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November 2014
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Senseless Ramblings
Music, Shows And Life
Loving music and the condition of being human.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2014 Show Report  To say the past month-ish has been busy here at Enjoy the Music.com would be an understatement. First up was the New York Audio Show in truly beautiful Brooklyn. Then of course our October Review Magazine followed by our live netcast streaming show coverage of the enormous and highly popular Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) in Denver. After RMAF, yours truly literally hitched a ride with Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds on Sunday at 6pm with our TV studio in another vehicle. Arriving in Salina, Kansas, Sunday night and then passing out from the workload, on Monday it was time to clean out hundreds of master tapes within the Blue Heaven Studios to setup our live production TV studio to netcast / live stream the Blues Masters at the Crossroads concert Friday and Saturday. Then on Sunday it was flying home to master all the audio and video captured during Denver's RMAF and Salina's Blues Masters at the Crossroads plus post photos, more articles, etc. Then releasing the November Review Magazine combined with reporting on the TAVES 2014 show in Toronto. There's actually quite a bit more than this done within the past month-ish, yet am literally LOL at myself for all the workload still being completed.  As I type this am uploading the fifth(!) version of Joe Beard and Lazy Lester's performance from the blues concert (because I'm being highly picky to the sound quality and this brings up...).

Blue Heaven Studios' Mixing RoomTo all you audio and video mastering engineers out there, here is a huge hug and show of immense gratitude for your efforts. Working my own recordings is fairly easy-ish, yet re-working someone else's is a whole 'nother new world I had never really experienced.... until now. Just to give you kind readers an idea, as hi-res a copy of the stereo output from the mixing deck that is here, the mixing engineer [rightly] made changes during the live performance. As such, those changes can be easily heard within my stereo audio master file. How is one to master an ever-changing sound? While wishing for an automated mix board with well over 31 bands of EQ and racks, or plug-ins of effects, that immense amount of gear is not here at my disposal. It is my fault I did not foresee this situation and thus have the proper mastering facility at my main location for editing. Oh, a hint to high fidelity audio manufacturers (and this is something I proposed to Z-Sys' Glenn Zelniker nearly 15 years ago)... We need a high quality digital equalizer with at least 31 bands (62 or more is better), Q settings, etc. Make the EQ with memory that senses the META data so your settings are immediately recalled when a song plays. Furthermore, as this is 15 years later, and here's the fun part, have the EQ integrate with a desktop computer to allow/remember changes within the EQ actively sync'ed with the timecode per user adjustments. Thus during a song as the user changes the EQ settings the unit remembers these changes and will recall them from memory during future audio replay of said audio file.  Wrap this all within a great UI for consumers and have an APP for all major mobile/wireless devices. Am sure someone must make one of these by now, yet obviously I've been away from the game for far too long. It appears I need one of these, like, last week (as I type this). Oh, and if you're really great, add in an option to make it a three or four way digital/electronic crossover, which others have offered within the marketplace for many years. Simply put, read META data, recall EQ/effect setting adjustments actively during the time code (on the fly), remember said changes (linked to time code), add in a great UI, integrated with APP, and a high quality player for professionals and consumers alike. Bonus of you add in a three or four way crossover digitally outputting 192 and/or 384 kHz @ 24 and/or 32 bits. Oh, and make it a lightweight APP, too, for Android and iOS.

Getting back to RMAF, OMG what a spectacular show! Show Director Marjorie Baumert deserves all the thanks and gratitude our entire industry can provide to her. RMAF has not just grown a bit since I first reported on it at their first event in 2004; RMAF has become a marvelous monster! Jude Mansilla's Head-Fi special CanJam section has grown so large that it literally exploded to outside the already large area it normally occupies. In fact every available space, as best I could tell, has something to see and hear at RMAF 2014! From affordable DIY parts and kits, to personal media players (PMP), to $250,000+ home high fidelity audio systems were represented at the show. To help live stream the event, Enjoy the Music.com brought in very helpful Harmony Hicks plus her handsome husband joined in too. Am already planning out our coverage for 2015 and it may take getting yet another TV studio setup to pull it off! Ok, need a proper audio/video mastering facility and another hi-res TV studio. Hmmm, does anyone reading this have the winning numbers to next week's lotto?

