March I April 2023
Marching on to April and Spring with new music from a New York trumpeter, a French chanteuse in LA, and an Iranian singer accompanied by ancient instruments in Paris. This historical studio in Hollywood is making waves with a new direction. We have label news from Nashville and bring you TEC Awards nominated gear in the spotlight.
Find vintage gear for your studio in a once-in-a-lifetime auction.
Three award-winning composers gather at NAMM in Anaheim to share secrets of their trade and to inspire us!
We remain grateful to you, our valued readers and supporters.
Grab an espresso and enjoy this month's serving. Thank you!

Artist's Gateway To The World's Top Music Makers
David Benoit
Pianist I Composer I Conductor

Maestro David Benoit Joins Award-winning Composers Matt Wong and Brent Fischer at NAMM for a Creative Discussion Presented by Trans Audio Group and studioexpresso
Modern Composer Tools and Tips on Sat April 15, 2-3 PM
David Benoit has arranged, conducted and performed music for many popular pop and jazz artists over the years, including Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons (he was involved with the band in its formative stages), Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, Dave Koz, Kenny Rankin, Faith Hill, David Lanz, Cece Winans, David Pack, David Sanborn, the Walt Disney Organization and Brian McKnight.

Benoit also paid homage to one of his chief influences, Leonard Bernstein, by playing, arranging and performing on The Songs of West Side Story, an all-star project produced by David Pack, which achieved gold sales status.

Benoit has performed at the White House for three U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr. Other dignitaries he performed for include Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Senator Dick Durbin and former Los Angeles Mayors Tom Bradley and James Hahn.

David Benoit is credited with shaping and helping to define the contemporary jazz genre. Over the last quarter century, the composer and pianist has been a passionate musical innovator committed to the exploration of many different art forms on the American landscape. A five-time GRAMMY nominee for his seminal contributions to the genre of contemporary jazz, Benoit has also embarked on a multi-faceted journey into the classical music world. This has led to guest pianist and conductor spots with numerous top orchestras, four performances at Carnegie Hall (including one with Leonard Bernstein at the podium), a performance on the steps of the Capitol Building with the National Symphony for the annual PBS July 4th event, and the creation of his new orchestral work, Dolores Del Carmen, and chamber composition, Music for Two Trios.

Benoit, who is currently working on a new Cello Concerto, has also been a popular film and television composer. His most notable film scores are The Stars Fell on Henrietta, produced by Clint Eastwood and starring Robert Duvall; and The Christmas Tree, produced by Sally Field. His long association with Charles Schulz and the famed Peanuts realm led to over ten years of composing music for Peanuts TV specials on CBS.

David Benoit joins award-winning pianist, composer, and arranger Matt Wong and Grammy Award-winning producer/composer/arranger Brent Fischer on a panel moderated by studioexpresso's Claris Sayadian-Dodge during NAMM 2023.

TEC Tracks @ NAMM 2023
Modern Composition Tools & Tips
Sat April 15, 2-3pm Room 204-AB (2nd floor)
Anaheim Convention Center, CA
Click here for more details

Read more here at studioexpresso David Benoit Profile

United Cuts & Oceans Of Hope
Staff Cuts at United Recording Signal More Changes and Challenge The Future Viability of Historical Studios. Producers Gregg Field and Jeffrey Weber Share Their Views.
Producer Gregg Field at United B in December 2022

Producer Gregg Field (above in studio B) invited studioexpresso for his session with the popular British tenor Jonathan Antoine at United (formerly Ocean Way) in December 2022. The visit was emotional not only for the beautiful sounds Field and his team created, but also for my humble personal history there. It was the roaring 90s! In one afternoon, you could spot three, four major artists in the hallways or in the front office, grabbing some coffee, and chit chatting with the staff. I had arranged the photo you see below in one such afternoon. Notice the vintage Dalcon custom API in Ocean Way B with Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Bonnie Raitt with their respective producers
Gregg Penny, Steve Lindsey, and Don Was. (who also brought the Stones to the 6000 bldg --now East West, to record Bridges to Babylon).
When I visited Gregg late last year, Scott Moore, assisted our session. He made me think of all the great engineers who came before him and the remarkable body of music created in these rooms with revered engineers and producers: Ed Cheney, Jack Joseph Puig, George Massenburg, Bill Schnee, Jim Scott, Gabe Veltri, Clark Germain, Clif Norrell, Rik Pekkonen, Steve Holroyd, Steve McMillan, Erik Zobler (regular w George Duke), Jim Champagne, Rail Rogut, Joe Schiff, Bob Loftus, Rob Cavallo, Rick Ruben, Dr Dre, Matt Wallace, Quincy Jones, TBone Burnett, Scott Litt, Joe Harley, to name a few.
The highly skilled sesssion musicians there were also regulars - Leland Sklar, Neil Stubenhaus, John Robinson (JR), Gregg Bissonette, Steve Gadd, Benmont Tench, Steve Lukather, Tim Pierce, James Jamerson, Larry Carlton,
And that history went back much further. The first project cut at United Recording in 1958 was Ricky Nelson’s Poor Little Fool and later that same year Ella Fitzgerald is known to have recorded there.

