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Paul Vnuk Jr.

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About Paul Vnuk Jr.

  • Birthday 09/23/1969


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  • occupation
    Editor RECORDING Magazine
  • hobbies
    Music, Gear, Music, Gear
  • Location
    Racine, WI

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  1. Still shocked by this. While I only met Steve once in person. He and his staff at Electrical Audio have always been gracious hosts and willing to help me with some gear reviews and tests over the years.
  2. Wow. what a blast from the past. Despite being with the magazine for 20+ years, these are even before my time. You know they are "vintage" when you see the "Recordin@aol.com" e-mail.
  3. Tracking Vocals: Microphones, Plugins & Processors Unless you are crafting purely instrumental music, a song's success rests on its vocal performance. The lead vocal can be bold, forward, and dry, or a breathy, distant whisper that draws you in. As a recording engineer, you choose the best microphone and preamp to capture the singer and pick the right tools to present it in the mix––tuning, compression, reverb, final levels, etc. Welcome to the May issue of RECORDING, which focuses on making the best vocal recordings possible! Reviews We have 15 new product reviews this month. Starting with microphones, we have the stunning V24 Stereo Tube Condenser Microphone from Vanguard Audio Labs. Next, we get to know the Crème Tube Condenser Microphone from Monheim Microphones. On the ribbon mic front, we have the Ohma Ribbon Mic, which you can customize for your look, sound and style. Also available in various colors, we have the highly affordable NT1 Signature Series Condenser from RØDE. To keep your voice perfectly in the “zone,” we take a look at the just-released LEWITT RAY and the also hot off the workbench TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik Alchemy Series TF17––the company’s second large diaphragm solid-state condenser. Then we also "kick" things up with the just launched DM6 kick drum mic from Earthworks. Channel strips are a great way to get great-sounding vocals. For this issue, we look at the newly updated TCS-II Channel Strip from API and the just-released Channel One Mk3 and TrackOne Mk3 from SPL. To route your signals effortlessly, we check out the latest advances in digital patching from FLOCK Audio with its PATCH Series and PATCH APP DX. In this issue's Plugin Outlet, we check out the new bloom adaptive tone shaper from Oeksound. Staying "in-the-box," we have a pair of soft synths to accompany your great vocal takes as we play with the new Session Organ EKX from Toontrack and Atoms from Baby Audio. We control them with the new Keystage Poly AT MIDI keyboard from Korg. Interviews Producer Mark Hornsby brings us our interview this month as he goes Inside The Studio with GRAMMY Award-nominated, Dove Award-winning singer-songwriter, arranger, keyboardist and producer Michael Omartian (Cristopher Cross, Amy Grant, Steely Dan, Clint Black, Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston and many more). Features This month, we welcome author and Diamond, Grammy-nominated producer Jenso Plymouth (Chris Brown, Young Thug, and Gunna). He shares insights on the modern vocal production process, from tracking to tuning, editing and effects, with advice from some of his friends, noted engineers Simone Torres, Drew Sliger, Patrizio "Teezio" Pigliapoco and Shaan Singh. Joe Albano continues his walkthrough of popular recording processors and processes in Studio 101 with the fisrt of a two-part look at classic delay-based effects. Giles Reaves shares his thoughts and observations on the vocal recording process in RECORDING's Field Notes with a great selection of tracking and comping tips; Dave Martin is back with his insight in Readers' Tracks, with a track from Conor & The Wild Hunt, and Dave also heads up our Fade Out with his tips on “Talking To the Talent. The May Issue of RECORDING Magazine is the perfect place to make your voice heard!
