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About Richard

Richard ElenBorn in Eng­land in the ear­ly 1950s, Richard G. Elen has been writ­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly for over a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry, and has launched, edit­ed and con­tributed to lead­ing music, record­ing and tech­nol­o­gy jour­nals on both sides of the Atlantic. He has also been a record­ing engi­neer and pro­duc­er, a part­ner in an adver­tis­ing agency and a mar­ket­ing exec­u­tive, and was one of the first to begin to devel­op the Inter­net’s World Wide Web for musi­cians and non-prof­its. Today he is a broad­cast­er in both the real and vir­tu­al worlds, lec­tur­er, voiceover tal­ent and audio producer.

For the long ver­sion, read on…

Album cov­er of Greasy Truck­ers Live at Ding­walls.

In the ear­ly Sev­en­ties, Richard became an Assis­tant Record­ing Engi­neer at Island Records’ Bas­ing Street Stu­dios, one of Lon­don’s major record­ing facil­i­ties. He was pro­mot­ed to Engi­neer sta­tus in 1974. The same year he went free­lance, and com­plet­ed his first project as a record pro­duc­er, Greasy Truck­ers Live at Ding­walls, which he also engineered.

Fol­low­ing his ini­tial suc­cess in the record­ing stu­dio, Elen went on the road, per­form­ing live sound mix­ing for the band Gryphon dur­ing UK and US tours sup­port­ing the band Yes. His next major project was a series of record­ings and tours with Gryphon, cul­mi­nat­ing in an album release (Rain­dance) in the Autumn of 1975.

Fol­low­ing a stay in Los Ange­les, Richard took a posi­tion in 1976 as Stu­dio Manager/Chief Engi­neer with EMI Music Pub­lish­ing, man­ag­ing KPM Stu­dios, their Cen­tral Lon­don mul­ti­track record­ing facil­i­ty. This stu­dio was also where he began his long rela­tion­ship with the KPM Pro­duc­tion Music Library, work­ing with a num­ber of their top com­posers includ­ing the inter­na­tion­al­ly-famous com­pos­er Kei­th Mans­field, pro­duc­ing music for use in TV and radio com­mer­cials, doc­u­men­taries and movies. Music record­ed and co-pro­duced by Richard Elen has appeared in such movies as Back To The Future II and The Fourth Pro­to­col, and in addi­tion has found a place in numer­ous TV series includ­ing world-famous doc­u­men­taries such as wildlife films by Sur­vival Anglia and oth­er lead­ing film-mak­ers. In addi­tion he has record­ed and pro­duced or co-pro­duced over five dozen albums — both vinyl and Com­pact Disc — for KPM Music, includ­ing a num­ber of his own compositions.

In 1978, Richard start­ed a mag­a­zine for pro­fes­sion­al musi­cians and record­ing engi­neers. This title, Sound Inter­na­tion­al, was launched in April 1978.

Richard had already gained a good deal of expe­ri­ence in writ­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly, includ­ing an involve­ment with the tech­nol­o­gy mag­a­zine Under­cur­rents in the mid-Sev­en­ties and pub­lished arti­cles in hi-fi and pro-audio jour­nals such as Hi-Fi News and Elec­tron­ics Today Inter­na­tion­al.

In Sep­tem­ber 1980, Richard became Edi­tor of Stu­dio Sound, at the time the world’s lead­ing pro­fes­sion­al record­ing jour­nal. He also launched a new mag­a­zine, Broad­cast Sound, aimed at the pro­fes­sion­al broad­cast­ing industry.

In 1984 Richard found­ed Cre­ative Tech­nol­o­gy Asso­ciates (CTA). One of Richard’s first projects under the Cre­ative Tech­nol­o­gy name was as a con­sul­tant to Neve Elec­tron­ics, then one of Britain’s lead­ing record­ing con­sole man­u­fac­tur­ers. He also worked with Neve’s PR agency to launch the com­pa­ny’s ground-break­ing line of all-dig­i­tal record­ing consoles.

Richard act­ed as a Pub­lic Rela­tions Con­sul­tant to a num­ber of com­pa­nies, includ­ing Apple Com­put­er (UK) Ltd (for whom he pro­duced a month­ly tech­ni­cal sup­port newslet­ter); EMI’s world-famous Abbey Road Stu­dios; and Sound­craft Elec­tron­ics (part of the US-owned Har­man Inter­na­tion­al group of pro­fes­sion­al audio com­pa­nies). He also began to write copy and design adver­tise­ments for sev­er­al top com­pa­nies in the pro­fes­sion­al audio field.

