Session Notes

Babblefish Recording Studios are hosting a an Open House and Informal Music Forum.

Owner Steve Falearos came up with the idea Informal Music Forum after meeting with co-owner Jim Baker. The two agreed that an open house would be a good idea to get local musicians in to let them check out the new gear, grand piano, console ect… after the near catastrophic events of the previous year (referring to the fire next door). But Falearos wanted to make it more substantial and give back a little. “So many times when artist visit the studio the conversation gets deep into the state of music. I thought if we could offer a venue for local musicians and music professionals to get together and talk about these things as a community we might be able to organize some change in the scene. The south western Ohio area is huge and includes Northern Kentucky and southern Indiana . More music should come out of here to be recognized on a national level!” Falearos said. The Open House and Informal Music Forum is designed to get those people together and create an atmosphere that is laid back and creative that will lead at least to sense of “hey there are other people out there that share a common experience and I kind of feel like I belong”, a brotherhood so to speak.

Come hang out for an evening of casual conversation and networking. Here’s what’s going on

• The Live Room will be set up for a jam so bring an instrument if you want to partake. (amps, drums, keys and pa will be supplied).

• The Control Room will be set up as a listening room. If anyone has some new music (their own or a new band you have discovered) and would like to share, bring a CD,

• The Lobby and Lounge- General hanging, eating, drinking and mingling who knows we may even have a game on.

• Food and Soft Drinks will be supplied, BYOB.

Who’s invited?….Musicians and Bands of all genres, Audio Engineers, Producers and any music oriented kind of sort of folk and yes you can bring a guest.

The owners are hoping to keep this going on a monthly basis.


Session Notes for January, February and March 2010

Well, well another year is here and we have survived to tell about. Many of you have probably heard or read about Babblefish’s recent additions to the studio but that shouldn’t take away from the really important stuff. That stuff being the great work that has been happening here at the studio. Before I get into what has been happening I have to send out a very sincere thank you to all of the artist that stayed with us through all the drama of last August. The Rebel Set, Bob Hendricks, The Josh Pilot Band and Ampersand were all working on projects when the water hit and put us on hold. Thanks for staying with us, we know you could have gone to other studios to finish, it truly means the world.

Back in December of 09’ we had a couple of artist from Smiling Handshake Records tracking new projects for release. Storm Kills Four (SK4) and Meg Cavanaugh plus the CEO of SHR, Mark Keller. SK4 and Meg’s project both finished tracking in December except for a couple little punches here and there. Steve Falearos with the assistance of Dustin Ryan finished mixing both projects at the end of February. SK4 has been sent to master with release scheduled for April 3rd 2010. Meg’s is awaiting final approval on the mixes and then will go out for mastering. Cavanaugh currently resides in London and is planning to return to the area to support the release titled Carrying Muskets. Also in December local Christian artist Mark Shaver was in to record and mix an acoustic/ vocal project with singer Jami Teets. Northern Kentucky artist/band Ampersand finished their 2nd full length record in December as well. It was produced and engineered by Babblefish’s own Dustin Ryan. The Cincinnati band Mayors of Super Awesome Town was in doing some overdubs for their upcoming release. January saw the install of the studios’ new console along with work from independent engineer Justin Krim recording the Dayton band “Idols” Justin was home (Dayton) briefly and away from his duties at Quad Recording Studios in Nashville. Dustin Ryan worked with Ohio’s Own Entertainment hip hop artist “J-DUB” (Josh Wilson) to finish a mix tape of original material as well as R&B artist “Kram” (Mark Conley) to finish a full length album. J-Dub is currently back in the studio with Dustin working on his first full length album. In January “the Rebel Set” released their second album which was entirely recorded here at Babblefish. (Some of their first album was recorded here) Tom Gilliam from the band stopped by the studio in early January to drop off posters and copies of the CD, “Across the Relentless Sea” to Babblefish. Speaking of The Rebel Set, the keyboardist for the band, Ken Hall was in as a guest player for Meg Cavanaugh’s session back in December of 09’. Ken played trombone on two songs on her upcoming album. Our dear friend and studio constant, Bob Hendricks has been here the entire time. Lots of production work has been happening for BH. December was the month for backing vocals and horns O’ plenty. Seemed as if “there will be horns on every song on this record by God, whether it needs them or not” was the order for the month, but in the end they came out great, I’m sure having Eric Neuhausser (tenor) , Mad Dog, Mike (trumpet), and Dan Barger (bari sax) had a little something to do with the outcome. Theo Oakley came in as our new studio manager in January. Theo has been doing a great job with communications and developing and maintaining our new Face Book site . Always good to have her around not to mention she’s handy for a vocal dub here and there as well. In February Hendricks also put a benefit together for Haiti. He wrangled his studio players together to perform an hour show of some of his tunes. Enlisted for the duty were David Chamberlain (drums), Jay Brunner (bass), Steve Falearos (guitar), Josh Pilot (guitar), Bob Hendricks (lead vocals & guitar) Theo (vocals) Alisia Getts & Kathy Wassenich? (backing vocals). Bob has two albums of material. The selections for the first of the two should be finished tracking and ready for mix by the beginning of April. During February the Rebel Set played a show at Blind Bobs in the Oregon District in Dayton Ohio with JT Woodruff of Hawthorn Heights. It was a great show with many, many cool bands. The Cincinnati based cover band OGPG were in recording their second record of their favorite covers. March saw Franklin based cover band Wooden Nickel come in for a quick demo recently as well. The studio also welcomed Cody Dietz as our new web developer and computer tech. Singer/songwriter, Ginger Miller, is currently working on her second project, both of which have been recorded at Babblefish. Ginger used former Babblefish client Nick Deloposta for the art work of her album. Looks great! Hip Hop producer Larry Gates (Mariah Cary, Jay Z, R Kelly, LL Cool J, and The Black Eyed Peas) will be working out of Babblefish Studios for his local productions. Glad to have you on board Larry. You contact the studio to for more information about booking sessions with Larry.

