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Volume 3, Number 7, September 2005
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UA Universe
by Joseph Lemmer, Marsha Vdovin and Terry Hardin

Featured Employee: UA President Matt Ward

UA President Matt Ward

UA President Matt Ward grew up in Berkeley, California, the son of a motorcycle-riding economics professor and an arch-feminist school librarian. "My mom, at seventy-nine years of age, is still causing trouble," Matt says. "Whenever I see a picture of protesters being dragged away by the police, I'm compelled to take a look to ensure my mother doesn't need me to bail her out of jail. I was tear-gassed for the first time at the age of eleven at the People's Park riots in 1969 and saw Jimi Hendrix at the Berkeley Community Theatre the following year." Matt says his upbringing wasn't musical, but clearly he inherited some family fearlessness and individualism.

UA President Matt Ward
How would you describe your childhood?
My childhood was pretty cool, actually. I had a lot of friends growing up and was involved in activities ranging from Little League to dirt-bike riding to playing in rock bands. I formed my first band when I was eleven or twelve, and my parents were extremely supportive--even letting us have loud jam sessions in the dining room.

What was your introduction to music?
I was listening to music from a very young age and when it was time, at age nine, to pick an instrument at school, I selected the trombone. I played in the band and orchestra at school, which was fun and taught me how to read music, but there weren't a whole lot of trombones in the bands I was listening to, so I soon switched to guitar. I remember exactly the moment I decided I wanted to become a professional musician. I was watching the old Mike Douglas show, a really lame variety show from the sixties and early seventies, and Dyan Cannon was on along with some blowhard comedian who wouldn't leave her alone. Then Don McLean came out and shyly performed "Starry, Starry Night" sitting right next to her on the couch, but not looking at her once. When the camera pulled back, Dyan Cannon had her back turned to the comedian, tears rolling down here cheeks, and was gazing at Don McLean with a look that a biologist would say indicated she was "in-season." At that moment, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“When I was very young, I was really into R&B and soul music. My sister and her boyfriend took me to a James Brown concert when I was six. I remember learning to do the "Tighten Up," which came out in 1968”

Matt Ward as Older Elvis at the UA 2004 Holiday Party
What career moves helped you get to the position that you are at now, President of Universal Audio?
My background in the industry is product marketing and product management, which allowed me to work with all the departments in the companies I worked for; sales, marketing, engineering, finance and manufacturing. So experience certainly played a part, but so did networking. When Bill Putnam was looking for some help at UA, he asked Dana Massie, who I had worked with at E-mu and a startup company called FluxNetwork, who suggested he give me a call.

Rumor around the water cooler is that you don't own a TV. What do you do instead? How do you stay in touch with popular culture?
While it's true that we have no cable, broadcast or satellite, we do have a monitor and a DVD player. In fact, my wife and I are Netflix addicts and watch movies at home pretty regularly. Our kids also watch movies and videos, but at least they aren't bombarded with those putrid ads directed at kids and they also don't play video games. As for what we do instead, the answer is a whole lot of stuff. The average America watches about 30 hours of TV a week. What I can't understand is where people find the time to watch all that TV.

Tell us about the book you wrote.
I wrote a novel called Blackout, which was published in 2001. I'm afraid it didn't sell that well, and now the publisher is out of business and I've got a couple of boxes of books sitting in my garage. Blackout is a "what if?" book about how life in this country would change if people suddenly couldn't watch television. The inspiration for the book was how not having television changed my life, and my fascination with Foley artists--the protagonist in the book is a Foley artist. If anybody's interested, there are still some sample chapters online at www.tvblackout.com, and there are still new and used copies of it floating around out there somewhere. It was really a blast to go around and do book signings and pretend to be an author, but man, that's a tough way to make a living.

Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
When I was very young, I was really into R&B and soul music. My sister and her boyfriend took me to a James Brown concert when I was six. I remember learning to do the "Tighten Up," which came out in 1968, when I was ten. Soon after that, I began learning to play the guitar and that led to a huge Rolling Stones stage, closely followed by a huge Allman Brothers stage. In High School I was really into Queen and progressive rock bands like Genesis and Kansas.

What is your favorite part of your job?
The best part of working at UA is the amazing team that we have. To have Joe Bryan, Dave Berners and Dennis Fink all designing products, along with the original product designs of Bill Putnam Sr., is a staggering competitive advantage. In addition, all of the department managers at UA are talented, motivated and dedicated individuals who make my job not only a lot easier but also a joy. I also really love the fact that we're still building the products right here in Santa Cruz. I'd like to think that UA is a cool place to work, so the growth that we've achieved has created a bunch of cool jobs for people, and that's certainly satisfying. But if I had to pick one favorite thing, it would have to be working with Bill Putnam Jr. Getting the opportunity to build this company with him has been exciting and immensely gratifying. What I have learned from him, and what we have learned together, about running a business has been truly inspiring.

