With over 30 Grammy® award nominations to his name, Jacquire King may be one of the hardest-working engineers in the business, imparting his detailed sonic signature on a wide variety of recordings by esteemed artists such as Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, James Bay, Modest Mouse, Buddy Guy, Norah Jones, Of Monsters and Men, Josh Ritter, Cold War Kids, Punch Brothers, City and Colour and many more. Our friends at Universal Audio made the introduction for us, and Jacquire popped in for a couple weeks in 2017 to answer anything and everything about working in the trenches. He covers the lot of it, from personal taste in music to scheduling tips to the nitty-gritty of guitar, saxophone and vocal sounds - and of course how he likes to use his UAD gear in the process. Sit back with a warm beverage of choice and take it all in, it's a good one!

[top]I'm curious about your approach to taste and interfacing with artists. If you imagine a mix or an element of the mix having a strong character in a certain direction (for example, a dark saturated lead vocal), and the artist imagines a different approach, do you demonstrate both, or yield to the artist, or engage in a conversation? - Davidcp

I would demonstrate and discuss any ideas to make sure everything that is felt to be a possible representation was considered but in the end I most often defer to the artist... There have been times I've stood my ground and in doing so have to accept the ramifications of any outcome... But usually I do my best to have a strong but respectful opinion and then leave it to the artist

[top]How does a project you're producing, engineering and mixing differ from a project that you'll be handing off to another Mixing Engineer? - Jampot

I'm not sure that I go in with a different mind set at all.. I try to put 100% of myself into it regardless.. The only difference is when I'm handing something off I need to make sure that I've made every effort to make what I give to a mixer be clear and well organized. If I'm mixing there are perhaps things I know I can still fiddle with to get it across the finish line.. I treat it all the same, at least I try to.. I'm not sure this is much of an answer but I just show up and do my best and I know I'm valuable but don't think I'm the final word on anything or the "be all, end all", I just work hard until I get a result myself and the artist feels good about...

[top]Would love to get your take on what you believe to be the worst, most pervasive myths/misconceptions about mixing & music production in general. - tkaitkai

The one thing I could say is that in general there is not enough opportunity taken to have real musical interaction in the studio and too much emphasis is placed on the power of the computer and the ability to control and manufacture an outcome.. Certainly the tools provide an ability to present something in a fresh way and record making is a craft of manipulation and sleight of hand but the truth of the song or performance and capture of energy has to be paramount…

[top]I was wondering how often you find yourself processing something because you're so used to doing things that way? Do you look at a spectrum analyser whilst EQing?
If so how do you stop your eyes from distracting your ears? Or what do you ask/tell yourself so ? - JordanTimms

Good question and honestly it's a struggle to not repeat yourself too much... I certainly fall into repeated tracks or habits but also purposefully change the way I do things every so often to stretch and learn as well as make my brain and ears have to figure out new approaches... It's also one reason I seek out all kinds of different musical opportunities to participate in so I can try to stay fresh.. I do not look at an analyzer often while working but do use one to look at the stereo mix buss to make sure I'm not missing something and as a security blanket.. Listening away from the computer is always advised... Best

[top]With so much music being released in today's time, I was wondering what it takes to interest your ear & make you feel motivated to work with a new band or artist. - alexsongbeats

I think first for me it's the quality of the voice, in either just character or flat out singing talent. I'm looking to work on things that are inspired, that can be placed at a high level, and stand out musically and sonically... It takes a real effort to make things feel familiar but expressed in a different way... I'm just looking to choose situations that resonate with me in the possibility they have so I can invest myself and that has to be with people I want to be around and go through the struggle with...

[top]Can you speak at all to how you approach pre-production with artists that you're producing? Not only working with the songs themselves, but also identifying the artist's and your vision for the project/sounds/etc? - Plunderpot

Some amount of pre-pro is always a good idea to get a little organization going but more importantly to start to figure out how the communication will go with the artist and start to establish a dialog around shaping songs and to prepare for the recording interaction.. It's also a good time to sort out and prepare bed tracks, make sure keys are right, and consider tempos... In terms of specific vision for artists I'd say it's about identifying what are the most important aspects to showcase and how to go about encouraging the work to happen there, in the case of KOL it was my goal and direction to really make the vocal stand out in a way that it had to on the three previous albums, with James Bay it was not only about the vocal but the guitar playing as well, Norah Jones was the vocal in a fresh way but make her guitar playing feel forward and confident, Dawes needed to have more compelling chorus' and not too long in the story telling parts of the songs, Punch Brothers to simplify the instrument interaction to be more supportive to each other at times and less full on bluegrass jam, Kaleo to take a bluesy hard hitting rock band and make the focus for each song that are very different have a common thread and feel across the album... It's always something...