  4. Welcome to the April issue of RECORDING. This issue's focus is the not-so-humble centerpiece of every modern studio––the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Sketch, compose, process, shape, twist, tune, edit, mix and master––if you can musically dream it, the modern DAW can probably do it. Of course, it can also operate like a simple multi-track digital tape machine if you are so inclined. We have so much DAW-flavored goodness on tap for you; we can't wait for you to dive in. Reviews We have 13 reviews loaded up this month, including four new DAW updates (see, this is why it's our DAW issue). From Steinberg, we showcase the latest features in Cubase 13. Next up, our resident Ableton expert David Blascoe digs down into Live Version 12. David also checks out what's new in the AI-focused RipX DAW from Hit'n'Mix. Our final DAW review looks at FL Studio 21 from Image Line. Every DAW needs a solid interface, and to that end, we review the well-connected AudioFuse 16Rig from Arturia. And to take control of your DAW, soft-synths and more, we have a play with the Native Instruments Kontrol S88 MK3 MIDI keyboard controller. On the audio processing front, we check out Serato Pitch 'n Time Pro 3.1, smart:EQ 4 from sonible, and a creative recreation of the old-school TELEFUNKEN Echomixer spring reverb from Audiopunks. In the soundware department, we have the newest orchestral installment in the Spitfire Abbey Road One series––Soaring High Strings, and we get our bass on with the new Moog Mariana Bass Synthesizer. Our final review this month, fresh from the halls of NAMM 2024, is the latest HD 490 PRO headphones from Sennheiser, along with a look at the dearVR MIX-SE plugin from Dear Reality. Features For our headline feature this time, we reached out to our editorial team of recording musicians, producers and engineers and asked them to tell us about My Favorite DAW. Find out what they use and why, complete with some favorite workflow tips and favorite features found in many of the industry's top digital audio workstations. In last month's Studio 101, Joe Albano began teaching us all about dynamics processors. In part two, Joe finishes his look at compressions and limiters and moves into gates and expanders. This month, we welcome a new writer as noted video game composer Chase Bethea walks us through how he uses the Arranger Track in Cubase to create adaptive, interactive and dynamic music for video games and why those things are essential. In this issue's edition of RECORDING's Field Notes, Giles Reaves brings us his DAW-centric thoughts and observations that DAWs can do so much more than just song creation. Mark Hornsby is back in his popular Inside The Studio column with the topic, So Many DAWs, so Little Time, and Dave Martin offers his thoughts on this month's Readers' Tracks. Finally, Immersive audio/Dolby Atmos expert Will Kennedy is back with some closing thoughts in this issue's Fade Out. No April Fools here––From interfaces to plugins to soundware, controllers, and more, we hope you will join us in our "DAW-tastic" April issue of RECORDING Magazine.
  5. Recording Instruments The techniques, concepts and the gear! Welcome to the March 2023 issue of RECORDING Magazine, with a focus on recording instruments. This issue is packed full of the techniques and tools to help you sonically capture your favorite instruments. Reviews This month, we have twelve product reviews on deck, starting with five microphones. In the ribbon category, we have the latest iteration of the classic beyerdynamic M160 (a long-standing favorite of instrumental recording for many decades), and we also check out the newest ribbon offering from the U.K.'s Extinct Audio, the BoRbon. In the condenser camp, we have the BT202 pencil condenser from JZ Microphones and the Sony C-80. Our final mic review loves working at a distance as we check out the latest shotgun mic from DPA, the 4017B. To help you get your microphones in the proper position, we put them on the FlexBar from Royer. In the world of virtual instruments, we walk through the new additions found in the Arturia V Collection X, and we have a play with the Benjamin Wallfisch Strings bundle from Orchestral Tools. Bridging the world of acoustic and virtual drums, we test out the new DW Soundworks virtual drum instrument and the new line of hybrid acoustic and digital DWe drum kits from DW (Drum Workshop). Also, in the box, we tackle your sibilance issues with the smart:de-ess plugin from sonible. For making tracks on the go, we plug into the AudioBox GO from Presonus, and our final review of the month is the new TapeIt app designed to help get your ideas down fast and professionally. Interviews Our interview this month is with a group of musicians who know a thing or two about crafting timeless classic recordings as we sit down with Danny Kortchmar, Steve Postell, Waddy Wachtel of The Immediate Family along with engineer Niko Bolas to discuss their years of studio experience along with the group's new album Skin In The Game and Immediate Family documentary streaming and in theaters now. Features Curious about Mid-Side (M/S) miking? Aaron Trumm has you covered. Class is back in session in the first of a two-part look at compressors in Joe Albano's Studio 101. In Inside The Studio, Mark Hornsby helps us consider what to know when buying a microphone. In the third installment of the new RECORDING's Field Notes, Giles Reaves reminds us that "the mics are always listening". Dave Martin is back with the latest Readers' Tracks, and Aaron Trumm rounds out the issue with some ideas on a minimal mic collection in Fade Out. Let the March issue be instrumental to your RECORDING success!
