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The New Studio is OPEN!

Rangemaster has now officially moved into the new studio space and we have SIX TIMES the room of the old space.
There is a fully treated control room.

The main live room is 6m long x 6.5m wide x 4m, high sporting a real timber floor and art deco decor and natural light from large windows.

The treated dead room is 2.8m long x 3.2m wide x 4m high. The second small room is of equal dimensions.

Each room has ample glass to allow visual communication. between each.

The best part is that since we have less overheads our rates have dropped to $70 per hour!

New release from Rangemaster

Check out this ripper 1979 style British Jangle pop from Melbourne’s The Solicitors.

Mixing Sharkmouth interview in Audio Technology Magazine

This is the complete interview, selections of which feature in this months Audio Technology Magazine about mixing Russell Morris’s Sharkmouth, an album that has won an ARIA and exceeded platinum sales:

How did you get involved with the Sharkmouth album?

I produced an EP for a Melbourne local Tommy Rando and Mitch (Sharkmouth’s producer) was the bass player for the sessions. Tommy was after a blend of 70′s sensibilities and the benifits of modern recording, namely clean recordings in a classic style and nice dynamic range.

http://www.tommyrando.com/

Mitch seemed to like the finished product a lot and we went on to work on a few more projects together.  Once Russell heard my early mixes for 5 of his songs (so they could shop for funding to complete the project) he figured we made a good team.

At the time of mixing the album, what was your setup? Mitch Cairns alluded to you changing to an ‘in the box’ setup for the second batch of mixes?

When the guys first approached me I was still mixing with my good old Protools 5 Mix rig with 24 outputs through my Soundtracs Megas. I’ve always been a late adopter with new tech and had a work flow that still delived so I saw no need to enter the endless upgrades cycle. I have a nice collection of analog FX I’ve collected over 25 years and it was all patched into the desk. 3x Roland space echos, a Master room reverb, an AKG BX20E, a Roland RV-800 and a huge whacky assortment of analog delays, including my favorite the Yamaha E1010.

I mixed 5 songs on my PT5 rig as submissions to labels and the guys set off to secure some funding to mix the whole record. Shortly thereafter I sat the Avid ‘Heat Listening Challenge’ and managed to score 100%. Initially I started the test by picking what I heard as 3 different tones, which to me was mainly distinguishable in the top end. The first time through I confused the sound of the straight ITB mix with the ITB + Heat mix and only got 33%. When asked which sound I preferred, I had selected the straight Pro tools ITB version! With this info I re-sat the test, swapped 2 of my choices and scored 100%.

This had quite a profound effect on my Neo Luddite brain because I had long thought that any time I mixed on an SSL my mixes came back slightly brighter, so while I’ve only ever tracked though a Neve I wrongly assumed the Neve and Heat versions of the Avid Challenge song would likewise be slightly brighter. It turns out the Neve and Heat both roll off top end and that’s not really my thing. I immediately bought a PT9 HD Native rig and quickly rounded up plugin versions of my favorite outboard gear. I settled on the McDSP Channel-G as my bread and butter console replacement as well as his Compressor bank, MC2000 and Filter bank. I can’t rave enough about McDSP plugs.

When the guys came back to me (with zero interest from labels to hand over a modest amount of cash) I started the record from scratch with my shiny new HD Native rig and haven’t looked back. You gotta love total recall!

What sort of directions were you given by Mitch and Russell in approaching the mixes?

Mitch was very clear about the sound they were chasing and what I took on board was that they wanted a very organic sounding record that had elements of both the roaring 20′s dryness and 60′s quirks. There was to be minimal synthetic additions (reverbs, pitch modulation) and nothing that stopped the listener from being drawn into the space.

There’s not a lot of tracks in each song, which i imagine is relatively unusual for a contemporary record. Did this make you approach the mixes in any particular way?

