President/Editor/Publisher: Kerry J Haps
Vice-President: Michael Kolar
Secretary: Chris Cwiak

Volume 24 Number 8

August 2009

EARS meets for our Annual BBQ

at Stereophonic Studios

3050 N. Western Ave., Chicago

Tuesday, Aug 25th, 7:30pm


Hey Hey!

Marshall Terry and Stu Kaletsch are graciously inviting us to Stereophonic Studios for our Annual Members Only BBQ. 

We'll meet at 7:30 PM and it'll be just a nice time to hang out around the grill or explore and enjoy this interesting space MT and SK are building. A lot's happened since last we were there, including their partnership, so I'm looking forward to seeing it again. A nice selection of food and drink, all on EARS, will be provided. No need to bring anything but yourself and (if not current) your dues. (Of course we'll welcome any treat you'd like to contribute, but basically it's on us.) 

Sam Rodgers of Sweetwater is once again bellying up to the grill and our V.P. is going to try and replicate all the best parts of the wonderful spread he gathered for us last year and up the ante on others. If you were there at his Bachelor Pad you know we had some great groceries and Sam really knew how to put 'em on the grill. 

Of course, it's members-only, If you haven't paid your $25.00 since before last October, you'll need to pay up. While I strongly prefer to think along the lines of "Ask not what your EARS can do for you, but what you can do for EARS!", in this case, we're talking about a great spread and what promises to be a fun night of just kicking back with very little agenda, just conversation, food, and drink. Of course, EARS citizenship also gives the the right to vote and a seat at the holiday party in December. (Always a great time!) Hey, it's only $25.00 and you get back much more than that just in food! By the way, membership is open and all interested are welcome. 

In order to make sure we're properly prepared for you, please RSVP by 3:00 PM Tuesday at this email address, with ""EARS BBQ R.S.V.P. _your_name_here_" as the subject line. You can also let me know if you have any special dietary requirements. Thanks to all who've already RSVP'd. 

From 90/94 Eastbound: Take exit 45b, then a Left on Belmont followed by a Right on Western Ave and the second Right, Barry Ave. Pull through the big gate on your left, and park anywhere in the back. It’s back behind American Heritage Fireplace.

From 90/94 Westbound: Take exit 45c (Belmont), and take a Right. From there, follow the same as above.

Or from local streets: If you're not doing either of the above, it's notable that you can only turn on Barry Ave going *South* on Western Ave. If you're heading North on Western, be sure to not go over the big bridge (stay on the 'Local' street on your Right), and make a U-turn under the bridge. Barry Ave (and the American Heritage sign) is then right there on your right."

However you get there, be sure to go through the gate and around back, where we should be easy to find. 

See ya there! -KJH


Recap/Appreciation File

EARS meeting at I.V. Lab Studios, July 28, 2009

As I’ve mentioned in past recaps, I’m a proud alumnus of Columbia College Chicago’s audio program. In 2003, they opened up their new Audio Technology Center in the basement of the 33 E. Congress building. Apparently, this space was an old bank many years past, and the school decided to keep the actual vault room intact for use as a reverb chamber. The bank vault door remains permanently in the open position. This month, we met at a studio which shares with Columbia’s A.T.C. the past of being a vault, I.V. Lab Studios. In case it wasn’t patently obvious, the I.V. in I.V. Lab Studios stands for In-Vault. The vault from whence the name of the studio came used to keep collateral for people seeking to take out loans. The building itself dates back to the early 1900’s and is on the National Historic Register, so there’s absolutely no fear of the building being demolished for a condo development. Our host for the evening, owner and engineer Manny Sanchez, has been at this location for five years and open for four. They spent a year getting the place turned into a proper recording studio, with much help from Bruce Breckenfeld of CRC doing all the acoustical design and wiring. Prior to I.V., a multimedia company resided there. As such, it was a pretty quiet operation, contrasted against that of I.V.’s. That said, virtually all of I.V.’s recording happens in the vault itself, which is surrounded by three feet of concrete on all sides. Sanchez, in the early going had issues with the folks in the apartment upstairs, which is actually two floors above the vault. They’d even complain about the television in the lounge below their floor and at one point decided to go to the alderman. Luckily, Alderman Helen Shiller realized the importance of the arts and backed I.V. 

