• Alan Parsons' The Art & Science Of Sound Recording

    One of my daily routines is listening to The Adam Carolla Show podcast while reading and responding to email each morning. Last Friday Adam interviewed well known recording engineer of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and artist Alan Parsons. Alan discussed his work for EMI during The Beatles recording sessions at Abbey Road and his disdain for the original release of Let It Be. The whole podcast is pretty interesting but the gem mentioned by Alan Parsons is his new video series called The Art & Science Of Sound Recording. At first blush this may appear irrelevant to audiophiles but upon further investigation most Computer Audiophile readers will find many nuggets of information that enhance the listening experience. From Edison to iPod to file formats, sample rates, and training oneself to how to listen. This video series has value for those in the music industry and those of us who consume the products of the industry. After the introduction a twenty-six minute Digital Audio & Computers video is recommended. Alan and very respected engineers discuss using the best Analog to Digital (ADC) and Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) when the budget allows and how acute Sheryl Crow's hearing is while recording.


    The Art & Science Of Sound Recording videos are available as a physical DVD, video downloads available immediately, and streaming video good for onetime viewing. Producing this series involved three years of work and a lifetime of experience. Thus the videos are not free but the price is very reasonable. Most audiophiles have spent more money on the sales tax for power cables. The physical DVD three disc box is $149.99, the cost to download the whole series is $99, and individual videos are available to stream (one-time viewing) at $1.99 or download at $4.99 each. I purchased the whole series as a download and I'm very happy with the purchase. There are countless nuggets of information that every audiophile should know in each video. Some videos seem a bit slow for a couple minutes but then Alan mentions topics like master clocking, jitter, and digital interfaces that make staying the course through the whole video well worth the time. Here are two videos, a few pertinent links, and some standard Press information about the video series.



    • Adam Carolla Show interview with Alan Parsons - Linklink

    • The Art & Science of Sound website - Linklink

    • Alan Parsons main website - Linklink

    • Alan Parsons Wikipedia entry - Linklink



    Studio Story from Erykah Badu (10 Minutes)



    Trailer (22 Minutes)




    • Alan introduces the program from the GRAMMY museum in Los Angeles, tracing the development of sound recording from Edison to the iPod.
      Alan recalls how The Beatles classic album Sgt. Pepper was recorded at Abbey Road on 4-track tape and how Pink Floyd’s seminal Dark Side Of The Moon–an album Alan engineered–was only recorded on 16-track.

    • A large part of being able to conduct a good recording is knowing how to listen. This section not only provides fact-based answers as to EQ frequencies and the various ways they can be adjusted, it also gives you tools that you can use to train yourself how to ‘hear’ more analytically.

    • Starting with Alan re-discovering the EMI desk on which he recorded Dark Side Of The Moon (that now resides in Los Angeles), Alan looks at the most complex-looking piece of equipment in any studio, real or virtual. Knob-by-knob explanations are followed by an experiment with analog summing vs. mixing in the box, and finally a look at the role of controllers in the world of DAWs.

    • Few people doubt that the internet represents ‘a’ if not ‘the’ solution as to how we will conduct recordings in the future. Question is, right now, exactly how? We look at one of the currently available systems on a vocal session. It’s 9AM for Alan in California while the singer, working from his own studio Michigan, is ready for lunch. That’s just one of the issues.

    • Simon Phillips provides one of the most comprehensive looks at the art and science of recording drums ever undertaken. From tuning, to acoustics, to mic usage, to recording approaches, Simon and Alan provide the tools to getting a great drum sound – one of the consistently most elusive aspects of modern recording. Drummer of The Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins is also interviewed.


      Digital Audio & Computers

      Duration: 26 minutes
      Featuring: Alan Parsons, with John Shanks, and Michael McDonald.
      Unless you are a die-hard, analog purist, or have some phobia against computers, recording is now very much a computer-based activity. Even dedicated hardware recorders largely take on the functionality and features of a DAW, making them harder and harder to justify or see any advantage in.
      But DAWs–especially for a generation born before, say, the Game Boy–do require time and know-how. A lot of components fit together and need to work together in the way that you want and are expecting. Sometimes the full implications of a choice of an individual component may not be revealed until way down the recording chain when you’re wondering why you can only bring up a stereo pair of channels on a mixer, or when you’re struggling with latency, or when you wish you could hear your full basket of effects when you’re tracking.
      In Digital Audio & Computers Alan takes us on an extensive (and often virtual) tour of the various different parts that go to make a DAW–hardware, interfaces, applications, plug-ins and disc drives–and pieces it all together like a jigsaw.
      Technical terms and seemingly endless acronyms for digital communication formats are carefully explained and Alan carefully explains both the pleasures and pitfalls of computer-based recording with fellow artists, engineers, and producers.
      This section is not intended as a guide to using ProTools or Ableton Live, but is simply a balanced presentation of the world of DAW recording.


