Albany Audio Associates

Albany Audio Associates With 35 years of experience, Albany Audio Associates is available for live sound production, recording, masterig, and consultation.

Operating as usual

Lots of extra prime time available due to COVID. Great time to create new product and expand your vision! Call for speci...
10/01/2020

Lots of extra prime time available due to COVID. Great time to create new product and expand your vision! Call for special deals!

10/12/2019

Crazy good deals this fall!
We have just completed 2 great projects at super affordable price points!
Call for info!
518-961-0069

01/01/2019

Studio setup is ready to go for 2019!
Super efficient high quality recording for all styles of music.
Imagine the easiest and most comfortable recording sessions you’ve ever had!
Free Consultations!
518-961-0069

04/11/2018

Free Mastering samples for the month of NOVEMBER!
Call or email!

02/14/2018

Spring recording specials!!
Call or email.

Great recordings, great mixes, great mastering.Great.....
01/17/2018

Great recordings, great mixes, great mastering.
Great.....

12/20/2017

Upgrades at the studio mean better and faster professional results for your music!
Experience an AWESOME recording experience and forward your musical vision!
Possibilities are Endless!!
Bring the Future to life!!
Put together a package to take your music to the next level!
518-961-0069

12/20/2017

Bands and artists playing festivals, fairs, special events..etc. World Class audio production available to a VERY limited number of new clients. Bring a mixing professional to make your show sound the best it can!
Our 'Larger Than Life' production can make you the best sounding band on stage! 35 years experience on all consoles and systems.
Making Live Sound Great Again!!
The possibilities are endless.
Be one of the Lucky Ones!
518-961-0069

09/29/2017

Sound Advice 9-27-2017

"The Sound Man's Shoes"
(A personal tale)

I'm putting this together to try and convey a perspective that's accurate from the point of view of the person mixing your show.
Some context might be a good place to start. I will use my own personal history and experience, but the concepts should translate to any responsible sound person doing a job.
1. The person mixing the show wants the act to sound as great as possible. Any opinions expressed contrary to that fact are just well.....ludicrous. While the skill level of the mix person may vary, NO ONE I have EVER met has wanted the mix to be less than it can be.
2. This is sticky for some folks...but essential and in agreement with the concept of point 1. I have always operated from this premise, but I understand how others might not give it the priority it deserves. The ultimate truth is...the AUDIENCE is the end user. They are like the customers at the Mall..they don't care about the behinds the scenes goings on....either policy/management issues, or production details. They paid for a ticket, they deserve as good a ride as we can give them.
Now we will have to employ some empathy and respect for what the mix person is being called upon to construct.
3. The mix person is the 'liaison' between the performer and their music, and the audience. This is where the song's 'story' is presented. Using myself as an example...
I mix music for a living. I have a very strong reference based on 30 years of live mixing experience....probably 7-8000 shows...and a $12,000 studio/mastering playback system in a tuned control room. In other words, my 'picture' of what I would like the live mix to be is very well defined. A natural part of this 'reference' is a mental 'checklist' of the things that are inhibiting the construction of the desired 'reference' mix. Like many creative disciplines, mixing is largely a subtractive process. As a sculptor takes away the 'unnecessary' pieces of stone to reveal the image, removing distracting sounds from the mix 'picture' is crucial if a pro sounding mix is going to emerge. Get that idea solidly in your head...and prepare to empathize with total frustration as certain 'ingredients' in your 'recipe' of the mix, get repeatedly dumped in your pot in a way totally out of your control. I turn my back and the bus boy dumps salt in the soup....another person keeps adding hot peppers...you get the picture. Obviously the meal is going to be a mess...and not what I would prefer.
Again, agreeing that the customer is the end user...why would anyone want to serve food prepared in this way? The only 'motivations' I can imagine are malice....or ignorance. I am never assuming anyone intentionally wants to sabotage the audio quality of the show presented to the audience, so we are better served by offering information and context to the conversation of how to make the band sound as good as possible.
So, if I am the person responsible to mix the show, have decades of experience, am relentless in learning/studying and practicing techniques to squeeze every bit of quality possible out of every minute of every song.....it seems curious that my suggestions would be ignored...and criticized....and moralized.
The thing is...I KNOW your job. I played in bands professionally for 17 years. I was usually in control of the sound system. I played in marching band, orchestra, Big Band, and all kinds of rock bands. In many of those situations, there was a conductor controlling the performance. Their job....like my job when mixing...is a complex mix of leadership and clean up crew. If some musician is straying from the score, they would be instructed on what to do to get back in line. THEY have control. If I have control...all is well. If elements are taken out of my control, the mix suffers...so, a rational conversation between the parties is essential. I understand that, and I have the recipe in hand to create the best possible product for the audience.
If the above descriptions are understandable, PLEASE...think through them and attempt to understand that 'criticism' is ALWAYS constructive....if we all actually care what the audiences are presented with. If not.....

