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

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.


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 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.