Monday, December 11, 2006

Busy busy busy

I am sorry that the frequency of my posts has decreased so much - it is a very busy time towards end of the album, getting all the loose ends tied up and crafting the mixes. I will try to summarize the last week now.

I started the week by greeting my colleague and friend, engineer Jeff Knowler, who is joining the team to help me with the mixes. Jeff and I have already worked on the Battle album, a Clinic album and a Moi Caprice album this year, so Jeff is pretty tuned in to my vibe. We have set up a mix suite in he room next to mine, with tie lines throught to my room so we can check the mixes on all the monitor systems we have available (and I can eavesdrop!)

We have NS10s in both rooms of course and Genelec 1029s. I have Dynaudio BM15s in my room and Jeff is experimenting with PMC ALM1s in the Mix Suite. We both use Sennheiser HD600 cans - I have installed my Grace Design m902 in Jeff's room, and in my room I am using my Benchmark DAC-1 so we can definitely hear what we are doing :-) Jeff is using a large Pro Tools HD rig. I am not a PT expert, but I can interface very nicely with it when I use the Mackie Controller. I am using my expanded Logic Audio Rig with TC Powercore, Waves APA, UAD-1 and Focusrite Liquid Mix. I also have an SSL Duende but I am finding it impossible to get that working in addition to my other DSP cards (none of which I want to give up).

Of course it is not about the equipment - it is about the ears and the sensibilities of the people involved, about getting the right balances between the musical parts and the vocals, and serving the songs as best we can. I take my responsibilities seriously.

It is great to have 2 rooms working, and to have another set of ears across the mixes. Basically I set Jeff up with the parts for a song (all synths are bounced out in the Logic system using the "Export all tracks as Audio" command which makes files for Pro Tools and Audio Files for Logic, freeing up the DSP of my Logic system for mixing) and a rough mix then he gets things going - I go in occasionally and make adjustments. I leave him to get on with things and work on another mix in my room. At the end of the day I take the mixes from both rooms home and check them on my home system the next morning, then I make more adjustments accordingly. When I am happy we get James to load the mixes up to EMI's secure server so that Vince and Andy and Michael and Paul and Daniel can access them and make comments and criticisms. We have done 4 mixes so far, and look forward to doing another 10 this week.

Daniel is in the building too, and comes in to offer his opinions whenever he has a moment. He has known the band longer than any of us, and is simultaneously their biggest fan and our harshest critic, so that keeps us on our toes :-)

At the start of the week I still had quite a few vocals and backing vocals to finish with Andy, but by the end of the week (Friday) all vocals for the album were finished. A significant milestone reached, I gave Andy a big hug and Jeff, James and I celebrated later in the evening with a small beer.