The layout of the studio itself is very similar to that of Gravity, where Manny spent two years as an engineer; a rectangular main room with two smaller iso booths at the far end. One of the iso booths is basically a cab closet. One really nice feature that’s different from that of Gravity is that the hallway that runs from the control room to the live room has reinforced doors at either end that can close to make the hallway a big iso booth with a direct line of sight to the control room. It has the sound of a vocal booth. There is an HVAC duct that runs through this hallway iso booth and comes out in the live room that is remarkably quiet. The live room is really well reinforced with hanging panels behind the wall adjacent to the door as well as the insides of the wall in addition to ceiling traps. You’d never know you were standing inside a concrete room unless you were told. The live room boasts a beautiful antique organ with a foot-powered bellows and a Wurlitzer baby grand piano. 

The studio complex also includes a small mix/master suite adjacent to a completely separate iso booth with no sightlines to anywhere. Two non-parallel walls are left untreated to provide a more reflective sound than that of a traditionally dead-sounding iso booth. These suites are upstairs from the main studio and control room in the vault. Manny notes that really the only time he finds need to close the vault door is when he’s working on things upstairs that’ll interfere with the plate reverbs in the landing leading down into the vault. There will be a studio C upstairs next to the lounge in the near future. Everything in the building was already wired together at build-out, so it’ll just be plug and play. There is already a whisper room installed along with a window between the control and live rooms. 

Manny Sanchez got to work on the Zwan album, featuring former Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin, former Slint guitarist Dave Pajo, and former A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin. As a gift, Billy had a man in Utah make for Manny a pair of custom monitors. These things sound good! Natural wood enclosures with a narrow port that runs along the width of the rear of the speaker, great detail in the midrange, and a helluva low end that exhibits a ton of control. Manny primarily listens to these when tracking and listening for lows, but prefers to mix through his NS-10’s. He runs an API 1608 which he acquired in February of ’08 (Editor's Note: The first of it's kind!) that replaced a Sony MXP 3036.

Having met Manny Sanchez on just this one occasion, I can’t really provide much insight into who he is any better than this one amazing fact: he’s made the three engineers who work with him part owners of I.V. Lab; Chris Harden, who came onboard straight out of school; Rollin Weary and Jay Marino. What most of us would look at as an uncommon practice of enormous generosity, Manny just kinda shrugs off and explains that he never took well to authority figures, didn’t want to become one and wanted his employees to have a vested interest in their work. As such, the four of them tend to split time on all the sessions.

I must insist that if you’re ever in the lobby of I.V. Lab Studio, please be sure to take a good look around at the amazing artwork that adorns all the walls; it’s a multi-media installation done by Jason Brammer called “The Future Is Recording Over My Pasture.” A very hearty thank you to Manny Sanchez, Chris Harden, Rollin Weary and Jay Marino for opening up the vault for all of us. They’ve got quite a team going over there and I look forward to hearing more of their output and seeing Studio C when it’s up and running. Also, as of the time of our meeting, Manny and his wife were expecting their first child, a daughter who Manny assures me will have an awesome name. It’s likely that the little one has joined us here as of this publication, so it’ll be good to be among the first to welcome her into the world with a little EARS cheer of her own. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Manny Sanchez. (Editor's Note: That EARS Cheer goes to Aria Marvel Sanchez, born on the 12th. Congrats Manny and family!)