Earlier this month, United Recording owners, Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc. (HPPI also owns the adjacent Sunset Gower/Sunset Bronson sound stages), announced that it would cease day-to-day operations on April 3 and would instead rent out the studio for film shoots and special events. Translated, it meant staff cuts. In fact, no one expected how deep the cuts would be. According to inside sources, the studio laid off all but one employee (an assistant) after the announcement. Archivist Bill Smith is staying. A social post from a former tech, David Bock, went viral earlier in the month with former clients and staff expressing their astonishment and sadness. It's been reported that HPPI submitted an application to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission to “pick up” the studio and relocate it to the interior of the Sunset Gower complex and demolish the original structure in favor of a 15-story building with creative office space and sound stages. The plan was approved by the city in October 2020, although no construction plans are officially announced.

"My last session was with Jonathan Antoine and Diane Warren in Dec of 2022. United has been one of my favorite studios, especially for tracking rhythm section dates. I have great memories producing Stevie Wonder and Arturo Sandoval in studio A and tracking Seal’s last album in B. The ghosts of Sinatra and Basie and all the legends attend every session and raise everybody’s game. I sincerely hope there will be opportunities to continue to create new memories…," says seven-time Grammy winning producer Gregg Field.
At Ocean Way Studio B (now United Recording, standing l-r: Gregg Penny, Steve Lindsey, Leonard Cohen, Gabe Veltri,
Seated: Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, and Don Was Photo: by Raffi Courtesy of studioexpresso