      Press Information

      More than 10 hours of original footage filmed in HD make this the most powerful instructional series ever created for music production. Written and presented by Dark Side Of The Moon engineer, hit record producer and artist Alan Parsons, The Art & Science Of Sound Recording looks at everything from soundproofing to mixing, and from recording guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals, to recording a choir.
      More than 40 fellow professionals join Alan Parsons in this top quality, practical, and cutting edge guide to modern recording including Erykah Badu, Jimmy Douglass, Jack Joseph Puig, and Simon Phillips.
      With an accompanying website from which you can download source material, The Art & Science Of Sound Recording examines the key elements of the recording process – EQ, compression, delays and reverbs, noise gates – then looks at how microphones work, mic techniques, the role of consoles and controllers in a modern DAW environment, MIDI, computers and interfaces, monitoring... concluding with a series of specific instrument and specific application recording sessions where you can see and Alan at work in the studio.
      This invaluable instructional DVD set applies classic, old-school recording experience to the modern recording scene and will be a standard work on the subject for years to come.
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. manisandher's Avatar
      manisandher -
      I've just downloaded and watched the 26 minute "Digital Audio & Computers" video. Although it was fun to watch, I'm not sure if I learned anything new - it's all pretty basic stuff. The Sheryl Crow story is interesting (golden ears <em>do</em> exist in the music industry) but I would have liked more detailed explanations and/or recommendations of setups and gear. For example, which AD/DA converters, interfaces, etc do the top engineers like and why. Perhaps this is an unrealistic expectation though.<br />
      <br />
      $4.99 well spent? I'm not sure...<br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Mani - I'm only guessing but I'm willing to bet your knowledge of this stuff is fairly good. <br />
      <br />
      In addition to learning about this stuff it's also nice to know that professional musicians and engineers worry about the same stuff as audiophiles to a certain degree. For example worrying about jitter is not just an audiophile issue that is created in people's heads as some skeptics would like us believe :~)
    1. manisandher's Avatar
      manisandher -
      You're totally right Chris, and I apologize if my post sounded overly negative - it wasn't meant to. There are some interesting insights, such as the 'state' of the muscians being far, far more important than any other factor during a recording - something that's been mentioned by the pros who post on CA also. And I suppose that's my ultimate gripe really - for me, this site is a much richer source of info about computer audio than any 26 minute video could ever be. But of course, you have to look for the nuggets of gold here among all the 'noise' created by posters like me ;-)<br />
      <br />
      I have a number of albums that Alan Parsons has worked on - the obvious stuff but also his 'Sound Check' and 'Sound Check 2' albums on the MFSL label - and perhaps my expectations were a little too high. But ultimately, $4.99 is a drop in the ocean when it comes to how much many of us spend on our obsession, I mean hobby. And as I said, it's a fun 26 minutes...<br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Mani - Did you know that Keith O Johnson has worked on projects with Alan Parsons as well? I was unaware until a colleague emailed me after this article went up. I figured you would be interested in this tid bit of info as you're one of the few lucky readers with a Model Two.
    1. ziggyzack's Avatar
      ziggyzack -
      How cool is Erykah?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Love her stuff.
    1. peterlin's Avatar
      peterlin -
      It is cool?<br />
      Nice article? thanks for sharing with us?<br />
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    1. Lakefield's Avatar
      Lakefield -
      I highly recommend checking out the Richard Dodd Interview on the homepage<br />
      <br />
      http://www.artandscienceofsound.com/<br />
      <br />
      at 13min he talks about loudness war and whats wrong in todays recording business.
    1. corneliuswheldon's Avatar
      corneliuswheldon -
      Your link given on the post is very important very important information is shared with us very good i think that There are some interesting insights, such as the 'state' of the muscians being far, far more important than any other factor during a recording.<br />
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