Mohr-Fire Studios... meet The Ira Liss Show


The Ira Liss Show
One of my favorite things to do is visit different recording studios and drool (not literally) over all of the channels, preamps, and routing options each studio puts together.  So when I found out my friend Ira Liss would be doing a live studio session, I was very excited to come hear the music and check out the space.  Located in Lafayette, CO, Mohr-Fire Studios was the perfect environment for this intimate concert with Ira, whose style is comedic and witty.

The Ira Liss Show is a combination of Ira's music and poetry slammed into a quirky piano-bar style that is both humorous and witty.  His songs are introspective and are centered around lyrics such as "If it weren't for Adam and Eve" or "...I'd rather be pissed".  His timing and writing are brilliantly intertwined, providing an entertaining show for everyone (mostly adult audiences however).  Ira seems to like to sing about sex a lot, including sex with dinosaurs...  just to give you a glimpse into his sense of humor.  His songs are designed to speak to all of humanity, touching on the topics of God and human existence.  At the same time, his lyrics are filled with puns and word play.  This unique combination creates an exciting, new type of musical entertainment that is rare to find in this day and age.

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Mohr-Fire Studios in Lafayette is a humble, but well equipped studio.  While the space appears small at first, both the control room and studio are spacious and well-equipped.  There is a 100 sq ft. iso booth as well (850 studio, 500 control).  They are running a ProTools HD 7.4 system through 192s controlled with a Digidesign (Now Avid) Pro Control Mix Surface.  Additionally, their A/D/A is run through two of my favorite devices, the Apogee AD-16x and DA-16x.  These have excellent clocking technology and can interface with ProTools HD (unlike most hardware).  Their microphone and preamp selection is also quite impressive.  They are well equipped with pencil and large diaphragm condensers from AKG, Shure, Sennheiser and Neumann, including my personal favorite the U87.  They also have a Neumann KU 100 or "Fritz", a binaural microphone in the shape of a human head.

Digidesign Pro Control Mix Surface

I am a huge fan of their preamp selection as well.  They primarily API 3124s which they report as being very clean.  But they also have a pair of Grace 101s and a Focusrite Liquid Channel in addition to a good selection of other high-end preamps. 
PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2
Having such a wide variety of equipment at their disposal gives them a tremendous advantage when crafting the sound of a recording.  In addition to their studio system, they have a smaller house board made by PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2.  This digital board interfaces over firewire and has a tremendous number of routing capabilities.  However, I would like to see this kind of board with more built-in digital options.  There is only one on-board SPDIF out to give you an idea.  However, its firewire capabilities help to compensate for this.

AKG 451s
Ira's piano was mic'd with AKG 451s in a modified ORTF, off axis from the keyboard.  The vocal mics had the perfect amount of medium-room reverb (digitally from the PreSonus) to  brighten up Ira's voice and fill the space.  Ira played for almost two hours, entertaining us with his witty and introspective songs and poetry.  The lighting was difficult to work with, but I was able to get a few nice shots for Ira, who works very hard at ATLAS to do the same for everyone else.  Speaking of which... he will be having a show in the first week of June this year in the Black Box.  Definitely something you will want to go check out.

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Ira has all kinds of fun playing for other people