Matt's family: left to right, Jake, Matt, Carl, and Marina
What is your least favorite?
I was recently telling a guy who was CEO at two different companies I worked for how much more I now appreciate how difficult it is to run a company. It was really something of an apology for all the whining I did when I worked for him. There are times when you have to make decisions for the good of the company that are very difficult personally. These kinds of decisions range from being the expense cop to rejecting a well thought out proposal from a passionate and dedicated employee because the time just isn't right, to having to having to let somebody go who just isn't working out.

Tell us about your wife and kids?
My wife, Marina, worked as a graphic designer prior to our first son, Jake, who's now nine, being born. Since then, she's mostly been a stay at home mom, which has been wonderful for our kids. We have another son, Carl, who is five. But now she's begun to sell her pastel drawings. She won a couple of awards for her drawings, which led to her to get out there and start selling her work. As I write this, she's getting ready to go man her booth at the Art Under the Oaks festival. She sold several pieces yesterday, so she'd pretty dang excited. Our kids both have the bug and draw practically non-stop--although Jake also loves to play congas and this electronic percussion thing I bought him. My wife is also a gifted pianist, and we're starting to play music together with our older boy. My dream is to get Carl to play bass, paint up an old school bus and hit the road Partridge family-style, although we'd certainly sound better than they did as our stage rigs would be packed with UA gear.


Upcoming Events...

119th AES Convention
The 119th AES convention will convene October 7-10, 2005, at the Javitz Convention Center in New York City. UA will unveil a few surprises, including a great new plug-in for the UAD-1 DSP card.

UA Nominated for TEC Award
The Universal Audio LA-610 is nominated for a 2005 TEC Award in the Mic Preamplifier Technology category. This is the fourth year in a row UA has been honored with TEC Award nominations and/or wins. Previous nominees are the 2-610 Dual Channel Tube Microphone & Instrument Preamplifier (2002), and the 2192 Master Audio Interface (2003). Previous TEC Award winners are the 6176 Channel Strip (2003) and the 2-1176 Twin Vintage Limiting Amplifier (2004).

Please refer to the ballot included in the August issue of Mix magazine (subscriber issues only) and vote for UA!

Award winners will be announced at the 21st Annual TEC Awards, which will be held the following night, October 8, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

TECnology Hall of Fame Champagne Reception October 7, 2005
The Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio, which sponsors the TEC Awards, has announced the 2005 inductees to the TECnology Hall of Fame. Established in 2004, the Hall of Fame recognizes products and innovations that have made a significant, lasting contribution to the advancement of audio technology.

The 15 innovations and products that will be inducted for 2005 will be honored at a champagne reception on Friday evening, October 7, in New York City at TEC Award-winning studio, Right Track Recording.

Broadjam 6-Pack Contest
Universal Audio is a proud sponsor of the Broadjam 6-Pack songwriting contest. Contestants submit original songs on any of six different themes: Love Shout, Open to Interpretation, Jokeland, Hell Gig, Christmas, and Broadjam Tag. Enter in one or all of the categories to accumulate points. The artist with the most points wins a package of fabulous prizes, including a UAD-1 Project PAK and a trip to the 2006 Winter NAMM show.


Press • Artist • Engineer • Producer Gossip...

James Lumb
UAD-1 user James Lumb created a beautiful soundtrack for the Maximilian Schell installation in Los Angeles. A vortex-shaped, outdoor sculpture by architects Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues warps the flow of space with a feather-weight rendition of a celestial black hole. Hovering over a courtyard, this spectacle is the size of an apartment building and has been stopping traffic along Silverlake Blvd. It's constructed with tinted Mylar resembling stained glass; the vortex functions as a shade structure, swirling above the outdoor gallery.
Maximilian Schell Installation, Los Angeles
Composer James Lumb (left) and architect Ben Ball

The interior creates a unique and ever changing environment. During the day, as the sun passes overheard, the canopy casts colored fractal light patterns onto the ground, while James Lumb's ambient composition "Resonant Amplified Vortex Emitter" vibrates a large coil placed in the ground beneath the structure. The installation has received extensive media coverage in publications such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and on various TV news shows.

James is currently mixing his new record as Electric Skychurch, Signal Path. He recorded in May. He's mixing in Nuendo 3, and using a lot of UAD-1 Plate Reverb, UAD-1 Roland Chorus, UAD Precision Limiter, and the UAD-1 LA-2A.