Teletronix LA-2A

[top]When you are recording vocals, do you have your go-to compressor chain/setup?
What is your approach for compressing vocals on the way in? How do you make a call on how much to compress the vocal on the way in, to leave yourself enough flexibility at the mixing stage. - Weglimir

I like LA-2A's, 1176's, LA-3A's, Retro 176's, Distressor's... Anything that can give me a lot of compression at times while staying very transparent... It is not often I put more than one compressor in the recording chain but that has been the case at times... I use an LA-2A the most and then a Distressor second... I only personally own a Blue Stripe 1176 and it's only good for mixing vocals through not recording... I'm not afraid at all to have 10 or 12 db of compression going in as long as it sounds transparent... Then in the mix I often hit it even harder... I go light on EQ and only really ever filter off a little bottom and open up the top, never EQ in the middle if that feels like something I need, I have the wrong mic for the voice... I often have the singer try several mic to find the best one and then take that mic and audition mic pres and find the best fit as well, then take the recorded signal and audition compressors, the step where I can give the singer a break from the mundane take of choosing or if they are into it have them keep singing...

[top]My question is, what is your EQ 'philosophy'? - Timtoonz

I'm more on the move the mic side of things but that's not to say I don't crank EQs around but I use them less extreme because not all my engineering philosophy takes place in the control room, get you source as close to what you want as you possibly can and then EQ... A typical rock kick and snare for me would be through a Neve 1081 or API channel with the EQ set to boost top, carve out middle, boost bottom, and then often into another more fine tunable EQ to shape it even further in a more subtle way or especially in the midrange dial back a frequency that I couldn't grab on the Neve or API

[top]Your ability to create space is one that truly boggles my mind. Personally, I struggle to do this for acoustic instruments the most.
1) Can you speak to the space you created on the Punch Brothers record? Do you recall specific delays, reverbs, the room and how you placed the musicians in the room, room mics and room micing techniques?
2) Is it fair to assume that your general approach to this record was similar to others you’ve discussed in this forum – track the songs as close to mixed as possible, making bing moves on EQ etc., all to tape, then mix in your smaller space (with gear/tools you’ve identified as essential to your sound) and the conservative use of plugins? Any Quad Eight touch that record? - jww2127

I set the Punch Brothers up all in the same room with them facing each other in a large circle... The vocal was live in some cases... I did use some gobos to have better control over the leakage but no one was in isolation... Each instrument was mic'ed with three microphones, each chosen to be flattering to the instrument but different sounding to yield a flexible combination to have the recorded sound be malleable... I then took one of the microphone signals for each instrument and reamped it live into an amp placed in isolation for each player, mic'ing the amp separately and adding pedals into the signal chain into the amp with bold but suitable effects... The chamber was available to be used on a desk send to be printed live... I had a couple monitor wedges out in the room with the band that I occasionally sent signal from the desk of the band, an instrument, or an effect back into the room to excite the sound of the room more around the instruments... There was a Leslie speaker cabinet available on a send as well for effect... I relied mainly on leakage for room tones but did have a omni situation in the middle of the circle to use as desired... & yes my approach is to record the sound of the record I'm going for and make it feel right as it goes down and then accentuate and mold it in mix, that's not to say I don't at times do radical things in the mix but they are the exception not the rule... Just go for it and yes the Quad 8 was used as the gain makeup and mix buss EQ on the Folcrom passive summing box for the mix stems... Thanks

Roll Music Systems RMS216 Folcrom

[top]When you cut drums with a mono overhead do you use a mono room mic as well? Thinking of your setup for the 2013 Dawes album. I love how that record sounds. - jeremyhorn

Yes that's right, mono OH and mono rooms, with a couple room pics that are picking up different perspectives to blend... the stereo on the drums comes from hi-hat and tom panning

[top]Do you leave the tom tracks wide open throughout the tune?
...as a bit of extra stereo vibe?
Or do you just mean the tom hits being panned. - TorontoJeff

Tom tracks are not wide open .. Turned down to provide a little spread but keep things clear and punchy and then obviously up for parts .. maybe 6 to 12 db down from where they will be balanced for parts

[top]When printing back in to the UA 2192 is there a certain level you like to print at? - jeremyglover

I think it's good to hit it with enough level that it clips once in a while... as long as you don't hear any negative artifacts you are probably ok but I'm not suggesting to hit it hard all the time or too aggressively... it should be printed as loud as possible with not going into too much clipping, it should be more random and on real peaks than anything consistent.

Universal Audio 2192

Soundtoys FilterFreak

[top]I'm curious as to your parallel chain? - uplift123

I use parallel bussing on groups of tracks, rarely individuals.. For the whole drum kit I have a duplicate group buss that has the parallel compression on it going to the mix buss... I combine kick and snare (sometimes toms) to a buss that routes through the drum bussing and rooms the same way... I buss kick snare and bass together but that would go to the stereo buss... in a way it's just up to you in the way you want to have things combine through processing and if you have enough delay compensation to get it to happen...
Weirdest parallel... can't think of anything to crazy but I do like to use filters like the Moog or FilterFreak to put a resonant edge with some shift around on things to make them pop out more

[top]Can you talk about what you've found that can help artists/musicians thrive in the studio and with recording? Are there things you've identified that help you bring out the best in them (and yourself!) on sessions? - Plunderpot

Demonstrating a strong work ethic on behalf of the artist and creating an environment where everyone has a voice is part of it... You have to stay in control by having a firm voice yourself in the final decision making process but be open and willing to try anything... Always be looking at what is working and what is not so progress is never stuck for long... Build respect across the team and lead by example... It depends on the personalities and you have to be yourself and a chameleon at the same time, there is not a single way to interact and run things up front you have to lead, and to do that you have to create the desire to follow... Mainly realizing everyone is in a similar boat and being honest goes a long way... This article I read is very right on - 11 Ways to Define Leadership

