June I July 2023
Music plays at graduations, concert halls and homes this month where we exercise our freedoms. One musician brings back memories to heal hearts. An Award-winning studio is in session. Learn why beauty matters to this dance company in Angel city and who's in our video spotlight. See why this doc on some of our beloved session players is getting attention. We have music news, promotions in the executive turntable, and more...Remain grateful to you, our valued readers and supporters.
Grab an espresso and enjoy this month's serving with fireworks!

Artist's Gateway To The World's Top Music Makers
Josh Johnson
Producer I Composer

Musician, composer and producer Josh Johnson's album, Freedom Exercise released on Northern Spy Records in 2020 offers layers of vintage synthesizers and electric pianos with rapid tones, repetitive loops, at times, emulating a string quartet, and featuring Afro-beat-inspired rhythms. True to its title, Freedom Exercise delivers on Johnson's compositional expressiveness allowing welcomed space and silence in his saxophone solos. Plus he's feature on mellotron, Prophet 6, percussion, 856 for Zellersasn, Synth, MS-20, Wurlitzer, flute, bass clarinet, and synth bass.
In 2018 and 2022 Johnson held the role of Musical Director for soul singer Leon Bridges, with whom he also played keyboards and saxophone. During his time with Bridges, Johnson performed throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, with performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Glastonbury and the Sydney Opera House. Along with Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes), Johnson arranged 14 of Bridges’ songs for a performance with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, also contributing a choral arrangement and directing the concert. 
Johnson can be heard on records by Harry Styles, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Moonchild, Broken Bells, Dawes, Louis Cole and Carlos Niño, among others. This month he is listed as producer for Meshell Ndegeocello's new album The Omnichord Real Book.
Meshell Ndegeocello
The Omnichord Real Book
Blue Note Records
June 16, 2023

Video Spotlight "ASR" (feat Jeff Parker)

“This album is about the way we see old things in new ways,” says Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello of her new album, The Omnichord Real Book. Her debut on Blue Note (a label she "dreamed about as a child") is produced by Josh Johnson (Harry Styles, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Moonchild).
Most of us can relate to Ndegeocello's experience of parents' loss and finding peace in memories. Ndegeocello turned some of her memories (found, literally, in boxes, in her attic), to 18 songs. The music touches her influences of free jazz, bass-driven funk, a capella beats. Her jazz saxophonist father died in 2016. Her mother suffered from dementia for years before passing in 2021. “Everything moved so quickly when my parents died. Changed my view of everything and myself in the blink of an eye. I took their records, the ones I grew up hearing, learning, remembering," she adds. The album’s title "Real Book" references a collection of “lead sheets” of jazz standards given to her by her father. Her collaborators who added their improvisational touch, include: Jeff Parker (guitar), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Joel Ross (vibraphone), and Jason Moran (piano).

The Ominichord is a musical instrument introduced by Suzuki in '81. It features a touch plate known as "Sonic Strings", preset rhythms, auto-bass line functionality, and buttons for major, minor, and 7th chords. 
Ndegeocello's name means "free like a bird."
The Omnichord Real Book feels free and fresh, different from Ndegeocello's past albums. It's as though she has channeled her extraordinary personal pain into a celebration of sorts that aim to heal hearts. Perhaps The Omnichord Real Book marks start of a new chapter in her trailblazing career and life.
Video for the track, ASR, from a session in the studio, is directed by Sam Zarrin and is in studioexpresso's July spotlight.

Meshell has also announced new tour dates to her upcoming performance schedule, which includes appearances at the Blue Note Jazz Festival in NY on June 21 and Napa Valley on July 29, as well as concerts in Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and more. See below for a full list of confirmed tour dates or visit meshell.com Order the album here
Silent Zoo Studios In Session
Scoring with Musicians & Composers
"I want the studio to be an open environment for organic creation, collaboration, positivity, and all-around great vibes."
--Holden Woodward, Silent Zoo Studios
Above: Studio Founder/Owner and engineer Holden Woodward at Silent Zoo Studios Control Room with film Composer Hildur Gudnadóttir (Joker, Battlefield 2042, Women Talking) equipped with Neve Legend and ATC speakers.

Formerly the Bridge Recording, a renowned Los Angeles scoring stage, the venue is now under new staffing and management as Silent Zoo Studios. The studio is reopening with Victor Janacua hired as the new manager and upgrades that include a re-capped 96-channel Neve VSP Legend console, with brand new computing power, and interfaces.
"As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, Victor comes to us at the perfect time for our further growth and position in Los Angeles," says Holden Woodward, owner, engineer, musician, producer, and indie filmmaker.
The distinctive facility was constructed to optimum professional standards originally designed by Kaufman and Assoc and has served thousands of projects to date. Silent Zoo's 1750 sq.ft. live room, adjoining isolation booths and spacious 875 sq.ft. control room allow for large-scale productions to record comfortably. While continuing its legacy in screen scoring, the studio is expanding to serve major recording artists and record labels. New video broadcast capabilities make remote recording and live streaming straight forward.