  6. Monitors and Headphones—Listen Up! Welcome to the February issue of RECORDING Magazine! The focus of our second issue of 2024 is monitors and headphones. While these two tools have always been primary components of any music studio, they are even more critical in the rapidly expanding world of spatial audio. Reviews As this is our NAMM issue, we packed it full with 16 product reviews. We start with reviews of three studio monitors: The new Trio6 ST6 from Focal, the ADAM Audio TV5 and the latest version of the Tom Danley TDH-3. In the "on-ears" department, our team listens to the AONIC 50 Gen 2 from Shure and the open-back MDR-MV1 from Sony. For your "in-ear" pleasure, we have the Ultimate Ears Premier in-ear monitors and a new "Tri Amp Micro Speaker Management System" from JH Audio, the Pearl+Ruby. Then we switch things up literally with a pair of monitor controllers. We bring you the MC531 Monitor Controller from API and the R.A.M. 1000 from Heritage Audio. Equal parts audio interface and monitor controller we have the Neumann MT48 USB Audio Interface. Perfectly timed for our NAMM issue, we have the brand new TG Microphone Type L from Chandler Limited––the company's most affordable microphone offering yet. Next, in hardware, we look at a massive "beast" of a compressor, the 666 Studio Limiting Amplifier from Mercury Recording Equipment. To help control the sound of your room, we check out the Slat Fusor from GIK Acoustics. Rounding out this month's reviews, we have three plugins: AB Assist 2 from NUGEN Audio, the FabFilter Pro-R 2 reverb and a new reverb plugin still under wraps. Features Mixing engineer and spatial audio expert Will Kennedy returns to RECORDING this month with a look at Headphone Mixing Tips for Dolby Atmos. In Studio 101, Joe Albano continues his year-long lesson plan on audio processing with a look at the humble equalizer. If you are in the market for a new set of studio monitors, producer Mark Hornsby offers some well-timed advice on the subject in Inside The Studio, and Giles Reaves brings us his thoughts, observations and tips on learning how to listen in the second installment of RECORDING’s Field Notes. Dave Martin returns with a Readers' Tracks submission from Kristin Glasgow called “We’ll Never Stop Believin’, and in this issue’s Fade Out, Aaron Trumm considers the question, “Mons or Cans”. All this and more in the February issue of RECORDING.
