|Some comments from previous WireWorld workshop guests:
Well, I'm here, so if I may be so bold as to respond:
In just one word, Fantastic!
Michael has just been super... Whatta guy! Michael's trusty assistant Ryu is a study in what a good intern should be.
The band (and their material) is great, and the project sounds incredible! The drums went down with no processing(!), no eq, no compression, just mics in a room, and it is (without a doubt), a SUPERIOR drum sound. Ditto for bass, guitars (electric and acoustic 6 & 12 string), and violins... The only exception (to the lack of any processing whatsoever), has been the lead vocal which was EQ'd and comp'd on the way in...
The track we're recording simply sounds like a record. I just don't know another way to describe it... A game of inches, not miles, accumulated.
Michael has made many suggestions (with regards to mic selection, placement, and pres) but at the same time, has welcomed (and very much encouraged) any suggestions from us, as well. We have auditioned somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 mics on the drumset, 20 or so on electric guitars, etc. We've recorded each mic on each source through the same mic pres (to individual tracks), just to level the playing field. We have auditioned (seemingly) almost every applicable mic and pre on each source, and we have not disagreed on a single conclusion! Completely unanimous decisions, by committee... There have been MANY surprises for us all! (Much more on that topic to come.)
We spent the first 2 days completely on mic selection and mic pres, placement and phase coherence, just on the drums! (And then the drummer nailed the take in about 10 minutes!) Man, it hurt to tear those mics down after all that!
Michael has been absolutely fanatical with getting the right sound at the source, mic selection, placement, blend, phase coherence (perhaps 2nd most importantly-The IBPs are really earning their keep around here!), and most importantly... Great Performances. I can't tell you how many times the band has been denied ANY 'PT style' fixes... To quote Michael, "No. We actually [have to] play it right around here..." There IS a difference.
To wind this post down, in summary (cuz we're back at it, bright and early):
It is an absolute privilege just to be able to take part in this very special opportunity. In fact, had the workshop been over after the first day, I would have considered it money very well spent. The fact that we are taking a project completely through the entire process under Michael's guidance is absolutely priceless...
I'm honored to be here.
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I am also here in Nashville at the August workshop and I concur with everything Casey has said. This is simply an awesome experience that I will never forget.
Here is a link to some pictures thus far, more will come soon.
There is so much gear here that my head spins thinking about all the possible combinations of mics/mic pres/placements that are possible at WireWorld. Mic selection/placement and micpre selection have so far been the crux of the workshop and words cannot describe how impressed I am with the sounds we are getting direct to tape (digital).
Tonight after finally tracking the last bit of background vocals I sat in front of the RAW 48 track mix (one band of EQ on vocals with a Distressor, and one band of EQ on toms) . With faders pretty much up, I marveled at how HUGE the mix already sounds. We start the real mixing tomorrow morning.
Here are a few basic things I have learned thus far:
1. Time flies when you are having fun.
2. Small improvements from proper Mic selection/placement and preamp selection soon add up to improvements so large that they are obvious from outer space.
3. You can never have enough gear.
4. Knowing what to listen for is more important than the quality of your hearing.
Will share more later, but basically this whole project gets a HUGE and I obviously recommend anyone who has a chance to attend one of these things to jump all over it if possible. 30 years of trial and error has obviously paid off for Michael and he is more than willing to share his secrets with us! What a great host!
Mark P. Robinson
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Hi, this is Danny the singer in the "WireWorld House Band" Love Over Gravity. First, let me try to convey what a true joy it is to be working with someone like Michael. We've worked with different people in the past, and to have someone who makes you feel totally comfortable and at home while you're trying to "perfect" your creative works makes all the difference in the world. It's so much easier to take direction and try new things in that kind of environment. Not to mention the eons of talent and experience he brings to the table. We're thinking of calling our first major release "Album Quality" because that is exactly how it's sounding.
Second, it's been very cool to meet all of you guys that have made the workshops thus far. We're not an ego driven band and we love to hear and try different ideas that you guys have suggested during these first 2 workshops. You guys are destined for some great things because of your attitudes toward recording. I guess Michael just has a knack for surrounding himself with great people (I wasn't meaning the band Michael, ee).
So anyway, we're looking forward to the next workshop. It's been a great experience on the artist's side as well.
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WOW! Don't walk, RUN to the mailbox with your deposit. I just finished WS2 and there is no way I can describe how great it was.
but I will try...
HOT BABES (yea, you've seen the pics)
With that said the session was an eye opening experience. As with the first WS we auditioned a multitude mics and pre amp combos for all instruments and vox. I believe our record was auditioning 24 mics on a guitar cabinet.
Love Over Gravity, is a great band with great songs. They
were wonderful to work with. They were very patient with our tweaking, and when the time came they nailed their parts.
All around just a bunch of cool guys.
I could not end this post without publicly thanking Michael for all his time, patience and just putting on a workshop like this
To my WS mates Jim and Kirk, It was a pleasure.
