The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series: Everything You Need to Know About the Fundamentals of Audio Production and Engineering

The first titles now available at

The first titles now available at

MONTCLAIR, N.J. - Advances in technology and the wide availability of affordable recording software and gear have made it possible for everyone to record and produce their own music, audiobooks, voiceovers, and any other audio projects. Achieving a professional sound, however, requires a firm grasp of the fundamentals of audio production and sound reproduction.

The Blackbird Academy, the premier school of audio, provides these fundamentals for every would be and existing recordist in a new online video series: The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series.

The series is the first to be launched under Pensado's Strive, an innovative multi-format educational initiative developed by Penwick Media, creators of Pensado's Place, the acclaimed weekly educational web series, and Hal Leonard, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and related content. The series' high-quality instructional videos and tutorials were written and filmed using the gear and workflow at Blackbird Studio, a world-renowned recording facility in Nashville where artists such as Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Kings of Leon, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Bruce Springsteen, Snoop Dogg, and countless others have recorded.

"Our mission for The Blackbird Academy/The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series is to advance the quality of audio education through a professional training curriculum," said John McBride, Owner/President of Blackbird Studio and The Blackbird Academy. "Thanks to the cooperation with our partners at Hal Leonard, the Pensado Team, and Groove3, it's now possible for young musicians, aspiring engineers and producers worldwide to benefit from this level of first-class audio education. No matter what their experience, no matter where they live, this program can be a great first step in starting a life-long career."

Each video in the series is an easy-to-digest tutorial led by Kevin Becka, Co-Director/Instructor at The Blackbird Academy. An experienced musician and recording engineer, Becka designed the course for anyone aspiring to learn about audio engineering and sound production, whether they are working in a home studio or aspire to work in a professional environment. The courses are designed for anyone wishing to record audio - musicians, composers, producers, songwriters, remixers, audiobook creators, voiceover artists, and singers who wish to gain more professional results when recording, overdubbing and mixing their production.

The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series will teach operational skills and understanding of basic to advanced recording concepts including:

  • Signal flow
  • Critical listening
  • Using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Console basics and operation
  • Microphone choices and advanced placement
  • Using plugins and analog processors
  • Understanding digital conversion
  • Developing skills such as mixing, editing, and processing
  • Using shortcuts to build speed
  • And much more!

Overview and introduction to The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series

The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series gives viewers a rare look inside Blackbird Studio and its treasure trove of both modern digital and vintage analog equipment. Viewers can access an impressive range of valuable information only known in the inner circles of production in the heart of Music City USA.


The first five courses of The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series' 17 titles are now available on The 30-Day pass is $15, the One-Year Pass is $150. Both passes give access to the entire course offering at Learn more about the Series here!

About the instructor/author:

Kevin Becka has been a recording engineer for over 25 years, working with the top names in music including Kenny G., Quincy Jones, Michael Bolton, George Benson, George Lynch, and more. An experienced educator, Kevin is currently the co-director and instructor at The Blackbird Academy in Nashville. He has also taught advanced recording at Belmont University, taught surround recording and lectured at the Danish Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and was director of education and instructor at The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences for ten years. Kevin is also an audio journalist who has worked as the editor of Pro Audio Review and Audio Media USA magazines. Since 2003, Kevin has been the technical editor of the industry-leading Mix Magazine where he writes features, product reviews, and a monthly column. Kevin is a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Country Music Association (CMA), and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).


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Caldwell Plus Productions Puts Power in their Studio with ADAM Audio A77Xs

Nashville, TN(Oct 17, 2016) — The rainfall and subsequent flooding that hit Nashville at the beginning of May 2010 was a thousand-year event that caused in excess of $1.5 billion in private property damage, including to the production studio owned by the Caldwell brothers, Cedric and Victor. Fast-forward to 2016 and the brothers have completely revamped and rebuilt their Caldwell Plus Productions facility, recently adding a pair of ADAM Audio A77X near-field/mid-field powered monitors in the control room.

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Recording Vocals with Dave Pensado

New online video course provides one-on-one tutorials with the master mixer - now exclusively available at Montclair, NJ - Recording Vocals with Dave Pensado was created for both the enthusiast recording in their bedroom and the audio professional already working in a studio. Whether interested in vocals recording techniques, microphones placement, or fixing and mixing vocals, Dave provides easy-to-follow instructions in 34 video tutorials organized in 8 chapters, allowing the viewer to pick a specific topic or follow the course chronologically. Capturing vocals well is one of the most challenging tasks in the recording process. "I've noticed over the course of my career that the performance, the energy, the vibe of the vocals is probably the single most important part of the record," says Dave Pensado. "If you think back to when you first discovered music, what you fell in love with was the vocal performance and the energy of that vocal, so we are going to focus a lot on that and on the technical aspects that bring out that magic." In this new course, Dave Pensado teaches techniques that can be applied to all genres and instruments. He covers technical topics such as how mics work, placement, and processing along with interpersonal topics like how to make the vocal talent feel comfortable and how to project confidence to get a great performance. Included in the course is an actual session with vocal star Esthero, as well as a contribution from mixing engineer Bob Horn covering how to fix problems with VocAlign and Melodyne. Recording Vocals with Dave Pensado is the video equivalent to a private tutoring session with the master. Not only does Dave share his knowledge and expertise, but he also encourages and motivates the viewer to develop their own unique style and taste and how to stay true to it.Dave Pensado is one of the recording industry's preeminent mix engineers, and one of the most-watched online audio instructors in the world. With multiple Grammy nominations and wins under his belt, Dave has had an astounding career. Christina Aguilera, Pink, Shakira, Beyoncé, Flo Rida, Afrojack, Frank Ocean, are just a few of the many superstars who keep Dave on speed dial. From pop to hip hop, country to Latin, and R&B to alternative, Dave's special niche is making radio-friendly records while enhancing artistic intent. His online television series, Pensado's Place, is seen in over 150 countries and is used as a teaching tool by more than 100 schools.Availability & PricingRecording Vocals with Dave Pensado is exlusively available at:$94.99 for purchase, $2.99 for 72 hour rental, or available for streaming with the Groove3 All Access Pass for $15.00/month.