now I'm focusing on it and Roger and Dre have been here with me. I have been putting components into PC boards, Dre has been building the power supplies, Roger is building the frame and Ken Miller, although safely away at home in Mammoth, is doing the woodwork.

Larry had finished all the circuit design work on the rackmount EQ/mic pre units, but he was side tracked for several weeks doing custom designs for Wells' console. I'll get into the specifics of that in another post, but long story short... Larry is back on the rackmount units to wrap up the circuit layouts. They will come out soon, I promise. If you look back at older posts, you can add up the amount of times I said that we were getting close... now we have a bunch of parts here. But these have to be right.

I got side tracked for a day... Eric came into the shop at about ten at night on Tuesday and said that in order to do these mixes, we were going to have to figure out a way to be able to send and return to any of his effects (an EMT plate, the chamber, spring reverb, tape echos and a bunch of digital stuff) without taking up so much of the console. The solution was to get another patchbay in there that is fully normalled, tie all the ins and outs of the time based stuff to the ins and outs of a dedicated 16 channel converter. Now all the reverbs can be mixed in the box and brought back to the console on a pair of channels instead of 24 of them and so many of the delays are digital anyways. It is a permanent solution.

David Bock has a new blog about microphones http://macromicrophone.blogspot.com/2012/02/grohl-works-mic.html, so be sure to check that out. I mentioned before that Eric owns the only two Bock Audio Ellfet 7 mics, the original prototype and a second one that David got together for him right before the bulk of recording on Slash's record started. These are fet mics that put fet47s to shame. Eric was so impressed with the prototype, he had to have it and both of them were used extensively on the sessions.
Bock Audio Ellfet 7s in stereo
There are some pretty exciting things brewing here, but I can't talk about them now, but I'll say that 2012 is already pretty amazing and I'll post news when I can.

Roger turned 45 on Wednesday, so we had cake here, then Saturday is Cian's birthday and his whole family is coming over for one serious Irish party.

Rock & Roll,
MW

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Late Night Blues

I'm lucky that I get to make my own schedule and as a night person, I can start working later, but that does have it's down side... there are less restaurants open late at night and it can get a little lonely. I like working late at Capitol though, because it is quieter after the construction crew has left, I can focus more on what I'm doing and if the rest of the Studio B gang is in (Jon, Greg, Bret and French Eric), they work late too and they are fun to be around. At times I've been working all night and trying to get some sleep during the mornings. I love that, but it's nice to be awake during the day in life-giving sunshine. None of these studios have windows to the outside and they are built like bomb shelters -it was raining last night and I didn't even know until I was leaving.

I've spent most of the past two weeks in the machine room. The patchbays are in and the Neve is up and running. Robin Porter, the console's designer, has been training the Capitol crew on the new console and there is already talk about the first session booked.


I've finished everything relating to Greg Wells' console that is time sensitive for awhile, meaning that much of it is in the hands of vendors right now. I just have to pester them to make sure things are here on time. The bulk of the frame parts came in yesterday and I took that stuff to the anodizers right away. Dre has been working hard on power supplies and is somewhat ahead of schedule, that frees him up a little bit and he will be joining us on the Capitol install on Monday. Parts are arriving more or less everyday and at this point I don't know where to put it all.

In between the install up the street and UTA stuff, I've been taking care of chores at Barefoot Recording -mods to Ampex cards and instrument and speaker tie lines between Studio A's control room and the live room for guitar overdubs. I've also been handling some little jobs for Jon Brion and Greg Koller. Jon's live rig is set back up again at Capitol and Bret and I recently put together his new rackmount pedal system.

It's a pretty peaceful evening at Barefoot-Roger is at the NAMM show, Dre is out somewhere else, Eric and Cian are overdubbing percussion with Brent Fitz in Studio A and Matt is working away in Studio B. I'm just doing some of the smaller paperwork and preliminary testing of PC boards. I'm going out tonight, which is a nice change and I may even get to bed before 4:00am.

MW

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Powered by Coffee

I'm drinking a lot of coffee these days. I should try to eat healthy, but there are jars of candy and crappy food is just so easy to get. A salad just doesn't seem so appealing when I'm going to be working late. Food is one of the problems, getting sleep is another, but I think the most difficult thing is getting other things done when I'm working so much... laundry, finding time to do invoicing and cleaning my place. I'm a bachelor who can't cook and I have a huge pile of clothes to clean, which inspired a great idea -a laundry service for studio people. I wish someone would do that. There are services that pick up your dirty clothes and deliver them clean the next day, but it would be nice if there was a service specifically for people at places like Capitol and the big film studios. They would make a killing! Many of the big studios have amenities such as full kitchens and showers, but I've never known one to have washing machines and dryers. Finding time for relationships... that's a whole other can of worms.

I put in plenty of time last weekend at Barefoot, going over lists of components and sorting out quantities of PC boards to order. We have been making a lot of changes for the Greg Wells console, so all of that affects how much to order of what and it has required major custom designs. It's great though, because we keep getting better at this. We have learned what to do, where to go, who to talk to and when. Each time we build a console, we are up against new obstacles and the whole operation is getting tighter and stronger. We are more organized than ever, due in large part to Daniel Balbas doing the inventory and organizing the shop. The amount of parts coming in is a bit much and it's hard to keep up. By the way, we updated the crew page on the UTA website http://undertoneaudio.com/theteam.html.

The next issue is space... where are we going to build this console? The band has finished tracking, so that opens up more possibilities. There have been a lot of road cases in the building, that stuff is clearing up, so we might do it in the front hallway (that's where we built the 24 channel one) and there has even been talk of using the echo chamber. The first two big consoles where built in their respective rooms, sort of like building ships in bottles.

The 88R at Capitol is going in the same way, it's going to be put together in the control room. It's a good way of doing it, the alternatives are not much fun... carrying a console through doorways is tough and about fifteen years ago at a studio in New York, we had to remove the control room glass to take a Trident out and put an SSL in. Oh boy.

Things at Capitol are in full force. We have a bigger crew now, all the parts and supplies we need and we are cranking it out furiously. I've been on patchbay wiring, other guys are prepping and crimping Elco pins and the crates were finally opened. The console may go in this week and the new walls have been going up. I'm taking Monday and Tuesday away from the install to focus on Undertone, so I had to finish all of my patchbay work on Sunday night in order for them to install the bays in the control room.

I've wired more patchbays than I could count, but my work last night was just particularly difficult - I couldn't put them on a bench, I had to work on them in the racks (crate/shipping racks) while standing on a ladder. One of the bays could only pull out a few inches, so soldering to the points became quite a stunt. I finally finished early in the morning, but being the only person left in the building except for the security guards was great... I blasted loud Van Halen and AC/DC with the studio doors wide open, that's something you can't get away with during the day.
16 channels of headphones with normals
88R almost ready to settle in
Just leave it this way, it's... rustic
Slash and the band have finished tracking something along the lines of fifteen to twenty songs, next are vocal overdubs for a few weeks and then mixing. I'm going to miss those guys, they are a very fun bunch and we've had some good times. Somehow, Matt has been able to continue his sessions in Studio B, even tracking vocals. He's just had to work around the Studio A schedule, which has mainly been afternoons and evenings.

All that exists of Greg Wells' console right now are parts and some PC boards, so there isn't anything even in the shape of a console to take pictures of yet... we're getting there. We won't be at NAMM and we've scratched the idea of going to Nashville -we're too busy right now. I want to get out there one of these days, but it's not worth doing a trade show until the rackmount EQs and compressors are ready.

I've got to try to get to sleep soon, I'm exhausted.

Cheers!
MW