Recent clients include: Milk Carton Kids, and Academy, Grammy and BAFTA winner film composer Hildur Gudnadóttir (Battelfield 2042, Women Talking, Joker) above with Woodward.

studioexpresso met up with studio founder/owner, musician and engineer Holden Woodward in June to learn about Silent Zoo Studios, and his passion for gear, all-things audio, music, and film.

SE: Talk about the inspiration for Silent Zoo.

HW: A few years ago, a friend and I created a film production company and produced a couple of independent films. I made a list of around 30 names for it, and one of them was “Silent Zoo Productions”. We ended up going with
another name for that venture, but Silent Zoo always stuck with me. When it came to naming and re-branding the studio, Silent Zoo Studios just sort of clicked instantly with me and felt right. Recording studios are inherently very quiet places… until you have a 40-piece orchestra, 10 person team in the control room, and the studio staff all working together to make beautiful music for a major film. The studio quickly goes from silent to a zoo of coordinated musical chaos in the best way. Beyond the name, I wanted the studio to have an attractive logo that would be recognizable with its aesthetic. I am a big animal lover and knew I wanted to incorporate an animal into the logo. I began drawing up some rough ideas and the octopus really resonated with me. I reached out to my good friend Fiona
Hilton, who is an extremely talented artist and graphic designer, and she worked her magic to come up with the final logo you see today.

SE You acquired the studio in 2019 from The Bridge, and then COVID happened? How did you use the downtime?

HW: Life is timing… and the timing was tough. I spent the first 8 months recording various personal projects, inviting artists and friends in, and getting familiar with everything in the studio. It wasn’t until January 2020 that we had our first “soft session,” and then on March 1st, we had a 40-piece orchestra in. The session went great and the future was looking bright. Then 5 days later, just like everyone, we were forced to close and push all sessions we had booked into the future. Once it was evident COVID was going to persist, I decided to use the time to completely re-cap
the first 60 channels of our console, as well as the motherboards, meter bays, center section, and more. We emptied every module out and cleaned them from the inside out. Bill Ravencraft and Abe Senna, legends in the studio world, began the tedious process of refurbishing the console. Bill was in charge of all the re-capping (thousands of capacitors!), and Abe began putting in new switches and troubleshooting any problems that came up.
Together the team and I transformed the studio into a streamlined maintenance assembly line and got to work module after module. We made the best of a bad situation and spent a few solid months on this project.
The pandemic also gave me time to use the studio for personal projects, one of them being recording my band CHECKERNECK’s album. My close friend Andrew Greenup and I spent many late nights tracking. We had a
great time and I was able to experiment with the room, use the console in a lot of different ways, and try some odd but sometimes effective recording techniques.
SE: The control room at Silent Zoo features main ATC speakers, What can you say about these
speakers? Any plans to go Atmos?

HW: I love our mains. They have an incredible low-end response and truly sound great at all volume levels. I feel they are very versatile and sound just as solid on pop/rock music as they do on orchestral/classical music. Yes, I have been considering ATMOS for a while now. I've had the ceiling looked at to determine the cost and scale of adding speakers, and we already have the technical ability to add the additional speakers into our system. It’s very likely that in the near future, we will be ATMOS equipped.

SE: When you acquired the studio , what gear was included and what are some new additions?

HW: In general, I’d say we have about 95% of what Bridge had still in-house. The beautiful 9-foot Steinway Concert D is in amazing shape and continues to be one of our most cherished assets. With the exception of a few microphones, our mic locker includes all of the Bridge’s collection, as well as a large number of new additions from Neumann, Telefunken, AEA, and more. The same goes for our control room. Beyond what was in place from the Bridge, we have added a lot of new outboard gear from Manley, AMS Neve, Tube-Tech, Grace, and more. We have updated our IOs to the latest Apogee Symphonies with HDX and our computing to 16-core mac pros. I’ve always been a big effect pedal enthusiast, both for their sounds and artwork. I had a pretty large collection coming into the studio and always wanted to display them in a functional and aesthetic way (below left). As a result, we now have three custom-built “Pedal Walls” that feature around 60 pedals each. The pedals have been collected from all over and include some favorites from Strymon, Earthquaker, Walrus, OBNE, and more. The pedals are all powered by Strymon supplies and are all
connected to a patchbay for convenient and quick tone creation. We love running all sorts of sounds through them…
drums, bass, keys, vocals, animal noises, you name it! We also have a full backline including a ton of guitars and basses, amps, acoustic drums, and more.
SE: Your room is designed by the award-winning Kaufman & Assoc.- suitable for tracking and is super orchestra friendly. What are some of the past sessions recorded and/or mixed here?