 

A.D.D Kicks In... Look, A Shiny Thing!
To the honorable, illustrious, and highly-respected Chad Kassem-san, I humbly bow to you my longtime friend. Chad and I have known one another for nearly 20 years. In fact I received the VTL 225 triode monoblocks with KT90 tubes from him back in the day during my LEDE audio / audiologist experimentation days mated with personally modded KEF 104/2, Theta's top-end gear with single-mode laser interface, Threshold FET 10/e, etc. Then came the Ongaku... Chad graciously helped introduce me to various people. At a local live symphony performance I met a gentleman seated directly front of me (10th row, dead center) and we were both very cautious as our audio systems were a bit pricy. He knew Chad, I knew Chad too, and so we called, who else, Chad. This fantastic local pediatric doctor we'll call 'James' heard my system and was in awe of the sound being reproduced. He soon changed from the then politically correct Goldmund Reference Turntable and monoblocks, Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy with MIT cable to the same turntable yet mated it with Avantgarde Acoustic horns and an Audio Note Meishu silver 300B triode integrated amplifier. Upon learning of this new change, that spurred James' longtime friend, Jim Smith, to hear his newly configured system and, thus, Jim Smith quickly becoming the USA distributor of Avantgarde Acoustic. James is relaxing somewhere wonderful while we all know that Jim Smith came back into the industry as first an importer, to eventually offering music lovers and audiophiles great information at Get Better Sound to further their aural pleasures. The rest, as they say, is HIStory. Thank you Chad for being the first 'catalyst' within this 'chemical formula' that caused a 'reaction'.

 

Blues Masters at the Crossroads
Joe BeardGetting back to the Blues Masters at the Crossroads concert, if you were not there you reeeeally missed it! As much as our live netcast / stream could deliver, there is no substitute for the entire gestalt of being there. Starting on Monday I had to clean out the secondary room directly next to the mixing room at the back of the concert hall. This meant moving hundreds of priceless master tapes. OMG you would not believe what magnificent music Chad has on those tapes, which have never been released! Between being extremely careful and trying not to (literally) salivate on the tape boxes, they found a new safe and secure location within the studio, which is really a historic church Chad converted. The performance hall sounds utterly breathtaking! Look, I've been in many small bars, quite a few medium halls... Vienna, London, New York, Italy.... The Blue Heaven Studios is incredible acoustically for a blues and rock concert! Heck, if you could remove the pews it would make a great 'underground' after-hours EDM / Trance / House / Trip-Hop / etc club. Then again the neighbors, as the church is within the middle of a residential neighborhood, might object a bit. So once a year, for two magical nights, the church turns into the world's best annual blues concert featuring performances by legendary musical artists.

True blues legends take their rightful place on-stage within the church as they pour their soul and craft to the mass of music lovers. The audience feeds upon the live music as the combined energy builds with dynamism that compounds itself exponentially with each performance. As the night went on, with each band taking center stage, you could feel this magical power resonate though the church as true-believers cheered and applauded. As this was my first time attending the Blues Masters at the Crossroads, and being within the studio getting a direct feed via IEMs, it was more than an initiation, being Bar-Mitzvah, Baptized or whatever belief you so choose (or not choose) as the case may be. Enjoying two nights of colossal and boundless live music within Blue Heaven Studios is more than simply being 'born again'. Music is 'the food' of the mind, body, soul, and spirit! After many years of analyzing music, sounds with harmonic structure(s) at various timing all interacting... Human hearing and head/body resonances including those within the human biological structure... To quote King Crimson's song "Indiscipline":

The fact is
No matter how closely I study it,
No matter how I take it apart,
No matter how I break it down,
It remains consistent.

I simply could never have the ability to fully thank Chad Kassem, his staff, everyone who played their role in making the Blues Masters at the Crossroads a reality. Am simply too limited within my human being to completely and thoroughly express the gratitude to each and every one of you who made the concert a reality. Each of us, from the performers and audience to the mic setup guys, the cooks, merch staff, and artists who created the concert poster/shirts/etc.... Hopefully my writing here somehow brings a smile to your face and the videos Enjoy the Music.com and Enjoy the Music.TV are still actively posting online bring you some recognition to convey a small hint of just how very much you are appreciated. Thank you.

And before I wrap this up, please allow me to say...

IMHO, and after many years of audio/music/human/etc study including music theory, as an active musician, a recording engineer, a mastering engineer, audiology, biology, astronomy, science, mathematics... There is one immutable truth that is inescapable towards one of my deepest loves within this journey of existence. And that truth is:

 

Music is life.

 

As always, in the end what really matters is that you... 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream 
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been 
To sit with Elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen 
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed

Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear 
But not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear 
Oh, oh. 

Oh, I been flying... mama, there ain't no denyin' 
I've been flying, ain't no denyin', no denyin'

All I see turns to brown, as the sun burns the ground 
And my eyes fill with sand, as I scan this wasted land 
Trying to find, trying to find where I've been.

Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream 
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream 
My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again 
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin' through Kashmir.

Oh, Father of the four winds, fill my sails, across the sea of years 
With no provision but an open face, along the straits of fear 
Ohh.

When I'm on, when I'm on my way, yeah 
When I see, when I see the way, you stay-yeah

Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when I'm down... 
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well I'm down, so down 
Ooh, my baby, oooh, my baby, let me take you there

Let me take you there.
Let me take you there
.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmmm, perhaps i spent a bit too much time in Kansas? If it includes all the great blues music i heard last weekend, then bring on the 'rainbows'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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