In the mid-Eight­ies he worked with the Asso­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sion­al Com­posers, a lead­ing UK music indus­try body of which he is a mem­ber, to edit and pro­duce the first edi­tion of a sem­i­nal work on music pub­lish­ing and copy­right, The Com­posers’ Guide to Music Pub­lish­ing. This was high­ly suc­cess­ful and Elen again edit­ed, part-wrote and worked on the pro­duc­tion of the com­plete­ly revised and expand­ed Sec­ond Edi­tion, pub­lished in 1994.

Hav­ing devel­oped a sig­nif­i­cant name in the pro­fes­sion­al audio and record­ing indus­tries, Richard has been invit­ed to lec­ture and write on pro-audio top­ics over the years by a num­ber of orga­ni­za­tions. In 1984 he was invit­ed by MusicWeek mag­a­zine (the UK equiv­a­lent of Bill­board) to lec­ture to record com­pa­ny exec­u­tives on the ben­e­fits and pit­falls of dig­i­tal audio tech­nol­o­gy and Com­pact Disc. Lat­er that year he was invit­ed by the US Soci­ety of Pro­fes­sion­al Audio Ser­vices (SPARS), the record­ing indus­try’s trade orga­ni­za­tion in the USA, to lec­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi on the sub­ject of dig­i­tal audio. In par­tic­u­lar, he pre­sent­ed a paper propos­ing a “Dig­i­tal Audio Record­ing Code” which would be print­ed on all Com­pact Discs and would indi­cate to con­sumers how dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy was used in the mak­ing of any par­tic­u­lar CD. He was joined in this pro­pos­al by Chris Stone, then head of SPARS and own­er of the major record­ing stu­dio in Cal­i­for­nia, Record Plant, and between them they final­ized what became known as the “SPARS Code”. The code was accept­ed by the record com­pa­nies and still appears on many CDs today.

Richard Elen was invit­ed to be one of a small num­ber of top indus­try per­son­al­i­ties to present awards at the inau­gu­ra­tion of the TEC Awards Cer­e­monies in New York in 1985. The annu­al TEC Awards, spon­sored by Mix Mag­a­zine, have devel­oped over the past two decades to become the lead­ing awards to man­u­fac­tur­ers and per­son­al­i­ties in the record­ing and pro-audio indus­tries. Richard Elen has sat on the Awards Pan­el for all the TEC Awards to date.

Already a mem­ber of the AES, Richard became an ear­ly mem­ber of the APRS British Record Pro­duc­ers’ Guild, lat­er re-named “Re-Pro”. Elen has con­tributed chap­ters to the sec­ond, third and fourth (cur­rent) edi­tions of the stan­dard text­book on record­ing tech­niques, Sound Record­ing Prac­tice, pub­lished by Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press and con­tributed to by sev­er­al of the top names in the UK record­ing indus­try for many years.

In the late 1980’s Richard was invit­ed to chair a sem­i­nar on com­put­ers and music at a major Lon­don com­put­ing con­fer­ence. He also pre­sent­ed a paper at the conference.

Richard in the stu­dio, some time in the 1980s, with Ambison­ic equip­ment in the background.

Richard had been inter­est­ed for many years (since 1971 in fact) in a unique British sur­round-sound record­ing sys­tem called Ambison­ics, after meet­ing one of the sys­tem’s orig­i­na­tors, the late Michael Ger­zon, at an IEEE meet­ing. He had been involved in the devel­op­ment of the sys­tem, under the aus­pices of a UK Gov­ern­ment body called the Nation­al Research & Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion for sev­er­al years, begin­ning dur­ing his time at EMI Music, and had helped to design a series of record­ing stu­dio units to enable the sys­tem to be used in mul­ti­track recording.

Many of Richard’s own record­ings use Ambison­ic tech­nol­o­gy, and he has pro­vid­ed Ambison­ic exper­tise and equip­ment for the pro­duc­tion of a num­ber of inter­na­tion­al­ly-suc­cess­ful albums, includ­ing Stereoto­my by the Alan Par­sons Project and Break Every Rule by Tina Turn­er. As a result of his suc­cess­ful involve­ment in this project, he was invit­ed to lec­ture and hold work­shops on the sub­ject of Ambison­ics to stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sur­rey’s Ton­meis­ter course. This is a four-year degree course for stu­dents who wish to enter the record­ing indus­try. Elen was also retained as a lec­tur­er from 1984 to 1987 on the Inter­na­tion­al Engi­neers’ Train­ing Course, also at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sur­rey, held by the Asso­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sion­al Record­ing Ser­vices (APRS), the UK record­ing indus­try’s trade orga­ni­za­tion and equiv­a­lent of SPARS. His lec­tures includ­ed the­o­ry and prac­tice of sur­round-sound, and aspects of dig­i­tal record­ing and elec­tron­ic musi­cal instru­ments. Elen lec­tured over a peri­od of three years at the Southamp­ton Insti­tute to first-year Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions degree stu­dents on the his­to­ry of the record­ing and broad­cast indus­try, mod­ern record­ing tech­niques, and elec­tron­ic musi­cal instruments.