Success of any business depends first on its owner's vision, having a good business plan, experienced management and staffing. There are four key elements of a ‘digital disruption’ effecting the contemporary recording studio sector today: (1) Shrinking recording budgets from a wider economic crisis in the musical economy; (2) rise of home and project recording technologies; (3) Less attention to audio quality and (4) The rising trend of global investors taking over small businesses like recording studios and having unrealistic expectations for profit margins. These developments have challenged the future viability of historical studios as professional spaces of recording. Late last year I visited John Storyk-designed Spotify studios in downtown LA. The facility sports 16 pod casts rooms, in addition to its two recording spaces filled with prized vintage instruments, the latest Steinway piano, an echo chamber, and a multi-use large event space. Owner Daniel Ek's investment in studios may be just a good public relation strategy with musicians. Spotify doesn't seem to depend on studio income. Next door, East West studios income mostly comes from their parent company, East West Sounds, #1 producer of virtual instruments. Like East West, The Village and Conway, NRG, each also privately owned, have excellent reputation.
The former owner of Ocean Way, Allen Sides acquired the studios from the legendary Bill Putnam, named it Ocean Way (after his residence on Ocean Ave) and ran it as a highly leveraged and diversified business. His portfolio included gear sales, rentals, real estate acquisitions, to name a few. Paramount to the success of Ocean Way was Allen's passion for audio quality. His business grew because of Allen's solid team and growing customer base.
Naturally, it helped to be operating during the heyday of studios in the 80s and 90s. If the walls could talk, they would tell story of recordings by some of our times beloved artists: Prince, Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie Dancing on the Ceiling recorded in A, Elton John Duets, and Bonnie Raitt Nick Of Time was recorded in B. Ry Cooder brought an obscure project from Cuba that became the hugely popular Buena Vista Social Club.
Left: Clifford Lamb Session with Producer, Jeffrey Weber (right) and Engineer, Clark Germain at United Studio B. photo: David Goggin
Producer Jeffrey Weber may have been the first and one of the last to record at studio B (basically unchanged since 1958) with Grammy and Emmy-award winning engineer, Clark Germain (former engineer at Ocean Way), and pianist and composer Clifford Lamb. Jeff met up with studioexpresso last week and shared a little bit of his personal history. "I have been evicted from my musical home that I worked in and loved for over forty years. Sadness does not even begin to describe my state of mind," says Weber who remembers Dennis Dragon, "a wonderful engineer, surf punk, ping pong player, renegade," who introduced Jeff to Allen Sides. Allen recorded Weber's first live, two track recording session on April 1,1980. "I produced Kenny Moore, most noted for his songwriting and keyboard work with Tina Turner. The recording was experimental and historic as it was one of the first digital recordings ever made. We used the Soundstream digital recorder. We made vinyl. At the time, a 180 gram super vinyl disc, with a paper sleeve, cost $.84. Wow…!," adds Weber who prefers Live to two track recording to capture performances.
Allen went on to engineer most of Weber's live, two track recordings over the next few years. "I met Clark Germain at Ocean Way, when Allen drifted away from engineering, Clark and I began working together on live, two track recordings. We’re still working together, some 40 years later. Until just a few weeks ago, we were still at Ocean Way. Hard to call it United, if you know what I mean…," says Weber.
Later in 1980, Weber says he produced "what is still one of my favorite live, two track recordings, ever." It was the celebrated guitarist, Kenny Burrell and the album was titled, Heritage (listen here) . "We put together an all-star band – Shelley Manne, Andy Simpkins, Jerome Richardson, Snooky Young, Pete Jolly, Marshall Royal, Patrice Rushen, Moacier Santos, Oscar Brashier, Don Menza and Matt Catingub. Sides engineered the recording and it holds up, big time – even today. Kenny and I had developed an enduring relationship that has lasted to this day," says Weber who has produced over 200+ albums at 6050 Sunset. "I cannot even remember the number of live, two track and live to multi-track recordings I have produced with Clark at Ocean Way. Clark is a spectacular engineer and an even better human being. He makes me look like a genius," adds Weber.
"The Ocean Way/ United Recording Studio gang resonates deep within our musical community, and the loss of United is being felt industry wide. I am proud to have been a small member of such a prestigious group of creative individuals in a facility that encouraged daring, encouraged the outrageous, encouraged genius and especially encouraged passion and commitment, all to the elevation of our musical art. I smile through my tears whenever I think about it," says producer Jeffrey Weber of Weber works Entertainment Group / Stark Raving Group.

The producers we interviewed hope the new staff cuts won’t mean the end of the historicity significant rooms build by the legendary Bill Putnam, lovingly curated and maintained by Jay Kaufman, Bruce Marien, and others. Now and then cuts breath new life and turn things around when times require... As for those of you who are worried about your next gig. You've been fortunate to be in this journey, an opportunity of a lifetime! It was truly that for me and it has shaped my career path in the years that have followed.

Claris Sayadian-Dodge managed Ocean Way with its seven studios at 6050 and 6000 Sunset in Hollywood and Record One in Sherman Oaks from 1987-99. She promotes and manages award-winning composers and musicians via C-Artists and is the editor and publisher of studioexpresso, Artists' gateway to the world's top music makers.
Proposed rendering of 6050 Sunset Blvd Photo: Courtesy of The Hollywood Partnership Historic Ocean Way, Now United Recording
Featuring Upgraded, Handcrafted, ATC Dual-Suspension Tweeter