08/29/2017

Crazy recording values every day!
Live system optimization.
Live sound engineering.
Free phone consults.
518-961-0069

08/05/2017

Garland Jeffreys Band
Indian Lake Theater
8-4-2017

08/01/2017

System optimizing at your convenience. Guaranteed results!
518-961-0069

01/29/2016

Sound Advice 1-28-2016

Feels Like the First Time!

I work really hard to be casual and flexible in my 'Listener's Head' appreciation of a live show. To do this you have to become a casual listener...not a simple task.
But....this is a perfect way to gain a useful 'outside' opinion on the choices you are making as a mix engineer.
"Mix Engineer" will be my go to label to describe a person actively creating an objectively 'valid' mix.
(I am anticipating this point can be a future group participation topic)
For me, this means becoming an audience member who JUST walked into the room. Jump out of my car..(Internet talk radio on)...and open the big double doors...HIT ME!
Blank slate, what do I hear? Or NOT hear?
If my 'oh, so important' first impression is to be blissful....
What do I need to hear?
I have a list, in order of relative importance to my 'outside' opinion.
Let's get some ideas from everyone. The better we can describe our experiences in language, the better we can expand and share good stuff.
Please:
1. Give a preference.
2. Explain what you perceive its presence does to 'objectively' improve the mix.
Thanks!

01/18/2016

Seriously folks...you owe it to yourself to check us out for your next recording project! Our new workflow is so fast and efficient you will get pro results in less time. More fun for everyone as well as saving money!

01/18/2016
Albany Audio Associates

This....

Live Sound Excellence!

We can supply live mixing engineers using your gear, or with our efficient great sounding setups. Guaranteed superior results. Live videos available upon request. If you want to sound better than your competition, this is the way to go. Trained experienced adults with real tour quality mixing skills. There IS a difference and we can demonstrate!
Contact us for information and free consultations.

01/17/2016
Albany Audio Associates

Schedule Spring and Summer dates NOW!

Live Sound Excellence!

We can supply live mixing engineers using your gear, or with our efficient great sounding setups. Guaranteed superior results. Live videos available upon request. If you want to sound better than your competition, this is the way to go. Trained experienced adults with real tour quality mixing skills. There IS a difference and we can demonstrate!
Contact us for information and free consultations.

01/13/2016

Live Sound Excellence!

We can supply live mixing engineers using your gear, or with our efficient great sounding setups. Guaranteed superior results. Live videos available upon request. If you want to sound better than your competition, this is the way to go. Trained experienced adults with real tour quality mixing skills. There IS a difference and we can demonstrate!
Contact us for information and free consultations.

01/04/2016

Sound Advice 1-5-2016

Cleaning Up!