HW: Our live room is perfect for a medium-sized orchestra! The largest session we have had was a 56-piece and it sounded absolutely amazing. Greg Curtis (the former owner of The Bridge) did an incredible job, having Jay Kaufman
design and construct this studio. Our live room makes a small string section sound triple the size. I am blown away every time I sit in the live room during an orchestral recording. It really is a special experience hearing and feeling sound leave the instruments and fill the room in such a powerful yet delicate way. Drums and percussion
also sound HUGE. We are very fortunate to work with the best of the best… from production studios and labels alike …. Disney, Netflix, Universal, Atlantic Records, 88Rising, Epic Records, and so many more. Some past sessions include Star Trek, Our Planet, The Grammys, John Legend, Iron and Wine, Nationwide Commercials, Stormzy, and The Walking Dead.

SE: As studio owner, what's your philosophy? What clients should know about you and your facility?

HW: My goal with Silent Zoo Studios since the beginning has been to blend the orchestral world with the contemporary world, and it has been amazing to see that goal come to fruition with the many sessions we have done and are continuing to do, for both picture and for artists. I want the studio to be an open environment for organic creation, collaboration, positivity, and all-around great vibes. A space where anyone, no matter their background, can feel comfortable expressing themselves musically and artistically. I don’t want anyone that comes to the studio to feel insecure or judged. As long as you have passion for your project, I am happy to support and witness it take shape in our studio.
Above Left: Woodward with newly appointed studio manager Victor Janacua photo: David Goggin and Right: Grace Kinstler

SE: I understand you play the drums and went to USC. What was your major and what would you like potential clients to know about you, your place, your philosophy on being a musician today?

HW: During my time at SC, I pursued a major in Music Industry at the esteemed Thornton School of Music. This program encompassed various aspects of the music business, including music business management, legal principles, and recording technology. Personally, I am interested in a diverse range. I play the drums, guitar/bass,
and produce and create all sorts of music… rock/alternative, electronic, instrumental scores, and more. I have recorded a ton of music over the years and have collaborated with all sorts of artists. I haven't put much of
my original music out into the world, but that is going to change very soon! As mentioned before, I am immersed in the mixing process of a 13-song album, which was recorded entirely in the studio during the pandemic.
Collaborating closely with my friend Andrew Greenup, we have created this album under the band name CHECKERNECK. Prior to the pandemic, we performed live at numerous venues throughout Los Angeles and up the coast. This album truly reflects the culmination of our shared experiences, growth, and countless hours spent jamming and crafting songs together. I am very excited to put this album out, as well as a lot of other original music!
One of the most exhilarating aspects of our studio, for me, is the opportunity to engage in multiple diverse projects within a single week. From running scoring sessions to picture, to recording pop vocals for an artist, and even recording live performances of an alternative rock band on video, every day presents a fresh and exciting challenge. Another one of the greatest joys of working in our studio is the opportunity for continuous learning and growth. Being surrounded by exceptionally talented musicians, skilled engineers, and accomplished producers allows me to constantly absorb knowledge and expand my skill set. I am equally enthralled by the machine room, where I enjoy making cables and microphones, as well as the live room, where I enjoy the freedom of jamming with friends, setting up for a session, and so much more.
When I first walked into the studio, I felt this creative and inspiring energy hit me, and knew that this studio was special. Since then, I’ve done my best to maintain and amplify that energy for our clients. I hope that everyone
who works in our space feels the same sense of inspiration and fulfillment that I encounter every single day in the studio.
studioexpresso Spotlight Silent Zoo Studios
Booking Contact: [email protected]

Which comes first? The stereo mix or the immersive mix? Or can they take place simultaneously?

No matter the approach, all engineers agree that it should be the artist’s intent and vision that drives the process.
Blackbird Studios (left) is one of the world’s leading recording facilities, featuring immersive music capability, featuring a dual mix environment, with a 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos system --Avid S6 console, ATC monitors in one direction and an API/Genelec-based Sony 360RA setup in the other; and Studio F, featuring a 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos (ATC monitors) immersive music mix environment.
Featuring Upgraded, Handcrafted, ATC Dual-Suspension Tweeter
ATC models:

"ATC monitors are something you have to experience to really grasp how different they are from everything else. Lets just say that you can hear details you’ve never heard before, leading you to faster, more accurate decisions in your creative process," says Brad Lunde, President of Trans Audio Group
ATC SCM 25a pro mk2 has been upgraded with ATC’s hand made proprietary SH25-76S Dual Suspension Tweeter, extending the high-frequency response with a reduction in distortion. " Like the original SCM25A, the new upgraded Mk2 is a compact 3-way high-performance active studio monitor loudspeaker, based around the hand made proprietary ATC 3”/75mm soft mid-dome driver and 6.5”/164mm bass driver loaded in a 25-litre vented cabinet," adds Brad Lunde, President of Trans Audio Group. The monitor’s combination of exceptional mid-range clarity, high-output, extended bass response and modest size make it ideal for nearfield monitoring across a wide range of critical applications. ATC of England is the insider’s studio monitor, demanded by the very top level of the music recording community. ATC designs and manufactures nearly all their proprietary components, drivers, and electronics in-house to the absolute highest quality standards. The best of the best rely on ATC monitoring as their main solution for tracking, mixing and mastering. Models range from $5,000 to $50,000 per pair and all share a very similar sound. For larger rooms and midfield, applications check out the SEM45 with dual 6.5-inch drivers and the fantastic SEM150 with a 15-inch woofer and 350 Watts of power. Choose the size that works for your space. More info here