Yes, it was important to me that each element occupied it’s space for a good reason. I still have my Sennheiser HD414 headphones I purchased in 1979 (age 13) and use them when I’m making critical decisions about placement. As a young music lover I listened to all my vinyl records on headphones and was always amazed by the sense of depth engineers could create using panning and rudimentary reverberation- Wish you were Here by Pink Floyd is a good example. With Sharkmouth I had to ensure I didn’t create fatigue by leaning to heavily on panning that put the mix off balance.

Can you tell me your thoughts as you opened up the multitracks? What was the state of the files? Was there any problems you had to resolve before starting?

On opening up the sessions I was struck by the tight, grooving performances and Russ’s vocals. Man those guys can play and Russell’s voice is simply amazing! Since they had recorded the album using timeless methods and minimal distractions by technology, there were no issues with the tracking and I wore a big grin for most of the project! Russ and co had surrounded themselves with a very capable and gifted team of people including Steve Morgan who helped out on the engineering side.

The sounds feel very ‘fleshy’ and ‘tactile’, particularly the drums and Russell’s vocals. Can you talk us through your process to get such a great, physical sound? How much of that do you think was the tracking as opposed to your work?

Thanks! I’m stating the obvious but the basis of any great sound is great playing on a well tuned and well recorded instrument. All of the performances on the record were a joy to work with and I felt a sense of duty to not screw up such great playing. I love ‘sounds’ and think it helps to have a deep appreciation for sonic textures, so drums always present one of the great challenges to me. For instance, the sound of a kick drum thumped in a room often bares little resemblance to the way they are portrayed when recorded and I’d say the same for guitar amplifiers, especially Marshall stacks. One doesn’t approach a snare drum and put their ear 5 inches from the rim but that’s how the mic is used to hearing it. The challenge is to optimize each sound with respect to the other so the elements work as a whole. While I spend a lot of time tweaking each individual track of a drum kit they have to feel like they complement the other when combined. I mix from the standing in front perspective because I quite simply love the sound of a live drum kit, especially if it’s a classic kit setup with minimal deadening.

With vocals, again I like them to sound as natural as possible. I always approach refining the vocal sound last because I’ve already established what it’s up against, what it has to get over the top of. I find that if I listen at low levels I can identify the natural overtones and resonances in vocals that I feel will draw energy away from presence in the mix. I normally give the trusty Waves Q10 a good work out removing any annoying tones between 2 and 5K, then the Massey De-Esser and finally into Channel G for compression and final EQ. If I need to pin the vocal more I’ll use the input saturation modeling in McDSP Analog Channel which I prefer over hard limiting.

The album has a beautiful, ‘classic’ tone. Did you have any sonic templates in mind for how you wanted the album to feel tonally?

I wanted the record to feel close and personal, like you could get up out of your favorite listening position and step into the music. Since many of my favorite records were purchased as a teen during the 70′s the pre digital era is part of my musical DNA. I had a somewhat non-top 40 musical upbringing as my parents listened to English and European “lounge music” and the bulk of my early purchases were from the UK.  Jeff Beck, ELO, Yes, Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, John Lennon, Deep Purple. The Sweet’s “Desolation Boulevard produced my Mike Chapman had an enormous influence on me, as did a Japanese electronic artist called Isao Tomita. The last track on Cold Chisel’s debut album ‘Just How Many Times’ was always in the back of my mind while mixing Sharkmouth.

I made sure that any artificial reverb had a classic tone to it. The vocal reverb chain was a setup I’ve used for years. I feed two space echos (a 301 and a 501) and set them up in what I call an infinite figure 8 feedback loop. The more level I feed them the more delay cross regeneration is developed. These then feed either the Micmix Master Room analog reverb or the AKG BX-20E and I print them to a track in protools. This method gives me a lot of control over the intensity of the reverb and means I can do a pass recording a reverb ‘performance’.

Can you talk me through your typical mixing processes for this album? How long did you work on a mix for? How often did Mitch and Russell come to work on revisions? What was the typical amount of drafts for a mix?