[top]I have a basic question. How do you go about processing instruments that have been multi mic'ed? Do you generally get a balance between the mics and buss them out and process that buss or do you process every mic individually? - Drona2112

Primarily process as a group with Kick and Snare being the exception in that they are sometime part of the group but them send them separately to make sure I can make them as focused and balanced forward as possible

[top]I was wondering if you could provide any insight into how you approach the working relationship with an artist you are producing. For instance, how do you go about presenting ideas to them, whether it be about changes to their song, orchestration or adding parts? How do you start your relationship off on the right foot? - Eggsmack

I first try to understand what they are after and what if any vision they can share with me that they have.. I ask them about the ideas behind the songs, What is the inspiration, feeling they have for things... it's not that I'm going to do exactly what they are describing but just getting a sense of their ideas... I express my desire to partner with them and lead them through the process... it's about trust and establishing communication and that is different for each person, it really is a personal interaction and that is very broad.. I always try to be veery respectful and open in conversation and only assert an opinion of controversy in the most constructive way I can... but also you have to be forthright and truthful... It's just about communication... You have to be connected to the process fully...

[top]I would like to ask you about your approaches for main vocal recording. - Weglimir

I mainly record in a low ambience space with the chosen mic for the singer.. occasionally when the parts calls for it I'll have them a little off mic... I do record backing vocals in ambient spaces as air or effect tracks... Sometimes depending on the vibe or presentation I will capture room tones with a vocal, we always did that with Tom Waits for natural space for the voice

Shure SM7

[top]I love the sounds on Robert Ellis Bottle of Wine," in particular I find myself referencing the wonky piano sound, but even more so is that saxophone sound. Would you mind commenting on the recording/mixing of that tune? - Scottlaned

The piano was at Robert's house and he wrote the tune on it so I took a mobil recording rig over there... There was no way the song would sound right on a properly maintained piano .. I did the recording in my Tom Waits style using a couple condenser mics in the top of the piano and a stereo ribbon back behind Robert in the room, his vocal was cut with the piano on and SM7 .. the sax was recorded in a studio with a C37a close and R88 room

[top]With your experience in mixing, and the new directions artists & genres take in 2017, are there any new techniques, trends, or tricks that you hear in modern music that interest you and make you want to test out & apply to your new work? - FCNYJordan

The thing I'm most interested in at the moment is some of the way the drums sound on the last Alabama Shakes album... other than that I'm not sure, I'm not wanting to copy anything... I hear new ideas forming and love being inspired by them but not sure where anything is headed specifically... I try to be able to make anything (artist/album) sound right without putting them in any same production box...

[top]Are there any approaches that you take in general to keep things fresh for yourself on larger mixes that take a while? - Andersmv

I try to focus on the primary elements in and oversized mix and not get bogged down, if I miss something someone will point it out or I'll hear it later... The stems approach you describe here is something I've done on occasion and works really well, many top mixers that I know who work on a desk do the same thing, spend a block of time getting the mix mostly there and then pull it over to stems to complete it, works fabulously and you can remake a stem if need be and move the process along in a committed fashion... hope I'm making sense here

Placid Audio Copperphone

[top]I'm curious about Norah Jones sound on The Fall, it's so powerful yet so delicate. How did you achieve that? Maybe some vocal chain, mixing techniques? - conr4d

She's an amazing singer which is most of it... It's also about keeping space in everything else, not to step on the vocals... I used a very hi-fi mic (Elam 250) and a trash mic (Copperphone) with a TON of compression to make the blend interesting and malleable...

[top]Looking across your career from starting out to now, how have you approached mixing when you have had tracks which haven't been particularly well recorded as opposed to how you approach a mix with well recorded tracks? - Chrisdmcc

When they are not good or elements are not as I'd hope for I treat them like unfinished (sonically) recordings and try to treat the sound by ramping or doing something to finish the recording, however I can imagine doing it with what I've got, before I start to try to mix it... sometimes you have to embrace something and make it a highlight to change the face of how you put it together, and sometimes things aren't just going to work...

Softube Chandler Limited Curve Bender

[top]Do you have a preferred stereo EQ or buss compressor that you know and mix "to" so to speak, or do you swap final 2 track gear or plugins depending on the project? - Philip Parker

I do try to have a typical stereo treatment with a general sound I'm working into but it has to be adjustable to the source and the way that comes together... I do at times depending on the vibe for the outcome have to swap things out and try different approaches, the same EQ and compressor is not the best medicine for everything and that is especially true ITB, I have to experiment more ITB for sure... The UA Pultec is alway a pretty solid bet and lately the Curve Bender has come into play

[top]I've read an interview that you said you always pan all the microphones of the same source to the same pan position.because you prefer to feel the sound coming from one discrete spot. Based on that, when you hard pan one instrument do you use delays on the opposite spot to create space and to envolve this instrument on the sound stage?
Do you use lcr panning, or do you place guitars sometimes between lcr placement? - Miramar_sessions

