Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet: 'In the Beginning, Volumes 1 & 2'

Oct 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher


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photo of Forrest Sound & Vision

Hendrickson-Smith nicknamed this collection of rackmount units 'Glen's Wall Of Hope.' Engineer/studio owner Glen Forrest's extensive collection of outboard gear includes Neve 1272, Telefunken V72, Universal Audio LA-610, and Studio Projects VTB mic pre's, as well as Manley Vari Mu limiter/compressor, Universal Audio/Teletronix LA-2A leveling amplifier, and more. To see a complete equipment list, visit Forrest Sound & Vision.

“It bears mentioning, too, all the reverb on this record—like for the organ—is going through an EMT 140, which is a big plate reverb. The drums are going through a BK 20, a really old spring reverb. And all the horns are going through a Demeter RV1. That’s a pretty new spring reverb," Hendrickson-Smith adds. "And [there were] no computers!” [Laughs]

Engineer Forrest compressed very minimally and let the tape do all the work. Hendrickson-Smith took the tracks back to his studio in New Jersey and mixed in Pro Tools, making extensive use of Universal Audio plug-ins.

photo of Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet

Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet

“Because everything was already analog to begin with and we already had the reverbs printed in separate tracks, it was pretty easy to make it sound good,” Hendrickson-Smith says. “I’m a hard panner; I tend to mix records that sound the way that my favorite records sound like. So I put the drums all the way on one side, and I put the guitar all the way on the other side, with Doc right in the center and then just peppered the horns and the percussion. I’m always trying to create a picture with the mix so it looks like the bandstand looked, making sure that whoever’s trying to be the focal point is actually the focal point. We made sure while recording that leakage wasn’t an issue between guitar and drums, so I could spread them. I listened to some old Lonnie records, I listened to some new records, and just went to work.”

Dr. Smith characterizes his sound as “a little smooth and dark, and a little edgy with a little noise in there—but not too much," he says. "The organ is perfect, but it’s not perfect. In other words, the Leslie and the organ have hums and things, and that’s a natural effect for the instrument itself, and you want the organ to breathe that, say that, speak that. If you try to take that out, then you’re taking everything out of the sound. As long as I hear that they’re capturing whatever the instrument is doing at that time—that’s what I want.”

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