A tip to make the first step of cleaning up your mix 'Clear!'
If a band is relatively consistent with stage volume and sounds, the first Demon to rear its head will be low to low mid 'Mud.'
These 'problems' exist because every room is different dimensionally, acoustically and positionally. The frequencies from 700 hz or so on down interact with the variables of the room due to the growing wavelengths of those sounds. Since we are not going to rebuild the space for the show, it's best to follow a subtractive path, taking away things that play into the interactions, and result in uneven reproduction which reveals itself in a number of ways.
On the top of our frequency window, things like guitar notes hollowly 'ringing' and keyboards, especially pianos and electric piano sounds...having h***y peaks in their response and an overall muffled and bloated sound that often fights with guitar sounds in the same register, are things to consider.
This timbral interaction is our first target. This interaction results in a 'humming' type of head(ear) filling resonance, and can produce all kinds of harmonics that will rob clarity from higher register sounds. It can help if we actively 'sculpt' the frequency ranges that would 'excite' these acoustical interactions.
First step is the judicious use of a variable high pass filter. This is perhaps the most useful tool you can master. When working with full range systems and a fully miced up stage, High pass filters should be employed for EVERY instrument if maximum control is desired. Since this is variably adjustable, it's pretty easy to adjust and hear immediately the very apparent effects..and further practice lets you really hone your ear and even physical body sensation awareness, so you can better recognize the problem areas more quickly. As a basic rule, there is always too much energy in this area, ESPECIALLY in monitor mixes. Low-mids in monitors reflect off stage surfaces and leak back into all the mics on stage, out of phase, out of time and off axis....mmmmmm!!
MUD SOUP! In monitors in particular, I like to limit the extremes as much as possible to avoid interactions. No extreme lows or highs are needed to reliably hear stage monitors if the mixes are designed to accurately represent the natural sound of the instrument. Guitars are mid range instruments... They don't need to go 'thump..thump..thump' in the monitors OR out of their cabinets....A later battle!
On the lower end of our scale, it can get a little more complicated sorting out the interactions that are stealing our clarity. If you can understand that the lower 3 octaves of your system response.....up to about 160 hz and maybe a little more...are the most interactive because of increasing wavelengths...you have a much better chance of determining room nodes....there are even free calculation apps online....and can at least partially tune things in to not excite the excitable room. This will vary with stage placement, instrument micing, sounds and positions, speaker placement and arraying...on and on. Most of these things you can't change so again, high passing and parametric adjustments may be the extent of your control.
If it's your system, I would recommend an aux or buss fed sub system...a whole bunch of mud can be avoided by keeping sources out of the subs that don't need to be there....Vocal mics, guitars, pianos, percussion(for the most part), horns, snare drum, cymbals....whatever. If your system tops are basically full range boxes...most have that option...I would put them into their external sub/hi pass mode and also create some filters to further sculpt that bottom of their response region. I find that many times an asymmetrical crossover setup...meaning that the upper point for the subs is independently adjustable from the lower point for the tops, is best. This might leave an electrical 'hole' in the frequency response but because of room interactions in that area...many of them 'constructive'..meaning that they build up...the acoustical crossovers may better align. This can also be enhanced by employing an 'out of band' parametric notch in the frequency response, ABOVE the crossover point. This gives us one more tool for smoothing that crucial transition from subs to tops. Powered subs probably already have a preset low cut/limiter protection scheme built in but it might help to adjust that bottom hi pass filter if room parameters create super low rumble and floppieness.
Realize that instruments that are sent to the subs....like drums....
(I send toms to the subs until I can feel them go 'whoomp' and them back them off a bit).....will need strict dynamic control to prevent low feedback. A ringing tom can muddy up the whole show.
For more specific info please contact us!

518-961-0069

01/04/2016

Sound Advice 1-4-2016

More snare drum observations...from the listeners perspective instead of the normal..'gee, it feels good to hit this thing as hard as I can with a rimshot' perspective.
Music: 80's Rock
Of course everyone wants the band to sound as good as possible...YA THINK?
First, an objective observation. Most of the snare sounds on 80's Rock songs is about 50% FX. Various types of reverb..depending on the songs and style...define what we perceive as the snare 'sound.'
This is where we run into our first problem...acoustic headroom.
In any given space, the 'music' can only get so loud before it becomes unbearable. My threshold for this is lower than it is for many, it seems...and this goes back to my visualization of 'framing' the sound 'window' we have to work within to maintain a safe and balanced listening environment.
Concentrating on the snare drum, which we just determined was about 50% reverb...it's not hard to imagine how hard it will be add more sound to something that is already too loud to put into the sound system. So one of the most characteristic parts of our 80's Rock sound has been rendered impossible to achieve.
Pretty cool huh?
Another cool trick I often see is tuning all the drums really high so they are very snappy sounding....you know....just like on all those 80's recordings!
So the next time you hear a club band playing Bon Jovi, Queensryche, REO...etc, make sure you compliment them on their high pitched, snappy and dry drum sound! You know.....
Just like on the recording.....:)

Thanks everyone!
01/02/2016

Thanks everyone!