At my core I'm a LCR fan... It's not always the best thing for all elements but I like to make most things work that way... I do often use delays and sometimes reverbs to give each element a stereo presence... In the case of the Acoustic & Vocal, yes both C and then things develop... You have to have things that keep the energy balanced in the stereo field of a mix... It seems like you are on the right path, especially if you and your artist like it

[top]On the Kings of Leon song “Use Somebody” the drum fill that brings the band back in at (1:26) always made me take a second listen. When producing do you micro manage parts and/or arrangements or do you typically let the band work out the parts? - Scorpiwoman

That fill is very off the cuff but it hits with the right energy, you have to let things sound inspired at times... I do manage and arrange all aspects of a recording but I look to have the artist or musician do as much of the creation of parts as possible and guide them through it, often I have to step in and work through stuff and arrange, but also knowing when something is cool and doesn't need me is a management skill of equal value... I have to be able at times to create parts for things I feel are missing or need to be there for dimension and support... It's about being in charge as a true leader of a team, not a dictator...

[top]Are you mainly using hardware for tracking and plugins for mixing? - JB872

I try to EQ and shape sounds to be as close as I think I can get in tracking and then do what is needed in the mix to bring it all together. Most of the time it's smaller moves to get things to fit together for a mix but there are always exceptions. I mainly use hardware for recording and plugs for mixing. Plugs are not as good at extreme use as hardware so get it close on the way in and finesse on the way out. I like Neve, API, & Quad8 for recording and always have... classic compressors and EQs...

[top]What is your biggest surprise during the UAD Shootout ? - buzzm526

I knew the shootout would be very close in many ways but wondered how the totally ITB would add up... in some cases I felt better about the Unison tracks than the Hardware tracks... obviously they are not exact but its very close and I was pleased with the result... I think the surprise is how close we are in such a short time that I do believe it's a real option for making records, most people commented that it was around 90 to 95% there... I think it's pretty cool

[top]When you do have to make compromises, what do you try to prioritize? - Ehrenebbage

I've had a few projects that creatively went great and also were successful in industry terms. Great records get overlooked more than they should but that's the nature of it... I only ever really try to make the creative part great and just focus on that, the rest has to take care of itself and I just need to be sure of it's quality to allow it to happen. There are 'compromises' every step of the way but I don't look at it like that, I look at it as the efforts becoming what they can be and work to have every step feel inspired and sit well with myself and the artist

[top]I'm really curious about how you handle the challenge of keeping an intriguing sonic landscape while maintaining a fat, huge, radio-friendly sound.
For example, the mix for Modest Mouse's "Good News for People Who Love Bad News" is so much thicker and more lush than their previous records - was achieving a more accessible sound an explicit goal of the band, or were they ever afraid of sounding too clean and had to be coaxed?
Were you dirtying it up & adding treatments, or was it more about finding space for (or discarding!) what they had recorded? - inasilentway

I was certainly trying to be aggressive and contrasting in the sounds I created with Modest Mouse but present it in a way that was appealing, I wasn't cleaning it up but trying to find the balance that was pleasing for all... You are always navigating the comfort zones... In the first instance I would try to follow the artist's idea with sounds that reflected their desire but I felt I could pair and manage with other elements and get something that still felt like a real record to me... Secondly it's a matter of finding the right elements to push that add dimension without affecting the things the artist is most sensitive about, and really you don't ever want to have everything dirty or clean because you never arrive at a balance of colors that has depth...

[top]When and what was the process of you becoming a producer on top of being an engineer, was it something you really wanted to do or it came out naturally and you went for it? What was your musical background for that kind of work?
And at last, who were your inspiration or mentors as producers? - Laperlestudio

When I started out all I was thinking about was learning how to make records and I trained as an engineer to get going... I didn't know or think about the roles and as I started to engineer small projects I'd end up participating in the creative process, I always felt like I could help and guide the process... I never worked under a producer for a long stretch but could see how that worked and saw more engineers/producers in action than just strictly producers... I was inspired by Tom Dowd, Ruddy Van Gelder, John Hammond, Jimi Hendrix, Rick Rubin, Brendan O'Brian to name a few... I came out naturally and my musical background is starting to play a little guitar & bass as a teenager, getting into samplers and early hip hop and sampled music making... I decided the studio was my instrument more than anything and I'm still learning about it all today... Producers come in all forms and you just need to be the creative partner to help an artist achieve their vision

[top]Would you mind sharing a few eureka moments that you feel have made a big impact on the quality of your mixes and/or workflow; and provide explanation if necessary. - uplift123

The sound of a recording playing back in correct polarity... A famous engineer once commented to me on the effect of the polarity switch and its associated sound... that got me thinking... Before, even though I considered that polarity matching on multiple micing schemes was important, I didn't consider the difference in the sound of polarity and then it's cumulative result with different instruments... something that has meant ton to mixing properly... I'm always going on about it..
Others that come to mind are really understanding the power and use of parallel processing... Having a good mixing template to get a song laid out to get to the creative connection in mixing faster... Not working crazy long hours in the studio makes for better results... not over fixing tracks while in the process of building a master up and waiting a a few uneasy moments until it's done and see if they are really a problem

