Three Days in Memphis

At the end of October, The Recording Academy® Memphis Chapter presented GRAMMY® GPS: A Roadmap For Today’s Music Biz – three days of audio lectures and recording seminars at the famous Stax Museum, Ardent Studios, and Sun Studios, all in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Memphis Chapter.

John Hampton checks out RND at Ardent.

The events kicked off Saturday October 26th at Stax Music Academy with a keynote by Jonathan Poneman (Co-founder, Sub Pop Records) and Rich Bengloff (President, A2IM), followed by panel discussions with industry heavy-hitters including Chris Bell (GRAMMY-nominated engineer), Carlos “6 July” Broady (GRAMMY-nominated producer), GRAMMY-winning engineers Neal Cappellino and John Hampton, Rupert Neve Designs’ own Jonathan Pines, Aiyisha Obafemi (Disturbing Tha Peace), Jason “J-Bird” Cook (Rhymesayers Entertainment), Ben Swank (Third Man Records) and Chris Swanson (Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar).

RND's Jonathan Pines moderating the Grammy Panel at Stax with Jon Hampton, Neal Cappelino, Chris Bell and Carlos Broady.

The panel focused on the short timelines and tiny budgets of modern records, home studios, smaller projects…or, roughly translated: “OK, we know how to make a $300,000 record – but what does it take to make a $3,000 record?”


When discussing how to achieve a “professional sound” in a home studio, Cappellino explained “it comes down to craft and application of knowledge and skills by the engineer. If you’re hungry to learn any format can work for you. Always try to make improvements in your gear AND craft.” Broady expressed that “the problem with music today is that in Pro Tools everything is perfect. Music is not supposed to be that way.” The engineers explored processes to get the best vocal as well as other tips of the trade for the audience.

Not only did aspiring producers and engineers get the chance to learn from the best during the panel, but they also got the chance to listen to product demonstrations conducted by Rupert Neve Designs and sE Electronics.

RND gear at Ardent Studios.

Sunday October 27th at Ardent Studios, Rupert Neve Designs and sE Electronics presented a recording workshop with many of the panelists from the Stax event, plus Memphis Chapter P&E Wing Co-Chair Jeff Powell. This event was the Nashville debut of Rupert Neve Designs’ new vintage-inspired Shelford Series, as well as an opportunity for the panelists and those in attendance to try RND’s 5024 Quad Micpreamp, Master Buss Processor, various 500-series units, and sE Electronics’ RNR1, RN17s, 4400a, T2, and other assorted mics.

RND provided BBQ for all in attendance.

On Monday, RND and sE presented “Let It Bleed” – a recording workshop live to 8-track 1″ tape at famous Sun Studios.

The best of the old AND the new: RCA 44 and RNR1 over the drum kit at Sun Studios.

The Sun Toilet - yes, Elvis sat here.

For information on future events, the Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy, and more on the Academy in general, feel free to visit the home of the GRAMMYS online.

Photo credits: Joshua Thomas