Driven by forward-thinking management and talented engineering, ATC’s UK-based manufacturing facility is introducing an upgraded model of their highly-acclaimed SCM25A Pro, which is featured in high-end studios worldwide aiding to create award-winning music and media.
The SCM25A Pro Mk2 will include ATC’s hand-built SH25-765 dual-suspension, high-frequency tweeter. Prior to this endeavour ATC was using an OEM tweeter for the SCM25A that met performance standards, yet ATC’s engineering team sought to elevate high-frequency performance. Their in-house manufacturing process of all key components such as drivers and amplifiers provide no compromise quality control and performance, defying many of today’s manufacturing procedures. Like many of ATCs product developments, the SCM25A Pro Mk2 is the evolution of its predecessor, maintaining the core of the product while refining key areas of its design and performance.
Noted Ben Lilly, ATC’s technical sales manager, “The SCM25A Pro was first released in 2010 and has proved to be both exceptionally popular and a valuable tool in the modern studio. However, we knew we could make improvements to performance, and offer improved in-house consistency with the rest of the Pro product range.”
New for the Mk2 version is ATC’s SH25-76S ‘dual-suspension’ high-frequency driver that employs both an upper and lower suspension to better support and control the coil and dome motion. This allows a narrower magnetic gap, resulting in higher magnetic flux which, in turn, extends the high frequency response and reduces third harmonic distortion. The sound of the Mk2 is very similar to the original, but with improved high-frequency performance, due to lower distortion compared the original.
The mid-band is still handled by the renowned ATC-built, three-inch (75mm) soft-dome mid-range. Its combination of high efficiency, high power handling, low distortion and wide dispersion ensure class-leading performance in this critical frequency range. This component is a mainstay of ATC’s product range, ensuring consistency from near-field to main-monitors. Supporting the mid & high frequency elements is a 6.5-inch (164mm) proprietary bass driver featuring a carbon loaded paper cone. The driver motor employs a short coil, operating in a long magnetic gap, helping to minimise distortion generated by drive force modulation. In addition, a large two-inch (50mm) voice coil and generous excursion capability ensure outstanding dynamic range.
The tri-amplified class AB MOSFET amp pack provides 235W of exceptionally clean power and with very low levels of noise. Drive unit integration is handled by three-way Linkwitz-Riley filter network, with the addition of two all-pass stages to achieve the best possible phase response through the crossover regions, audibly improving the tonal balance and stereo imaging.”
TransAudio’s President, Brad Lunde, added, “This is the step we’ve been waiting for. Now a completely consistent family sound from smallest all the way to the 150s. This enables the user to choose the right size monitor for their application and still get the same great ATC sound.”
The ATC SCM25 Pro Mk2 is now available to order. USA MAP Price $9490/pair
Nabate Isles
En Motion
2023 Ropeadope LLC / NSI Universal
Nabate Isles’s second album, En Motion, was released in late January featuring — Sam Barsh and Rachel Eckroth on keyboards, drummer Eric Harland, bassist Kaveh Rastegar, and David Gilmore are on guitar. On the album, Isles reinvents Chick Corea's La Fiesta and Jonny Greenwood's The Smoke features Isles' dreamy trumpet solo against a reggaeton background.
There are explorational Isles originals like Harlem Shake and Lush, all backed by his sublime trumpet solos.

Eastman School of Music alumnus and Grammy-winning trumpeter, composer and producer, Nabaté Isles
has worked with a variety of artists, from Ravi Coltrane and Joey DeFrancesco in the jazz realm to Philip Bailey and Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) in the pop and rap worlds.
Isles has also played on several Grammy-winning Christian McBride Big Band albums.

Just Jazz Presents - Nabaté Isles' En Motion at The Paramount, In Los Angeles on Thursday, feat. Isles-Trumpet, Andrew Renfroe-Guitar, Kaveh Rastegar-Bass, Tony Austin-Drums, Allakoi Peete-Percussion and Dennis Hamm on Keyboards. Doors open at 7p. Music starts at 8p (2 sets) Order tix here

studioexpresso Video Spotlight
Ariana Vafadari

Persians around the world celebrate New Year on the first day of Spring. The mezzo-soprano Ariana Vafadari is making headlines with her new album, Anahita. Her compositions are filled with deep spirituality, sensitivity and feature talented traditional musicians and instruments like the the orbo and the Oud. Album titles like Atash (fire), or Roya (dream) and the album title, Anahita reveal language of an ancient civilization.

Trained in both Jazz and classical worlds, Vafadari bridges the modern world to that of the 4000-year-old Zarathustra. You hear Goddess Anahita's prayers. she's associated with "Water" (Aban) regarded, sacred. It symbolizes fertility, and wisdom. Anahita may belong to the past but it's connecting to the present, telling the story of a women who sees her world collapsing and finds the resilience of her ancestors to express herself. She may be echoing the many courageous young women in Iran who stood up for their rights and tried to heal the new generation of women in the wake of the Masa Amini caption and death in the custody of the brutal state police.
Vafadari has emerged with her music of hope and healing and she's in this month's studioexpresso Video spotlight

