L.A. Grapevine, November 2009

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bud Scoppa

Polls


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Down the hall in Studio A, the first thing that catches my eye is the looming row of four brown lacquer custom Augspurger subs spread across the floor in front of the glass separating the control room from what was formerly the recording space, which Mason Jr. has converted into a weight room as well-stocked with iron as Gold's Gym. Between those honkin' woofers and the stacks of weights, the feeling of power is palpable.

“This is where I am most of the time,” says Mason Jr.. “Every record comes through here, writing-wise and track-wise. When I finish, we mix in B.” Gone is the E Series SSL that formerly dominated the room. A is now a state-of-the-art Pro Tools workspace. Mason is running Pro Tools 7.3 and Logic 8 on a pair of Mac G5s, along with a third G5 for throwing down quick mixes.

One of his most in-demand skills is producing vocals, and he has a tried-and-true methodology of recording singers. “I've been using a Sony 800G since 2000,” he says. “It's a really clean, simple microphone that's very true. It doesn't have any crazy boost on the high or the low; what you put into it you get back. I like my vocals to be pretty bright, but the high end on the Sony is very smooth. I find that some of the vintage mics aren't transparent enough on the high end for my taste. I've been using an Avalon M5 mic pre since day one, and usually a Summit TLA100 compressor. That's the magic formula — and if you tell everybody that, I may be out of work,” he says with a smile.

“Mix-wise,” he continues, “I use a bunch of vintage gear like Neves for EQ, UREIs for compression and several TC Electronic 3000s that I use at times for reverb.”

Mason Jr. continued to produce and write high-level projects while shepherding the More Than a Game film project through the Hollywood gauntlet, and then creating the soundtrack from scratch. This guy is obviously a multitasker.

“I've got a big head — I wear a lot of hats,” he deadpans, and Sharp laughs knowingly. “We've been together for 23 years,” he points out.

“Harvey expects to be here for a long time,” says Sharp, looking completely at home in their spiffy new crib. It's gratifying to see such an important piece of L.A. recording history in such good hands and being put to such good use.






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