[top]Do you still tend to use some analog gear during mixing? If yes, what is it? What do you still find hard to reproduce ITB and why? - weglimir

I have for the last year and a half mixed primarily ITB because it's good enough now and I wanted to get better at it. I have recently after moving my studio and having a better setup started to use outboard while mixing... The place that I find the most benefit is on the stereo sum of the mix with analog EQ and compression... it's possible to get something comparable ITB but definitely takes more experimentation

[top]Where do you find the biggest differences lie when mixing ITB compared to a console and what are some common things you do ITB to get your mix closer to what you're used to hearing? - JB872

Biggest differences are in getting good parallel compression to build up in a punchy but still open feeling way ... Saturation to be full and smooth sounding... The stereo image is not as wide and full automatically... I would say in the end it's the mix bus that needs the most experimentation (ITB) to find a processing chain that will glue it all together compared to what the analog would be, in that I find my analog stereo bus signal chain is more flexible and able to be used more flexibly... Plugins do not allow as much change or manipulation to where they still sound as good as the analog equivalent

UAD AKG BX 20 Plugin

[top]Just wondering if you have any thoughts or can share stories about vocalists who have a specific sound that they go for (for example Dallas Green, who seems to favour having a reverb-influenced vocal sound in his recordings).
How do you approach these sorts of situations (both technically and politically!) ?
Stories always appreciated..... - Bambamboom

Artists if they have strong preferences will tell you and you should always ask. In the case of Dallas he said he liked reverb so I sought out the ones I thought sounded best for him which ended up as the BX-20 (UA) and 140 plate (Altiverb) and sometimes something else with Echoboy delays & MicroShift ... Tom Waits want to hear the room tone so you record him in a space with warm early reflections and put up ambient mic or re-amp his voice into a room... Caleb Followill liked a little verb and slap so Altiverb 140 and 250 with Echoboy space echo and echplex emulations & sometimes a Cooper Time Cube in tracking, & recording some backgrounds through a Leslie speaker... Norah Jones just nice plate sounds and Digitech analog delay... Just whatever is distinct and accentuates the vocal without clouding it or covering it up, living side by side to serve it up

[top]Re: James Bay - a) The Guitar in Hold back The River entry, is it natural ambience? How was this reverb created?
b) The same question for vocals in the entry...
What would be your general advice on creating artificial spaces in a song, how to create unique space for each instrument using reverb/delay? - weglimir

The intro guitar uses a few reverbs in the sound, pedal, amp, and chamber as a combination... The vocal is a plate... & for creating space around a voice I use 2 to 3 reverbs and delays in combination, short and long combined, as well as discreet effects for each instrument while recording and mixing

[top]Do you ever shift drum tracks on the timeline to emphasize the transients ie. aligning overheads to the snare, kick to overheads, snare bottom to snare top, kick in to kick out etc? - lunastus

I never do that because it has other phase shift problems that don't sound "normal" to my ear... I think you have to either get those things better at tracking, turn off problem tracks, or use samples instead...

Neumann U 67

[top]Re: Kings of Leon. What was your process with recording guitars? How involved are you in dialing in the tone with the guitar player on the front end? What are your go-to processing chains on the front-end, and chains in the mixing process? - Skycaptain

I am always very involved in getting the sound that is desired to come through the amp first... add a couple mics (a 57 and U67 on KOL) and blend through some additional EQ... I don't often use compression on distorted electrics when I record and save that for mix... it's usually cleaner guitar sounds that I compress on the way in. Also often combine amps to a track... Make the source sound great... I added a delay (panned to the opposite side) to almost all the KOL guitars. Best wishes

[top]How do you approach your vocals in the mix? Do you treat them first or after you've touched some of the instruments? - ClassyTouch

After I get the basic gain structure of a mix going with drums and bass (Talking about your average instrumentation) then I add the vocal in to figure out how it fits before I get too deep on the other instrumentation that can crowd the vocal. I don't always keep the vocal in while I work on the mix but I definitely make sure I know where I need to leave space for it and its effects

[top]Do you have any tips for mentally preparing yourself before a mix session? - Alexsongbeats

I like to do a modest amount of listening to the whole multitrack and rough before starting but I'll quickly dive in and want to get to building with the parts as soon as I can to find the thread of energy that I can attach to. You have to have a patient and open minded approach. If it's been a minute since I mixed or if I've been working in other rooms I want to spend a minute listening to some of my other work to get comfortable again in front of my speakers. I only reference the rough for attitude and check balances to make sure I'm not overplaying or underselling anything that is part of the track based on how the creators were listening. I always want the main elements to have a character that sets them apart in the whole but is complimentary for the total. It's a black art and I just at the end of the day do what feels good to me and most of the time it works well and then there are times that you make a great mix and it's just not the thing that people ultimately want and they move on with another mix and mixer... can't worry about that stuff

UAD Neve 1073 Plugin

[top]I'm wondering what was the biggest difference you noticed in shooting out the UAD vs. 1073, and if there is anything you'd advise compensating for on the UAD version to get closer to the analog sound? - Martinthejerk

