Giving musicians a pocket-sized studio
Marketing strategist puts ‘audio engineer’ in musicians’ pockets
A windowless basement doesn’t make a great rehearsal space, but the reality is that’s where many bands practice. So, Stacey Dyer Messier has been visiting these sessions to show that she can get a recording on her iPhone that sounds almost like it was professionally mixed in a studio. Messier, 32, is the marketing force and creative strategist behind the digital audio tool Spire, an app created by the Cambridge audio software company iZotope. “Technology has made almost any musical task easier and cheaper for aspiring musicians,” said Messier. She spoke with Globe correspondent Cindy Atoji Keene about how iZotope has branched out to the nonprofessional market by offering “an audio engineer in your pocket.”
“Back in the ’80s or ’90s, I remember recording vocals on an enormous 24-channel sound board. If input levels or microphone placement were awry, the tape sounded haphazard. So it was never easy for aspiring musicians to make a demo or a mix. Fast forward to today. Recordings can be easily uploaded to music platforms like Soundcloud or Facebook.
“Often the audio quality just blows my mind. Spire runs on digital signal processing, allowing tracks to be automatically enhanced with mixing controls. There’s a built-in algorithm so even if your drummer is the loudest person on the face of planet, the sound isn’t distorted. The app also allows behind-the-scene stories about how musicians work. For example, a comment can be added anywhere in a song, ‘Here is the guitar lick I worked on.’
“We are constantly working to refine the app; a lot of workers are musicians and provide their input. Our sales rep is an amazing bass player and helped decipher the right level for bass tones and a sound input level check. And my husband is a scratch turntable musician. He can use Spire as a scratch pad, text it to music producer, friends, or store songs in the cloud.”