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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Interview with Elliot Mazer - Neil Young's Producer & Engineer

Elliot Mazer - Producer & Engineer
24 channels at 192kHz, Levon Helm's snare, The Green Board
[Neil Young's famous Universal Audio 610 console used to record among other's the Elliot Mazer-produced Harvest].
(Click photo to enlarge)

Recently, we linked over to a couple of fascinating, must read interviews with Neil Young's closest audio engineers John Hanlon and John Nowland (see Producer John Hanlon On Recording Neil Young's two latest albums, Americana and Psychedelic Pill and Inside Broken Arrow Ranch's Redwood Studios with John Nowland).

If you enjoyed those postings, you'll definitely enjoy this one also.

Elliot Mazer's long working relationship with Neil Young and his many projects is impressive -- Grammy-award-winning Record Producer, Studio Owner, Recording Engineer, Inventor, Professor, and more, Elliot has worked with Janis Joplin, Santana, Sinatra, The Who, and most famously Neil Young. He has also been involved in the developmental phases of the digital technologies of our time including work at Stanford University’s Computer Center for Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), building what is regarded as the first all-digital recording studio, and more recently working with the Warner Music Group on their Archive Project, and consulting to OraStream and Pono.

From Q&A with Elliot Mazer | AudioStream by Michael Lavorgna:
AudioStream: You have worked with Neil Young for decades, producing among others his classic Harvest album. Mr. Young has made the headlines lately with his Pono technology and he is helping to raise awareness for HD downloads and continues to be one a few voices for better sound quality overall. Do you think hi-rez PCM, DSD, and/or Pono have a chance to become the norm for music distribution?

Elliot Mazer: Pono will be a success to a smaller audience.

Steve Jobs had a fantastic stereo system at home while his business sold bad sounding AAC files for iPods. I am sure Steve would love Pono and subscribe. I hope Pono offers a wide array of good music. That would be the best way to make it a success.

Elliot Mazer: That UA Green Board is similar to boards I used in Nashville and LA. The mike preamps that UA sells today are from that design. The Green Board was simple, sounded great and was (is) extremely reliable. I have 3 610 mike preamps here. Many of the studios in Nashville, Memphis and Muscle Shoals used UA boars with the same preamps. Neil's board came from Wally Heider Recording. I used that very board to record Ball and Chain (Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company) at Winterland and a Richie Havens album we recorded in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
More on Q&A with Elliot Mazer | AudioStream by Michael Lavorgna.

(Thanks Boris!)

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At 2/16/2013 03:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article.
I love great sound....but not sure i'm willing to pay a premium for the files or the audio equipment you ultimately need.

My MP3's do just fine.

Sounds like Elliot supports Neil's PONO initiative, but describes it as "niche." It also sounds like Elliot has a competing product to PONO that he will soon be launching.

I wonder where this whole High Res puzzle will lead eventually? My guess is it will ultimately become mainstream....but, in the end, most music will be traded freely. The younger generation just refuses to pay for this stuff, as they never had to.....and music is so easy to find no matter which direction you turn. PONO = Good Luck!

At 2/16/2013 08:07:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

I was just driving home and had The Dream Syndicate's album Live at Raji's playing in the car. Just as I got to my street, the CD cycled back to the first song, with Steve's introduction:

"Hopefully Elliot is ready up there; I think we're ready, so let's try it."

Walked in the house and a few minutes later checked TW. Imagine my pleasant surprise finding this interview with Elliot! Cool how these things sometimes happen. As I commented a couple weeks back, Elliot recorded and produced Live at Raji's twenty five years ago, and it's still one of my all time favorite albums.

And to make things even better, the lineup for this year's Solid Sound Festival came out Thursday and The Dream Syndicate is on the bill in their only US booking as part of their reunion tour. It will be another amazing three days of music, with Yo La Tengo, Os Mutantes, Marc Ribot and David Hidalgo, and many others joining Wilco and The Dream Syndicate.

Now if we can get another US tour with Neil Young and Crazy Horse sometime this Summer or Fall, all my music wishes will be granted.

Thanks TW for posting this interview with Elliot. Interesting and very cool how much focus there is right now on the older recording techniques. Dave Grohl's new movie Sound City is a must see, and lots of other cool stuff out there. As that great music fan Willie Shakespeare says, "Play On"!

At 2/25/2013 04:40:00 AM, Blogger frans schuman said...

With a one way ticket to the land of truth and my suitcase in my hand.

This is my interpretation of Neil Young’s Thrasher


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