And of course I had to mention Ryu assistant extraordinaire and Dumpling master.
By far the best $$ I ever spent
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I was at the 3rd workshop last week, and let me tell ya....
IT KICKED ASS!!!
Michael has a WEALTH of knowledge. I learned more in those 9 days than the last 5yrs on my own. My head's still spinning.
I don't know why I have such a long shopping list now for something that's 'not about the gear', but I guess that's why most of us hang here.
I will DEFINITELY attend again in the future.
It's worth it, just to listen to the mic comparison's on snare/kick/OHs/gtrs/etc... (Hell, it's worth it just for the food we ate every night)
FAVORITES OF THE WEEK:
Drum sub compression (TG-1 EMI comp)
SPIDER (Drum sub AND guitar tracking)
Massive Passive - just glorious sounding
Volcano Roll (nice 'n' spicy)
STC-8 (just got one myself)
Big Daddy roll (name says it all)
Groove Tubes condensers (picked up TWO at a used shop while down there)
ATC Tube Traps (VERY USEFUL)
Seared white tune (maybe the weeks favorite)
ADAM S3-A's (REALY going in to debt now)
IBP's (again - VERY useful)
Michael showing us how he/we use the above!
I'm sure I've forgotten some favorite gear (forgive me), but as I said before, my head's still spinning.
WORTH EVERY PENNY AND THEN SOME!!!
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I just finished attending Michael's most recent workshop, and I had a GREAT time. I'd really recommend anyone who's on the fence about going to sign up you'll be glad you did. I've been recording for a while, but I felt like I'd hit a wall with how I'd been learning so far books, trial and error, occasionally sitting in on 'real' sessions, and [duh] online forums. To have a chance to go through the entire process of tracking and mixing with a real expert, and to be able to stop, ask questions, try different options, was fantastic.
There's not one single big thing I learned, except perhaps an incredible attention to detail. (Ever punched in a flange multiple times to get it to sweep in the right place? I have now.) It was more seeing how all the little decisions, made correctly, added up to something pretty amazing. I can't wait to start my next project and apply what I've learned, to see if I can get the little things to add up to something as cool as what we created at the workshop.
Any downsides? Well, MW has an pretty amazing collection of mics and outboard, and you're going to want ALL of them after you leave. But a Gearslut knows how that is already...
Thanks again to Michael and Ryu for a very cool time.
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I just got back from the May workshop and all I can say is "wow"! I wish I had done this years ago when I first got into recording. Michael Wagener is the real deal and a real master at his craft. Michael is also a man who holds nothing back and has a gift for passing on the knowledge.
As for my story, I've been an professional musician for 28 years and a engineer/producer/studio owner for 12 years. Making a great recording is the one thing in life that I'm most passionate about. Needless to say, I was very ambivalent about attending this workshop.
First off, I'm a die hard PT in-the-box guy and there is no PT at Wireworld (Actually, Michael has an M-Box buried in the back yard). Second, I made some pretty decent records (and many shitty ones) in my day , but overall I consider myself a pretty decent engineer/producer. In the end, my constant desire to get better convinced me to sign up.
As someone else reported, the first day alone was worth the price of admission. Michael divulged a wealth of knowledge about micing guitars, drums, vocals and few other things. He also helped me learn to listen in ways that I never knew before. I learned so much just by watching him work and this has giving me a lot more confidence in my own abilities. Your platform of choice has no bearing on what you will learn at the workshop.
All the preamp and mic shootouts were a real education as well. I shipped over a pair of Requisite Audio Pal +'s that compared very favorably in all tests ( Michael says they're the next preamps he will buy). I also brought over a Brauner VM1 KHE and a pair of Josepheson e22s's and learned more about their strengths and weaknesses. The e22's were a surprise in that nobody liked them on Toms (which is how they are advertised), but we loved it on overheads and acoustic guitars. I also learned that what might sound good in one studio on one day might not fair too well at another place and time.
I've never worked in a studio that had an assistant until now, but I'm here to tell you, sell your 414's and hire this guy Ryu. The man is invisible and then your thinking "let's put the $35 Berringer mic on the lead vocal" and before you finish the thought he's already done it. What a pro he is as well as a super nice guy. He's unfair competition to all the other's in his recording school.
So, for all of you who think this class is too expensive, I say you can't afford not to go. There is no piece of equipment you can buy that can replace what you will learn in this workshop. A new Distressor can wait, but your career cannot. Michael should be charging at least $5000 for this workshop, but it's only $1950 at this point. I went to a 7 hour Roger Nicholes seminar last year and it cost (I'm embarrassed to say) $1500. There I got a great verbal review of all his great EQ mag columns he's written over the years. I like Roger, but I would have rather had the Distressor.
Feel free to contact me if you need more convincing.
