Monday, April 29, 2013

Inspiration Begins Here - It all started with the Horizon

By Mike Terry
There is something special about a great, large diaphragm microphone that is hard to beat; when you start lining up your favorites, it becomes hard to live without certain ones. They hold up and deliver exactly where you expect, and when the time to mix arrives those tracks always sit just as intended.

Sure, there are many standout microphones; every engineer has a favorite preferred line-up., But what is the key element that makes up a truly great large diaphragm microphone?
Vintage U67

One specific characteristic responsible for separating good mic’s from great mic’s is their ability to produce depth.  Capturing the source and maintaining the 3 dimensional field instantly gives a recording a bigger, fuller sound allowing the listener instant access to being mesmerized by this phenomenon. The classic Neumann, AKG, and Elam mics are well known for this quality and it is this reason they are so desirable.

U67 insides
I first discovered the Neumann U67 after using and understanding the characteristics of several other microphones such as: the U87, the 414, M49, and C-12’s. The first few listens of the 67 indicated it was a very nice microphone and was going to make a nice addition


Horizon in swivel mount
After listening back to tracks recorded with the U67, I discovered how wonderful this mic really was.  Electric guitar tracks were first to get my attention, then drum overheads; even a tambourine that was recorded last minute was able to sit so perfectly in the mix it was uncanny. This mic allowed the character of the instrument to be represented without making everything sound like it was recorded with the same mic. It wasn't long before the U67 became my favorite mic. I could use it nearly everywhere and feel confident that I would get excellent results, even in the densest mixes.

Was this the perfect mic for all applications? In a way, yes. Once basic tracks are complete, recording layers of overdubs tend to go pretty quick. The band gets excited as they hear their song come together. The line to overdub gets longer, guitar’s are layered, tambourine’s over the chorus, shaker’s in the verses, high strung acoustic guitar in the bridge, layers of back ground vocals, it goes on and on.
Production Prototype #1 Pre-Horizon name

Running to the mic closet in search of the perfect mic, a different mic, is out of the question. The artist is waiting and ready to go. The performance is what matters now, and with the right mic you can record all of these parts quickly and with confidence.  The U 67 was this mic for me when Brian and I began developing the first Lauten microphone; it seemed the perfect benchmark to reach.

Testing Lauten prototypes circa. 2004

If this new microphone can produce great depth, then all else will follow. We can swap out components and A/B a variety of components until we achieve the frequency characteristic we’re looking for. But, if the depth isn’t there, then we don’t have a mic. We found a way to achieve this kind of 3-dimensional depth in the Lauten Horizon microphone and now use that practice to achieve depth in all Lauten microphones.

We didn’t need to make it sound like a U67. In fact to this day, I don’t think we ever made a direct comparison, but the commonality is they both produce incredible depth and capture the sounds that we like to hear.



The shape of the Horizon was a critical design decision.  Being an all-purpose mic required it to fit into difficult positions, such as a full drum kit, while remaining free from rogue drum sticks. Using it with the swivel mount allows it to fit easily into these places.  Micing a snare drum is no trouble at all and usually a favorite for most owners of the Horizon. The shock mount is useful when space is not an issue - recording vocals for instance.

Horizon's in production
The close fitting grill helps to eliminate nearby reflections from directly entering the capsule. This also allows the capsule to be in incredibly close proximity to its source.

It is oftentimes difficult to maintain depth, tone and punch after many layers of overdubs. More added can sometimes collapse all that you have worked towards. Opening up the 3-dimensional sonic landscape is the key to giving your tracks the breathing room that they need.

The Horizon, along with the rest of the Lauten Microphone line were inspired by great microphones from time’s past. The intention has always been to build an original, modern microphone that will help others to record from their own inspiration.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Biggest Mixing Contest of ALL TIME



Puremix.net has teamed up Sweetwater and Dangerous Music to bring you the biggest mixing contest of all time (that we know of).

The 16 'best mix' winners will be awarded prizes, in order of merit, from a fantastic list of
Win one of these!
products (click link below for complete details) including one of our very own Lauten Audio Atlantis FC-387 or Torch ST-221s microphones courtesy of Audio Plus Services. Isn't that wonderful?


