Art & Science of Sound

Close Up: The Art & Science of Sound Recording

Founded on a Musical Friendship: The friendship and working relationship between Alan Parsons and Julian Colbeck that ultimately led to the creation of the educational multi-media project The Art & Science of Sound goes back some 30 years. Parsons, whose engineering career began with The Beatles and Pink Floyd and included numerous hits with The Alan Parsons Project, met keyboardist, author and educator Julian Colbeck during a late ‘80s session for British rockers Vitamin Z. Colbeck subsequently interviewed Parsons for a video series he made during the initial home recording explosion about making great demos using multi-track cassettes. Cut to 2010, when Colbeck was visiting Parsons as the latter was laid up with an injury. After years of casually talking about creating an expansive, soup-to-nuts program covering the recording process from A to Z, they began to plan and develop it.

The Mission: “Everyone now has the capability to use DAWs, but recording is a complicated subject and many don’t know how to use all their gear,” Colbeck says. “Our mission is to educate those who are just starting on their journey and help others who have more experience but whose progress is hampered by their lack of understanding and knowledge about some of the basics. We wrote it for students in traditional music and recording programs and self-learners. The thrust of the program is covering the fundamentals properly. Most educational products these days are focused on very specific technologies and not the entire process. Our program, is very much skills-based.”

Parsons and Colbeck produced a comprehensive instructional video series featuring contributions from celebrity artists, engineers and producers and narrated by Billy Bob Thornton. It has been available since 2011 as a 3-DVD set, but more people now prefer to download the full video package of 24 “scenes” for $99 or individually for $5. The videos cover everything from loudspeakers, studio acoustics, mics and mixers to using reverb and delays, compressors, EQ, MIDI, plus how to record specific types of instrument or source: drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals, including some specific problem areas such as recording guitar-with-vocal.

Higher Education and Master Classes: A truly encyclopedic reference, ASSR has been in constant use by educational institutions all over the world, from high schools to top universities likeUSC, Full Sail, and the University of Miami. In addition, Parsons has supported it with ongoing lectures and Master Class Training Sessions (MCTS) all over the world, including the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, and Abbey Road Studios in London, where Parsons launched his career as an assistant engineer for The Beatles. Parsons has also recorded 15-20accessible Session Files (raw multi-tracks) to help users with some of the practical details of recording such as mixing, remixing and testing plug-ins by loading the files into their own DAW.

Contact ASSR 1-800-752-2780 or 831-477-1205, artandscienceofsound.com