Monday, March 24, 2014

ShootersINC Streamlines Workflow with Slate RAVEN


— Integrated production company now runs an all-RAVEN facility —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, March 20, 2014 — Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, is proud to be the exclusive U.S. dealer of the RAVEN MTX Multi-Touch Production Console by Slate Pro Audio. By getting the RAVEN MTX into the hands of top pros, GC Pro is helping leading facilities move to their next generation workflow – a recent prime example of which is the Philadelphia-based integrated production company ShootersINC.

Bob Schachner, the senior audio designer at ShootersINC, has worked on most of the company’s iconic content, from prime-time spots for clients including A&E, Lexus, The Weinstein Company, and Scripps Networks Interactive, to the original content they’ve been helping develop, such as the Food Network's hit Restaurant: Impossible. After keeping his Avid Pro Control working in one of Shooters’ three audio control rooms for nearly a decade after Avid announced it would discontinue the platform, he knew he had to move on. In doing so, he faced the same dilemma every working professional does when their most familiar tools approach obsolescence: finding new ones that are compatible with all of their other systems but that also manage to let them manage their workflow just as they had before. Schachner says he found that in the Slate Digital RAVEN MTX console, the third of which was installed at Shooters in November.

He and Brad Petrella, manager of engineering services at Shooters, had been on the lookout for a good replacement platform that would work for Schachner and Shooters’ other audio engineers. Then, last year, Schachner says he saw a video of the RAVEN MTX and was intrigued by its interface: a 46-inch LED backlit touch-sensitive display with 1920 X 1080 HD resolution and integrated compatibility with the HD3 Pro Tools systems Shooters uses. “Steven Slate had a good reputation for his plugins; I liked the way he made his graphical user interfaces for them,” says Schachner. “So we went to a demo of the RAVEN at GC Pro and thought it had the potential to do what I needed it to do.”

Schachner was curious whether the console, which had been aimed at the music production market, would meet his workflow needs in audio post. He was not disappointed: “I live in the edit window in post, not on the faders and knobs,” he explains. “So the transition to the touchscreen was perfect. On a touchscreen work surface, there’s nothing that I lose and I gain this huge screen, which makes everything on it easy to see and access. I found myself transitioning from the trackball to the touchscreen quickly – the RAVEN was installed on a Monday, I was working on it by Tuesday and was fully up to speed on it by Wednesday. There wasn’t any slowdown in the workflow.”

Within a month of the first console being installed, the entire facility had RAVEN MTX workstations in all three control rooms, and everyone was conversant with the RAVEN’s operation. “One of our guys is in a band and his engineer did some overdubs,” Schachner recalls. “I loaded his work into the system and gave him a quick two-minute tutorial on it. He had no problem with it at all. Basically, if you can work Pro Tools, the RAVEN MTX is going to be very familiar to you.”

“What we like about the RAVEN MTX is that it doesn’t demand that you learn it – it accommodates how you work, for instance, by letting you get started quickly and then allowing you to learn different shortcuts and other things at your own pace, as you need them,” observes Brad Petrella.

In the space of barely two months, Schachner says the RAVEN MTX has changed his work patterns for the better. “When you have faders, you’re constantly reaching all over the board, and that causes your head to be constantly moving, which affects your ability to monitor accurately,” he explains. “With the touchscreen in the center, I find that monitoring is much easier since I don’t have to move as much. Plus, with the Pro Tools screen on the console display and so much easier to see, I can see the waveforms better; I can read the plugins easier. Pro Tools is part of the console now. I feel more connected to the entire process. You don’t realize that that’s happening until it hits you. This is a great way to work.”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Founded in 2001, Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

Johnny A. Assembles Gear with GC Pro


— Working with GC Pro Senior Account Manager PK Pandey, Johnny A. finds the right gear for his unique production style, resulting in his acclaimed Driven LP —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, March 17, 2014 — Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, has been working with veteran guitarist Johnny A. on his personal recording space, resulting in a custom studio suited to his unique production style and a new LP, Driven (set for pre-release on March 18 on Aglaophone Records), which he describes as his “dream album.” Seasoned as a producer, composer and instrumentalist, the Boston-area musician had not been comfortable taking on engineering duties by himself on previous projects, but he was determined to push himself to new levels for this album, and with the right combination of gear and hard work, he found new legs as an engineer.