Great Divide Studios
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I've hung out for a day at several of Michael's workshops. I never failed to learn something and saw a lot of techniques used I had only heard about previously. These workshops are second-engineering experience on steroids. I expect to hear great things from many who've participated.
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As well, I concur. I have about twenty years as a musician and the same amount as a tech. So before going down the career path as a studio dude, I attended Michael's Workshop. I have been to many classes in my life that covered practical information and the workshop was the best hands on experience I have ever had. The whole experience was inspirational as well.
To be in the same room with a great producer surrounded by world-class gear can be mind blowing. Michael of course is very casual and personal but maintains a professional rhythm allowing you to get your money's worth.
Michael is extremely interactive and addresses your questions like a trusted friend. He probes your statements in context with the conversation elucidating the information that you, yourself could not articulate alone or with a instructor less experienced or concerned.
One of the best things I learned at Wireworld is the fact that I can do this and I can hear what I need to hear. It was thrilling to be able to utilize all of the tools at the workshop to achieve confidence that would have taken years on my own.
My classmate for the workshop is everything I am not. He is a seasoned studio owner who works with world class musicians Yet the class moved smoothly and Michael maintained a perfect balance between both our levels and I think the mix between years of experience and raw enthusiasm melded well.
So what more can I say other than blaze a trail to Nashville and take advantage of a great opportunity.
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It's been two weeks since I attended the mixing portion of the summer workshop. I wanted to post before now, but I've been slammed with business since I got back. It's good though, because I really had a chance to reflect, assimilate and actually put into action what I learned. I wanted to attend the entire workshop, but my schedule wouldn't permit, so I choose to attend the mixing half. Also, Michael and I use the same desk (Sony DMX-R100, even though he's got 2 ) and the same speakers (ADAM S3A), so I figured I could take a lot "home" with me from a mixing workshop using those tools.
I make most of my living as a composer/producer, but I also have a studio I try to keep busy with stereo and surround mixing, and occassional tracking for outside clients. My mixing skills, particularly with rock music, had come to a dead end, I think. Even when the client was happy, I wasn't. It was frustrating knowing the sounds I wanted, and only being able to get 70% of the way there. Most everything ended up sounding like a damn demo to me, even when it was really good musicians/recordings.
So I went to Nashville thinking I would learn some mixing "tips and tricks" and secrets from a master. And I did learn all that - but that was only the tip of the iceberg. The most important things I learned were totally unexpected, and totally fundemental. I learned that my approach to mixing had not been quite right, trying to stablize and fix everything, and then put it all together and make it fit, rather than building the mix, where each logical step builds upon the last, and the music itself dictates what each track, and the mix as a whole will sound like. Yeah, I know, it seems pretty simple, yet I did not have this elementary perspective. During a hands-on excercise, Michael was able to quickly point out flaws in the way I was monitoring, and how that was responsible for getting me into trouble with my gain structure later. EQ-ing? Same thing- I had been searching for problems in the tracks and ways to correct them, instead of finding the musical aspects, and enhancing them. This workshop has caused to me rethink what is important when I approach a mix. It's like starting over as an AE in many ways, but I view this as a positive thing. Realizing now how truly little I know, I've been inspired to set off on a course to learn more. Go brain go.
Michael Wagener is a PRINCE. A legendary Producer/engineer who has his name on millions and millions of records, and yet was willing to share his great knowledge and experience with us, without holding back. And watching him work by himself is a lesson in and of itself. Like all people who are experts in anything, he makes it look easy - like anybody could do it- but then you get up there...
This week I get to record a song for a really good band and remix 3 already tracked elsewhere (the drummer is excellent, and I understand he hires a professional tuner for every session he does-yea! ). I'm really looking forward to these sessions because I go into them with a new confidence that, in addition to possibly flooring the client, I might even floor myself...
To fellow Gearslutz I can only tell you that there is no gear at any price that could improve my sound to the degree this workshop has. The fee was so little compared with what I came away with, it's almost criminal (Oh, but I did come out of there Jones'n for some Hedd 192 real bad, that's gonna be my next piece).
Thanks Michael, Ryu and my classmates! You inspired me not to open an Italian food resturant, just so I could sing Frank Sinatra tunes every Saturday night
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Ok - My turn here at singing the praises of the Production Workshop.
First off - Michael is just a great guy. Great vibe all around. You just feel like you've been friends a long time.
Secondly - He's a great teacher. There were three of us with various levels of knowledge and experiences and he was able to lay out things that didn't bore or leave anyone behind. He was able to present things in a way that made them clear and easy to understand.
And I would have to say that what I got most out of it was a great boost to my confidence. Watching and mixing with him helped drive home the subtleties of so much of what we do. And to see and hear it before and after really gave me the perspective to return home and not second-guess as much.
I can't think of any other item I have spent $$ on that has had such a strong impact on my work.
Thanks Michael and Ryu.
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Also check out the MOAW review in the October Mix Magazine: