Los Angeles, California - The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music has a new high-end recording studio, complete with a 1400 square-foot live rom and a new 72 channel SSL Duality δelta hybrid console. The facility, located in the school’s new Mo & Evelyn Ostin Music Center, is available to all of the school's faculty and students to produce creative and academic projects.
Vanessa Parr, formerly of The Village recording studio, recently joined the school as Studio Recording Engineer: "The range of experience of those who come into the studio varies quite a bit, from those who are very studio-savvy to those who have never been in a recording facility before. I help out as necessary - just recording, or giving guidance on how to work in a studio, or production advice.”
Parr is a newcomer to the Duality console, but quickly got up to speed. "I found the Duality pretty easy to navigate once I leaned a few key functions; SSL has been great about offering me support whenever I have questions,” she said. "I really appreciate the dual functionality of it. It's an analogue desk but it's also a DAW controller - I love being able to flip over and see all my Pro Tools faders."
The dual SuperAnalogueTM and VHD (Variable Harmonic Drive) pre-amps on each channel are also a useful feature, given the wide variety of material and instruments that come into the studio. "My background is mostly rock and roll," says Parr. "So once we got the first rock group in I gave it a go... It was awesome. I've been throwing it into the mix a lot more since then."
The new recording studio has been thoroughly booked since it opened in April. “Use of the studio is free to students and faculty - they just need to apply to the Recording Committee with details of the project," said Luis F. Henao, Director of Music and Instructional Technology at the school, and Director of the Recording Studios.
“Because we have three academic departments—Music, Ethnomusicology, and Musicology—the variety of projects is huge,” said Henao. “We have faculty and students who focus on western classical music, some on very contemporary and experimental music, and others on popular, folk, or electronic music. We have expert musicians from a broad range of musical traditions, from different historical periods and geographical locations. For example, we have an early music ensemble, and ensembles specializing in music from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.”
Copyright to anything produced in the studio is not held by UCLA - it belongs to the originators. This means that productions can be 'commercialised' where it is appropriate or desirable. "This is important for our faculty," says Henao. "We have many experienced, accomplished musicians at the school that already record a lot. For musicians, playing and recording is not only part of their artistic work, but also part of their research process.”
It's also important that the students experience working in a professional recording studio, but with the opportunity to learn and ask questions. "Our classical musicians are amazing," says Henao. "...Some of the top musicians in the country. They might have experience in recording, but here they really get the time to experiment and try different things. It's important that they can find out what the full range of possibilities are."
"Many of the students have never seen a large format console before," adds Parr "...Or have not used many of the microphones we have here. They often have a lot of questions, and it's great for them to get into a real studio and see how it works."
The SSL Duality δelta is an integral part of that experience and a necessity when it comes to doing justice to the talent that will be relying on it in the years to come. "It's a really functional, comfortable console," says Parr. "Given a few moments just to orient myself I felt like I could do most things."
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