The competition started April 16th 2013, the deadline for mix submissions being June 1st 2013. All entries will be listened to by the pureMix.net team and the 16 winners will be picked by Fab Dupont on a basis of mixing skills, tone crafting, use of space, taste and creativity. All winners will be announced on stage at Sweetwater's GearFest 2013 on June 21st, on this page and via email.

Register here to get access to the stems, contest instructions and a free video of the recording session of the song. Have fun.


For complete details visit this link http://www.puremix.net/gearfestmixingcontest/ 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

LAUTEN AUDIO PARTNERS WITH INTERNATIONAL CONSULTING & MARKETING GmbH


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


LAUTEN AUDIO PARTNERS WITH INTERNATIONAL CONSULTING & MARKETING GmbH
Germany-based ICM will distribute Lauten Audio microphones in Germany and beyond

Lauten Audio Microphones - Full-line
San Jose, CA, April 1st, 2013 Lauten Audio, a high-end microphone maker, has announced a new distribution agreement with Germany-based International Consulting & Marketing GmbH (ICM). ICM will serve as the sole distributor in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and 10 other European countries, for the California-based company’s professional microphone line, including their newly released Atlantis FC-387 multi-voicing condenser studio microphone. The entire Lauten Audio microphone line will be on display at the 2013 Prolight + Sound Musikmesse convention in Frankfurt, Germany in the ICM booth Hall-A 5.1 E47.

“We had read about Lauten Audio microphones at various times in the past and after a business friend contacted us to recommend and suggest that I consider distribution of Lauten Audio, we connected with Brian,” says Siegfried Acker, Managing Director at ICM. “We then talked and I was quite pleased and impressed by Brian’s profound knowledge of the international professional audio market.  Brian and I were immediately in sync about our ideas and strategies to distribute Lauten Audio microphones in Europe.”

“We are very excited that ICM will be distributing for Lauten Audio in Germany as well as other European countries,” says Brian Loudenslager, founder of Lauten Audio. “Siegfried and the team at ICM are a well-established and mature company and have a ton of experience in the markets they serve. Our vision and expectations are very much in-line and we look forward to a new awakening for Lauten Audio in Germany and beyond.”

The Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound convention is held April 10-13, 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany, visit:


About Lauten Audio:
First hitting the street in 2006, Lauten Audio microphones have carved a niche for recordists seeking professional microphones with an original and modern sound. Developed in conjunction with Grammy-nominated Producer and Engineer, Fab Dupont, the company recently released the Atlantis FC-387 multi-voicing studio microphone. The Atlantis is arguably the most talked about and unique new vocal microphone in years. Their “Oceanus” and “Torch” microphones made the “Best of” list of upper-class microphones by the Germany-based ‘Professional Audio Musik & Equipment’ magazine. All of Lauten Audio’s microphones have garnered exceptional reviews from both end-users and magazines around the world. Lauten Audio is located in San Jose, CA. For more information on Lauten Audio and its products please visit www.lautenaudio.com


About International Consulting & Marketing GmbH:
ICM specializes in a wide spectrum of tailor-made services for manufacturers in the audio post production, broadcast, music-recording, mastering & remastering, acoustical treatment, live sound and musical instruments including handling of complete export sales activities, selection of potential distribution partners, acquisition of new customers and distribution partners, and market analysis. From their central European warehouse, ICM provides full warehousing and shipping services. ICM operates from facilities located in Albstadt, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany – in the heart of the Swabian Alb. For more information visit www.icm-consult.com 





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Press relations contact:
Paul de Benedictis
650-303-2565


Friday, March 29, 2013

RME Sessions @ AIR Studios

AIR Studios London - RME Sessions with Lauten Audio

The RME Sessions rewards one lucky unsigned band with a day of studio time at AIR Studios in London along with producer Tony Newton to record a song. This past November, Nick and the Sun Machine came to the studio and recorded their song "Mountain".

Lauten Audio microphones were selected to be used on a majority of the sources that day.

On Lead Vocals was a Lauten Atlantis FC-387, after auditioning the different voicing options they settled on the Neutral setting.

To capture the Acoustic Guitar, the Horizon was chosen. A pair of Horizons were also used as drum overheads.

Check out the Atlantis listening over the drummer's shoulder.


Watch the video for "Mountain"

A behind the scenes look the both the recording and contest:


For more pictures from the RME Sessions at AIR Studios click here.