TransAudio Group, U.S. distributer of the finest professional recording equipment in the world, is pleased to announce the new ATC SCS70 Pro, a compact, ultra-high performance subwoofer using ATC’s first, in-house-designed and built sub driver.

Designed by Billy Woodman and his team of engineers, this new 12-inch sub driver delivers the kind of honest and detailed low-frequency information that professionals have come to expect from ATC.
 “Engineers are dealing with greater and greater demand from artists for more sub output and they need accuracy down low. Subwoofers can be a source of distortion, making the mixing or mastering process a guessing game. Now an ATC system, complete with the one or two SCS70 subs, can deliver full bandwidth audio for any genre, enabling superior translation on any system it gets played on, from ear buds to home hi-fi to clubs and everything in-between. Other subwoofers rely on EQ and poorly implemented ports, transmission lines or passive radiators to boost low end and make their subs sound impressive," says Brad Lunde

USA List Price: $5,490.00 USA MAP: $4,990.00
Introductory pricing good through August 18, 2022: $4,490.00.
Stands And Sound

Is it actually worth spending money on good speaker stands? That is the question. While looks can be deceiving, you must have seen concrete blocks and other DIY configurations used in some project studios. Speaker stands may not be on top of your purchasing list in 2023, but this 19-minute video by Colt Capperrune @ColtCapperrune may change your mind. $20 block stands are compared with professional stands ranging from $140 Gators to $1,200 Sound Anchor stands. Can you guess which one performs the best? check it out here
Sound Anchors and Redmount products are designed and manufactured in Palm Bay, Florida U.S.A. using American parts and skilled American labor. click here for Sound Anchor dealers in USA
TransAudio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor and/or U.S. sales and marketing representative for high-end audio. Success hinges on TransAudio providing dealers and end users with a higher standard of product expertise and support far beyond the norm.
Beach Boys with Fireworks at The Hollywood Bowl On Sunday July 2
As The Beach Boys mark more than a half century of making music, the group continues to ride the crest of a wave unequaled in America’s musical history. The Beach Boys have become synonymous with the California lifestyle and have become an American icon to fans around the world. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers were also honored at the 2001 Grammy Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sounds of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys, Capitol/EMI’s 30-track collection of the band’s biggest hits, has achieved triple-platinum success with sales of more than three million copies in the U.S. since its release.
The Beach Boys are led by Mike Love, who, along with longtime member Bruce Johnston, musical director Scott Totten, Brian Eichenberger, Christian Love, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, and Randy Leago continue the legacy of the iconic band. This concert will not feature Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, or David Marks.
Share what's on your July 4th Playlist and tag #studioexpresso #July4 #GoodVibrations
Good Vibrations - With dozens of their chart-toppers becoming anthems of American youth—including “Surfin’ USA,” “I Get Around,” and “Fun, Fun, Fun”—The Beach Boys will light up the night with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under its legendary fireworks!

Sunday July 2, 7:30 Pm

Thomas Wilkins, conductor
John stamos, special guest
Tickets here
studioexpresso and Trans Audio Group have featured many producers, and musicians over the past ten years of TEC Track's history at NAMM
Curt Bisquera (Sarah McLachlan, Elton John), Kenny Aronoff (Smashing Pumpkins, John Mellencamp, Sting), Greg Penny (Elton John, KD Lang), Rafa Sardina (Lady Gaga, John Legend), Niko Bolas (Neil Young, LeAnn Rimes), Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hedrix, Kiss), Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More), Cheche Alara (Christina Aguilera), Kim Bullard (Elton John, Kelly Clarkson), Cristina Abaroa (Celine Dion, Enrique Iglasias), Brady Leffler (Hot Chelle Rae, Justin Beieber), Al Schmitt (Diana Krall, Paul McCartney), Alex Acuna (LA Phil, Beck), Teddy Campbell (American idol, The Tonight Show w Leno), Ellis Hall (Ray Charles, Tower of Power), Jacob Armen (Prince), Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt), Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Melody Gardot), Manny Marroquin (Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys), Dave Schiffman (Adele, Limp Bizkit), Gregg Field (Sinatra, Pharell), Sylvia Massy (Tool, Johnny Cash), CJ Vanston (Toto, spinal Tap), Dame Gail Dorsey (David Bowie, Gwen Stefani), Jenny Mason (The Mrs), Neal Pogue (Outkast, Andre 3000), Leland Sklar (Phil Collins, James Taylor), Moogie Canazio (Sergio Mendes, Sarah Vaughan), Daniel Seeff (KJazz, Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz), James Torme,
Zev Feldman of Resonance Records (Sarah Vaughan, Bill Evans, Nat King Cole), John Wooler of Mood Media (Flying Lotus, Elton John, Miles Davis), David Benoit, Matt Wong, and Brent Fischer (D'Angelo, Elvis Costello and The Roots).
Bettermaker Stereo Passive EQ
Pure Analog Beauty of A Passive EQ Meets Impressive Digital Plug-In Control

