Telarc International Embraces DSD Multitrack Recording
Telarc First to Record With 32 Track Sonoma
Telarc International, innovators in technologies that push the quality limits for music recording, are again in the forefront with DSD multitrack recording. With a long track record of innovation, Telarc was first to record with digital audio technology in the late 70's on Tom Stockham's Soundstream 'computer tape' based digital recorder. Then, in the early 80's, Telarc was one of the first American record labels to fully embrace the Compact Disc. The major labels followed them by at least a year.
When SA-CD was announced, again Telarc jumped on the new technology. During those days in the late 90's, recording to DSD was difficult and dangerous. Never-the-less, Telarc recorded the majority of their new releases in the DSD format, and they led the push for commercial Multichannel SA-CD releases.
Recently, Telarc was brave enough to use the first 32 Channel Sonoma DSD recorder / editor on a John Pizzarelli recording with a big band... and this wasn't just any big band, it was the John Clayton / Jeff Hamilton Jazz Orchestra!! Pictured above from left to right is John Pizzarelli, Jeff Hamilton, Rob Friedrich, and Buckie Pizzarelli. Below, John Clayton conducts the Clayton / Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
The outcome of all this effort is an outstanding recording by Telarc's Rob Friedrich, who was for the most part, oblivious to our anxiety about trying out a new DSD recording beast on such an important session. To be quite honest, all was not perfect. During our tests prior to the session, we found that we could reliably record 32 tracks to a Lacie Bigger Disk using IEEE1394A. The new Lacie drive we purchased for the session did not behave at all like the one we tested, so, while we could still record 32 tracks, disk performance was a bit on the edge. Now that we know this is the case, we will use a raid array for recordings over 24 tracks on a single Sonoma. Aside from that glitch, all went very well. The large studio at O'Henry where the recording took place features a 'hot-rod' API console which, combined with the Meitner DSD converters on the front end of the Sonoma, produced a stunning multitrack master. The Sonoma's ability to punch in and out like a traditional multitrack recorder gave producer Bob Woods additional options for dealing with fixes and overdubs.
Other Recent Telarc Sonoma Multitrack Recordings
Hiromi Session at Blackbird Studios
Hiromi's amazing new SA-CD was recorded to the Sonoma-24 at Blackbird Studios in Nashville by Michael Bishop. Michael and Hiromi are pictured here editing the multitrack DSD recording during the tracking sessions in Blackbird's studio D. A stickler for quality, Michael Bishop kept the converters and Mic Preamps in the studio close to the musicians, bypassing the console, and going straight into the Sonoma 24 track DSD recorder via ST Optical cable.
When it was time to mix, Michael Bishop went back to Blackbird and mixed on the fully discrete Neve 8078 in Studio A. A single Sonoma-24 was used to both playback the multitrack and record the master mix without sacrificing any of the 24 tracks playing the the multitrack. This is because the Sonoma can both play and record at the same time on all tracks - thus eliminating the need for a separate DSD master recorder. It would be hard to imagine a more perfect situation for a DSD multitrack production. Blackbird offers the best of the best where sonics are concerned.
The studio is a virtual playground for the engineer who loves to work with vintage analog signal processors, and Blackbird's microphone collection is second to none with more than 25 Telefunken 251's (with the original German AC701 tubes) and more than 25 Neumann U47's (with the beautiful black VF14 tubes). Blackbird's chief tech, Arthur 'Midget" Sloatman wired Studio A's Neve with solid silver interconnect cable for the master busses. If you are curious about what kind of sonic quality improvement is possible with DSD recording, this new Hiromi SA-CD is a very good example.
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet at O'Henry Studios, Burbank, Ca.
Pictured in the foreground, front and center, is Bob Woods, producer of the most recent LAGQ session recorded to the Sonoma-24 DSD recorder by Telarc Engineer Robert Friedrich. On the couch, you can actually see the LAGQ - a bit fuzzy - but raring to go in and record another song. (Clearly, from the smile on Mr. Woods face, he must know that this one will win another Grammy.) This was another session where most of the mic preamps were located in the studio near the musicians with short cables to the converters.
Tierney Sutton Live at Birdland
Telarc Producer Elaine Martone and Engineer Rob Friedrich recently recorded Tierney Sutton at Birdland in New York. The album was recorded live with a select audience to the Sonoma-24 through a Millennia mixer. Hidden away behind the stage, in a make shift dressing room converted into a control room barely large enough to house Rob and his console (let alone me and my Sonoma) was the entire Telarc recording crew. Acoustic treatment was unnecessary as human bodies adequately prevented any standing waves. This even without any standing room!!
All kidding aside, the recording is superb. A tribute to the talent of the Martone / Friedrich production team. Furthermore, they were brave enough to record this live show to the Sonoma-24 without any back-up recorder!