SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 24, 2010) — On Saturday, June 19, 2010, The Recording Academy® Texas Chapter and the Producers & Engineers Wing® presented "P&E Wing Retreat at the Rock" at Blue Rock Artist Ranch & Studio in Wimberley, Texas.
Blue Rock, founded by songwriter/guitarist Billy Crockett and his wife Dodee, is a destination studio dedicated to audio excellence situated on 19 pristine acres in the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin. At "Retreat at the Rock," 100 guests were treated to a full day of presentations by recording luminaries, professional development workshops, networking, and a special musical performance from GRAMMY®-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster. Presenters included Steve Lamm, owner of Cryptic Globe Recording (CGR); legendary producer/engineer/designer George Massenburg; platinum producer/mixer Tim Palmer; Shadow Hills Industries president and founder Peter Reardon; and keynote speaker Rupert Neve, founder of Rupert Neve Designs Incorporated.
The day opened with Massenburg's presentation, which explored the evolution of quality standards in recorded music since 1992 from technical, artistic and business points of view. Demonstrations showcased an eye-and ear-opening look at what MP3s really sound like and the audible effects of over-compression. The conversation detailed how a generation of listeners has grown accustomed to the destructive artifacts inherent to inferior forms of digital coding and the resulting loss of emotional impact in music that has dynamics curtailed by over-compression.
Also covered were various theories related to how sound affects the perception of a music recording's value, as well as the marketplace evolution from label-driven to artist-driven incentives and revenue concentration. Audio excerpts of classic and modern artists were compared and contrasted as Massenburg explored the phenomenon of the 20-year de-evolution of the modern record business and the resulting abandonment of substantive quality criteria.
Lamm, a GRAMMY® Award winner for engineering rap gospel album Alive And Transported by TobyMac, discussed how producers and engineers currently work with digital and analog gear and how to get the best productivity out of the combination.
Palmer's hit list of topics ranged across the expanse of his career as he delighted the audience with "The Song is King," "Don't Trust the A&R Guy," "Letting Things Go," and "Don't Bring Your Analog Multi-tracks Home." One of alternative rock's unsung heroes and a GRAMMY nominee for his work on U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind, he has produced artists such as David Bowie, Robert Plant, Switchfoot and Tears for Fears, written songs with Ozzy Osbourne and the Goo Goo Dolls, and mixed albums for artists including Pearl Jam and The Cure.
Reardon's segment, "Beyond Fidelity: The Studio as an Engine of Inspiration," discussed the challenges of facilitating exceptional performances in the studio. The president and founder of Shadow Hills Industries and the former president of Waxploitation Records, Reardon is a producer/engineer/remixer with credits including Choclair, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Chris Vrenna, Barenaked Ladies, Coolio, The Cult, Fear Factory, The Geto Boys, Scarface, and Josh Wink.
Keynote Speaker Neve, who was awarded a Technical GRAMMY Award in 1997, provided both inspiration and basic technical knowledge in his presentation. He discussed how the sound created by vacuum tubes, integrated circuits, the medium of the CD, and many other sonic anomalies, all affect the perception of music and how the resulting effects on a listener can range from frustration — and even anger — to satisfaction and relaxation. Since founding NEVE Companies in 1961, Neve has designed and manufactured professional equipment for the recording, TV, film and broadcast Industries worldwide, including the legendary Neve 8078, 8068 consoles and 1073 and 1081 modules. In 1985, he founded Rupert Neve Designs Incorporated, based in Wimberley, Texas, with a new range of high performance audio equipment that retain his original transformer and EQ traditions but incorporate circuitry to take account of recent discoveries about the way we hear music.
"Our Texas Chapter always thinks big, but they've outdone even themselves this time," said Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director of the P&E Wing. "To be able to spend a day with some of the recording industry's finest talent in this beautiful, relaxed, and creative environment has been a remarkable experience. 'Retreat at the Rock' was, simply, an extraordinarily special event."