-Chris Cwiak
Secretary, EARS

Next Month

Keep that last Tuesday, the 29th of September, open. If meeting plans necessitate a different date, we'll let you know with plenty of notice. We've got some great things lining up, but nothing specifically set for September yet, so let us know if you have an idea!. - KJH

In Memoriam: Les Paul (1915-2009) and Jim Dickinson (1941-2009)

A Wizard Passes –Les Paul
I was lucky enough to get to know Les Paul (a.k.a. Lester Polfuss, the Wizard of Waukesha, Rhubarb Red, and Red Hot Red), when I spent three days at his New Jersey house interviewing him for Tape Op Magazine. What an opportunity- getting to talk about every subject, ask all the questions, and learning so many things. 

Mark Rubel and Les Paul in front of "The Monster" - the console match to the original Ampex 8 track reel-to-reel multitrack recorder. 

Les had a variety of careers, all successful- as a performer, television personality, recording artist, recording engineer, inventor and experimenter. He and Mary Ford sold millions of records, a lifetime accomplishment in itself. They recorded for the most part on equipment that he built himself, in a garage studio where, at the beginning, his clients including WC Fields and Groucho Marx had to climb in through the window, since the door had been sealed for soundproofing. Those records still sound beautiful- so clear and bursting with inventiveness. And Les’ playing! Effortless, precise and creative.
Les was the man who bridged music and technology, and so many of the things that we use every day come from solutions to his own music-making necessities. How different our lives would be without his pioneering inventions, co-developments and applications: the solid-body electric guitar, multi-track recording, close micing, tape echo, and on and on. It’s funny to think that the use of tape machines partly sprang from Bing Crosby’s wanting to spend as much time as possible on the golf course! On his kitchen table, Les and Bill Putnam Sr. designed the Capitol Studios echo chambers that are heard on Frank Sinatra recordings, and to this day. 
Les’ house, built in 1953, is like a living museum. When he had it built it was wired for the weekly Les Paul and Mary Ford TV show, where he would sit and play guitar on one side of the kitchen counter, and Mary would sing into an RCA 44 whilst doing the dishes. It has the best-sounding tube intercom system you ever heard, three recording studios; amps, tape machines and Les Pauls everywhere. One room is still filled with spools of wire for pickup winding experiments.

Les loved to perform, play, and connect with audiences, other musicians and engineers, right up to the end. After his weekly shows at Fat Tuesday and later the Iridium, he would stay until the last person had gotten to talk with him, get his autograph, or have their guitar signed- even if it wasn’t a Les Paul! The list of interesting and historical people that he encountered through ninety years of living was phenomenal: Django, Hendrix, George Benson, Slash, Walter Cronkite, Rudy Van Gelder… he knew everyone- and the stories!

What a pleasure it is to know someone so filled with enthusiasm, curiosity, humor, wonder and intelligence- and to find that one’s idol is a generous, outgoing and lovable person is not a given. Les Paul is often compared to Edison, and there are similarities- he did light up the music of the world and changed its culture. But from what I know of Edison, he was not a nice or pleasant man, and he was differently motivated. I do think of Les, who was self-taught for the most part and left school at thirteen, as a towering 19th-century-style genius. But I like to think of him as more like the Wright Brothers, driven by joy and the realization of dreams.

My hero became a mentor, who became a friend. Les’ legend will live on in the pantheon of music, recording, and inventing, but the mortal part has passed. His mother lived to be a hundred, and I fully hoped and expected that that would be the case for him. Ninety-four is a good age, but we are still sad, and I certainly will miss our late-night rambling telephone conversations. It was always thrilling to get to talk with him or to see him, and I think it made him happy when we had 300 recording engineers, his progeny, sing him Happy Birthday over the telephone from the Tape Op Conference.
There is an expression: “the boy is father to the man”. For me, that means that contained in the totality of an old man is all the earlier experience that he has had: child, youth and man. This is certainly the case with Les, a man with a phenomenal memory whose quest started so young and never ended, and who lived the equivalent of many lives through sheer, unflagging work. When a young person dies part of the sadness is the lost potential. But with someone of Les’ stature we know what those possibilities could become, and though we are thankful for their realization, it is a great loss. The Japanese designate “national living treasures”, and that he was.