The Babblefish staff would like to send out a heartfelt “good luck” to David, Jess, Eleanor and Ian Chamberlain in their new adventure to Nebraska. I guess those last minute calls “hey David can you pop over and do a drum track” are right out now. We’ll miss you.

That pretty much wraps up the details from the past few months. If I left anyone out I’m sorry, please give us a shout and we’ll get you in next time.

Remember, you’re passionate about your music and we are passionate about recording your music. Let us make sure your project comes out fantastic! Join all these great artist and book your session today!


Congratulations to all the guys in The Rebel Set for getting the #1 local release of 2009 from the fine folks @ WYSO!



2010 has brought quite a few serious upgrades to Babblefish Studios. Many of you have probably read about the new console and some of you have worked on it. It truly is amazing! The studio has, however, added more quality pieces that have really taken the studio a new sonic level.

The decision to invest in more equipment for the studio was not an easy one to reach. In this age of music catalogs and box stores and with all the cool gear that the average home studio has we thought needed to take a little different approach than blindly depending on what might be in stock at the local GC. We ask the question, what is really going to make the biggest difference for our clients? We realize that almost every band has someone that has a recorder of some kind we need to really up our gear and techniques to really be able to help not only the clients who work in commercial facilities exclusively but also the home recordist. We want to give them services and tools they can’t get at home. So whether they are doing the entire project at Babblefish or just tracking our 7’2” grand piano in our great live room to take home and put in with their tracks, they are getting our quality and our passion. The fact is dropping names like “Neve”, SSL, Neumann, Telefunken and the like only means something to us engineer folk and people with a lot of experience in commercial studios. The average artist doesn’t know the difference between a U-47 and a Z-28. So why drop $10,000 on a single mic. (We didn’t get either, by the way, though a 1971 Z and a long body chrome top 47 would be more than cool) What we did do is research and listen. We started finding current recordings that were really, really well done. Recordings that were successful and had a character to them and then we started making the list. Once that was finished we went through it and trimmed it up a bit, knowing that if we got everything on the list only the artist on these successful records would be able to afford the hourly rate. That’s right; we had to keep it real. It’s all pointless unless our clients would benefit. So this is what we ended up with.

Neumann U-87 i vintage 1978. This mic is great condition and sounds fantastic. The classic 70’s U-87 is an industry standard. One of those tools that every time you turn on the radio you’ll hear it.

Telefunken R.F.T. AK-47 This is a very cool multi pattern tube mic. It is not one of those hyped tube mics. (When the tube mic craze took off it seemed like everyone was making tube mics that distorted like Eddie Van Halen's Plexi. Correct me if I’m wrong, but tubes were the best way to great representation of an audio source prior to the development of the transistor. They were not designed to break up and distort, however one of their “flaws” was that under certain circumstances they would break up and distort and you could hear the tube working. That was cool later but initially they were designed to be clean.) The AK-47 has that clean thing with the ability to get the tube working. With that said, this a new offering by Telefunken USA and although wearing the “47” designation has nothing to do with the classic U 47.

Audio Technica 4050 (pair) we have been using a pair of AKG-414s but wanted a little different flavor but still LDC. These gave us that flavor. They sound great anywhere you would use a 414 just a little darker.

Sennhieser 421 (3) We already had two of these large diaphragm dynamic mics, we like them so much we picked up three more. The 421 works just about anywhere. Great on drums, bass, electric guitar, Leslie cabs, vocals and…well you get the idea.

Universal Audio 1176 This is the reissue of the infamous Urie Blackface 1176 compressor/limiter. Insert on a vocal and you will instantly recognize it. We, as the music buying public, have probably heard this compressor more than any other tool used for audio recording.

