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00:00:00 - Paul Hamann discusses the beginning of his career and his console

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Partial Transcript: --thirteenth of August, uh, I'm at Suma Recording talking to Paul Hamann.

Segment Synopsis: Paul Hamann describes how he began working in the recording industry full-time by building the console for his father's studio and then being thrust into it. He continues to describe the console he built and how musicians would use this console compared to typical ones. He talks briefly about being in high school and playing in bands that played in Kent, Ohio.

Keywords: 48-mix channel; Albums; Audio techniques; Cleveland (Ohio); Console (Equipment); Electronics; High school; Ken Hamann (Audio engineer); Kent (Ohio); LP; Mixers (Equipment); Pere Ubu (Artist); Recording; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Studios; Suma Recording Studio; Wooley, Dick

Subjects: Rock music

GPS: Suma Recording Studio, Cleveland, Ohio
Map Coordinates: 41.712452, -81.1825437
00:07:43 - Paul discusses his preferred recording environment and the sound of various bands over the years

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Partial Transcript: Uh, one thing David mentioned yesterday was that he really loved the room at, um, the old studio.

Segment Synopsis: Hamman talks about his old recording studio, then explains the difference between dead and live environments in recording. He goes on to describe different bands who recorded in dead rooms and expresses that he feels as though that many of them do not sound as vibrant as when they were initially released.

Keywords: Annandale-on-Hudson (N.Y.); Chicago (Ill.); Cleveland (Ohio); Dead environment; Dead room; Dead sound (Technique); Earth, Wind & Fire (Artist); Environment (Technique); Human Beingz, the (Artist); Human Beinz, the (Artist); Isolation (Technique); James Gang, the (Artist); Live environment; Live room; Manipulation (Technique); Multi-track recording; R&B; Recording environment; Recording techniques; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Soul; Sound quality; Steely Dan (Artist); Studio environment; The Outsiders (Artist); Youngstown (Ohio)

Subjects: Rock music

00:11:23 - Paul discusses his opinions on available audio engineering publications

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Partial Transcript: I mean I wonder about this--how much of this, sort of--the interaction between studios, the knowledge about what some other studio's doing, that sort of grows in the, in the sixties, doesn't it?

Segment Synopsis: Paul describes how various audio engineering publications have changed and rather been simplified over the years. He also discusses how Mix magazine's articles actively misguide the readers mostly due to the interviewees in the articles.

Keywords: Audio Engineering Society (AES); Home recording; Home studios; Journals; Ken Hamann (Audio engineer); Magazines; Mix (Magazine); Project studios; The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS)

Subjects: Periodicals.

00:14:56 - Paul talks about what makes a good song, working with Pere Ubu, and organic rehearsals in the studio

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Partial Transcript: Because I'm a musician and, uh, although not a continually practicing one, but y, you don't ever stop being one.

Segment Synopsis: Hamann discusses the "feel" of music and the role studios and technology have in improving (and/or hindering) this "feel" of the song. They then go on to discuss individualism and uniqueness in music; particularly in regards to Pere Ubu, a band that Hamann worked with since the mid-1970s. They talk briefly about Pere Ubu's recording history, then about how other (unnamed) groups record compared to Pere Ubu. He discusses how he dislikes having to rush through and only doing a single take for a recording. They continue on to discuss the benefits for a band to work in a larger studio. Paul then compares working with commercials to working with bands.

Keywords: 30 Seconds Over Tokyo (Single); Appeal; CDs; Clarity; Cleveland (Ohio); Commercials; Composing; Dead sound; Definition; Development; Digital; Environment; Europe; Experimental; Experimentation; Feel; Final Solution (Single); Individualism; Jazz; Jingles; Ken Hamann (Audio engineer); Marketing; Music; Musicians; Pere Ubu (artist); Record companies; Recording; Rehearsal; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Songs; Songwriting; Sound quality; Style; Tape (Equipment); Technology; Touring

Subjects: Rock music; Sound--Recording and reproducing--Digital techniques

00:28:48 - Paul discusses his studio compared to others, improvements he would make to his studio, and how he sets up his studio for a recording session

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Partial Transcript: So when, uh, you, you did--(sigh)--can you remember much how you worked with Pere Ubu before they had--I didn't realize they had gone to, like, three other studios, apparently.

Segment Synopsis: Hamann begins by talking about working with Pere Ubu and about how working in other studios was good for the band. This leads into him describing how he would improve his studio if the money would be available; this includes a discussion on what sells to potential clients. He talks about why he prefers the custom console he built compared to other consoles, and the benefits of automation in the industry. Paul next describes how he would set up the studio depending on what exactly the artist wants as their final product, and they talk about the different kinds of releases that can be recorded in his studio.

