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Bruce Swedien
Old 19th November 2020
Lives for gear
Papanate's Avatar

RIP Bruce. Thanks for bringing the Acusonic Recording Process - it was one favorite technique of yours among hundreds.
Old 20th November 2020
About Bruce:

We were very lucky at Gearslutz to have Bruce do a 2 month Q&A here back in 2006, he asked at the end of the one month duration, if he could do ANOTHER month.

It was was super generous of him to share his knowledge with us here.

The timing was good. We had just had some bad experiences with a Q&A guests and decided that all future Q&As should be pre-moderated (filtered to remove bad or rude comments). He liked that idea a lot as he had had some rough times on other forums and he could focus on sharing his experiences without people 'punking around' and spoiling it.

It was truly amazing as he shared multiple photos of cool things like the bass drum cover he had made to get the special sound on the Thriller album, stereo mic tricks & tips and so much more..

Sometimes he would have difficulty uploading photos so he would call me on the phone... whenever he rang I felt compelled to stand up to take the call (as if it was the president calling!). I would try to coach him on how to do the photo uploads but often he would say - "No, I want you to do it" (at which point I felt like saluting...) Yes sir!

We got on great - he LOVED sharing stuff with the forum readers. The timing was good because he was waiting for his studio to be built and was getting very bored of not recording. So he was able to fill his time posting cool info and we benefited! It was fantastic.

I had a private nickname for him - I would think of him as "Engineer 1" - as if everything started with him.

I really enjoyed his book - Make Mine Music - I highly recommend reading it as he tells his AMAZING career / recording life story Here

What an incredible career and impact on the industry he had. He leaves an amazing legacy.

Here is the Q&A he did here - I know he got a kick out of it being read long after he wrote it. He wanted to be generous and 'pay it forward'.

Below was his closing message to Gearslutz readers...

To My Darling Gearslutz All.....

Tomorrow is our last day together for awhile... I am going to be moving on to some very pressing projects. I know you are too...

I want to say thank you to all my new friends at Gearslutz. You are an inspiration to me... I now know that the future of music recording is in good hands. I have met the people that are going to carry our beloved music recording forward and upward!

Aren't we lucky to have such an interesting and exciting vocation?

Remember these....

Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.

Hugs and Kisses to you all...

Bruce Swedien

What a cool message... I was proud to know him (if only a little).

Hats off to you Bruce, your amazing work lives on - THANK YOU FOR IT!
Old 20th November 2020
Gear Addict
CoteRotie's Avatar

Awwww... RIP Bruce.
Old 20th November 2020
Tim Farrant's Avatar

Fair well Mr Swedien.

It is interesting to note that with the progress of technology since Mr Swedien's heyday, everybody has the opportunity be a great recording engineer if they want to be. Back then it was limited to a relatively lucky few who had access to the facilities of the time and who were also lucky enough to work their way up the ladder to work on such high profile projects as did Bruce. One record that hardly gets mentioned that he recorded was Quincy Jones's "Back On the Block". This record has been my "sound" reference since I first heard it on vinyl. If you do not know it - seek it out.

Old 20th November 2020 | Show parent
Here for the gear

Terrible to hear. Bruce and the records he produced was a major inspiration.

Always remember, compression is for kids!
Old 20th November 2020
Lives for gear
loved reading the stories on the Q+A at the time.

you can't really put into words how much of a genuis he was.

turn out the lights, and listen to his mixes. in stereo.

then you can see the genius in him.

Rest in peace to a great man.
Old 23rd November 2020
Bruce was very proud of his Scandinavian / 'Viking" roots.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
Gear Guru
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
Bruce was very proud of his Scandinavian / 'Viking" roots.
He sure did look the part.

My one encounter with him was when I was at Westlake for... I forget what. Sitting in a small lounge outside a studio along with two very bulked-up young gentlemen and a coffee table with a giant stack of wrapped-up sandwiches. Bruce emerged from the studio -- Bruce Swedien! -- and said, "Please help yourself to a sandwich. Michael's disappointed when people don't eat the sandwiches." Then one of the bulked-up young gentlemen said, "True dat. Take as many as you can carry."
Old 29th November 2020
Lives for gear
ajscent's Avatar

great guy
Old 30th November 2020 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
Mach1na's Avatar

Somehow I totally missed this. :( Such an innovative giant in his field, and a major part not only in Quincy Jones' production sound but also the artists they worked for. R.I.P.!

Originally Posted by Tim Farrant View Post
One record that hardly gets mentioned that he recorded was Quincy Jones's "Back On the Block". This record has been my "sound" reference since I first heard it on vinyl. If you do not know it - seek it out.
I'm pretty sure he did most of Quincy's 70's 80's and 90's albums (possible earlier, 50's and 60's too) and productions (George Benson, The Brothers Johnson, James Ingram etc.), so I would guess most people assume Swedien did it... But yeah, I love that album too! It's very "1989" but it has that similar warm-ish tone (like for instance the tune "I'll Be Good To You") that the BAD album had despite both being very synth- and drum machine heavy "digital" albums. I guess it's the Acusonic process at work.

And he continued to work with Michael on his recordings up until his Invincible album at least.

Originally Posted by Jules View Post
Bruce was very proud of his Scandinavian / 'Viking" roots.
I think Quincy's nickname for him was "The Swede".
Old 30th November 2020 | Show parent
Originally Posted by Mach1na View Post
I think Quincy's nickname for him was "The Swede".
Close - it was 'Svensk' - which means basically that but in Swedish.
Old 1st December 2020 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
Mach1na's Avatar

"Recording with Bruce Swedien", a VHS from 1997:

Old 1st December 2020 | Show parent
Lives for gear
uOpt's Avatar
Which of his books do you recommend?

Old 1st December 2020 | Show parent
Some here

I liked "Make mine Music" a lot.
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