The new Bettermaker Stereo Passive Equalizer replicates that proven formula to bring the famous and deeply-loved sound of the classic passive EQs to modern high-end workflows. No more snapping pictures or relying on misplaced recall sheets to preserve settings. Bettermaker makes recalling settings easy and reliable with unlimited memory via the associated DAW plug-in. Engineers will find the controls on the Bettermaker Stereo Passive Equalizer familiar: low boost or cut at four possible frequencies; high boost at ten possible frequencies with bandwidth control; and high cut at three possible frequencies. Bypass, output gain, and reset round out the controls. But, of course, the real magic of the Bettermaker Stereo Passive Equalizer is its sound, which includes two perfectly matched channels, and comprehensive plug-in control and recall. “The 100% analog signal path of the new Bettermaker Stereo Passive Equalizer has all the heft and ethereal air of the vintage passive EQs that are so loved by engineers,” says Brad Lunde, founder and president of TransAudio Group, the U.S. distributor of all Bettermaker signal processors.
 The Bettermaker Stereo Passive Equalizer is now available and shipping – and is priced at USA MAP $1999
The Bettermaker® Stereo Passive Equalizer (SPE) now nominated for a TEC Award 2023, is for those who seek outstanding EQ quality with the convenience of fast and precise recall and automation. The SPE offers a 100% analog signal path of legendary passive filters. All this with mastering grade sound and patented recall with the speed of a native plugin.
– 100% analog audio signal path
– USB connectivity with MAC/PC
– all parameters are digitally controlled by DAW (with dedicated plugin)
– stereo passive equalizer with extended hi-boost section (air bands: 20 and 28 kHz)
– adjustable output level (+/- 8dB)
Watch here 14-minute review - open your new box of a Bettermaker Stereo Passive EQ and hear its performance in the studio!
Bettermaker builds boutique signal processors worthy of worship in their own right, but then they level-up their incredible products with convenient, easy-to-use plug-in control and instant recall.

TransAudio Group, distributor of world-class audio recording equipment introduces the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter 2.0. The new, improved unit incorporates updated technology boosting the performance of its pure analog signal path with digital control, plug-in recall and automation. Marek Walaszek, Bettermaker’s inventor and founder, took the solid foundation of the original Mastering Limiter and made key improvements.
There’s plenty new! The 2.0 sounds better with a new optimized limiter engine offering greater limiting control and path-to-signal uniformity: -20dB. An improved limiter side chain with a high-pass filter: off or 20-200 Hz, and mid-boost filter: off or 8dB at either 2kHz or 7kHz proves perfect for delicate volume control. As far as clipping goes, the redesigned 2.0 Clipping Section easily handles transient material with a High or Low Soft Clip plus Soft Clip Trim.
Implementing the latest in plug-in advancements, the 2.0 utilizes intuitive GUI and DAW plug-ins. The 2.0 allows the user to update firmware and plug-ins through Bettermaker’s website. Also included is an easy to navigate black faceplate with high-colored display and well-defined high-resolution visuals to provide quick to read metering.
“It’s somewhat hard to believe Bettermaker improved one of the top stereo limiters in the marketplace,” added Brad Lunde, president, and founder of TransAudio Group. “From Grammy-award winners, to top international recording artists, home and free-standing recording studios, the original Mastering Limiter is that piece of go-to gear that adds that particular dynamic edge and significant touch towards the end of the recording process. The Bettermaker Mastering Limiter 2.0 has faster release time, a lowered noise floor and the same 100% analog signal path with the ease of digital plug-in control and recall. This one is a superstar product.” Watch Vlog review by DJ, Producer, Jon Sine of the new Bettermaker Mastering 2.0 here
The Bettermaker Mastering Limiter 2.0 is priced at $3,500 in USA and is now available for shipping.
The Daking Mic Pre 4T
Soulful Circuitry Meets Proprietary Problem-Solving Features
"The Daking Mic Pre 4T, nominated for a TEC Award 2023, will elevate any recording offering unique solutions to common problems," say Brad Lunde (click top left image for a video presentation by Brad Lunde).
The “low-distortion” Jensen input and output transformers offer more linear low-end performance under super dynamic conditions. Daking’s own variable high-pass filter dials out the low-frequency mud that can be subsonic and will decrease available headroom. Built in the USA, Daking uses only high-end parts like Jensen input and output transformers in a high-end design using all-discrete transistor Class A circuitry. Unusually high 24dB of headroom and easy to read twenty segment meters make proper gain staging easy and forgiving under a wider array of conditions.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Auratone and its US distributor, TransAudio Group, introduced the first-ever Active 5C, now nominated for TEC Awards at NAMM 2023. The mono amplifier is designed and built in Europe in collaboration with the famous hardware manufacturer, Bettermaker. A careful R&D process has been implemented to maintain the original characteristics of the 5C, utilizing the same amplifier design from the NAMM TEC Award winning A2-30 amplifier. The unmistakable six-inch Auratone 5C Sound Cubes atop meter bridges, have guided engineers down the narrow and rocky path to mid-range nirvana. Indeed, its involvement in innumerable hits earned the 5C Sound Cube a NAMM TEC Hall of Fame Award in 2016.
“We were happy to get boutique Polish manufacturer Bettermaker together with Alex Jacobsen, owner, and grandson of founder Jack Wilson, for the perfectly matched A2-30 amplifier. Now, the two companies have collaborated to get a mono amplifier that contains the guts and soul of the A2-30 into each chassis for the active version,” says Brad Lunde, founder, and president of TransAudio Group. Like the other 5C variants, the Auratone ACTIVE 5C is made in the USA.
The Auratone Active 5C is now shipping • MAP: $749/pair
Review units are available: Contact Aleks Bars at TransAudio Group
Trans Audio Group -- The Recording Studio Equipment Experts. Call to order from their trusted brands:
Questions- pricing, availability and dealer locations please email [email protected]
The Immediate Family Documentary Lands More Awards
What do you do when you get endorsements from the likes of Stevie Nicks, Jackson Brown, Don Henley, and Keith Richards? You make a documentary that lands awards, including Audience Choice 2023!

