This week I talk about gear shoot-outs and how the results are oftentimes not nearly as “awesome” as you might expect. Plus I answer questions about stuff like:

  • getting rid of acoustic guitar pick noise (actually, this is more about GIRATS than anything)
  • should you set up a contract with new clients?
  • using different EQ settings for different parts of the same track
  • on-location recording tips
  • overcoming big obstacles
  • mixing with “depth”

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  • Henrik Petersson

    I think one important aspect of these vintage hardware emulations is so often overlooked. The fact that many of them have so limited sound shaping options will often impact the end result more than the actual “color” of it.

    For example I love using the API 550-series EQs. While they do sound great and I love that API sound, that’s not what I love most about them. The fact that they only have a few specific frequencies to select from and that they only provide 2dB steps is to me their best feature. It forces me to make quicker decisions and it forces me to make more bold moves. It simply lets me focus on what’s important instead of messing around with details that don’t make a difference to the big picture.
    I think that might be part of the reason why you got better result from a more simple mixing approach. The fact that your skills have improved is certainly another reason. 🙂

    While there certainly is a place for surgical tools, I tend to avoid using them if I don’t really have to. On well recorded material there is very rarely a need for it.

    Is the fact that it’s modelled on a famous piece of expensive hardware relevant? Yes and no. The fact that I know that it’s been used on countless of well made productions makes me more confident in it and I know that it’s certainly up to the task. It lets me focus on improving my own skills instead of wondering if there’s anything better out there that will do it for me.
    Also, they do have a certain sound that we have grown to love from listening to all those records throughout the years. So getting that sound is kind of like “coming home”. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great sounding mix from a different set of quality tools. It’s just different flavours.

    • Absolutely. Love that.

      I hear that Chris Lord Alge is a bold mixer. You tell him to turn up the bass, he CRANKS it.

  • ironman2819

    In regards to “pick” noise, I had this exact problem on a song I am working on now… I found a way to “reduce” pick noise on a rhythm guitar track using “glue” in the form of playing a track using my Native Instruments B4 (Hammond B3 plugin) with a heavy rotator setting (preferences vary) and it didn’t eliminate the picking noise but rather interefered with the pick noise and made for a fuller sounding rhythm track for the song.

    “Glue” works! 😛