Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording (ASSR) encompasses an array of audio recording educational tools and events built around Alan's [Tape Op #42] studio mastery and patient explanations of the process. Previous products have included Art & Science of Sound Recording - The Book [#82], ten hours of ASSR videos, and related, in-person Master Class Training Sessions with Alan. With Session Files Vol 1, we get access to ten actual Pro Tools sessions of songs Alan has recorded, produced, and mixed. All the raw audio is recorded at 24-bit 88.2 kHz, is continuous, and files can be imported to any DAW. Sessions include a track sheet with Alan's notes on mics used, EQ performed, and his thoughts. Each also has a folder full of photos showing the session in progress, with valuable mic placement and gear images.

Sessions were tracked at some of the fanciest studios in the world, including Ocean Way Recording (now United Recording Studios), The Village Studios, Studio at the Palms (Las Vegas), and Abbey Road Studios, where Alan cut his teeth on records with Pink Floyd and his legendary band, The Alan Parsons Project. The players aren't bad either, with Vinnie Colaiuta, Simon Phillips, Nathan East, and Rami Jaffee making appearances, along with groups from Canada, Mexico, and Belgium bringing some great music to the studio.

What may be humbling to some is how close the raw tracks resemble the final mix. Choices have been made while tracking, and unlike some modern-day sessions chock full of plug-ins and virtual instruments, this is old school tracking with brilliant intent. There is a lot to be learned by closely examining other engineer's work in this way. Comparing one's own tracking to others can either be reassuring or frustrating - there's always more to learn! Trying to match Alan's mixes is also a perfect challenge, and keeping dynamics open the way he prefers is a lesson unto itself. Session Files Vol 1 is an excellent glimpse of a master at work and a perfect way to learn the "Art & Science of Sound Recording."

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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