The biggest difference is that the plugin is a great emulation of a "golden" 1073 and does not have individual character across several instantiations which when working with a Neve dest of multiple units you would get as a combined Neve sound... The other thing I would say specific to the plugin is that at times on some sources it can sound a little brittle or harsh but that can be compensated by using something in addition going in to help smooth that out... It has a similar feel in the way the EQ curves work and the tone is very close so if it's not giving you what you need then maybe Neve is not the answer sometimes. Hope that helps

[top]I am curious what got you into using external summing? - Spectrasound

I think we are now able to get a great result ITB with a comprehensive mixer scheme but it's always been easier to get great imaging, full smooth response, and glue in an analog summing situation.. It's close enough that it's really up to what the user feels they can create and feel good about doing it. I'm to the point that ITB works great for me and then sometimes just a simple analog stereo bus treatment is all I might want to maybe compare it too. I still will mix in a fuller hybrid situation at times but it's rare and it has to be the right feel and timeline

[top]I've noticed you answering questions around 7am. Do you find that a certain structure has been helpful for you or is your schedule all over the place depending on what you're working on? - Andersmv

I very much try to work with artists from mid morning to early to mid eve... Obviously there is work to do around that sometimes and you do have to be flexible... I also avoid working on the weekend but sometimes it has to be that way... Finding the balance is a constant struggle but setting some parameters is essential... It's a very time intensive process much of the time... In general I'm an early riser and like to get email and whatnot off my plate early... I'm a husband and a father and family has to come first.


[top]Do you remember which amps were used on the Cold War Kids record Mine is Yours? The whole production and mix sounds great. I am also interested in your drum mic setup for that specific record. The whole album sounds phenomenal! - Alexi

Amps were primarily fender combos with a few of my personal amps mixed in like a Selmer Bass & Treble and Ampeg Jet... I wish I could remember more exactly...

Drums were recorded in three different studios along the way, House of David (Nash), Oceanway (Nash), & Sunset Sound (LA)... Mono overhead (U67 probably), Snare (sm57 without transformer), Kick (D12e) Tom mics, Hi-hat, Mono room mics... It's been a while so not super clear memory... I recorded and mixed the album but it's been several years now and many sessions ago... Simple is best!!

[top]In situations where the atmosphere of the session seemed to be going down hill, in what ways have you stirred the ship back in the right direction? How do you deal with the overall morale of the session? Have you ever had to end a session because the vibe was off or did you find a way to push through despite the emotional difficulty? - ClassyTouch

I have on a few occasions had to close a session down from bad vide situations.. It's been extremely rare for it to come to that and I'm all about being patient and persistent when it's the right thing to do... Usually it's a matter of switching up what is going on and the approach, let someone off the hook in the moment or try to find progress in another aspect of the recording. I myself am not always ready with an answer or idea and have to be sensitive that the record making process is a journey and that there are ups and downs but you can almost alway break through if you stay with it

[top]Re: Kings Of Leon albums - Only By The Night and Come Around Sundown.
I was wondering how you get the mixes to sound so smooth even after mastering. - SCAVOK

I do anticipate a change in mastering from the sound of the mix and leave a little space in the headroom and overall EQ ... The worst position to put a mastering engineer in is giving them something too smashed and EQ'd to harshly... I look to have saturation in the whole frequency spectrum not just upper mids... and know that things like the snare and vocal are going to get tucked in just a touch by mastering as a little limiting and a little more smiley face EQ get put put on

[top]What is your approach for mixing vocals while hearing them perfectly though a mix with a good amount of guitar layers? Any techniques you find yourself going to that help create a clear vocal with lots of guitar in the track? - FCNYJordan

The vocal being the hardest thing to EQ and shape to fit, I would look to carve out the guitars a bit.. the 300hz to 1.5khz area of guitars can overwhelm a vocal so make sure those frequencies are not covering up the voice... Also the vocals usually need a lot of compression in the mix to get them to sit and distorted guitars need very little compression as they already come that way (as long as you have a decent sound) I don't compress layered guitars too much.. better to blend in a parallel treatment for them or just a little gluing on the guitar mix bus.

[top]Sounding loud is not as important as before (the Loudness War is on the verge of disappearing) and dynamics are the new loud so, how do you explain these things to the bands you're producing? - RobCho

I think if an arrangement has space when it's available or appropriate and lifts and moves when needed then there is nothing to explain. I've only ever worried about loudness at mastering so not a great deal of change for me... I've always also shied away from sending out rough mixes at too loud of a level

PSP Vintage Warmer

[top]Are there any unique techniques or tricks you use with modern plug ins to get the sounds you wan't? - Alexsongbeats

I don't ever think I have any secret tricks... I'm working with the same plugins that basically anyone can have and feel like perhaps there are some things I need to learn to check out... I do think it takes more experimenting and combining things to get where you would want to with plugins but at the same time it's faster and easier with plugs... I don't rely on plugins to work as specially as their analog counterparts or even be as flexible... It takes more parallel processing ITB to get tones to come together that in the analog world... but the there are some plugins like Vintage Warmer that do a ton ITB that is very hard to do at times with analog gear and then there is trying to match the power of a Distressor with a plugin... Don't know that I answered your question but those are my thoughts...