Thank you Les, and rest in peace.
“I'm just dead, I'm not gone.” -Jim Dickinson
The same week of Les’ passing (and a day before the anniversary of the deaths of Elvis and Robert Johnson) we also lost Jim Dickinson, a marvelous and unique character, player, thinker and doer who understood the mysterious and ineffable nature of the music recording process. His presence and musicality are evident in a variety of settings: as a member of the Mussel Shoal’s Dixie Fliers rhythm section, playing with people like Aretha and Dylan; his piano on Wild Horses, production of so many great records including Big Star, Replacements, Ry Cooder and John Hiatt records. His influence is wide and deep, and will be carried on by his sons in their North Mississippi Allstars.
Every time I would get to read or hear his thoughts and ideas, I would be startled by the ways in which he could shine an oblique light to clarify the subject, as here:

The unretainable nature of the present creates in Man a desire to capture the moment. Our fears of extinction compel us to record- to re-create- the ritual ceremony. From the first hand-print cave painting to the most modern computer art, it is the human condition to seek immortality. Life is fleeting. Art is long. A record is a "totem," a document of an unique, unrepeatable event worthy of preservation and able to sustain historic life. The essence of the event is its soul. Record production is a subtle, covert activity. The producer is an invisible man. His role remains a mystery. During the recording process there is an energy field present in the studio- to manipulate and to maximize that presence- to focus on the peculiar "harmony of the moment" is the job of the producer. Music has a spirit beyond the notes and rhythm. To foster that spirit and to cause it to flourish- to capture it at its peak is the producer's task.
- Jim Dickinson

There is 96 minutes of interview with Jim at Artistshouse music, containing many gems, anecdotes, and zen truths. His studio's website, Zebra Ranch, is also worth a look. 

Farewell, Jim.  I really loved you, too. To me, you represent the heart and soul of Memphis music, which in many ways is the heartbeat of the world. 

Mark Rubel - Pogo Studio, Champaign, IL

Jim Dickinson- Rest in Peace
I met Jim Dickinson shortly after going to work for Ardent Studios in the late 90’s. Jim had been associated with Ardent since it’s very beginning in the 1960’s. Jim was using the studio in John Fry’s garage and loved the sound John could get. John was only interested in radio at that point so it was at Jim’s insistence that he moved the operation out of his parents garage and into their first home on National Street in Memphis. Jim was the studio manager. John, being the business-like and orderly fellow that he is, apparently had quite a time with Jim in charge of customer relations. The lobby was filled with musicians, just hanging out and having a great time. John had the couch removed so it wasn’t so easy to just hang out. John wanted a viable business and Jim was busy creating a scene.

Needless to say, Jim didn’t last long in studio management but he did create a scene and sound. He continued to use Ardent as his home base for recording for over 40 years and created a long list of accomplishments. (Including playing piano on Wild Horses, by the Stones)

My personal dealings with him at Ardent had more to do with coming up with weird compressors (fixing and aligning the studios old Dolby 301 for him and finding he had pulled some of the cards and reset the gain and law completely out of whack) and doing strange patches (track out to foldback, to DI in reverse to Pignose amp in the big room, which was then close mic’d with an Astatic crystal mic and back into the board) to help add to the Voodoo Vibe that was part of his approach.

Jim was an original and you’d have to turn over a lot of rocks in Mississippi to find another one like him. Love you, brother. Rest in Peace.

Don Bell, Pittsburg


Where's the Beef? (Well, it IS time for the EARS BBQ...)

Thanks again to Mme et Messrs. Mazurek, Powell, Leake, Terry, Kaletsch, and Fair for their recent submissions and do know that we're glad to receive any content you'd like to offer. -KJH

MT's Magical Mystery Tip

MMT # 5

The Silicon/Germanium Transistor Difference

From what I've been able to read and hear about, when the world went from tube to transistor, designers jumped for joy - no more high voltages, lesser current demand, less power consumed, greater flexibility, increased reliability....

As a little back history, transistors (and most other common semiconductors) started out as being primarily Germanium (yes, named after Germany by it's scientific discoverer, Clemens Winkler, although Mendeleev proposed it existed after he knew about Silicon - thanks, Wikipedia). Silicon was known to be more stable in electronics applications when the germanium transistor was created in 1948, however, it was impossible to develop silicon pure enough to do the job until the 60's.

What's the deal between the two? Why did silicon make such a big difference, and why do people like Chandler and boutique pedal makers tout 'Germanium' components as this holy grail? Here's what I've found and know. Trying to simplify the very detailed physics of it all, two main points come to play.

In the elemental lattice, there exists something called a Band Energy - a voltage that needs to be supplied in order for electrical current to be passed on from one atom to another. This voltage required for the 'jump' is more in Silicon than in Germanium. We can't directly say that since Silicon requires about 25% more energy per atom to break that 'barrier' that it's inefficient, or slower, or duller sounding when used in a transistor - but possibly that Germanium is more 'sensitive'. This might describe the extra 'grain' to the circuit noise that germanium circuits have - and the 'fine sand silence' that we get listening to silicon transistors. Audio that gets passed through seems to have a slight ghosting of this characteristic - a little more clinical, linear, tight lipped sound to Silicon, but some fine texture in Germanium.

The two elements Si and Ge are in the same periodic table group - and therefore share the fundemental property that makes them fantastic as semiconductors - 4 valence electrons. Silicon is the lighter of the two elements, so Germanium's electrons lie further away from the nucleus. That increased distance means the electrons are more loosely held to the atom - so the energy required to cause them to excite is smaller. A little chemistry to smooth it all out.

But we can't jump to a conclusion yet. This 'band energy' is temperature dependent - which means that depending on the conditions under which the transistor (or even diode) is operating and getting 'pushed', the operation and sonics of the transistor will vary. It's also well known that Silicon is MUCH, MUCH more stable at a WIDE variety of temperatures, and Germanium is a bit of a fickle mistress. So, at lower temperatures, Silicon operates *more or less* the same as when heated up for quite a while, and Germanium is found to share similar characteristics. Heat up a Germanium transistor through creating a circuit to really 'push it' and/or heat it up, though, and we get a smoothed, dulled treble and air response.

Take these transistors and saturate them to the point of distortion, and these factors magnify. Silicon's fine sand and linearity turns into a zippy distortion, and germanium's grain and high frequency smoothing usually gives a smoother fuzz and deep grain in the midrange and low end.

Ah! It makes sense why Hendrix's 'Fuzz Face' sounds like it does - it's a germanium design! How about the Maestro Fuzz Tone? Germanium. More modern overdrive pedals that get much cleaner tend to be silicon based. Ibanez Tube Screamer? Silicon. Boss pedals? Silicon. The mojo that comes from using my Scully germanium preamps is a little dark, lots of soul, and a drive that's pleasing but never sharp - however, hearing the preamps in my console that have that clarity and increased headroom, even when it runs hot - and when it gets pushed, it's more of a harsh, Iggy and the Stooges 'Raw Power' zip and gain - (thanks in part to the silicon).

Outside of the distortion (which I mentioned just to amplify the character of each), and keeping in mind that the circuit designed *around* a resistor makes as much of a change as the transistor itself, because of the nature of each, silicon designs tend to have a higher, yet stiff, headroom. Silicon transistors tend to be more linear in more conditions and cover all the audio frequencies nicely at even high levels. Germanium, when levels get hot, have a bit of a 'soft clip' characteristic - a bit of a 'squeeze' at first before the audible bite on top.