Keywords: Artists; Automation; Cleveland (Ohio); D&B Audiotechnik V-Series speakers (Equipment); London (England); Loyalty; Marketing; Mixdown (Technique); Mixing (Technique); Money; Pere Ubu (Artist); Recording; Recording sessions; Rock; SSL: Solid State Logic; rock 'n' roll

Subjects: England; Rock music

00:38:52 - Paul talks about board maintenance, both in his studio and in others / how the advent of home recording has affected the quality of audio engineers in the industry

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Partial Transcript: How do you--I mean, what happens in a board?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann begins by talking about how he is able to tell where something goes wrong in a recording. He talks about maintenance in other studios, and how well he feels these major studios were able to run their equipment. Several of these studios were in England, one of them in Minnesota. He mentions that he prefers talking to the maintenance men over the engineers, and why that is. He talks about how new engineers know less about the "nuts and bolts" because many of them started with home recording, and how home recording has affected the industry at large.

Keywords: Advision Studios; Audio engineering; Audio engineers; Cleveland (Ohio); Davies, Ray (Artist); Home recording; Home studios; Konk Studios; London (England); Mackie mixers; Maintenance; Mayfield Studios; Minnesota; Mobile recording; Paisley Park Records; Pere Ubu (Artist); Phonogram, Inc.; Prince (Artist); Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Sound engineers; Sound quality; Tape machines; Tascam; Tascam portable consoles; Wessex Recording Studios

Subjects: Rock music

00:47:25 - Paul discusses the ability of home studios to create good products

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Partial Transcript: Do you--I mean, are there many different levels of recording studio?

Segment Synopsis: Paul begins by discussing his feelings on the ability of studio to put out a good product, and ultimately that the skill of the producer is what determines that. He explains what a Mackie console is, and how they are able to produce a product that is as good as any studio.

Keywords: Audio engineers; Equipment; Home recording; Home studios; Human ability; Human skill; Mackie consoles; Mackie mixers; Operators; Recording; Sound engineers; Studios

Subjects: Recording studios

00:50:22 - Paul talks about what the Audio Engineering Society focuses on and what they do

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever, uh, uh--are you a member of the Audio Engineering Society?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann discusses the reason he was a member of the Audio Engineering Society. He discusses the bi-annual meeting that they have, and what is available for audio engineers to do at these meetings. He also talks briefly about some products intended for broadcasting. Hamann discusses the available magazines for audio engineers, and his view that they are mostly for home studios and post-production work. He also briefly discusses how post-production for video productions works.

Keywords: Analog recording; Assembly work; Audio; Audio Engineering Shows; Audio Engineering Society (AES); Australia; Broadcasting; Broadcasts; California; Commercials; Computers; Digital recording; Equipment; Europe; Japan; Magazines; Mixing; New York City (N.Y.); Post production; Publications; Radio; Recording; Seminars; Video; Video production; Workshops

Subjects: New York (N.Y.); Periodicals.; Sound--Recording and reproducing--Digital techniques

00:56:21 - Paul talks about changes in the industry over his career

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Partial Transcript: Um, wha--in, in the time--you've been working in this business now for twenty-five years?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann begins by talking about digital workstations and how they have both helped and hurt the industry. Paul also goes on to talk about technology he would have liked to have continued, especially discrete four channel mixing. They then discuss how discrete four channel mixing differs from surround sound, and where surround sound is most commonly used.

Keywords: 2 channel mixes; 2 track tape; 4 channel mixes; Analog recording; Audio engineering; Audio engineers; Beta testing; CDs; Computers; Digital recording; Digital work stations; Dimension (Technique); Discrete 2 channel mixes; Discrete 4 channel mixes; Discrete four channel mixes; Discrete two channel mixes; Editing; Four channel mixes; Hard drives; Mono; Movies; Multi-track recording; Multi-track tape; Mutilplex; Phase relationship; Post-production; Precision; Quad; Shine (Motion picture); Stereo; Surround sound; Synthesis (Technique); TV; Tape; Technical knowledge; Technology; Television; Two channel mixes; Two track tape

Subjects: Quadraphonic sound systems; Sound--Recording and reproducing--Digital techniques.; Stereophonic sound systems.; Surround-sound systems.