Big thanks to John Chiara of Albany Audio Associates for the stellar sound last night. Your ear and attention to detail were much valued, sir. Also some appreciation is due to our stage-mates MaryLeigh Roohan and JV & the Cutters. Thanks for letting us open for you! It was a thrill so nice, we did it twice. And maybe it goes without saying, but we wouldn't have had the opportunity at all without Chris Wienk, Andy Gregory, KTG & all of the folks over at Exit 97.7 WEXT / Local 518.

12/28/2015

Sound Advice 12-28-2015

Amateur to Pro - The First Step

I believe that most 'situations' are best addressed by identifying weak points and proposing a solution. This can be done technically, with no emotional complications if all involved can agree on a desired result.
We all see lots of live shows, and it's usually pretty easy for us to determine if it is an amateur or professional presentation. There can be many factors involved in this the deeper we look, but like most 'projects' it's best to start at the bottom and work up, as a solid foundation is crucial to any stable product.
Let's look at this from an audience perspective...albeit a trained professional audience member.
From all the recording and studio mixing that I do, I've become pretty astute at finding the 'reasons' why certain practices affect the 'feel' and appearance of a professional performance. As with a recording, the stability and consistency of the foundation of an arrangement can make or break the final product. Many times this is 'overlooked' because the band realizes its foundation is flawed and has accepted that OR they don't know the specific variables that are causing the problems. This is especially common where some or all members do not have extensive experience in performance situations where they have to listen or follow instructions, such as a Big Band or an orchestra. In these scenarios, some ONE is directing or conducting the players and has command (hopefully) of variables that veer from the plan.
Ok, talking about cover bands..lots of them around...there is one simple and easy way to solidify the foundation and make the whole presentation more professional and polished...and without this the band will NEVER sound as good as it could. I realize I am repeating myself here...and hopefully the horse is not dead...so.
The first and most important step.....
Drummers - LEARN THE SONGS.
I am speaking of the parts AND the feel. I see so many drummers with bad meter and tempo fluctuation problems...it baffles me.
Your job is to hold the song together, not play whatever you want. When you go off the grid and play what you 'feel,' it deconstructs the foundation that every other player is attempting to conform to. It becomes a moving target, a changing variable that is different from what the bassist, guitarists, keyboardist, singers..etc..listened to when they learned the song. When you do this, AS WELL as rush fills, slow down during a verse or play 'extra' fills or cymbal crashes...
What do you think the other players are doing? I'll tell you..
They are scrambling to maintain the structure that you are kicking holes in.
It's 2015(6)....metronome apps are free for you phone or tablet. Get one and practice the songs you are performing...or just play along with the recorded versions. Record your live performances and import them into a DAW....free too....and examine what kinds of patterns you are following. Are you rushing fills, is your snare ahead or behind the beat, are you excitedly playing extra 'stuff' during other musicians solo sections that might be distracting and messing with the songs dynamics?
And most importantly....PAY ATTENTION. Don't be lazy. Do your part. Be part of the band and don't 'zone out' into,your own world.
Everybody knows that every successful band has a solid drummer, without that you have crap....nobody likes crap.

As always, consultation is invaluable, and then you have a shopping list to follow.
518-961-0069
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448 N Pearl St
Albany, NY
12204

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WHAT YOU MISSED WHEN YOU WERE IN THE PORTA-JOHN: Video of some of John A. Chiara 's fine audio work, from Saturday's show ... this is our "THE" Medley of Jeff Beck and Fight The Fear, only one of two "cover" tunes in our dozen song set... the other is Kevin Gilbert's version of "Kashmir"