Blair Liikala Rec Portfolio

I am a mid-20’s audio engineer, front-end web guru and former Apple professional passionate about technology and music.  A recording engineer raised in mid-Michigan, and now manage classical and jazz recording operations for a Texas university.

A little about this site: I have a love/hate relationship with my 6 year old website. Once upon a time [in college] I log every recording I made on this site, hovering around 400 recordings with pictures, descriptions and gear details. That was sweet until I needed to apply for a job and so I moved to displaying selected recordings and the rest in an 'archive' section. In late 2008 I was hired to manage the University of North Texas College of Music Recording Services department, and now oversee several hundred concerts a year. Since the rigs are fixed for mostly archive recording, posting photos was a bit repetitive. Therefore I've only posted those that were different from the usual rig.

Univeristy of North Texas

UNT is home to one of the largest music programs [by student enrollment] in the nation. Recording Services handles the College of Music’s daily audio and video recording for ensembles, faculty and students in two buildings and about 6 halls. As manager, my role is to oversee one full-time staff engineer and student workers recording daily concerts, repairing/installing/designing systems, maintaining computer editors, and engineering concerts and sessions. I also handle finances, hiring, and general paperwork for Recording Services.

I deal directly with audio and video production from planning through the final product. On larger concerts I do this myself, while most daily needs are handled by staff or trained students. I also facilitate small to large recording sessions from students to faculty, and personal to commercial projects.

I teach a basic audio class at the graduate and undergraduate level. The course is designed to familiarize working musicians with the basics of recording for when they are professionals in the world.

For the most up to date information, visit

UNT Game Changers


With my background in web technologies and control from recording to distribution I was able to develop both the front and back end systems to capture, encode and deliver concert recordings in several ways. I designed and coded the html/css frontend along with writing the LDAP php plugin for the CMS Expression Engine to pull information from UNT's Active Directory, set encoding presets, and maintain the Wowza Media Server system for streaming.

Live Streaming: The system offers multiple ways to watch that hit low and high desktop systems and mobile devices along with chatting. The initial project was outlined in 2010 Mix Magazine. Since then I planned and installed 9 additional HD cameras in two locations with control rooms and production workflow that keeps daily costs low. At the time of this writing the service passed the 200,000 hit mark in 2 years.


On Demand: Second was watching these live streams later, or for concerts not able to be live streamed. The On Demand page was created to futher allow UNT members to rewatch many of the concerts. The player supports RTMP streaming on the desktop with dynamic bitrate switching. At the time of this writing I have seen about 4400hrs of watched video between 150 videos on this system in a year.

On Demand Navigation Playing an On Demand Video

Downloads: Last was allowing some concerts to be downloaded. While the first two systems were free, the challenge became funding development while our physical disc sales dropped. This last system provides UNT members to download select concerts, and based on their status (student/faculty/staff) shows different download options. At the time of this writing this system should be launching soon.



Several overhauls to the recording systems have been within the last few years during my time at UNT. I have overseen the installation of multiple fiber optic audio systems, multitrack upgrades, upgrading the mic cabinet, adding high quality preamps & converters, new speakers, custom studio furniture and computers.



When I arrived there was an exisiting SD system with pan/tilt/zoom cameras and remote control room. Over the 2011 Summer I did HD upgrades in this hall, and added cameras in the newly rennovated Voertman Concert Hall. The biggest change was an all-HD digital signal path, HD-SDI fiber backbone with conversions to HDMI or DVI for displays and AESEBU or embedded SDI audio. Capture and streaming encoded by internal SDI cards on the Macs with AES/EBU audio, and routing to remote locations by network-enabled SDI routers.

Concert Hall

The new Voertman Concert Hall completed in Fall 2010.