  7. Welcome to the January issue of RECORDING Magazine––Happy New Year! We are getting right in the groove as we enter into 2024 with our annual drums and percussion issue. This issue is packed to the “rim” with eleven new product reviews, two interviews, along with our regular RECORDING-focused columns and content. Reviews We kick into our gear reviews with two full sets of high-end drum mics––the Earthworks DK7 Drum Mic Package and the DDK4000 Drum Microphone Kit from DPA. Next, we have the boldly named Snare Mic from Lauten Audio, which totally takes the guesswork out of what source you should be using it on. For your front-end needs, we bring the 1977 Channel Strip from Drawmer. On the electronic drum front, we tap, twist and program the LXR-02 Desktop Digital Drum Synthesizer from Erica Synths and the Trinity Digital Drum Synth Array from Modbap Modular. We also lay down some grooves on the new, highly affordable Nitro Max Mesh Electronic Drum Set from Alesis. We also have the Push 3 standalone Live controller from Ableton. In the world of percussive virtual instruments, we have Frank Filipetti's Stories SDX from Toontrack, and to make your drum tracks sound their best, we have the SUBLOOM drum plugin from Mixland. Rounding out our reviews this month, we check out what's new in Presonus Studio One version 6.5 and the exciting Pro Tools Sketch from Avid. Interview Our first interview this month is with drummer John Fred Young from the heavy Southern rock band Black Stone Cherry. John Fred and engineer Jordan Westfall take us behind the scenes of recording the band's latest release, Screamin' at the Sky, including drum tracking in an old theater and more. Then we talk with multi-instrumentalist, drummer, and mastering engineer Nate Wood about his diverse skill set, his favorite tools for the job, and playing drums, bass, and keys at the same time! Features Producer Mark Hornsby is back for another year of his popular Inside The Studio column––This month, Mark gets into The Drum Zones with his thoughts on mic choice, EQ and compression. Joe Albano returns for another round of lessons in Studio 101. For the next two semesters, Joe takes a month-by-month look at the recording chain, beginning with microphone pre-amps. We also are pleased to announce the start of RECORDING’s Field Notes with multi-instrumentalist and noted audio engineer Giles Reaves. In this new column, Giles shares his thoughts, observations, tips, tricks and more gained from his years of experience recording and playing with a diverse range of artists ranging from Emmylou Harris, Brandy Clark, Patty Griffin, Tony Joe White, Tim Finn, Raging Fire, Amos Lee and many more. Giles was also an early adopter of the home studio trend back in the 1980s. In this issue, Giles shares his thoughts and observations on the beat, the drum, and the drummer. Dave Martin is back in Readers’ Tracks, and Aaron Trumm returns with some percussive observations in the issue’s Fade Out. Ring in the New Year with the January issue of RECORDING.
  8. The Royer R-121 is an amazing mic and perhaps the most modem and versatile of the bunch. I purchased mine over 20 years ago and still use it all of the time on almost every session. it’s also impossible to argue with a pair of Coles 4038 mics. These ARE the classic British ribbon sound. I have used them often in the past, but still don’t own a pair. I hope to someday. While not a ribbon mic, the RE20 is a stone cold classic that every serious studio should consider owning. the only mics I am “meh” on are the Cascades. These are part of the “inexpensive ribbons as vibe” family. Usually this translates as dark and rich. I had a pair of Cascades years ago and eventually got rid of them for the simple fact of getting better ribbon mics that sounded amazing like a ribbon mic should vs just being vibey. Again, not bad mics but how often will you really reach for them with A list contenders like the Royer and Coles on hand. All that said, if this is a take it, or leave it package deal for a good price, then you’ve got nothing to lose on any level with all of the mics in this package.
  9. Holiday Buyers’ Guide Time to Get Great Gear! Would you believe it’s less than a month until Christmas? So what will you buy the recording musician in your life? The December 2023 issue of RECORDING Magazine is here to help––even if those gifts are just for you. 2023 REC Holiday Buyers' Guide It all starts with our annual Holiday Buyers' Guide. This year, we may have gone a bit overboard with recording-focused gift suggestions. We bring you 52 products, including headphones, interfaces, plugins, microphones, processors, and more, all priced at $350 or less! Reviews We have nine feature reviews this month. On the hardware front, there is the new Shure SM7dB dynamic microphone, now with its own internal preamp. From Arturia, we look at its flagship analog synth, the Polibrute Noir and the just-released version 3 firmware update. In monitors, we look at one of the models in the newly redesigned Eris line from PreSonus. On the software side, we kick things off with a deep dive into the new Native Instruments Production Suite 6, including full-length reviews of the included Native Instruments Guitar Rig 7, Izotope Nektar 4 and iZotope Ozone 11. Next, we enter the PianoSphere, a new collection of cinematic virtual pianos from IK Multimedia. We then check out the first synth offering from Array Sounds, the Double Scoop. Finally, KIT Plugins returns us to Blackbird Studio with its latest channel strip offering, the BB A5. Interview Our interview this month is with songwriter, musician, and mix engineer Steven Wilson, who has just released his latest solo album, The Harmony Codex, in stereo, 5.1 and Dolby Atmos formats. Steven shares his thoughts on working in immersive audio, headphones and more. Features All this plus our regular features as we go Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby, who brings his latest project––which we started at Abbey Road last month––to fruition. In his final Session Log entry, Marc Urselli brings us Glasshaus Presents. In the latest lesson plan from Joe Albano in Studio 101, Joe reminds us of all the accessories that are critical for our sessions––they make great gift suggestions, too! Aaron Trumm is back in Fade Out with his stocking stuffer ideas, and Dave Martin rounds out the year with more of his sage advice in Readers’ Tracks with a classic Christmas song. We hope you join us in the joyous celebration that is the December issue of RECORDING Magazine.