Without Silicon, we couldn't have built computers stable and reliable enough. Germanium would have freaked out after leaving such sensitive motherboards on all the time and leaving artifacts that don't cut it. We couldn't have gone into space - especially with all the temperature fluctuations that occur from takeoff to landing. Yet, the fun part of *audio* is the surprise - sometimes it's the funk and the squeeze - sometimes it's the clarity - sometimes the noise floor and sometimes the tops of the waveforms.

Germanium transistors are dying out, though. A few are being produced - but their novel character stays around for the raunchy guitarists and Al Green vocal preamp lovers who want to paint with the dynamic, fickle mistress of a Germanium transistor or diode circuit. The Gibson remake of the Fuzz Tone, however, is only as limited of an edition as their source of the NOS (new old stock) germanium transistors lasts. Then we'll all have to resort to gutting old radios and hoping the part numbers will work.

Silicon has, however, shown that clarity can be soul in a way that changed how we hear music forever.

Paint with colors forever!

-Marshall 'Germanium Fever' Terry


Suggestions Welcome!

 There are endless good reasons to band together here as EARS. It can be whatever we want it to be. If you have any ideas for the EARdrum, our website, or future meetings, please email us. We still have a lot of great meeting plans lining up, some website plans, and a lot of good fresh energy and hopes for a more vibrant, participatory EARS, so of course we're very interested in your input on everything EARS. Please! :) - KJH
Our Archives are again up to date. Check out the website for that and more EARS info. Also, I'd like to complete our files with the pre-2001 EARdrums. By my calculations we're missing the first 16 years! (Now minus that first one.) I know Timothy Powell has a year or so on his Metro-Mobile website but that still leaves a lot missing. If you happen to have your old paper copies or files you could get to me, I would love to get them online for posterity. Let me know. - KJH

Notes about our Website, and our Logo

We've noticed that the website doesn't auto update in some web browsers. If you're looking for something (such as the latest EARdrum) and it looks like old info, try reloading the page. Also, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that it's time for a bit of updating. We think EARS deserves a bit of a makeover and can't help but wonder who among us might actually double as a professional designer but with the necessary sensitivity to our audio world. Drop us a note if you'd like to consider helping us out with a new look for the website, logo, etc. -KJH


Thanks to all who support EARS through paying their dues. Just as a reminder, they're due yearly by the October meeting and this is a prerequisite for voting and joining us for the Holiday Party and BBQ in August (and occasionally things like the Grammy Party), but they're always welcome. Dues checks (or cash, but no credit cards) for $25.00 can be made out to EARS and given to any of our officers or sent to the following address:

Engineering and Recording Society of Chicago, C/O Eric Roth, Treasurer, PO Box 98, Highland Park, IL 60035-0098 - KJH


A (few) (more) word(s) from the Prez...

or “Heroes, Mentors, and Friends”
As usual, though Cwiak said all that needs to be said in the recap, I can't help but throw in a little of my own personal thanks to the great Manny Sanchez's and his team at I.V. Lab Studios. We had a great time at your wonderful facility and truly hope to see you all around. 

I also really want to offer EARS Cheers to Mark Rubel and Don Bell for their contributions. 

Quite recently Timothy Powell asked me to add Don to the mailing list and since then we've had some nice exchanges. He seems to be reading the EARDrum and chomping at the bit to add his two cents, so of course knowing that he'd worked at Ardent I had to see if he had anything to say about Jim Dickinson. Thanks, Don. I wish I'd met Jim and had a chance to know him, but the fact that I still have opportunity to get to know you is a great comfort. 