"In the early 70s you couldn't pick an album, look at the liner notes, without these guys' names on it," says actor/musician, Billy Bob Thornton. "They were there for the song," says Don Henley, founding member of the Eagles. "I was thrilled to watch my favorite musicians (and dearest friends) celebrated for their musical brilliance, their prodigious influence and creativity," says producer Peter Asher. " All I can express is an admiration for these guys," says Keith Richards. "Because I would never want anybody else to be my musical director, or my lead guitarist, because Waddy makes me feel safe," says Stevie Nicks.

The members of Immediate Family backed iconic singer-songwriters of the 70s, 80s, creating some of the most recognizable tunes in rock. Follow up to his acclaimed doc “The Wrecking Crew,” director Denny Tedesco reveals the machinery behind the singer/songwriter era featuring intimate interviews with players, as well as the memories of some of music’s most iconic voices, to include: Superstars like Carole King, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and David Crosby
Watch the trailer here
The Immediate Family is Danny 'Kootch' Kortchmar Guitar/Vocal, Leland Sklar Bass, Russ Kunkel on Drums, Waddy Wachtel Guitar/Vocal and Steve Postell Guitar/Vocal.
Music Executive Turntable
Ezekiel Lewis
President Epic Records (Sony)

Ezekiel Lewis has been promoted to President of Epic Records.
He will continue to report to Sylvia Rhone, Epic Records’ Chairwoman and CEO, and to lead the A&R division while helping run the day-to-day operations of the Sony Music-owned label. Lewis has served as the company’s Executive Vice President and Head of A&R since 2020.
Throughout his tenure, he has worked with artists including 21 Savage, BIA, Black Eyed Peas, DDG, Future, GIVEON, Madison Beer, Meghan Trainor, Mimi Webb, Southside, Zara Larsson and more. Prior to joining Epic
in 2017, Lewis served as Senior Vice President of A&R at Motown Records from 2011. Previously, Lewis’ credits included co-writing and co-producing artists such as Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige and Usher. In 2004, Lewis co-founded The Clutch, a collective of songwriter-producers responsible for hits by Omarion, Ciara, Britney Spears, Timbaland and more. “Having been a hit songwriter and producer for many years, Zeke brings an invaluable understanding of the artist’s creative journey," says Epic Records’ Chairwoman and CEO, Sylvia Rhone. “I look forward to continuing our collaboration, with the singular goal of giving the world some of the most incredible and influential music created, to last for generations,” says Ezekiel Lewis
Tunji Balogun
Chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings

Def Jam Recordings has been at the forefront of hip-hop music and culture for more than 35 years. Synonymous with creativity, quality and authenticity – the label has a diverse roster of marquee and emerging stars like West, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, Logic, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Jeremih, Big Sean, YG, 2 Chainz, Dave East, and Jhene Aiko, among many others.
Early last year in 2022, Universal Music Group (UMG), announced the appointment of celebrated A&R executive Tunji Balogun as Chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings. Balogun came to Def Jam from RCA Records, where he has served as Executive Vice President of A&R.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most successful and respected creative executives in music today, Balogun has worked with artists including Bryson Tiller, Childish Gambino, Goldlink, Khalid and Wizkid among others, over his 17-year career. His appointment marks a return to UMG where he served as an A&R executive at Interscope Records from 2007 to 2015. In his new role, Balogun will be based in Los Angeles and report to UMG Chairman & CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge.
In making the announcement, Grainge said, “Tunji is part of a new wave of dynamic executives who view today’s artists and music through a unique creative lens. Not only does he bring a deep understanding and respect for the cultural significance of what Def Jam has created over the past four decades, but he also sees the boundless potential of what Def Jam can be to a new generation of artists and fans.”
Balogun, said, “I grew up on Def Jam’s music – collecting, listening to and studying their albums and singles – those early moments as a young fan have had a lasting influence on who I am today. Def Jam remains one of music’s most iconic brands and has always represented forward-thinking artists and partners that continue to shift ideas and impact culture around the world.”
Jeffrey Harleston, UMG’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs served as Def Jam’s interim Chairman & CEO for two years.
The Guitar Center Music Foundation Appoints Fred Croshal to its Board of Directors

The Guitar Center Music Foundation (GCMF), a nonprofit organization that advances the healing, transformative power of music by granting instruments to music education and music therapy programs in need, announces further expansion of its Board of Directors. Fred Croshal, a 45-year music industry veteran and President/CEO of marketing/management firm Croshal Entertainment Group, has been appointed to the organization’s leadership body. The announcement was made by David Helfant, Chairman of the Board of Directors at The Guitar Center Music Foundation, and signifies the ongoing growth of the foundation and its Board. "He is passionate about music and music education, embodies integrity and honesty in our industry, and we are very lucky to have him on our Board,” said David Helfant, Chairman of the Board of Directors at The Guitar Center Music Foundation.
Fred Croshal’s rich history in the industry goes back over 45 years. He began his career as a retail sales representative at a local record store in the Bay Area before securing his first position at CBS Records. Soon after, he obtained executive positions at Sony Music Distribution and Columbia Records, working with artists such as Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many more. In 1996, Madonna hired him at the Maverick Recording Company, where he soon became General Manager, overseeing all departments, including sales, press, radio, marketing, creative, etc. At Maverick, he was able to build and nurture the careers of artists like Alanis Morissette, Deftones, Candlebox, Michelle Branch and more.
An Important Note About Beauty
American Contemporary Ballet's Homage to Balanchine: A Poetic Fusion To Satisfy Senses
Right: Poster by Victor Demarchelier. Below ACB rehearsals with director Lincoln Jones

The immersive experience of beauty is something that we feel. Where can you sample exotic scents of neroli, myrrh, oakmoss, and sage (perfumes displayed in cases); watch choreography inspired by Balanchine; and hear exceptional young musicians live --Enosh Kofler, Agatha Blevin (Violins), Mallory Haney (organ), Yu-Ting Hsu (Viola), Sukyung Chun (bass) and Morgan Jones (piano, MD). All in one place?
At American Contemporary Ballet's (ACB) production of Concerto Barocco in Los Angeles. ACB, the resident dance company, in its 11th season, rises above its spectacular 28th-floor views from penthouse of an office building downtown. This is where audiences are transported to a modern world where dancers --Francisca Abarzua, Claire Bednarek, Taylor Berwick, Carmen Callahan, Annette Cherkasov, Elise Kruger, Quincy Smith, Madisyn Wilson, and Brittany Yevoli-- deliver classical beauty, as they sway their hips in minimalist costuming, true to form to the dance master, Balanchine. The one-hour program comes with charming vignettes. The dancers en pointe, walk on stage, tied to opera singer, Anna Schubert. They weave and bind her in their red corset ribbons as she sings the breath-taking aria from Vivaldi’s Giustino.
What is beauty? Asks the the Philosopher, played by Spencer Dooley, in his make-shift classroom, during a short break from the dances. Is it truth, or merely heavenly forms, as theorized by Plato, or consider Kant's jargon-filled scientific ideas of aesthetics. Little humor is injected as the latter interpretation puts the dancing beauties behind their classroom desks to sleep!
In between music of Handel and Vivaldi, we're treated to an “Important Note About Beauty,” accompanied by a chamber orchestra. This is an original ballet by the company’s director, Lincoln Jones. In 2011, Jones founded American Contemporary Ballet in Los Angeles with Theresa Farrell. He conceived a groundbreaking partnership with The Da Camera Society in MUSIC+DANCE: LA, with his own approach to ballet as a musical art form. Beautiful choreography integrated with music is perhaps an homage to Balanchine who believed in the importance of knowing tradition. "You must go through tradition, absorb it, and become in a way a reincarnation of all the artistic periods that have come before you," said Balanchine.
The soft-spoken Jones who respects the Balanchine tradition and method, sometimes known as the American style, is reincarnate. And that's a good thing for us, music and ballet lovers everywhere.
Don't let the space limitation of the venue discourage you. Look for the next shows beginning October, the popular INFERNO & BURLESQUE and The NUTCRACKER Suite coming in late November 2023.
Intimate venues like this are rare with an added bonus. Where else would you feel like a VIP, being with the dancers and musicians close up and personal - steps away from your seat, brushed by their energy and grace. It is a perfect place to take your or your friend's child who shows passion for the arts. We couldn't help but notice one such little girl (top right), practicing her plies during intermission and hanging out with ACB dancers afterwards.
With the ACB dancers it's easy to fall under the spell of beauty. Even a child can tell you so.
Visit ACB Ballet Website for upcoming events.

