Award-winning Engineer/Producer Steve Parr knows a thing or 500 about working with sound to picture - having countless soundtracks and nearly that many films to his credit. He owns and operates Hear No Evil Studios, a top class recording facility in London, which concentrates on recording and mixing music for film. He also keeps himself busy about the town, having been Vice Chairman of the Music Producers Guild. Parr won the SMA award for ‘Best Album Mixed in Surround Sound’ for ‘Steve Reich in New York' in 2006, a FIPA (French Oscar) for best original film composition for '100 Days' in 2003, and recently recorded and mixed three out of the four BAFTA nominations for best original music - winning for Stephen Poliakoff's 'Capturing Mary'. At the same awards show, he was also a member of the sound team who won the BAFTA for best sound for 'Cranford'. But wait, there’s more! You may have also recently heard his mixes for the soundtrack of HBO’s smash hit 'John Adams' or the title music for 'CSI'. We caught up with him at his comfortable NHT-equipped studio over on the other side of the pond, and threw a few questions his way.
NHT: What projects have you been working on?
SP: I am currently mixing an album for Swedish band 'Rheya', and have just finished mixing John Adams in 5.1, a remake of the classic 'St Trinians' film, horror movies 'The Cottage' and 'Hush', a film about blood diamonds for the BBC.
NHT: Tell me about which NHT systems you have?
SP: I have two sets of 6.1 MOOs, one in London and one in my studio in Texas.
NHT: Overall, what features do you like best about your NHTs?
SP: They are an accurate small monitor that handles a wide variety of music genre easily. I like the way they are designed with the multiple input and parallel options, and the level matching. They are also extremely heavy for a small unit, which deters people from putting them in their pockets and running off with them.
NHT: How do they translate to the 'real world'?
SP: I don't live in the real world. Do you? I'm in the music business after all. But there do seem to be resemblances to things I've read about in books.
NHT: When mixing surround, how do you handle the sub/LFE channel?
SP: I tend not to use it. I am old and wise enough to know that it will get abused by people wanting a cinema experience in their living room. But I will throw scary stuff in there occasionally when mixing an action or horror movie. But as all players have inherent bass management which takes an MA in Japanese Manual Reading to figure out how to switch off, I prefer to use that to extend the frequency range - rather than artificially trying to trick it by adding discrete sub.
NHT: What settings do you run your speakers on?
SP: generally +4 with the auto power switch on. I enjoy seeing the lights switch from red to green after I've had a tea break.
Steve Parr & partner Sharon Rose
NHT: Do you mix through a console?
SP: It varies. I do in London; through an old Euphonix analogue CS but in Texas I just have a controller and mix in the box.
NHT: How much do high-end slappers cost in London?
SP: Varies. A little bit more expensive than Texas but they're used to using their tongues more so it’s worth it.
NHT: How far are your speakers typically from the mix position?
SP: They are on my console bridge. I parallel two sets of rears together when mixing films to create the illusion of a more diffuse feel. I know my room really well, and I visit cinemas to check my mixes so I'm quite happy breaking monitoring rules. Who wrote them anyway? Oh, I remember, but I'm not supposed to talk about that.
NHT: Any other NHT thoughts?
SP: Great company. I’ve had so much fun with them over the years; long may they come. Contact/Website: www.hearnoevil.net