01:06:16 - Paul talks about recording with synthesizers

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Partial Transcript: Um, speaking of synthesizers, wh, when you first worked with Pere Ubu, um, was Allen Ravenstine still--

Segment Synopsis: Hamann talks about the trouble with recording synthesizers. He also talks about the best way to clean up the sound from the synthesizers, and how all of them have the same problem.

Keywords: ARP Instruments, Inc.; ARP synthesizer; Audio quality; Cleveland (Ohio); Digital; Digital synthesizers; EML synthesizers; EQing (Technique); Electronic Music Laboratories (EML); Equalizing (Technique); Fader (Equipment); Modular; Pere Ubu (Artist); Post production; Ravenstine, Allen (Artist); Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Sound quality; Synthesizers

Subjects: Rock music; Sound--Recording and reproducing--Digital techniques

01:09:05 - Paul discusses the role audio engineers play in working with artists in the studio / how many engineers would like to become audio engineers

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Partial Transcript: Um, how about your working relationship with... I mean anybody.

Segment Synopsis: Hamann begins by talking about how he records with Pere Ubu, and what roles he plays in the process. He goes on to discuss in more general terms how he works with other clients, as well as first time clients. He also briefly talks about some other functions of the audio engineer in the studio. Hamann then discusses the benefits of working in his own studio.

Keywords: Audio engineers; Cleveland (Ohio); Clients; Control; Hague, Stephen (Producer); Music; Pere Ubu (Artist); Pop tune formula; Pop tunes; Producers; Producing; Recording; Recording methods; Recording techniques; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Self employment; Songwriting; Studios; Thomas, David Lynn (Artist); Working relationships; Worlds in Collision (Album)

Subjects: Rock music

01:17:46 - Paul discusses the close working relationship that he has with Pere Ubu

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Partial Transcript: Do you--have you ever talked to David about his feelings about, this, you know... th, uh, the "tribe"?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann discusses the working relationship he was with Pere Ubu and how other producers don't work well with the group. Hamann also talks about how Stephen Hague works in the studio, including his "formula" for song writing. He talks a bit about how Pere Ubu was not able to work the way they wanted because of Hague's methodology. Hamann discusses how Pere Ubu doesn't work well with formulas, but that doesn't always produce a great song. He discusses working with new artists again, and the role he takes in the recording process with them. Finally he talks about making sure that when working with Pere Ubu he goes out of his way to stay away from any type of formula.

Keywords: Alienation; Cleveland (Ohio); Formulas; Hague, Stephen (Producer); Individuality; Music; Pere Ubu (Artist); Pop tune formula; Pop tunes; Recording methods; Recording techniques; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Set ups; Set-ups; Setups; Songwriting; Studios; Thomas, David Lynn (Artist); Worlds in Collision (Album)

Subjects: Rock music

01:31:45 - Paul discusses his recording room

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Partial Transcript: Um, that's a neat room in there.

Segment Synopsis: Hamann describes the materials in his recording room, briefly how he deals with the live environment, the dimensions of the room, and what changes he's made to the room.

Keywords: Acoustical treatment (Technique); Buffling (Technique); Live environment; Live room; Recording methods; Recording studios

Subjects: Sound--Recording and reproducing--Equipment and supplies.; Sound--Recording and reproducing.

01:34:41 - Paul talks about working with other studios and things he has learned from working with other audio engineers

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Partial Transcript: When you went to, um, these other studios with Pere Ubu--and that--I presume that Pere Ubu is the only group that sort of dragged you elsewhere?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann begins by discussing things that he would have learned or seen at other studios that he wanted to integrate into his own. Hamann talks about things he learned from working with Tom Dowd and Eddie Kramer, and talks about how he was disappointed by some unnamed producers. He talks about the "most maddening" session that he's ever worked in. He also talks about how the things he learned from Dowd and Kramer had nothing to with engineering. Hamann briefly discusses how some people perceive the way processes should be done versus how he actually does it.

Keywords: Automation; Butter, Chris (Artist); Cleveland (Ohio); Conflict; Eddie Kramer (Producer); England; Fox, Jim (Artist); Guitar; Haban, Cliff (Artist); Hendrix, Jimi (Artist); James Gang, the (Artist); Kent (Ohio); Mixing (Technique); New York City (N.Y.); Overdubbing (Technique); Personality; Recording techniques; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Stanley, Michael (Artist); Tom Dowd (Producer)

Subjects: England; New York (N.Y.); Rock music

01:47:25 - Paul talks about the psychology of sound and his role in composing tracks

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, somebody recommended actually that I do some research into... what is it, the psychology of sound or something like that?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann briefly discusses "the psychology of sound." He talks about the best way to discuss music with an artist, even though it can be difficult to convey such an abstract concept through words. He discusses how "something was lost" with the advent of multi-track recording, more specifically the tension that would build between the members of the recording group. He also discusses the benefits of multi-track recording, and how Pere Ubu records. Finally, Hamann talks about the different sounds artists will attempt to create in the studio and the total integrity of a band's sound.