  10. I used to work with an artist (a Worship Director at church) who, every time he changed jobs and his local, would re-record his songs over and over. It was fun to try and improve on his past work, but often I would try and push him to move on and write new material. On the personal side, I have an entire album tracked that I had spent a year working on, and thanks to a catastrophic hard drive crash (which of course, taught me the value of backing up my work), I lost the entire project. Any time I consider going back and re-building those pieces, I usually end up just working on new songs.
  11. The Singer-Songwriter Issue––Essential Tools & Techniques Welcome to the November Pumpkin Spice Singer-Songwriter issue of RECORDING Magazine! While the term singer-songwriter conjures images of classic 1970s icons singing their hearts out at a grand piano or telling tales while strumming a favorite broken-in acoustic guitar, thanks to a myriad of tools available today, many songwriters not only want a great microphone, stellar interface and a capable DAW but the whole studio shebang! 18 Reviews You want gear reviews? We got 'em. Our November issue is packed with incredible tools for songwriters and recording musicians alike––including a few we can't even talk about yet. We start with the most affordable microphone from our friends at Earthworks to date, the hand-held SR117. We also check out the SR3117 wireless capsule version, perfect for performance and live recording. Then, we have the Profile USB microphone from Sennheiser. On the interface front, we have the new 4th generation Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite, a significant step up from previous versions. For preamps, we plug our favorite ribbon mics (and more) into the TRP3 and the equalizer-equipped RPQ3 from AEA. For your listening pleasure, we bring you the new KH-120 II monitors from Neumann and the DT 770 Pro 80 ohms closed-back headphones from beyerdynamic. To help get your keyboard ideas down and even aid in your mix, we have the latest affordable keyboard controller from Arturia, the KEYLAB Essential 61 MKIII. Finally, on the hardware front is the new FT-1 Freqtube from Freqport. Billed as a "Multi-Instance Analog Hardware Processor"––check out the review to find out what that means. In software, we help you correct your phase issues with Aligner from NUGEN Audio. We have the unique new BinAmp preamp plugin from PSP Audioware based on the input section of the classic Binson Echorec. Speaking of uniqueness, we twist, turn and mangle our audio with the Transit multi-effects plugin from Baby Audio. Then we go old-school tape with the latest pedal-turned-plugin from Strymon as we double up our tones with the Deco Tape Saturation and Doubletracker Plugin. Last but not least, we check out the new Abbey Road High Percussion library from Spitfire Audio, and we help songwriters everywhere get funky and soulful with the latest Soul Roads EKX from Toontrack. Interview Our interview for this issue is with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell (New Bohemians, Steve Martin, Jerry Garcia) and trumpet-playing electronic composers CJ Camerieri and Trever Hagen. Together as Heavy MakeUp (the band and album name), this trio pushes into experimental, organic, electronic, and improvisational territory while retaining a classic, modern, cinematic songwriter vibe that explores a broad range of emotions and atmospheres. Features A Day In The Studio: Orchestral Pop at Abbey Road At the end of July, our editor, Paul Vnuk Jr., traveled to the famed EMI Abbey Road Studio 2 in London to attend a day's worth of orchestral sessions overseen by Producer Mark Hornsby. From the arranging, conducting, mic selection, monitor choice, tracking procedures and future Dolby Atmos mix considerations, come read what went down. The story continues in Inside The Studio as Mark Hornsby shares what went down before and after the Abbey Road sessions. In this issue's Studio 101 installment, our resident audio instructor, Joe Albano, considers multiple aspects of the recording singer-songwriter, from tracking multiple writers in one room, simultaneously singing and playing while recording, when to and when not to use a click track, headphone bleed, layering in the band and more. Marc Urselli documents working with songwriter Bjorn Yettling of Peter Bjorn and John in this month's Session Log. Dave Martin brings us his wisdom in Readers' Tracks, and we wrap up with a special Fade Out this month from singer-songwriter, producer, and the man behind MasterWriter, Barry De Vorzon. Whether you sing, play, compose, produce or record––check out the November issue of RECORDING Magazine––and hey, it's fewer calories than a pumpkin-spiced latte.