Marina Pacowski
Inner Urge
Summit Records
2023 Release and Show at Vibrato
On her debut album, Inner Urge, Marina Pacowski has gathered some of LA's top musicians who rotate around her, like planets around the Sun.
You could say this was a project of love from the start. A French transplant in California, Pacowski's album features beloved jazz standars by some of her favorite composers to include: Miles Davis' Solar, Clare Fischer's Pensativa. She offers her interpretation (in French and English) of popular standards like My Foolish Heart, What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life, Alan and Marilyn Bergman classic, Taking A Chance On Love, and she covers La Vie En Rose, made popular by the legendary chanteuse, Édith Piaf.
Inner Urge was released on Summit Records in March, and features jazz luminaries as Joel Frahm, John Clayton, Roy McCurdy, Josh Nelson, Jon Mayer, Peter Erskine, Larry Koonse, Carl Saunders, Nolan Shaheed, Bevan Manson, Mark Massey, Mike Gurrola, Brent Fischer, and Scott Whitfield.
The album has found its way to a #2 spot on top 10 PlayMPE charts.
Ms Pacowski began performing piano and singing at the L.A. jazz hot-spots like The Jazz Bakery and The Lighthouse (“La-La-Land”) . She was featured as a guest vocalist for a tribute to guitarist Kenny Burrell at the Catalina Jazz Club. She received a Jazz Excellence Award in 2021 at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Los Angeles, alongside other award recipients such as Jacques Lesure, in a ceremony hosted by Rhonda Hamilton of KJazz.

The release event for Inner urge takes place at Vibrato on Wednesday, April 19th
Order your tickets 🎫 here Musicians for the live show will include: Josh Nelson, Larry Koonse, Roy McCurdy and Luca Alemanno. Special guests: Jon Mayer, Nolan Shaheed, Rickey Woodard, Bevan Manson, Scott Whitfield, Mark Massey, to name a few. There will be a tribute song dedicated to dearly missed musical genius, Carl Saunders. Download the album on all platforms here  or listen on Marina Pacowski's official site 
RIP Carl Saunders
August 2, 1942 – February 25, 2023

American jazz trumpeter, composer, and educator Carl Saunders performed with such luminaries as Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Bill Holman, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mel Torme.

Having a good ear for music opened doors for Saunders and afforded him to play with many greats, as he told in an interview. ”My mother, singer Gail Sherwood, had her own radio program in Hollywood in the 1940s. Stan Kenton was her accompanist on the piano in that show. ...
I had just graduated from high school and was an absolute Kenton-freak. Every night I visited the casino where he was playing. One day, she introduced me and told Kenton I had a good ear for music. After I did an audition for him, he asked me to join the band.”

With number of his own recordings (including several originals), Saunders became a steady soloist, along with saxophonist Gary Foster and flutist/saxophonist Don Shelton, in the Clare Fischer Jazz Corps (bugle band) and in the last decade he played with Clare's son, Brent Fischer Orchestra (big band). Saunders has appeared on every single Fischer large ensemble album since the 90s. At rehearsals, live shows or in the studio, Carl was there, sunk in his chair, long legs stretched in front, playing with a combined ease and intensity that spelled passion for good music.
"I just worked on his latest album, to be released in April. He was always thinking about what was in service to the music first. Besides being a good friend full of wise advice and wise cracks, he had many other music skills besides trumpet. This video of Sad About Nothing Blues showcases his scatting with fellow musician and friend, Scott Whitfield," says Brent Fischer.
Our love and respects go to his close friends, family, and fans here in LA and around the world.


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.

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.
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
2023-24 New NAMM Dates Announced
The 2023 NAMM Show, April 13-15 – Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California*
Save The Date 2024 NAMM Show: January 25-28
studioexpresso brings together Award-winning Artists and Producers with Inspiring Talks to NAMM @ TEC Tracks like below left in 2019 DNA of A Legend: Prince
TEC Experience During NAMM
Thursday April 13

For this historic April edition of The NAMM Show, you'll experience a re-imagined TEC format that includes a new pro audio meet-up on Thursday April 13. According to its organizer, Karen Dunn, the show itself is cut into half from its original three-hours length and will feature a DJ and lounge-like vibe. This year there will be only Technical awards announcements (sans Creative and Les Paul awards) and we're told there will be fewer speeches from the stage! Instead the program will echo the Grammy show with a tribute to 50 years of Hip Hop.

Deadline to register for NAMM is March 29

Modern Music Composer Tools & Tips
Sat. April 15, 2pm
studioexpresso & Trans Audio Group Present
@ TEC Tracks Room 204-AB
Anaheim Convention Center

Our speakers will discuss today's tools and tips for composers. How to make better decisions with higher efficiency. Learn the advantages of creating full mock-ups of your works using notation software, best practices for collaboration and communication.