Want to learn more about Lauten Audio microphones, head over to http://www.lautenaudio.com

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Lauten Audio Atlantis Comparison Video

It's always difficult to describe sounds with words. So instead of always trying to talk about how great the Atlantis sounds, we made a video that clearly demonstrates how it stacks up compared to a pair of classic studio microphone designs that have been used on countless hit records for the last 60+ years.


After hearing how's these three compare sonically, lets check out their prices :
Vintage Neumann U47 - upwards of $15,000
Vintage 251 variations - over $6,000
Lauten Audio Atlantis - just $1,499

The Atlantis is Lauten Audio's most versatile mic, it not only features the standard 3 polar patterns (Cardioid, Omni, and Figure-8) and a +10dB/0/-10dB gain switch, but it also has 3 unique voicing options: Neutral, Forward, and Gentle. At the flick of a switch you can change the tonal character of the mic to best compliment your source; making the Atlantis a great go-to mic for almost every application. For more information about the Atlantis, visit Lauten Audio at http://www.lautenaudio.com

Listen to these clips on Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/lautenaudio/sets/atlantis-comparison-male-pop-vocal

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mike Terry - The Sound City Years Interview


Picture of Mike "MT" Terry Producer, Engineer Mixer
Mike "MT" Terry
Dave Grohl just released Sound City, a fantastic film documenting the history of the famed Los Angeles recording studio and its incredible Neve console (which Dave Grohl purchased when Sound City Studios closed in 2011). Mike Terry (Eagles, Foo Fighters, Jessica Simpson), who helped design Lauten Audio's Horizon, Oceanus, Clarion and Torch microphones, worked his way from the ground up at Sound City early in his career. So we decided to ask him some questions about his time there and the impact it has had on the rest of his career. 

When did you work at Sound City?
I started in February 1998 as a runner, and then began assisting in the spring of that same year. I left near the end of 2002.

How did you get the gig?
I was a runner at the Village Studios for nearly a year. One of the Village assistant engineers had a two-day engineering gig at Sound City in Studio A. He knew that I wanted to move up and was ready, but there wasn't room for me at the Village; he told me how great Sound City was and that it was right up my alley.

I called Sound City to ask around, and, of course they didn't have an opening right then, but to send a resume. I did and then kind of forgot about it. I picked up a short internship at Grand Master Studios and did a bit of moon lighting there while I continued working at the Village. A couple months later Shivaun, the manager at Sound City, called me in for an interview. It went well, she offered me the job and I accepted.

How many hours a week did you work; we hear runners and assistants rarely slept. Is this true?
(laughs) Quite a few hours indeed. I became a full time assistant engineer within a few months after starting and the hours really kicked in then. There was one particularly good week, thanks to a producer by the name of Matt Hyde. I logged 119 hours. Typically it was only 80-90 hours per week - not too bad. Most sessions would start between 10am and noon. I'd get there about an hour early to prepare and get tube gear warmed up. Sessions were only supposed to go 12 hours, but many pushed well beyond that. Shivaun was usually a softy when it came to charging overtime so it became the norm and was easy for clients to get away with it.

My rule of thumb was, if I didn’t leave for home by 5:15 in the morning, I would sleep on the couch in the studio. The morning rush hour was so bad after 5:15 that it would take too long to get home - I learned my lesson when I fell asleep sitting in traffic one morning. Fortunately, we were at a standstill, my foot slid off the brake and I woke just before bumping the car in front of me.

Matt Hyde’s projects were often on a tight schedule so we put in a lot of hours together and drank a lot of coffee. One night... actually morning around 5am we were calling it a day and he said, "alright" looking down at his watch "I think we should be back by 10, nah better do 9am." At that point, I decided to just sleep on the couch in the studio. Then he looked up and said "I guess that doesn't give us much time to sleep, wanna just go play golf?"

picture of Mike Terry in Sound City, Studio A circa 1999
Mike in Sound City's Studio A circa 1999

Do you remember the strangest errand either you or someone else had to run?
When Krispy Kreme Donuts came to LA, everyone went berserk for them. One opened not too far from the studio. We sent a runner to get a dozen hot glazed donuts on opening day. He came back over two hours later. Everyone was giving him a hard time for taking so long. It turned out that there was a line all the way down the road and around the block forcing him to wait the whole time. Apparently there was even a band set up out front to keep everyone entertained. To say the least, the donuts were gone within moments of his return, meaning only one thing. (chuckles) Go for one more dozen please. Wait, better make it two!