From ear­ly on, Richard Elen has been an inter­net pio­neer. He had been involved in on-line com­mu­ni­ca­tions since the 1970s, and in the ear­ly 1980s had been a con­sul­tant to Inter­na­tion­al Man­age­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. The com­pa­ny was the first to offer elec­tron­ic mail and oth­er on-line ser­vices to the inter­na­tion­al music indus­try, and includ­ed many top artists, man­age­ment com­pa­nies, indus­try accoun­tants and lawyers as clients.

As part of his work with IMC, Elen pio­neered on-line elec­tron­ic pub­lish­ing, cre­at­ed an on-line enter­tain­ment news ser­vice, and wrote bul­letin-board soft­ware. In 1987 he attend­ed the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val to pro­duce a spe­cial dai­ly edi­tion of the Hol­ly­wood Reporter. The text was down­loaded via elec­tron­ic mail from Hol­ly­wood and placed in an ear­ly ‘Desk-Top Pub­lish­ing’ (DTP) pro­gram. The pages were out­put every morn­ing and print­ed, being dis­trib­uted to Fes­ti­val atten­dees at breakfast.

While IMC han­dled the record com­pa­nies, Elen saw a mar­ket for on-line com­mu­ni­ca­tions for musi­cians, and with this in mind set up Data Chan­nel Ltd, to run a ser­vice called The Music Net­work. This ser­vice was the first of its kind out­side the USA, and oper­at­ed suc­cess­ful­ly until he sold it in 1994 on mov­ing to North America.

In 1991, Richard Elen was called upon by Media Natu­ra, a UK-based char­i­ty offer­ing ser­vices to the envi­ron­men­tal move­ment, to extend once again the bound­aries of elec­tron­ic pub­lish­ing. Elen was put in charge of devel­op­ing and man­ag­ing a project to pro­duce and cir­cu­late a dai­ly mag­a­zine, called Eco, at the meet­ings of the Unit­ed Nations Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Nego­ti­at­ing Com­mit­tee for a Frame­work Treaty on Cli­mate Change (INC/FCCC). The mag­a­zine had been pro­duced with tra­di­tion­al meth­ods since 1972, but it was now time to bring it up to date. This was suc­cess­ful­ly car­ried out and it became one of the first projects of its kind, inte­grat­ing a sophis­ti­cat­ed glob­al net­work of on-line dis­tri­b­u­tion ser­vices with auto­mat­ed fax ser­vices and print­ed editions.

In addi­tion to print­ed cir­cu­la­tion at the UN INC meet­ings in Gene­va and New York, Eco is today dis­trib­uted inter­na­tion­al­ly via the Inter­net, and text and Adobe Acro­bat PDF files are sent to loca­tions all over the world where groups and indi­vid­u­als can down­load the file, print out and cir­cu­late their own issues. Richard took Eco on to the Web exper­i­men­tal­ly in 1993, and from ear­ly 1994, it has been pub­lished simul­ta­ne­ous­ly on paper and on the Web.

In 1987, Richard Elen moved to his­toric Glas­ton­bury, Som­er­set, in South-West Eng­land. While in Som­er­set, Richard was joined by long-time friend and col­league, Ron Neil­son, who had pre­vi­ous­ly co-owned Cal­i­for­ni­a’s largest adver­tis­ing agency spe­cial­iz­ing in pro­fes­sion­al audio clients. Togeth­er they found­ed an adver­tis­ing agency, White Horse Group, which devel­oped rapid­ly into a suc­cess­ful orga­ni­za­tion with sev­er­al major clients includ­ing Sound­craft Elec­tron­ics and PRECO Broad­cast Sys­tems. The group pro­duced a large num­ber of high­ly-praised adver­tise­ments and brochures, and rapid­ly became Britain’s top pro-audio adver­tis­ing agency. Neil­son returned to the USA in 1992, and set­tled near Nashville, TN. In late 1993 he set up a new agency, again spe­cial­iz­ing in pro­fes­sion­al audio and high-tech­nol­o­gy clients, with Robert Clyne. The agency began as a part­ner­ship and incor­po­rat­ed in June 1994.