Details here Register to attend NAMM here

Presented annually by The NAMM Foundation during The NAMM Show, The NAMM TEC Awards recognizes the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind the sound of recordings, live performances, films, television, video games and other media. The finalists of the 38th Annual TEC Awards and here's a few products spotlighted from Trans Audio Group's popular brands, to include Bettermaker's New Stereo Passive Equalizer, Daking Mic Pre 4T, and Auratone 5C Active monitors. 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.
Congrats to all TEC Award nominees here
Pure Analog Beauty of A Passive EQ Meets Impressive Digital Plug-In Control
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.
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 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.
ATC SCM 25a pro mk2
"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.
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
The new SCM25A Pro Mk2 will be available at the NAMM Show at Trans Audio Booth 14916 - ACC North Hall Level I.

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.
Above: Blackbird Studio's Dolby Atmos set up is powered by ATC speakers.

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. It delivers 50W into its internal 8ohm load via a balanced combo XLR/TRS input. Like the passive version, it reproduces between 80 and 15,000 Hz via a 4.5inch driver with a signal to noise ratio in excess of 100dB. In addition to an input, the rear of the box provides an on/off switch and power LED. The active 5C has Integrated overcurrent, overheated, and short protection in the rare event of electrical trouble.
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:
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Tik Tok Shifts Into Damage Control Mode

TikTok has become a go-to platform for discovering new music. Record labels, music marketers, artists, and other creators have been flooding the app with songs that can rise up organically on the app even if they've been outside the mainstream for decades. Marketers hire influencers to help a song take off, sparking a wave of user-generated posts from their fans. And some artists even set up private listening session with these influencers in the hope that it will help new songs gain steam on the app.
TikTok has become a hub for labels to promote both new releases and back catalog tracks. A micro influencer may get $200 to give your TikTok 10 million views. But, what percentage of them become loyal customers? Not clear.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew concluded his first public hearing before the United States Congress, where he attempted to dispel concerns over the Chinese-owned app’s ties to the government in Beijing and its alleged inability to stem “harmful” content. TikTok insiders say social media company is tightly controlled by Chinese parent ByteDance.
Chew outlinws an initiative that will assure “American data is stored on American soil by an American company, overseen by American personnel”. The $1.5bn “Project Texas” plan would rely on contracts with the Texas-based tech company Oracle, Chew explained, using a “firewall that seals off protected user data from unauthorised foreign access”.

Vanessa Pappas (top right), TikTok's chief operating officer, based in Los Angeles, is giving numerous interviews in magazines like Vogue, and on YouTube where she talks "diversity." She recently revealed they "primarily go by V" in their personal life and have recently started to use both they/them and she/her pronouns. V has served as TikTok's COO since May 2021 and is based in Los Angeles. She's clearly appealing to some minority groups in the company's shift to damage control mode.

TikTok launched internationally in September 2017. Its parent company, ByteDance, purchased, a social app that was growing in popularity in the U.S., for $1 billion in November 2017, and the two were merged in August 2018. In just a few years, it has quickly amassed a user base of nearly 92 million in the U.S. In particular, the app has found a niche among teens and young adults — TikTok has surpassed Instagram as U.S. teenagers’ second-favorite social media app, after Snapchat.

Americans who decide to use TikTok should do so with the understanding that they are likely handing their data over to a Chinese company subject to the Chinese government, said Bill Evanina, CEO of Evanina Group, which provides companies with consultation for risk-based decisions regarding complex geopolitics. In fact, the panic over Tik Tok is a lot like like Huawei and 5G all over again. Keep in mind, security and privacy risks are plausible, but largely without evidence.

Sony Music Dissolves its Long-running Arista Nashville Imprint
Arista Nashville, an imprint of Sony Music Nashville, has dissolved, Sony Music announced this month. The Artista Nashville roster has included Nate Smith, Megan Moroney, Brooks & Dunn, Old Dominion, Adam Doleac, Ryan Hurd, Seaforth and Morgan Wade. Old Dominion and Moroney have moved to Columbia while Nate Smith has gone to RCA. Brooks & Dunn, Seaforth, Hurd, Wade and Doleac will be reassigned when they have projects headed to radio.