Learn more about James Lumb at electricskychurch.com

Bruce Swedien Kisses and Tells!
Bruce Swedien
When it comes to his Universal Audio 2192 Master Audio Interface Bruce Swedien does kiss and tell. The legendary Mr. Swedien was the featured speaker at the recent MIAC show held at the Toronto International Centre. Mr. Swedien’s presentation was co-sponsored by Universal Audio, Royer Labs, and HHB Canada and was a standing room only affair. Mr. Swedien spent the time allotted him by playing several tracks that he has been associated with over the years and describing for the audience how these tracks were recorded including all of the gear he used. Universal Audio and our family of audio tools came up in the conversation several times and as the picture above illustrates better than anything. Mr. Swedien has a special place in his heart for his 2192.

New Universal Audio Users
New Universal Audio users include legendary guitarist Waddy Wachtel. Waddy took a break from touring with Stevie Nicks to update his home studio. To complete his collection of UA analog gear, Waddy just added the UA TDM Plug-Ins and the UAD-1 Ultra Pak. He has recently found time in between rock 'n' roll gigs to do some film scoring and is currently writing music cues for an Adam Sandler movie while he is on hiatus with Stevie Nicks' tour.
Waddy Wachtel and Stevie Nicks


Tech Talk...

MAS no more

Last month we reported that future versions of the UAD-1 software will no longer support Windows 98SE, Windows ME, or Mac OS 9. It should also be noted that the Mark of the Unicorn Audio System plug-in format will no longer be supported, as UAD-1 OS X support never included MAS. MOTU's Digital Performer also supports Apple's Audio Units' plug-in standard, so DP users will still be in business. It is, however, recommended that you finish any OS9/MAS-based sessions before upgrading to OS X/AU, because session data for the UAD-1 plug-ins used in the OS9/MAS session will not be imported properly into the OS X/AU session.

Robert A. Moog,

Bob Moog
Everyone at Universal Audio would like to offer their condolences to the family of Bob Moog who passed away on Sunday, August 21, 2005.

Bob Moog was a major innovator and pioneer in the field of synthesis, electronics and music. His work became a major influence on music and recording. He was an inventor and maverick and personally connected with and inspired many musicians and engineers. He will be also be remembered for his kindness and sharp sense of humor. We will always remember Bob Moog.

New York Times: Robert Moog, Creator of Music Synthesizer, Dies at 71


News & Schmooze...

UA Softball Update
The News & Schmooze team caught up with chief financial officer and UA softball team captain, Alan Beans, and asked if he was ready to report on the softball team. "No." said the captain.

NAMM Report
The annual summer session of the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants, now referring to itself as the International Music Products Association) was held July 22-24 at the new beautiful, spacious Indianapolis Convention Center. Registration for the event exceeded 20,000 professionals from the music products industry, which included an 11% increase in international registration over the 2004 summer session. Nashville has been the site of the summer session for a number of years, but the growing popularity of this mid-year session caused it to eventually outgrow the convention facilities in Nashville. Next year's summer session is scheduled for July 19-22 in Austin, Texas. The plan is to move the summer show back to Indy in 2007, and again in 2009.
The Artsgarden walkway between the convention center and the Hyatt Regency Hotel
Indianapolis Convention Center front entrance
Although Indianapolis doesn't have the reputation of being a music-centric city like Nashville the folks at NAMM teamed up with the Midwest Music Summit, a premier showcase of unsigned talent, to transform downtown Indianapolis into one big live-music venue. The MMS attracted more than 500 bands, which could be found performing at all hours in hotel lobbies, restaurants, public parks, on the show floor, and in night clubs throughout the three-day run of the NAMM show. This definitely helped to move Indy's vibe away from NASCAR and little closer to a South by Southwest feeling.
Ambidextrous guitar players rejoice!
Everybody needs a Rat Pack guitar

Summer NAMM has always had a greater focus on the musical instrument sector of the industry, and this year's show did not vary in that regard. There was a smattering of pro audio and DAW technology companies exhibiting, but easily 65% of the exhibiting manufacturers were of the guitar/stringed instrument (including amplifiers), band instrument, and drums/percussion variety. Universal Audio is among those manufacturers who traditionally don't exhibit at the summer NAMM show. As the show grows and attendance increases, we may see more of the pro audio and DAW technology companies changing their attitudes about this show.

Bobby Kelly from Tech Rep Marketing going deep on the Moog Voyager
The people of Indianapolis can be proud of their facilities and the terrific job they did hosting this show for the first time. However, most people that I spoke with at the show (along with many who didn't attend) said they were definitely looking forward to attending next summer's show in Austin, the alt-country capitol of the world. The music scene in Austin is indigenous, and it won't require any strategy sessions to create a great vibe. See you next July on 6th Street.


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