Manley ELOP – The ELOP is a high end electro optical tube compressor. “Amazingly transparent” is probably the best way to describe its sound. This is probably the most invisible compressor I have ever heard.

Empirical Labs Distressor EL-8 – The legendary Distressor. Look in racks of almost every major recording facility in the world and you will see at least one of these (and an 1176). One rack space, big white (almost glow in the dark) dials, and character out the wazzu.

Universal Audio 2-610 tube mic pre-amp – Two channels of UA tube pre’s. These are great on guitars and even grand piano, although it’s not the typical sound you hear on a grand. You can vary the amount of character with these guys from either clean to just plain “dirty butt”. In a recent article in EQ magazine with the producer of Nora Jones’ new album said that was the only pre he brought with him to the sessions.

Ventech 473 4 channel mic pre-amp - Modeled after the venerable Neve 1073. Some of the biggest names in the industry can’t hear the difference between these and the Rupert Neve’s. Clean, with style. Acoustic guitars just jump out of the mix, vocals are incredible through them as well. Pretty much good for what ails you.

API 512c Mic pre-amp (2) – One of the punchiest/ in your face preamps money can buy. Listen to The Raconteurs and you will experience the API sound. We’ll just leave it at that.

Arsenal V-14 semi parametric eq - Wasn’t real sure about these when we ordered them. It’s always nice to have control over the bandwidth of an eq but I have to say we love these. With the exception of the reversed concentric knobs (read Larry Crain’s article in last month’s Tape Op magazine. Just patching them across a signal helps bring the sonics up in your face.

MOTU 24 I/O Expander - We have been using the 24 I/O interface since we started using a DAW. The idea was to keep an analog flow to the studio. With the new console and we decided it would be a huge advantage to be able to mix 48 tracks back into the console. This really has given us a huge advantage over the other studios in the area. The ability to run all of our great outboard gear (real plate reverb, vintage lexicon verb, delay lines compressors and eqs) in conjunction with all of our plug ins and automation makes mixing a blast and very sonically pleasing. Puts a whole new meaning to thinking outside the box!

Hope this didn't look too much like a bunch of catalog descriptions but thought some of our visitors to the site might enjoy our current take on some of our new gear.

So here's to recording your next project at Babblefish Studios, we know you'll like it.


Babblefish Installs New Large Format Console

In this day and age many studios are turning to smaller format digital consoles to help make their mixing task and interfacing simpler. The problem is they sacrifice sound. Even the small and medium format consoles don’t live up to the sound and routing options that a truly professional analog console can offer. As a matter of fact, most of the world class rooms in L.A., Nashville and New York opt for a “large format analog console” simply for the quality of sound and ease of work flow.

On December 28th of 2009 Babblefish Studios took delivery of a Soundcraft 3200 audio desk. The console came from The Sound Chamber/’Ollywood Studios in Los Angeles and carries with it a bit of a legacy. Just over ten years ago Beth Hart’s incredible Sophmore release “Screaming for My Supper” was recorded on this very console by, the now very successful Tal Herzberg, as well as many other notable engineers and producers. In 2003 it was purchased and installed at Stigma Studios by Eric Graham. After a short trip and a heavy move (thanks to A-1 Piano Movers who also handled our new 7’2” grand piano) it now resides in the control room of Babblefish Studios. We installed it the week after Christmas with a lot of help from studio friends. On hand for the install were Eric Graham (chief tech/electrical engineer/previous owner), Steve Falearos (Babblefish owner/engineer) Dustin Ryan (Babblefish engineer), Theo and Katelyn Oakley (they helped a ton with the cleaning duties and Theo also helped with the install), Zorin McGuire (helped on the cleaning) Mark Keller (helped with the cleaning) The install team worked 16 to 19 hour days for five days to get this baby up and running. It’s now installed and sounds incredible!

This behemoth boast 68 channels at mix-down. Each channel has full parametric EQ, noise gates and 12 aux sends. We have configured the console and DAW to return up to 48 tracks with the addition of another MOTU 24 I/O. This still leaves plenty of available channels for effects returns and synced keys or drum machines. When we opened the studio back in 97’ it was important to have the ability to track a full band all at once. The Soundcraft is our third console and with each one we have keep the ability to record live bands while always increasing the quality of the signal going to “tape”. With 48 inputs (including our new collection of high end mic pres) we have up to 48 inputs, more than enough for 99% of all projects. The 3200 is incredibly quiet and musical. We have had a session every day since the install was completed and have nothing but complements on the sound and depth of the new console.

Owner, Steve Falearos has recently made vast improvements to what was already one of the best studios in the area. With the addition of the new console and other new world class gear the studio should be the first call for any serious southwestern Ohio artist, independent engineer or producer!