Audio and Video Production

Turns out I'm pretty good at it

After graduating high school in 1985, I went to Berklee School of Music in Boston. After a semester I wanted to switch my major from performance to recording and production, but it would be three years until I actually got any studio time. The studios were fairly new, and the waiting list was long.

So, I enrolled in Full Sail School for the Recording Arts in Central Florida. I learned a lot in a short amount of time. It was there I discovered that I had a good ear for mixing.

In the early 90s, brother Jay and I recorded an original song (She Won) on a 386 Windows 3.1 machine in New York using a first-generation audio hardware and software solution. It took 45 minutes to render a 5-minute song, and rendering was necessary after performing any kind of edit. We stayed up all night working on it (and waiting), but we were hooked.

In 1998 and 1999 we recorded our first album, Strange Communication, in my basement using CoolEdit Pro on Windows NT. By this time, the hardware was fast enough to do edits and hear the results immediately. CoolEdit Pro was bought by Adobe, and became Adobe Audition.

In the early 2000s, I rented a space in New London, CT, that served as my office (for software development and training) and also a studio. I was using Adobe Audition 3.0 at the time we started working on a new album, Lifeboat to Nowhere, which was eventually released in 2011.

In 2007, after we had only a couple Lifeboat tracks finished, my podcasting career took off. Podcast ad revenue allowed me to put money into the studio space/office and turn it into a world-class studio space.

We obsessed over every second of our performance and the audio quality on Lifeboat. Unlike Strange Communication where we used sequenced drum tracks (think drum machine) this time we wanted to use real instruments including drums, percussion, and even a string ensemble.

We quickly got the attention of local bands who were looking for a quality local recording and production facility. I recorded well over 100 sessions, turning out five local albums between 2007 and 2020 when I moved out of the space.

In 2009, I recorded the original tracks to Been a While utilizing some of the best local musicians I could find. My brother wasn't available to record piano except on Chain Reaction, which we recorded with guitar virtuoso John Scofield.

In 2012, I started using Presonus hardware and software products, including their flagship DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software, Studio One. Presonus experienced growing pains with Studio One, and so did I, but I stayed loyal. I use Studio One to this day.

I also started using Presonus headless hardware mixers with the band. The current iteration of this is called the Presonus 32R. It's a box with 32 inputs and 16 auxiliary outputs. I made a box that connects the first 12 aux outs to two Presonus HP60 6-Channel Headphone Amplifiers. In the band, Everyone gets in-ear monitors and can control thier own mix using their smartphone. This hardware also allows me to make multi-track recordings of our gigs (every instrument/mic gets recorded separately) and edit the recording using Studio One. Add some good video to the mix, and that explains the great live videos on our website.

Over the years I have mastered umptine albums, I have provided forensic audio services to police departments (removing noise and discerning what people are saying), and recorded, produced, and played on several albums. Recording and production is in my blood.

I got heavy into video editing starting in 2012 using Adobe Premiere. I currently edit my own software training videos and (of course) music videos for myself, my band, and others. I have created live music videos for multiple artists, doing everything on the gig from live sound, to audio and video recording, to producing the final product.

As I mentioned, I moved out of the studio in New London during the Covid Pandemic in 2020. I moved into the Garde Arts Center, who generously gave me free reign of their then-closed Oasis room. The band used the stage as our rehearsal space, and I was able to continue recording with my clients.

In late 2022, the Garde re-opened and started doing shows in the Oasis Room. Fortuitously, our new bass player had just bought a house and had an extra room. We practiced at his house until June, 2023, when we moved everything out.

I started building a new studio in my 1200-square-foot garage in February, 2023. The band took the month of June off so I would have time to complete the studio so the band could rehearse starting in July. The new studio is not yet complete, but should be done by August, 2023.

The new studio is actually in the back half of the garage. The builder of the house was a car collector, hence the 1200-square-foot space. The garage was never finished. Bare fiberglass insulation was everywhere, and power outlets were haphazardly placed and connected to the same circuit, even though the sub-panel had 120 amps of service!

We (my wife and I) put up a wall in the middle, giving us a finished two-car garage, and giving me a 600-square-foot studio space. I covered up the windows, insulated the outside walls with spray foam insulation, and stuffed a foot of rock wool insulation in the walls on all sides. I put up the same beautiful red fabric from the old studio over the rock wool. We put up sheet rock on the ceiling, painted it black, and put up 2" sound-absorptive fiberglass panels. The floor is a wood pergo laminate over concrete.

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