Johnny A.’s resume includes time with Derek & the Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, CCR drummer Doug Clifford, Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band and others, as well as a reputation for nuanced compositions, masterful playing and studio perfectionism (and a Gibson custom Johnny A. signature model to boot). Naturally, the bar was already high when he decided to outfit his studio and make a new album. His production techniques have evolved over the course of his years collaborating and producing his own and other’s records; he records his guitars direct, an approach that sets him apart from other guitarists and producers. And with the new project, he became comfortable as an engineer and mixer, adding those important skills to his already-impressive toolbox.


Working with GC Pro Senior Account Manager PK Pandey (based at GC Pro’s Boston office), Johnny A. set out to acquire a new console and a full complement of analog gear. Johnny A. recalls, “I had known PK for years, and over the course of this project, we got closer and closer, and now we’re like brothers. He was well aware of my production techniques, of recording mostly direct, and I asked for his recommendations on analog gear – good, better and best. He knew all the right tools for the job here, and unsurprisingly, we went with ‘best’ in every case!” The gear that they decided on included an SSL AWS 948 console, multiple Apogee Symphony systems, two Neve 1081A EQ’s, two Vintech X73 preamps, an SSL XLogic stereo compressor, a GML 8200 EQ, a pair of Universal Audio LA-3A Classic Audio Levelers, an Isochrone master clock from Antelope Audio, four Distressors, various items from Retro and Mercury Recording, a John Hardy Twin Servo preamp, a Logic setup and Addictive Drums software from XLN Audio.

Pandey remarked, “This has been an almost-three-year adventure, working with Johnny A. on getting his workflow right for this album. And with the AWS 948 console, everything turned out much wider, deeper, higher and warmer than it would have been otherwise. He recorded all the guitars and did the drum programming himself, along with all the production and mixing. He told me it’s his dream album, and I’m so proud to have had a part in getting him the right tools to bring his artist’s vision to fruition.”

Johnny A. is extremely satisfied with the result: “I guess I was a bit na├»ve in the beginning, thinking I could take on this whole album myself, but we made it happen. It was a daunting experience, but I’m blown away at the finished product. I expected it to live up to my expectations, but I didn’t expect it to exceed them so thoroughly. And I have to give thanks to PK and GC Pro for helping to bring this record to life. What a ride!”

For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com and www.johnnya.com.

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About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Founded in 2001, Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Penteo 4 Pro Now Available


Audiotech Digital Ltd (ADL) has announced the release of the new Penteo 4 Pro plug-in that discretely converts stereo to 5.1, offering exacting control over sound image placement to create high-quality, sonic-free and natural-sounding surround.

Penteo 4 Pro is 100-percent ITU down-mix compatible to the original stereo. The plug-in features an intuitive visual interface modeled after vintage gear, and offers six automated preset modes as well as advanced manual controls for fine-tuning.

Mike Minkler, multiple Oscar-winning re-recording mixer at TODD-SOUNDELUX, explained, "I've used Penteo on almost every project for five years now, such as Django Unchained, Twilight Saga, and Inglourious Basterds. The new plug-in really shines. With a flick of a switch I can take a two-channel mix and get a quality 5.1 mix, which is a huge asset in these budget-conscious times, especially when independent films just can't afford more than a stereo source for me to work with."

Native AAX64 Support
Penteo 4 Pro now natively supports Avid Audio eXtension (AAX) for true 64 bit processing. As a result, Penteo 4 Pro AAX64 uses 52% less CPU processing power thereby allowing a sound designer more flexibility to simultaneously use more tracks in a mix than ever before.

"Penteo produces such a warm surround mix, and we are thrilled that now Penteo supports Avid's AAX64 format," said Ed Gray, Director, Avid Partnering Programs. "Now sound designers will benefit by being able to run more instances and tap all the new features of Pro Tools 11."

New Features
* Touch Screen Controls - In addition to mouse operated controls, Penteo 4 Pro is the first up-mixer to support multi-touch controls. Mixing is not a linear, sequential process -- Penteo's unique multi-touch interface allows a sound designer to control more than one Penteo feature at once, thereby creating a natural mixing experience through simple hand contact. Penteo 4 Pro is the world's first multi-touch plug-in designed for use with the Raven MTX Surround console.

* Pro Tools Automation Keyboard Shortcuts for all parameters - Quickly add and select parameters for automation using standard control/alt/cmd shortcuts.

* Usage Preferences - With choice of circular or vertical knob drag usage options, a sound designer can select the most natural feeling knob movement for mouse or multi-touch.

* New bypass channel routing - Stereo bypass channels now routes to the ProTools channel output standard.

Special Promotion Pricing
To celebrate Penteo's AAX release, from March 4 to April 16th, 2014, new purchases of any format of Penteo will receive 33% off the purchase price. Free trials are available here, and contact your GC Pro representative for more information.