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Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy

with Sylvia Massy

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  •   01 Class Introduction

    01:56
  •   06 Drum Mic Placement

    09:21

Class duration: 9h 32m

See all 27 lessons
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    19 student reviews

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About The Class

learn recording from the engineer that recorded Prince, Johnny Cash and Red Hot Chili Peppers


Over the last 30+ years, Sylvia Massy has built a career as one of the gutsiest and most innovative recording engineers and producers. She has worked with legends like Prince and Johnny Cash, and won awards for her work with bands like Tool, System of a Down and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will get a peek inside the recording process of one of rock’s legendary engineers. 

While she is a proficient master of vintage gear, Sylvia stresses that great records come not from having the right gear, but from capturing great performances. Join Sylvia as she records a song in the studio with Seattle alt-rock band Thunderpussy, and learn how to work with an artist to capture that magical take in your own work.

Pulling from her years of experience and sharing stories from her newly published book Recording UnHinged, Sylvia will show you:

  • How to get interesting and vibrant drum sounds, using the room and the drummer to your advantage
  • Capturing great sounding guitars at the source, without editing and reamping
  • Pushing vocalists to deliver their best vocal takes 
  • Mixing both in the box and through a console using outboard gear

Sylvia is also known as a prolific educator, speaking and teaching at some of the best recording schools around the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s most celebrated A-list producers. 



Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    01:56
  2. 02

    Avast! Studio Overview & Walkthrough

    07:26
  3. 03

    Sylvia's Recording Philosophy

    10:07
  4. 04

    Introduce the Band, Thunderpussy

    07:53
  5. 05

    Drum Setup & Tuning

    18:21
  6. 06

    Drum Mic Placement

    09:21
  7. 07

    Drum Micing - Mid-Side Overhead Technique

    04:11
  8. 08

    Drum Micing - Room Mics

    41:25
  9. 09

    Drum Micing - Toms

    22:10
  10. 10

    Drum Micing - Kick and Snare Final Tuning

    10:59
  11. 11

    Bass Setup

    20:20
  12. 12

    Guitar Setup

    36:13
  13. 13

    Vocal Setup

    17:32
  14. 14

    Band Mic Check

    26:05
  15. 15

    How Sylvia Plans a Lesson

    07:29
  16. 16

    Budgets, Time and Planning a Session

    13:17
  17. 17

    Recap and Intro

    04:17
  18. 18

    Recording the Band, Thunderpussy

    32:32
  19. 19

    Mixing the Recording of the Band

    09:08
  20. 20

    Re-Recording Chorus

    13:46
  21. 21

    Process for Editing

    18:42
  22. 22

    Guitar Solo and Overdubs

    52:35
  23. 23

    Vocal Overdubs

    32:12
  24. 24

    Creative Studio Techniques

    1:00:11
  25. 25

    How to Mix: Drums

    43:56
  26. 26

    How to Mix: Add Bass & Guitar

    13:34
  27. 27

    How to Mix: Add Vocals

    36:24

Meet Your Expert

Sylvia Massy

Sylvia Massy has been Producing, Engineering and Mixing popular music for decades. She’s renowned for her work with Tool, System of a Down, Johnny Cash and Prince. She’s received over 25 gold and platinum records including awards for her work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust and Tom Petty. She’s also an accomplished fine artist, a published columnist, in-demand educator and relentless entrepreneur. But to her many friends, she’s just Sylvia, the Radiant Being. ... read more

See instructor's Classes

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Jimmy Foot

    March 2016

    This Studio Pass episode with Sylvia Massey covers a lot of ground. From fundamentals like correct mic placement and phase to experimentation with amps, cell phone delay and a few extra parts, Sylvia makes it fun! I have been lucky enough in my career to work with a number of great engineers and producers. I haven't had the opportunity to work with her, but Sylvia is certainly in that category, and anyone who gets a chance to work with her would be a lucky person. This broadcast is the next best thing. Great job there at Avast Studio and fantastic camera work! And as for Thunderpussy; you guys rock!

  • Marc Felish

    Marc Felish

    March 2016

    Wow, that was such a blast. Thanks so much Sylvia and everyone else for making this such a fun experience. I picked up so many new ideas that I can't wait to try out! Sylvia is such a creative producer, it was so much fun to be a fly on the wall watching everything. Loved it!!

  • Marcus Soares

    Marcus Soares

    June 2016

    Awesome! A great opportunity to pick into the creative mind of one of the greatest and get that kind of knowledge that you can't acquire otherwise. Highly recommended!

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