Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Mixer Kenny Kaiser Moves From Live Sound to Dolby Atmos With Focusrite RedNet Technology

Working Title Recording Studios in San Mateo, CA, is a new breed of music
production facility. One of only a handful of Dolby Atmos®-certified studios in
the Bay Area, it was founded by Kenny Kaiser, long-time front-of-house mixer
for artists including The Killers, Sammy Hagar, and his associate Forrest
Lawrence, a noted mixer and system technician.

Kaiser says mixing in the immersive, three-dimensional Atmos environment is
the next step for music. “Since the pandemic lockdown, everyone is looking for
a new experience,” he says. “It’s going to be here for a very long time.” As well
as his acclaimed mixing skills, Kaiser also brought some other things to the
venture — key components from his inventory of Focusrite Red and Focusrite
RedNet products. These included the Focusrite Red 16Line 64-In/64-Out
Thunderbolt™ 3 and Pro Tools | HD™ compatible audio interface and Focusrite
RedNet MP8R eight-channel mic pre. He also added his unusual but effective
studio-monitoring choice: a full Atmos 7.1.4 array including C8.1T overhead
speakers, CDD8 surround speakers, and CDD10 main speakers, all from Martin
Audio — the same brand whose MLA line arrays he prefers on tour.

While Kaiser continues to work with Hagar’s current project, the Circle, Kaiser
and Lawrence have their sights set on music, commercial, and corporate
production work at Working Title Recording, with Focusrite equipment integral
to making it effective and efficient. The Dante network and Focusrite products
completely cover the facility’s two control rooms and four tracking/recording
spaces. “I was talking to Forrest, and I said we can run one mic line on Mogami
XLR cabling for $180, or we can get 128 channels over a thousand feet of Cat 5
cable for a fraction of that,” recalls Kaiser. “And we don’t have to be punching
so many holes in walls. Between the cost saving and the ease of connections,
going with Focusrite interfaces made total sense.”

Kaiser says the Focusrite Red 16Line units have become the studio’s go-to
converters and act as the I/O between mic pre-amps and the studio’s Pro Tools

systems as well as the main control room’s SSL Sigma console. The Focusrite
RedNet MP8R moves around the facility in its own rack as needed. “We have
that as a floating mic pre that we use in four recording rooms — two regular
live rooms, a loading dock room which we also use to track in, and a front
room that we use for either guitars or if we have somebody that has a small
project coming in,” he explains.

Collectively, Focusrite technology gives Working Title Recording Studios a
flexible and reliable digital ecosystem that lets those in the studio focus on
creativity. “For instance, I’m able to patch whatever I want to patch and it’s all
on one screen,” he says. “And the Focusrite mic pres sound super, I’m a huge
fan of them. Combine that with what Atmos can do with music — we’ve had
about 15 demos with artists and record-label people, and we’ve seen two
people actually cry when they heard it — and you literally get goosebumps
hearing it. It’s that amazing. And Focusrite lets us do that.”

“To get the infrastructure going with a traditional analogue way of thinking, it
would have been three times as expensive. Just being able to have these units
and not have to worry about conversions – just plug in a Cat 5 cable and get to
work – there’s so much money and time saved.”

Along with the Martin Audio speakers, which Kaiser says are well matched with
the Dolby Atmos SPL and EQ-curve specifications, Working Title Recording
Studios has what it takes to be competitive. “And the holes in the wall are a lot
smaller,” he laughs.

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