[top]On what have you based your selection of speakers. I know you like working with Proacs and Rockit. - Laperlestudio

I listen to how I know the sounds to be and the way they combine to know if a speaker is giving me what I know to be a representation of what makes sense to me.. I don't want a speaker to sound so good that I don't have to work hard to balance things properly.. Many speakers now are so hyped sounding that it fakes the listener off.. I want something that has a revealing mid range with an ample amount of bottom end (my favorite spectrum of frequencies) and a top end that doesn't feel too extended or jacked up so I can EQ and open things up without it feeling forced... Speakers are a personal preference and it should mainly just be whatever feels like relatable truth

[top]I often wonder how and when you make the decision to work in tandem with another recording engineer than yourself, and to decide to mix an album yourself, or to delegate this task to someone else ? Can it be a timing issue, record company pressure, or a feeling someone else would be better for a specific project ? - Avgatzeblouz

Honestly you answered the question already... Sometimes a project comes and it's like we want you to produce and mixer ABC to mix... If a project I'm on has multiple producers I usually think its a good idea to have one mixer pull it all together and I don't think that should be myself... I'm very busy working on several projects and having mixes taking place while I'm on something else is needed at times... I love mixing and do it on about half of my projects..

[top]To go further on this matter, do you record differently when you know you won't be mixing the project ? Meaning do you avoid drastic Eq or mic summing for example, or do you do the exact same thing, as if you were going to mix it ? - Avgatzeblouz

I try to comment only on the big picture stuff and let all the little things that I might want to nit-pick go until it starts to represent the overall intention and find its place. The artist and their taste is always part of the equation too and see what they are feeling on the new mix. Obviously if it's way off or not right then that is a different matter. When someone else mixes it's not going to sound like me so I left go a lot in that way... It's hard but if the right things are speaking and it has a vibe then I go with that and let it be...
Hope this helps in some way

[top]What are the advantages you feel you had coming from an analog world going into the digital realm? What advantages do you feel an upcoming engineer has in today's culture that they should take advantage of? - Alexsongbeats

I guess coming from an analog background but really still getting rolling in my career when digital emerged gave me the fundamentals of traditional recording chops with the ability to integrate digital tools as they came along and were good enough to be useful. For a very long time they were fine as recorders and editors but not able to extensively manage good tone. The advantage now is you can basically experiment with everything there is ITB and learn what you like and how to put something together in a way that you could only do with a big budget in a great studio (and many of those are gone now) The format is of you choosing now with a much smaller investment... The down side is most young or new engineers haven't gotten to see how sessions actually happen in traditional studios but in the end it's about creative ideas and spirit... There are a million plus ways to make a great record

Amphion One15

[top]How do you look at referencing a finished mix in today's time, when most listeners will more than likely be listening off of MacBook speakers, ear buds, iPhone speaker, etc? Do you think the classic NS10 can still hold its weight as compared to something more modern? like referencing your final mix on MacBook speakers for example? - Alexsongbeats

I listen to mix refs on my phone and laptop to make sure the important stuff is translating especially in the low end and that midrange things are not too dominant or poking out.. Headphones and earbuds too.. NS-10s are fine if you want to use them, I've been away from them for a long time. It just takes liking a pair of speakers and learning them to get the work to translate... I have Amphion, ProAC, KRK, & Avantone (a single for checking mono summed mix)

[top]I would love to get some details about tracking and mixing the City and Colour album If I Should Go Before You. I have a million questions, so I'll try to keep it to the top 3:
Did the band track live or did you do overdubs to a click?
Do you remember what mics and other outboard you used while tracking?
What did you use for the spring reverb snare sound on Northern Blues? - Coyoteface

Love this album too. Big fan of my pal Dallas and yes he's an incredible singer. Karl Bareham produced the album along with Dallas as well as did the tracking.. I was part of the effort as the mixer. I mixed in my studio on my hybrid setup that includes my Quad 8 desk. The band did track live (with click from memory of the session) and did overdubs after they got the basic track of the band. Can't give the tracking gear info other than they were in my favorite tracking room, Studio D @ Blackbird... The spring reverb is the AKG BX-20 plugin emulation.

[top]Do you still use the Placid Audio Copperphone on vocals? Any tips for blending it with other mics? - Andersmv

I don't often use the mic on vocals or blend it in.. But in the case of the Nora Jones album I did use it on all the vocals in some measure... It takes getting the capsules lined up well in the physical recording setup and then I punished it with compression to even out its crazy frequency response. Hope this helps a little.. Just make it work or turn it off.. That's my approach..

[top]I absolutely love the drum sound on the Norah Jones track "even though". Can you talk a little bit about how you achieved it? - Sparky_79

Thanks for your note and I'm glad to share. I wish I had better recollection on this... It was Recorded at Magic Shop in NYC through a Neve desk to a Studer before going to PT.. I'm not sure what I did beyond a fairly simple (maybe 8 tracks) recording of the drums... I almost alway have some mic or source capture that is a little blown up for the drums to blend in and probably created more when I mixed.. Sorry I can't be of more help here...

