Don Was, Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, Honored at 2016 NAMM TEC Awards




Skunk Baxter - TEC Hall of Famer - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
Skunk Baxter – TEC Hall of Famer – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Engineering and Audio Firms Take Center Stage

By DONNA BALANCIA – The TEC Awards presented by the NAMM Foundation were a hit with musicians and engineers alike as a range of companies and honorees came away with statuettes.

Eventide, iZotope, Shure, Avid and others were celebrated at one of the few awards ceremonies that honors outstanding achievements in sound engineering.

Musicians honored during the night were Steely Dan co-founder, Jeff Skunk Baxter, and Record Plant founders Chris Stone and Gary Kellgren, who were inducted into the TEC Hall of Fame.

Don Was performs at TEC Awards - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
Don Was performs at TEC Awards – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Baxter, who was presented the statuette by his son, then led the TEC band in the classics “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” and “My Old School,” and the audience sang along.

Baxter was honored for his work with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers but also for his work with the government.

Producer Don Was, known for his band Was Not Was, and his collaborations with a range of famous rockers, received the Les Paul Award.

Joe Walsh
Joe Walsh was a presenter – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“It blows my mind to be mentioned in the same breath as Les Paul,” said Was, who gave a speech from the heart, thanking his family and the artists with whom he has created top-selling records. “Les Paul melded technology with music and we are all deeply in his debt,” Was said.

“So let’s Kick Out The Jams,” he said before performing with Dr. Lonnie Smith and then with members of Was Not Was who performed “Walk The Dinosaur,” a crowd favorite.

A video was created for the occasion that showed interviews with various coworkers of Was throughout the years, and showed photographs of Was with famous friends from Donna Summer to Rod Stewart and other well-known artists.

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Host Sinbad kept the evening moving – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Was: ‘I Thank My Family’

Was is well respected and well-liked by everyone — not only the flashy LA crowd, but particularly to his pals from Detroit, several of whom came to honor him.

Host Sinbad is an old hand at this event and his jokes were well-honed to the techie crowd and were genuinely and straight-to-the-point funny.  His routine on customer service touched on the frustration consumers feel in dealing with large corporations and his barbs were not lost on the audience.

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TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
AMPLIFICATION HARDWARE – STUDIO & SOUND REINFORCEMENT
Antelope Audio / Satori Monitoring Controller

ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT
Rupert Neve Designs / RNDI: Active Transformer Direct Interface

AUDIO APPS FOR SMARTPHONES & TABLETS
PreSonus / Notion 2 for iOS

COMPUTER AUDIO HARDWARE
Universal Audio / Apollo 8p Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface

HARDWARE / PERIPHERALS FOR SMARTPHONES & TABLETS
Shure / MOTIV MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Mic

HEADPHONE / EARPIECE TECHNOLOGY
Audio-Technica Corporation / ATH-R70x Pro

LARGE FORMAT CONSOLE TECHNOLOGY
Solid State Logic / XL DESK

MICROPHONE PREAMPLIFIERS
Manley Labs / Manley FORCE

MICROPHONES – RECORDING
Neumann / U47 FET

MICROPHONES – SOUND REINFORCEMENT
Shure / 5575LE Unidyne 75th Anniversary Vocal Microphone

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT AMPLIFICATION & EFFECTS
Eventide / H9 MAX

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT HARDWARE
Moog Music / Modular Recreation

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SOFTWARE
iZotope / Iris 2

RECORDING DEVICES
Zoom/F8 MultiTrack Field Recorder

SIGNAL PROCESSING HARDWARE
Tube-Tech / HLT 2A Equalizer

SIGNAL PROCESSING HARDWARE (500 SERIES MODULES)
Solid State Logic / 500-Format LMC+

SIGNAL PROCESSING SOFTWARE (DYNAMICS/EQ/UTILITIES)
iZotope / RX 4 Complete Audio Repair & Enhancement

SIGNAL PROCESSING SOFTWARE (EFFECTS)
AMS Neve / AMS RMX16 Digital Reverb Plug-In For UAD-2 Platform

SMALL FORMAT CONSOLE TECHNOLOGY
Avid / Pro Tools I S3

SOUND REINFORCEMENT LOUDSPEAKERS
Meyer Sound / LEOPARD

STUDIO MONITORS
Genelec / 8351A SAM

WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
Sennheiser / Evolution Wireless D1

WORKSTATION TECHNOLOGY
Avid / Pro Tools 12

CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT

FILM SOUND PRODUCTION
Birdman

INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT SOUND PRODUCTION
Batman: Arkham Knight

RECORD PRODUCTION / ALBUM
Before This World by James Taylor

RECORD PRODUCTION / SINGLE OR TRACK
Dreams by Beck

REMOTE PRODUCTION / RECORDING OR BROADCAST
Foo Fighters Sonic Highways

STUDIO DESIGN PROJECT
Paul Epworth’s The Church Studios, London, UK

TELEVISION SOUND PRODUCTION
Game of Thrones

TOUR / EVENT SOUND PRODUCTION
Sonic Highways World Tour, Foo Fighters