Typically I would open the sessions and see what if any tidying up I needed to do and thanks to the talent of the team I didn’t have to do much there. I would listen through the tune, usually hearing it for the first time and make note of the various tones and the general feel of the track. If I have a strong emotional reaction to a song I’ll factor that in to the way I’ll approach the mix. I then work through the individual components ensuring each works with the next. I didn’t always use all the microphone options, especially if something special was lost by combining other mics. Once the individual instruments were ready I would start with the rhythm section, add acoustic instruments, electrics, keys and then finally vocals.  Typically a full band mix would take around 4 hours to get into shape and I would leave it till the following day to make adjustments. I’m happy to say that Russell and Mitch came in to listen to the mixes in batches and and required little to no revisions. Once we all understood the direction and feel of the album it was an enjoyable and rewarding process.

How did you feel the end product sat, as a reflection of the production aesthetic you were given and the way you like to hear records?

It was a bit of a pinch myself gig for me. Russell has been a constant musical figure throughout my life and is an incredibly talented performer as well as brilliant songwriter. To be asked to work on such a great record and approach it in a way that was completely natural for me was the highlight of that year.  I’m my own harshest critic and I dare say in 3 years I’ll listen to the record and pick my work to pieces but the clients were over the moon and it was a pretty jolly successful release. What more can I ask for!

Rangemaster Chapel is under construction

UPDATE: Rangemaster is building a new studio in The Patch in the Dandenong Ranges, 50 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. During construction a temporary studio is now running in the new building.
The new completed studio will be 4 time larger than Rangemaster Bayswater and offer 3 different large rooms with live performance/video capabilities. Completion is expected in April 2014

We will still offer the same competitive rates,  the same team, the same world class equipment and same great sound that has been heard on thousands of recordings since 1998.

Rangemaster – Live Sessions

Some exciting things ahead for Rangemaster.

We are launching our ‘Rangemaster – Live Sessions’ which is a new leg of the business. Put very simply, We are giving artists the opportunity to capture a raw and live performance on both Audio and Video mediums.
As usual, we are utilizing our Pro tools Hd native system to capture the audio side of things and for video we are using both top of the range Canon DSLR cameras and Sony HD DV cameras.
Our editing suite is not on the studio premises however we are using the latest apple software ‘Final Cut Pro X’ and are itching to cut up some high quality video tracks.
This new part of the business moves us closer to our vision of becoming an artists ‘hub’ or a ‘one stop shop’ for everything an artist needs to fulfill their vision with the music they write/make.

Keep an eye out for our facebook posts and our new youtube channel which will be launched in a few weeks.

For information about how you can be involved in our ‘Rangemaster – Live Sessions’, please forward all correspondence to anthonyblake@rangemaster.com.au or call me on 0401 825 847.

Whilst we are setting this new part of our offering, rates are going to be too good to pass up.  Get in quick to be a part of what we see as being the next big thing.

Stay cool
-AB

Mix and Master special for Triple J Unearthed

For a limited time Producer, Engineer and Mix engineer David Carr is offering a Mix and Master session for your song for the jolly cheap price of $250.

This deal is specifically for artists starting out who have great songs, great ideas, a decent recording but know they are not Mix engineers just yet. (heck, I’ve only been doing this 26 years and I’ve still got heaps to learn -DC)

Simply send your files either as a Protools 9 session or as individual consolidated Wav files. We’ll email back your Mix ready to go. Email or Memory stick via snail mail.

For more info mail: davidcarr@rangemaster.com.au

or phone: +61402009219

Revisions will charged at DC’s normal hourly rate. If I think your Mix might take longer than the time we’ve allocated we will let you know what the additional cost will be.

Please check out our new rates!

Until now, Rangemaster has primarily been known for it’s work with signed and Independent artists with established profiles. You now have access to the studio that has produced Airplay quality product since 1992.

We still offer the exclusive services of renown Producer/Engineers David Carr and Chris Dickey, who between them share Aria nominations and awards, a Grammy nomination, Triple J Hottest 100 inclusions and offer between them 40 years of International experience.

One 8 hour day with producers David Carr or Chris Dickey $450 (normally $600) Additional hourly rate $60 (normally $80)

Added to the Team is in-house engineer Anthony Blake who brings abundant amounts of experience and enthusiasm.

For more info see ‘The Team’