Assistants’ duties these days are much different from back then, but are there things that you learned to do at Sound City that you ask your assistants to do today?
I think more than anything, I want them to stick around, stay quiet and be alert to what is happening in the session. If I have to go looking for the assistant to help move some mics, or change a patch, whatever, I’m going to do it myself. If that continues, then it’s time for a new assistant. Aside from that, it’s nice to keep the place tidy with mic cables organized and easy to reach. Leaving pencils, Sharpies and console tape in all of the places where they can be used is also good practice. Documentation is expected - don’t wait to be asked to do it. If someone has to ask, it’s probably too late.

The Neve in Studio A at Sound City Studios
The Neve in Studio A at Sound City Studios circa 1999

What do you think separated you from the others assistants?
A few months after I came to Sound City, Sylvia Massy decided to install Flying Faders on her Neve 8038 that was in Studio B. I knew how to operate them, I knew how the console worked, and I figured out where everything was on the patch bay. The other runners didn't know any of that. So when an assisting slot came up for grabs, it went to me. After that it was a matter of building trust with the clients and building the relationships that helped move me up.

When I was assisting, I always felt that I should try to work in as many rooms as possible, and whenever an opportunity would come up to fill in someplace new, I would jump on it. By the time I started first engineering, I was really comfortable working in many different rooms and with a variety of consoles, gear, and mics. I learned not to rely on any one specific room or particular piece of gear, though I certainly did find my favorites.

Once you moved up at Sound city, was there any advice you gave to the runner that came in behind you?
Always work the night shift. That way you could have a chance to get into a session. After dinner, most sessions go into a little bit of a slow-down and those on the inside are more willing to let those on the outside come in for a bit.
Recording Drums in Studio A at Sound City
Recording Drums in Studio A's live room at Sound City circa 1999

Who did you work for there that made the biggest impact on you and in what way?
Frank Black and the Catholics would cut live to two-track records there. I assisted on the album "Dog in the Sand." To see these guys lay down a record completely live was incredible. After getting used to the overdub process that takes weeks on end, this raw approach was both refreshing and inspiring. Charles  (Frank Black) would come in every day during the sessions with a new song that he wrote the night before after leaving the studio, and we would record it. That's serious dedication to the craft, listening to the muse when it speaks and doing the work that needs to be done when it’s called for. That type of thing made a big impression on me.

Some of these guys, the great ones anyway, work really hard at what they do. Often times the majority of their work is done in their own private environments. The work that is done in the studio is really just the tip of the ice berg.

I've always been impressed with the prolific as it's usually a sign of dedicated and unrelenting work mixed with incredible talent. Dave Grohl is one of them. Not only is he a cool genuine dude, he's really good at playing instruments, writing songs, telling stories - he's even a pretty decent ping pong player. He may say different, but I know for a fact that he puts in the time and works incredibly hard at what he does. Seeing these guys work so hard was really encouraging and I tried to do the same on my end.
Mike commanding Sound City's Neve and tape machine

Can you tell us which producers and/or engineers in your early years taught you the most?
There are several. Studio A was and has always been known as a great drum room. The majority of work done there at the time was drum recording. Then the project would leave for another studio to do their overdubs. Studio A was always booked, making it hard to get more than two weeks at a time. Because of that, I had the opportunity to be on sessions with so many great drummers and engineers that knew how to record them. Studio A for me was basically boot camp for drum recording. We recorded drums in just about every type of configuration imaginable.

I worked on several records with Matt Hyde. He came in mostly to get his drum tracks, two to three weeks at a time. One summer, maybe 1999, he had Studio A booked out for three months. I think we did two or three records during that stretch. It was with Matt that I learned and understood drum recording. He was willing to experiment as much as possible, try new mics and micing positions, that sort of thing.

Matt was really keyed into the importance of drum tuning and would always have Gersh from Drum Fetish keep them in tune. Gersh would tweak the snares and toms between takes, and do whatever was needed to keep the drums sounding consistent from one take to the next. Both Matt and Gersh were super cool about showing me what they were doing and how to do it. Often times a quarter turn on the lug of the snare, where the stick crosses the rim, does the trick.