Keywords: Bands; Bass; Cleveland (Ohio); Click track (Equipment); Communication; Drummers; Drums; Emotion; England; Film scoring; Guitar; Home recording; Home studios; Kramer, Eddie (Producer); Multi-track (Technique); Oldfield, Mike (Artist); Pere Ubu (Artist); Producing; Psychology; Recording; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Stereo; Technique; Tubular Bells (Album)

Subjects: Click tracks; Drum; England; Guitar; Instrumentation and orchestration (Band); Rock music

01:58:43 - Paul gives Susan some suggestions on who to talk to

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Partial Transcript: Who else do you, um--would you think would be an interesting person to talk to?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann and Schmidt-Horning discuss her interviewing process, such as who she picks to interview, what questions she asks, etc. Schmidt-Horning talks about her grant and her research plan, and how her project can evolve as she gets deeper into it. Hamann suggests that she try to talk to George Martin and Schmidt-Horning expresses that, although he would be a good interviewee, she is attempting to focus on Americans and American sounds. She mentions that she has been in contact with John Rumble, who put her into contact with Nashville producers such as Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins. Schmidt-Horning talks about finishing her dissertation and writing her book. She mentions a contact who is a microphone collector, and Hamann expresses some contempt for people who collect microphones. They talk briefly about several more people she could contact, like Les Paul.

Keywords: All You Need is Ears (Book); Atkins, Chet (Artist); Blues; Bradley, Owen (Producer); Chicago (Ill.); Country; England; Interviewing; Jackson, Michael (Artist); Jazz; Making Music (Book); Martin, George (Producer); Microphone; Nashville (Tenn.); National Science Foundation; Neumann Model U47 (Microphone); Paul, Les (Artist); Paul, Les (Inventor); Pop music; Porter, Bill (Audio engineer); RCA Nashville; Research; Rock; Rock 'n' roll; Rumble, John W. (Journalist); Technology; Writing

Subjects: England; Magnetic recorders and recording--Equipment and supplies; Nashville (Tenn.); Rock music

02:10:34 - Paul talks about how he uses the Internet

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Partial Transcript: Oh, that was another question I was going to ask you. I mean did you ever, sort of, get involved in, or, or do you now with, with the Internet?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann expresses that he doesn't use the Internet to communicate with other audio engineers, and gives his opinions on discussing the actual practice of audio engineering.

Keywords: Art; Business; Communication; Networking; Technique

Subjects: Internet

02:12:40 - Paul talks about the development of industry standards in recording

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Partial Transcript: What about SPARS?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann expresses that he doesn't know too much about SPARS. Schmidt-Horning talks about getting in touch with the organization, how they weren't too open for interviews, and the history of the organization. Hamann explains that the original goal of organizations like SPARS was to establish industry standards in equipment and recording practices.

Keywords: Analog recording; Digital; Florida; Industry standards; Manufacturer's standards; Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS); Standardization; Tape

Subjects: Sound--Recording and reproducing--Digital techniques

02:20:00 - Paul talks about mastering and how to create a louder sound on CD

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Partial Transcript: What does it take to be a mastering facility?

Segment Synopsis: Hamann begins by talking about mastering in the context of vinyl records, and confirms that they do still create masters on vinyl. He explains that CDs have moved in the direction of "mine has to be louder than yours," and that this has really ruined the quality of the sound. He explains the purpose behind this, and explains that it's somewhat due to laziness of the studio and the fact that it sells. Hamann talks about the process of making this louder sound in a digital recording. He also explains that this sound can be created at one of several different stages in the recording process, including at the mastering facility. He then briefly talks about what a mastering engineer does.

Keywords: 2-track (Equipment); 45s; Analog; CDs; Commercial; Compressing (Technique); Digital; EQing (Technique); Equalizing (Technique); Equipment; Jazz; LPs; Lathe (Equipment); Marketing; Mastering; Mastering engineers; Mixing; Pop music; Processing (Technique); Radio; Vinyl; Volume

Subjects: Mastering (Sound recordings); Sound--Recording and reproducing--Digital techniques.