In March 1994 Richard Elen became a tech­ni­cal and cre­ative con­sul­tant to Neilson/Clyne, lat­er becom­ing tech­ni­cal direc­tor and cre­ative asso­ciate. In this capac­i­ty, Elen was involved with sev­er­al projects for clients includ­ing Kurzweil Music Sys­tems of Waltham, MA; Lex­i­con, Inc. of Waltham; Stud­er of Switzer­land; Mas­ter­fon­ics Stu­dios of Nashville; Tri­dent Audio Devel­op­ments, Tur­bosound and Quest­ed Mon­i­tors of Eng­land. He also mas­ter­mind­ed the set­ting up of a New Media divi­sion of Neilson/Clyne, called MusicPro, to pro­vide Web and inter­ac­tive mul­ti­me­dia ser­vices to Neilson/Clyne clients, where he was respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing sites for Kurzweil and CD-ROM-based audio mag­a­zine Con­trol. Richard worked with Neilson/Clyne full-time until the end of 1995, and has worked with them in an inde­pen­dent capac­i­ty on sev­er­al projects since then.

In ear­ly 1996, Richard moved to Cal­i­for­nia to become VP of Mar­ket­ing for lead­ing dig­i­tal audio man­u­fac­tur­er Apogee Elec­tron­ics. From that time until the end of 2002 he car­ried out the var­i­ous tasks asso­ci­at­ed with the posi­tion, includ­ing orga­niz­ing trade show rep­re­sen­ta­tion, plan­ning mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy and super­vis­ing prod­uct launch­es, and act­ing, essen­tial­ly, as a one-man in-house mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions agency, pro­duc­ing every aspect of com­pa­ny col­lat­er­al — brochures, datasheets, man­u­als etc) and adver­tis­ing art­work, and run­ning the web site. In ear­ly 2003 he returned to the UK to han­dle Cre­ative Ser­vices at Merid­i­an Audio Ltd, car­ry­ing out a sim­i­lar role, leav­ing there to go free­lance in Sep­tem­ber 2011. His cur­rent clients include Merid­i­an and lead­ing pro-audio man­u­fac­tur­er Focus­rite.

Richard writes reg­u­lar­ly for the lead­ing pro­fes­sion­al and con­sumer audio mag­a­zines, has appeared on indus­try pan­els and has been a reg­u­lar guest on radio shows con­cern­ing tech­nol­o­gy and the audio arts. He designed the orig­i­nal Web site­for the lead­ing indus­try pub­li­ca­tion, Mix Mag­a­zine. He also has a Web site for his own sur­round-sound and audio arti­cles and infor­ma­tion,

In 2004, Richard became the Edi­tor in Chief of the lead­ing UK-based web site net­work cov­er­ing the his­to­ry of broad­cast­ing, and worked with the cre­ative part­ners, Bow­den Asso­ciates, who moved the mul­ti-thou­sand-page enter­pise from man­u­al updates to a com­pre­hen­sive con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem. He relin­quished this role in 2009 but remains a reg­u­lar contributor.

In 2001, Richard wrote and co-pre­sent­ed (with Bob Clear­moun­tain and Greg Laney) a paper on opti­miz­ing the qual­i­ty of Inter­net audio at the Audio Engi­neer­ing Soci­ety’s 18th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence in San Fran­cis­co. He and Bob also pre­sent­ed the paper to stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in April 2001. Richard also pre­sent­ed a paper at the Sur­round 2001 con­fer­ence in Bev­er­ly Hills, in a ses­sion with Dr Thomas Chen.

Richard Elen was a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee organ­is­ing the Audio Engi­neer­ing Soci­ety UK Cam­bridge Con­fer­ence 2007, enti­tled Illu­sions in Sound, where, in addi­tion, he pre­sent­ed a paper on Ambison­ic Sur­round-Sound. He was also on the Com­mit­tee for the 2008 event, Music Every­where, and pre­sent­ed a paper, this time on the tech­nol­o­gy of music dis­tri­b­u­tion and pro­duc­tion in the on-line ‘meta­verseSec­ond Life. In Jan­u­ary 2009 he was appoint­ed for a 2‑year term as a mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee of the Audio Engi­neer­ing Soci­ety, British Section.

Richard has been active in Sec­ond Life and oth­er vir­tu­al worlds for over six years and is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the poten­tial for vir­tu­al con­fer­enc­ing and eLearn­ing. He has a teach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion and is devel­op­ing the lat­ter area of his work in-world. He is a reg­u­lar pre­sen­ter on Radio Riel, an inter­net radio sta­tion based in Sec­ond Life, and also co-presents a week­ly in-world TV show, Design­ing Worlds, on design in vir­tu­al worlds, now pre­sent­ed in HD.

In July 2009, Richard gave a talk at the Open­Tech 2009 gath­er­ing in Lon­don on the pro­duc­tion of radio dra­ma using Voice over IP (VoIP) tech­nol­o­gy. You can read more about it here.

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