Joe Barresi was also a regular. My god, that guy is the one who sets the bar for engineering in my book. Gain structure and getting the phase correct are the bare essentials I learned from Joe.

Start by getting the kick, snare and overheads in phase, use the phase button and move the mics around until they all sit properly. Then, add in the rest of the mics one at a time, checking the phase against the kick, snare and overheads; if it doesn't fit, then go move the mic until it does fit.

View from behind the drumset in Studio A at Sound City
View from behind the drumset in Studio A at Sound City circa 1999
Same principle applies to micing guitar amps. Start with one mic (I use a Horizon to start), then add in others, checking the phase against the first. EQ for shape and flavor if you feel like it; otherwise, leave it alone. Drive it into a compressor if you feel the need, but remember to keep checking the phase to make sure everything is still sitting well.

Around 2001 Ross Robinson and Mike Fraser (Fraze) started coming in - first to record a band called Amen and then we did a Slipknot record. Nothing could have prepared me for the first session, I mean nothing! Ross produced Amen's first record a couple years prior. For their second record, they were looking to get an AC/DC type of drum sound.

Fraze did a lot of work with AC/DC and was the natural choice as engineer. Fraze and I showed up on the first day to get set up. We had never met before but hit it off immediately. We did a beautiful job with the drum setup in Studio A. When Ross came in a little later with the band, they were really confused as to why we would set the drums up in the big room. Ross began explaining that he needed everyone in the same room, all right up on top of each other in this big open room. He also added that we better tape the mics down or do whatever we needed to keep them in place, because Casey, the singer, would be jumping all over the drums during recording. Later that night, I found everything Ross said to be absolutely true.

By dinner time we had the drums setup in a 12 foot by 12 foot back room with 8 foot ceilings. It was basically an old office that we would typically use for guitar amps, allowing us to keep them isolated from the big drum room.

We had a reel of GP 9 loaded on the Studer 800. Ross was in the small room with the band and said to roll. We didn't know that he was going to be in the room during the recording. My experience up to that point was that the producer is always in the control room with us. We pressed record, and let the tape roll. They did three takes back to back; we never stopped the tape. Through the mics we could hear them putting their instruments down and leaving the room. Thirty seconds later Ross ran into the control room screaming for a razor blade. I pointed to the top of the Studer 800 and before I was up from my chair, he was at the tape machine rewinding to the middle of the reel - my guess was somewhere in the second take. He hit play, grabbed a grease pencil, dropped the gate and marked the tape as it passed by. Hitting fast forward, he went towards the end of the reel, played it again, and made another mark. I swear, without even double checking his marks, he had the tape on the cutting block with the razor blade slicing through, then manically pulled from the supply side until he found his first mark, another cut without listening, then he taped the two ends together.

He ultimately spliced the end of the third take to the end of the second take. He rewound and played from the beginning of the song and through the edit to the end. Not only was it a perfect edit but it also became the master take.

I learned to edit tape working with those two guys. The three of us worked together for the next few years. When Sound City wasn't available for one of the projects, Ross found a studio on the boardwalk in Venice Beach. I took a leave from Sound City to do that one. Both Ross and I lived in Venice and it was pretty great to have a studio right there. Fraze lived in Vancouver so he would stay in a hotel in the same area. After a while, we didn't want to go anywhere else, so I had to leave Sound City for good.

The Neve in Studio A at Sound City Studios
The Neve in Studio A at Sound City Studios circa 1999
Was there something besides the room and board that made Sound City such a mecca for recording great albums?
The Neve in Studio A and the tracking room was the real draw. Studio B became quite popular while I was there also because both rooms were regularly booked. There were the regulars, some of whom I mentioned earlier, who became quite comfortable there. I think it was a place that didn't look like much aesthetically speaking as it was pretty worn out, but once you did a project there, it became clear. It sounded good, it was affordable, the staff was nice, and if you were in the know, the Friday afternoon BBQs became quite popular too!

Interviewed on 2/14/2013 by Ben Lindell and Brian Loudenslager. Photos courtesy of Mike Terry.

For more information about Lauten Audio visit http://www.lautenaudio.com

For more information about Mike Terry visit http://www.miketerrysound.com