Vacationing in Kauai, I woke to a message from a friend who'd seen a picture of me with Les and wanted to express her condolences. She perhaps didn't know that I only met him briefly, but she perhaps also didn't quite appreciate what an amazing moment it was for me to meet him in person and find him, as Mark described, "so filled with enthusiasm, curiosity, humor, wonder and intelligence- and to find that one’s idol is a generous, outgoing and lovable person". And not being a musician or engineer, she probably hadn't a clue what direct impact he's had on my life, or for that matter, how much he impacted the world we live in. But she knew of him nonetheless. She may not have known exactly what he'd done with his life or the implications of it, but not having had her head in the sand all her life, she couldn't help but catch a sense of the fact that this was no ordinary man. In time she'll know. Even if I don't find myself filling her in, I have a feeling the flood gates are going to soon open for the waves of stories about what this man did with his life, and about what kind of man he was through it all. I suspect that Les' nature probably kept the lid on too much hype while he was still with us and now the full story will finally be told. 

El Presidente and the Wizard of Waukesha

I can't really call Les Paul or Jim Dickinson friends, I only just barely met Les, but what they did for music not only helped teach me through songs about friendship, but formed the soundtrack for those moments with friends that will always come quickly to mind. I can't really call them mentors either, except as I study their work and the way they lived their lives, but they certainly qualify as the mentors of some of my mentors and so through them they live on, even beyond the recorded music. And what's a hero anyway? I feel like I'm surrounded by heroes. A step into this world of music and audio is a step into rooms full of heroes. Mark Rubel is a hero. Every time we talk or write I feel encouraged or challenged to greater things, and along with the challenge is knowledge that I've got such a friend at my side. Of course, I knew just who to call when I heard about Les. Don Bell is a hero. A simple kind word, taking an interest in this newsletter we just barely pull together and offering to contribute. Danny Leake is a hero, always there for us on EARS issues and offering help and advice on getting a big record project done and done right. My team here at EARS' HQ: V.P. Michael Kolar, Secretary Chris Cwiak, even Treasurer Eric Roth, and lately Marshall Terry and Stu Kaletsch have been heroes in helping make this thing happen. Gary Khan and Mary Mazurek-Khan are heroes in that they believed in and supported me when I got involved in EARS and in that they eventually forgave and understood some difficult choices that had to be made along the way, continuing to encourage and support what we're doing. The EARS Steering Committee is a collection of heroes who each nurtured this thing along in their own ways over the years. Blaise Barton, Johnny K, Manny Sanchez, Dan Scalpone, Benjie Hughes, Matt Newport, and all who've hosted meetings have been heroes. Sam Rodgers is a hero for manning the grill tomorrow night (tonight?), but of course he and all venders of cool gear are always heroes! :) Speaking of gear, our own Matt Lesko of Upstate Audio is pleased to finally be in production of his phenomenal Sonic Lens preamp. Watch for a review in Mix! Wes Dooley became my hero when his R84 mics made such a difference on my recent album project, nicknamed by one of our members my "In the Box Masterpiece". :) And just today I found a hero in a fellow member who simply owned up to a false accusation. Frankly speaking, anyone making a go of it in the music, audio, or recording business is probably worthy of being called a hero. 

Manny Sanchez and our Dear Leader

And these are all local heroes we're talking about. (It happens that my favorite movie is called "Local Hero", by the way. It's not the most artsy, intellectual, respectably hip movie out there. In fact I'd bet most people would be quickly turned off by it's very dated in the '80s opening scenes, but by the end there's something about it that touches me like none of my other very respectably cool "films" on my top lists.) These are the people you meet when you show up to EARS meetings. Give it time and some of them just might become friends. Invest a little or simply humble yourself and you might find yourself in a mentoring situation. 

And the beauty of our craft is this... it's all local! If Jim Dickinson's or Les Paul's recorded work, or gear, or stories of techniques, styles, etc. aren't at-your-fingertips enough for you, then just look at those they've influenced. They're all around us, on records, in online forums, in magazines, and right here at EARS. All you need is eyes to see and, more importantly, ears to hear... the heroes, mentors and friends right around you. 

I'll look forward to seeing a bunch of you at the BBQ tonight, where we can talk (and listen) more. 

At your service,
Kerry J Haps



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