TransAudio Group, the U.S. distributor for Drawmer, is introducing Ivor Drawmer's all new 1972 Dual Mic/Line and Instrument Mic Preamplifier. The unit distinguishes itself with its flexibility, unique feature set and simple operation, and is at home in both professional studio and live sound applications. As with all Drawmer products, the 1972 is hand-crafted in the UK with an all-steel chassis for bullet-proof reliability. Noted Brad Lunde, president of TransAudio Group and the U.S. distributor of Drawmer. “As usual, Drawmer studied the marketplace and engineered an affordable dual mic pre with one-of-a-kind features to meet today’s intricate recording issues and live sound applications. The 1972 is destined to be a staple piece of gear in every audio rack.”
The 1972 Dual Mic/Line and Instrument Mic Preamplifier sports two identical channels of analog pre-amplification in a 1U rack chassis. Key to the 1972's versatility is the Select input source switch. It has six switch positions to cover the 1/4-inch front panel Instrument input jack for guitars, basses, or electronic keyboards, and five more positions covering separate rear panel XLR input jacks for microphones with or without 48-volt phantom powering or Line level input sources. Other switch positions are provided to match microphones with 200, 600 or 2,400-ohm impedances. Low impedance passive ribbon microphones sound best when impedance-matched correctly.
MSRP: $1149 • The Drawmer 1972 is now available.
TransAudio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor and/or U.S. sales and marketing representative for high-end audio. Success hinges on TransAudio providing dealers and end users with a higher standard of product expertise and support far beyond the norm.
Taupin and O’Neill: Two Sides of the ’60s Exhibit in UK & US
Since 1970, Bernie Taupin, Elton John's lyricist, has lived primarily in the US (citizen since 1990), where he has had exhibitions of his abstracts and mixed-media pieces with found objects, among other works.

This month his show at the Iconic Images gallery in UK is inspired by his friend, the photographer Terry O’Neill, whose shots captured the spirit of the pop and film worlds of the 1960s and 1970s (above left: Paul Newman against the US flag background) called Taupin and O’Neill: Two Sides of the ’60s. The exhibition features 15 mixed-media paintings, each a pop-art reworking of one of the photographer’s images of famous faces of the decade, including Audrey Hepburn, John Lennon and Queen Elizabeth. “The 1960s were very alive and colorful,” says Taupin. “Times were changing rapidly and these were the people that were on the cusp of that change … They were the lights that burned brightest.” For Taupin, the American flag serves as a way to reflect on history, on patriotism and on the state of the country. “I think there are times the flag gets bogged down and politicized and used as a tool when it’s really an emblem for everyone," said Taupin during in a recent exhibit at Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills.
Tom Hanks Call for Truth, Justice, and the American Way
photo: Reuters

Two-time Academy winner Tom Hanks was the principal speaker at Harvard’s 372nd Commencement, held on May 25 in Harvard Yard’s Tercentenary Theater. He began his address by saying: 'Now without having done a lick of work, without having spent any time in class, without once walking into that library, in order to have anything to do with the graduating class of Harvard, it’s faculty or it’s a distinguished alumni, I make a damn good living playing someone who did." He continued: “Every day, every year, and for every graduating class, there is a choice to be made, the same option for all grown-ups to make: to be one of three types of Americans — those who embrace liberty for all, those who won’t, or those who are indifferent — and only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union,” Hanks said urging his audience to join never-ending battle for ‘Truth, Justice, and the American Way.’
Hanks ends his address by saying: "But when it comes to race, we are all uniquely, magnificently, simply human, or so said Marlon Brando to Tommy Tommy Handkerchief, “May goodness and mercy follow you all the days, all the days of your lives.” God speed. Congratulations."
Harvard awarded 9,265 degrees in June 2023. Full transcript here our link to Hanks @ Harvard here
Armour Sculptures Reflect Change
Allison Armour On Beauty

The popular UK designer and sculptor Allison Armour's clients range from Ringo Starr to heads of state. Her work poetically reflects its surroundings with sheets of steel made to look like glass. Her sculptu capture the hours passing (Right: Aqua-lens and Steel-Eye) and remind us to seize the moment and enjoy.

When I was in the 6th grade, we had to memorize long poems. Her favorite: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know."
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