Sounds Good!

Why we've added a Pro Audio department

High-quality audio for video is vital. But pro audio for recording studios and live performances is also an important area and worth a department of its own. Here's a look at our new Professional Audio department and the world-class experts behind it.

I've always felt a strong connection between music with photography. In the days of records and cassette tapes, I made “darkroom mixes” of my favorite songs to play while developing film and printing. I've heard legends of a war photojournalist who used to psych himself up for work by playing the soundtrack from the film “Apocalypse Now” on his headphones, and rocked to “Wild Thing” by Ton Loc while shooting a portrait of Sports Illustrated legend Walter Iooss for Modern Photography in the late '80s. 

More recently, I've created iTunes mixes to play on my laptop, and have my selection of favorite Internet radio stations that I stream while working on photos in Photoshop or when producing content for the Adorama Learning Center. (A shout-out here to Rewound Radio, a great oldies station that I often listen to.)



Now playing: A screen grab of the song playing right now on my cassette player iTunes. Marshall Crenshaw is great for getting my creative juices flowing while doing post-production in Photoshop.

Expanding the Learning Center

A couple of months ago, it was decided that the Adorama Learning Center should expand to include a Pro Audio department. This would be a serious department, geared primarily towards recording professionals. It would include buying guides, product reviews, and how-to articles to help performers—bands, actors, etc.—as well as for studio producers who want to keep up on the latest advances and technology.

This all sounded exciting, but I must confess: As much as I love music, I'm not a great musician—not even close—and my experience in sound production is limited to some classes I took in graduate school in the early '80s. The only time I'd been in a professional recording studio, it was to photograph a band. Just as with digital photography, digital audio recording technology has completely changed, and I needed to find experts with current, hands-on experience. And so, a nationwide search began.

Who knew that search would end less than a mile from my office?

Meet Kurt and Kristin

Through a mutual acquaintance, I met Kurt Reil and Kristin Pinell, who I knew as the drummer and lead guitarist, respectively, of a local indie-label band with the unlikely name The Grip Weeds. (A gold star to anyone who can correctly identify the group name's cinematic reference.) I already owned several of their CDs and had heard the band play live a few times over the years, and enjoyed their sound.

As their band evolved, they built House of Vibes, a pro recording studio in their house—a nondescript building that I'd driven past thousands of times—and along with recording their own music, they record and produce music for other bands. One of their claims to fame is that they've recorded CDs for the Smithereens, a band that gained national prominence thanks to a string of alternative radio hits in the 80s and 90s—and guess what? Several of the Smithereens' songs were in my “darkroom mixes”!

So yeah, I'm a fan.

Meet the Adorama Learning Center's new Pro Audio experts, Kristin Pinell and Kurt Reil...and their dog, Buster.


It turns out, the feeling was mutual. Kurt and Kristin are long-time Adorama customers, and they, too, fondly remember the smell of Fixer. Their taste for a blend of modern and retro (which you can hear in their music, which invokes the Beatles, the Byrds, 60's psychedelic rock with a touch of punk) translates into how they've set up their studio. Yes, they have a state-of-the-art digital recording and production facility, but they also have a 2-inch reel-to-reel tape recorder ,which many of their clients prefer because of the unique quality of the sound, as well as some classic processing and playing gear that dates back to the '60s.

The Adorama Learning Center's Pro Audio department will offer buying guides, recording and studio set-up tips, live recording advice, and reviews of products from mics to mixing boards and beyond. Check out the first batch of articles, which went live today. More will be coming soon!

Help us get the word out!

And so, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Kurt and Kristin, who bring years of practical studio and live audio chops to the table. Take a look at the Adorama Learning Center's Pro Audio department, which launched today, and help us get the word out to anyone you know who is a performer or producer.  Let 'em kmow that we have experts on board who want to help them make smart buying decisions for equipment that meets their needs. Look for more Pro Audio gear reviews, how-to's and guides to be added on a regular basis.


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