[top]How do you manage bottom end/bass presence in a mix? - funka

Main thing is to listen at around 85db to speakers that have a moderate amount of accurate bass response (most speakers now do and it's about what you like).. Compare to other recordings until you are familiar with your space. You can not have too much subsonic information or it will hurt everything from coming together, especially the bottom end.. If you are boosting a lot of 60-100hrz you have to make sure you are filtering off things below 30-40hrz to keep it tight. It probably takes up to a year to fully trust yourself in a new space and learn the different places to listen (in and out of the room) to know certain things. The main trick to getting low end right is making sure you EQ away the low end on the things that don't need to have it in a balance. There is the "trick" or method of establishing a starting relationship between kick and bass instruments.. There are examples of this explained out there and I'm going to do one more soon but basically the difference (AS A STARTING POINT) are when combined the two things are 3db louder together than when they are separate (soloed).

[top]Just wondering if you could share some of your thoughts about your move to Blackbird, in terms of what some of the driving factors were, how this has affected you, and any interesting stories that have resulted from this. - bambamboom

I have for the past 14 years been a client at Blackbird... since it was just Studio A. I frequently track in Studio D... I'm headed there this morning... Until this time last year I had Studio G as a personal room on the campus, which was a 3 year period. Last year my wife and I purchased and renovated a new personal studio in Franklin, TN. I moved out from Blackbird full time last summer. My time at Blackbird as a resident was amazing and I have a perfect relationship with them. I originally moved in there because I was spending so much time on location and moving from room to room... Tracking in D and overdubbing in E... When we talked about how I could be more settled there, Studio G (which adjoins E) was a perfect choice to house all (almost all) my gear and have a place to do some overdubs and mixing. I would say that the impact that Blackbird has had on me is a sense of community and connection to the other professionals who book time there. My main engineer, Lowell Reynolds, was an assistant there for about 8 years before I first hired him 4 years ago... that relationship has been great and of all the varied experience he has had working on thousands of sessions there is an asset. The access to the wonderful gear and staff is second to none and just makes it a real
event for all our projects. Studio D is an incredibly flexible sounding room and the chamber that is part of the layout is the most magical part of the space. I've produced and engineered loud rock (Kings of Leon) to a purely acoustic ensemble (Punch Brothers) with great results. It's a top studio as it should be. My new space is pretty great too but certainly not a replacement.

[top]Re: Tom Waits Mule Variations is a constant reference for me. So I was wondering how you went about capturing the basic conventional elements? - Special Neids

Part of the magic (Tom being most of it) from a technical side was in part the fact that we recorded in very non recording studio live rooms. The main micing was always very simple with very nice stuff.. M-49 on vocals through Neve and Pultec regular drum micing, SM-57 on guitar amps... U-87s on room mics... etc. .. I used small plastic Sony mics from an old portable tube 1/4' machine on things in addition at times and we used a boom box that mic inputs in front of the drums. We'd put the boom box on pause record and take the line outputs to a mic pre. Using the boom box as a microphone but the thing also had compression circuitry that gave the sound some punch. On a few songs Tom's vocal was mixed through a 2 foot piece of PVC pipe that was about 8" around... The goal was always to have a few things pretty and hi-fi and have a few dirty and broken... sometimes it meant re-amping things to get an amp sound or different room tone.

Soundtoys Devil-Loc

[top]Is there anything you can share that you use when mixing in the digital domain to make elements of the mix have more dirt, grit or distortion? - Chevron

I use many old standbys like Lo-Fi and SansAmp and those would have been the primary ones on Only By The Night that were used ITB. Now I also use many other things including Decapitator and Devil Loc. I use SansAmp a lot as a dirty EQ as well. Most of the time I apply/instantiate these plugs directly on the track or sound I want to effect... but it does happen where a bus is set up to effect multiple elements like a group of guitars or on drums. Definitely alway looking to record much of that type of sound from the beginning without getting myself in trouble.

[top]I read that you use a Quad Eight console. And that some time ago you split this from 40 channels into two smaller consoles.
Can you tell a little bit about the console please, why you prefer it over others, and why you split that up? - Reptil

There are a few reasons I enjoy the Q* console... It has an incredible amount of headroom and can be pushed hard without the sound collapsing or getting too crunchy. The PSU's are +/- 28volts which is higher than most vintage desk designs. The AM-10 Op-Amps also have a very sweet sound, the input and output transformers are wonderful with design by Deane Jensen, and EQ's are similar to API 550's... The console design involved former API engineers and has a fast (like API) response with a sticky (Neve) like transformer tone... Kind of the best of two console designs I love. I split it apart primarily to make it more user friendly in a smaller footprint and in conjunction with my sometime hybrid approach. It never
adds too much color and the tone can be managed by how much signal I put into it.
Plus answers...
Vocal sound effects (MicroShift, Reverbs, etc.) when on the console are sent out in stereo independent of the main vocal which is sent separately to a mono channel.
Not sure about the Aphex and the speaker thing.. may have been misunderstood (don't know the context) I sometimes use it for a little upper mid frequency excitement on almost all elements of a mix blended back in just slightly in parallel.
In the analog domain I use many different compressors ... I own distressors, Retro 176 & Sta-Level, 1176, Compex, LA-2A, LA-3A, 2254, Obsidian, Q8's, DBX 160s, and others...