Fix It In The Mic: Recording the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra

This episode of Fix It In The Mic dives deep into the world of large scale jazz big band recording. Composer/conductor Alan Chan and recording engineer Greg Curtis give a detailed overview of the session with the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra at The Bridge Recording in Glendale, CA. In the video, Greg and Alan talk about their personal backgrounds, the goals and sonic vision for the recording, the technical setup including microphone and preamp choices, and their conclusions.

Join us at the console for a live demonstration of some of the isolated tracks from the session as Greg and Alan run us through the song “Rancho Calaveras”. You will have the chance to hear the AEA R88 stereo ribbon microphone as a room mic capturing the entire ensemble, as well as the AEA R44C in comparison to a Neumann U47 on upright bass.

Alan Chan’s genre-shaking works can be heard in an array of venues serving Classical (Taiwan National Concert Hall), experimental (the Stone, NYC) and jazz (Vitello’s, Studio City, CA). He is the winner of 2011 ArtEZ Jazz Composition Contest in the Netherlands, as well as awards from New Music USA and Percussive Arts Society. Besides his Los Angeles-based 17-piece Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra (ACJO), his works have been performed by La Jolla Symphony, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Hexnut (Amsterdam) and Brussels Jazz Orchestra, among others. ACJO’s “Rancho Calaveras” EP will be released by his own Crown Heights Audio Network label, with a full album coming up in early 2014.

Greg Curtis is a recording engineer, musician, and studio owner. Greg began building speakers of his own design in high school, and at that time he started playing trumpet professionally in local swing bands and orchestras. As a music performance undergrad in college, Greg augmented his formal music training by working as a FOH engineer at notorious punk rock clubs in Milwaukee, WI. Then it was on to North Texas to earn his Masters degree in Music Performance. After moving to L.A. in 2000, he began to record film scores at the great studios of Los Angeles. Seeing a need for a specific type of studio, Greg, along with his wife, opened The Bridge Recording in 2010, an entirely new kind of recording studio in Los Angeles. This studio fits neatly into the size and market dominated by some of the most legendary studios ever built, but it is radically different acoustically and technically. It has the lush sound of a large scoring stage in a much more efficient size. Here you will find the technical capability to operate at the highest level of Hollywood post-production workflow alongside a legendary analog console and recording gear. Since opening in 2010, The Bridge Recording has recorded over 70 feature films, over 200 TV episodes, along with hundreds of other projects.

Ribbon Recap
What is the Blumlein Technique?
Tricks of the Trade
Studio Secrets Unveiled: The R88 Stereo Microphone
Tricks of the Trade
What is the Big Ribbon Sound?