“RCA, Columbia and Arista are really imprint names that we use for three different promotion teams because that gives you multiple calendars. We’re now targeting our approach to radio to be more strategic,” says Sony Music Nashville CEO/Chairman Randy Goodman (left). A 34-year industry veteran and a Nashville native, Goodman’s extensive career includes 16 years with RCA Records. Goodman has orchestrated the ascension of the SMN family of labels and artists; succeeding not by reacting to change, but by staying in front of it.
Along with the dissolution, Sr. Dir./Promotion & Artist Development Lyndsay Church has exited the company after seven years. Ali O’Connell, Director Of Promotion And Artist Development and Amy Menz, Specialist/Promotion & Artist Development are moving to RCA. Nicole Walden, former RCA Specialist/Promotion & Artist Development, is joining the national team. Lisa Owen, also an Arista Director Of Promotion And Artist Development, is moving to Columbia.
SJO Celebrates George Duke

Right: George Duke in Concert with SJO

Multi-Grammy Award winning composer, producer and keyboardist, George Duke would have been celebrating his 77th birthday this year. George served as Co-Music Director of the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO) from 2004 until his passing in 2013. George’s musical output was beyond eclectic. From his orchestral work Muir Woods Suite for jazz quintet and orchestra to his 40+ recordings as a leader, to his numerous world tours, George’s music seamlessly blended jazz, soul, gospel, classical, Brazilian, funk and so much more.
Duke played with Frank Zappa and went on to produce many notable R&B artists to include: Anita Baker, Rachelle Farrell, Jeffrey Osborne, Gladys Knight, Melissa Manchester, Smokey Robinson, to name a few. He was one of the first to own an impressive project studio in Hollywood, Le Gonk, where he worked with long-time engineer Erik Zobler.

"One of his great legacies is the work he wrote for the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra and soloist Christian McBride called Dark Wood: Bass Concerto for McBride.” With what I had hoped would be a 10-min showcase for the immense talents of Christian on both acoustic and electric bass, George delivered an epic concerto over 23 minutes. It features Christian on three different basses and pushes the soloist and orchestra with grooves ranging from Stravinsky to Earth, Wind & Fire," says SJO music director, Mitch Glickman.
After George’s passing, SJO recorded his commissioned Bass Concerto, along with Lee Ritenour’s commission Symphonic Captain’s Journey and Gershwin’s’ Rhapsody in Blue.The recording is available on Mack Records and can also be purchased on SJO’s website HERE.
"Beyond his musical legacy, was an amazing person – warm, open, generous, and joyous. Each year, SJO presents a Commissioning Competition in his honor, giving a composer a rare opportunity to write a new work for the orchestra. We also remembered George at our 20th Anniversary Concert, opening the program with one of his works, Festival, that captures George’s sheer love of music, which is how he will be best remembered," adds Glickman

Bil VornDick's Gear Collection Available on ANALOGr
Music Row guiding light Bil VornDick was known for his innovative and distinctive touch in the recording studios. He passed away on July 5, 2022 . Now, an online auction of his extensive collection of vintage and modern recording equipment has been organized by ANALOGr. The proceeds are earmarked to support VornDick family, as well as the charity organization he helped found, the Nashville Engineer Relief Fund (NERF).
VornDick's recording career includes over 600 albums, five #1 hits in five different genres, over 40 Grammy nominations, and 9 wins.
Bil VornDick was an active participant in the Nashville music community. He did advisory and/or instructional work for MTSU, Belmont University, Folk Alliance International, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, MerleFest, Telluride, South Plains College, Audio Engineering Society (AES), Kerrville Folk Festival, Vol State and more. He campaigned to save Nashville's famed RCA Studio A from demolition, promoted popularity charts for roots music and championed health insurance for music people. Additionally, Bil was instrumental in the creation of the annual AudioMasters Benefit Golf Tournament, the primary fund-raising event contributing to the Nashville Engineer Relief Fund, which assists members of the greater Nashville audio community in times of personal or family crisis. Fellow Nashville engineer Chuck Ainlay, who went to Belmont University with VornDick, said, "None of us think that time will come so suddenly when all the proper arrangements need to to be in place. We are gathering together to honor his legacy and to help his widow and family." Artists VornDick worked with included Alison Krause, Béla Fleck, T. Bone Burnett, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Charlie McCoy, Jerry Douglas, Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, and Ralph Stanley to name a few. VornDick's prized gear collection is available here

Son Lux Music
The Score for Oscar Nominated Film: Everything Everywhere all at Once

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.
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), Laura Dickinson (Frozen II, Lady and the Tramp), 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) and Brent Fischer (D'Angelo, Elvis Costello and The Roots).
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