  12. Mastering the Perfect Mix Headphones, Monitors, Outboard Gear & Plugins Once the perfect takes are in the can, it’s time to mix your latest masterpiece, and the October issue of RECORDING is here to aid you on your task, from the latest hardware and plugin reviews, mixing tips and more. 15 Reviews Arguably, the most important component of any mix is what we use for monitoring. This month, we review three sets of the latest studio monitors. We begin with the new Scott Storch-endorsed Classic 8 SS speakers from KRK, Scott even chimes in to let us know his thoughts on his signature edition monitors. Next, we listen to the Focal Twin6 ST6 dual 6.5” monitors, and then we have the new SCM25A Pro Mk2 studio monitors from ATC. Sound Anchors was also kind enough to send us a set of stands to put them on, so we review those as well. Finally, we get our “ears-on” a pair of the new Audeze MM-100 headphones. MM stands for Manny Marroquin, and we have a short Q&A with Manny on the design of these affordable mixing tools. In outboard gear, we have two compressors on hand, the 260VU from AudioScape and the 500-Series Select SV12 Compressor from API. For your EQ needs, we dial in some tone on the new Lang PEQ-2 from Heritage Audio. Then we have a unique tube-based mixing and mastering processor, the P331 EVL edition from Whitestone Audio. In interfaces and converters, we check out the ADI-2/4 Pro SE from RME and the EVO 16 from Audient, along with its 8-channel preamp companion, the EVO SP8. Last but not least, in plugins, we have the new smart:gate from sonible and we master some mixes with Master Plan by Musik Hack. Interview If recording one album is not challenging enough––why not two at once? That's exactly what Gov't Mule decided to do on Heavy Load Blues (2002) and Peace... Like a River (2023). In this month’s interview, guitarist Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule, Allman Brothers, The Dead) and producer/engineer John Paterno (Steve Gadd, Robben Ford, Joan Osborne, Black Crowes) get deep into the process with editor Paul Vnuk Jr. Features Noted immersive audio engineer Will Kennedy (who previously brought us a deep dive into the Dolby Atmos Renderer) returns this month to discuss Apple Spatial Audio and binaural mixing. This month’s Inside The Studio is perfectly timed for our mixing issue. Producer Mark Hornsby brings us part three of his series, recording and mixing the band Mighty Tiny in a travel trailer in The Airstream Sessions Episode 3. Last year in Session Log, producer Marc Urselli opened his microphone locker to share some of his prized vintage and modern ribbon microphones, including their history and how he often uses them. Since that time, Marc has collected even more ribbon mics, and he is back to share them with us. In this month’s Studio 101, Joe Albano offers an intro to headphones and mixing with them, and Dave Martin is back with Readers’ Tracks. Be sure to “get in the mix” in the October issue of RECORDING Magazine––which we will be handing out in person at the Javits Convention Center in NY for the 75th Anniversary AES celebration (October 25 - 27). We hope to see you there!
  13. As a newb on the process. Are you able to mix in binaural with any headphones, or like with Logic, do you need AirPods Max for example?
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