<![CDATA[Blog - Universal Audio]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/ Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:17:33 +0000 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Buddy Miller on Making Records with Apollo and UAD-2 Plug-Ins]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/artist-interview-buddy-miller/
"After all these years, my ears are fine tuned, so I know a great song when I hear it," says Buddy Miller.

Robert Plant has a pretty good track record with the guitarists who accompany him, so when he tapped longtime Nashville player, songwriter, and producer Buddy Miller to be the musical director, guitarist, and co-producer for his Band of Joy project, he no doubt knew the vast expertise Miller brought to the table.

Whether through the records he’s written and produced with his wife, Julie Miller, or with fellow producer/writer Jim Lauderdale, or via his sideman/production gigs with legends like Emmylou Harris, Miller has remained one of Nashville’s true believers, ably side-stepping the trendier aspects of pop-country while focusing on the artists who’ve earned his respect and affection.

Miller, currently the Executive Music Producer of the hit show that bears his adopted town’s name—the top-rated Nashville—is no stranger to wearing different musical hats. Here, he discusses his extraordinary juggling act, and how UAD Powered Plug-Ins, like the Ocean Way Studios Plug-In, help his creative process. 

How did you come by the Nashville music producer gig, and what are the challenges to that job?
Callie Khouri called me to produce a few songs for the ABC Nashville pilot, and when the show got picked up T Bone Burnett became the season one executive music producer. There is no one better than T Bone. I got to know him while playing guitar on the Raising Sand tour with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Subsequently, he called me to play guitar on several projects he was producing. While working with T Bone on the show, I ended up producing or co-producing 20 to 30 songs for that first season. I learned so much being around him and found out the many and varied needs of a music driven TV show. Season two T Bone stepped away, and they offered me the Executive Music Producer position. It involves a lot more than producing and playing — it also involves helping pick the songs, matching songs to script and individual characters, working with the cast on their vocals, and recruiting outside producers to create a varied-but-unified sound. We usually record  three versions of each song. It is a lot of work, but it helps that the cast and everyone working on the show are really talented people.

What’s the through-line with balancing all these different hats — just a big set of ears?
Yeah, I think that’s part of it, and it helps that I’m old! Music is the only thing I’ve ever done since I was a teenager. For me, it’s never been about just one genre or one hat. I love almost every kind of music, and I’ve played every instrument I could get my hands on. I’ve always been intrigued by recording and producing. I had a reel to reel-to-reel recorder when I was 10 years old!

I grew up in the ’60s when radio was wide open and played mixed formats, it was a wild time for music, and rock was inventing itself. I went to Woodstock one weekend, and a bluegrass festival the next. Musicians were creative beyond words. But I think it’s a fertile time for new music right now too — there are so many inspiring songwriters and new bands. Working on ABC’s Nashville show has put many of them in front of me. Also, after all these years, my ears are fine tuned so I know a great song when I hear it.

“I used to agonize over mic preamps, but I don’t have to do that anymore because the Apollo mic preamps sound really good.”

You’ve done a pretty immense amount of writing yourself.
Yeah, My wife is more of the writer in the family, and yes, we’ve had success with writing. But our output is small by the standards of this town. Nashville is unique in the world. It’s like the Brill Building spread out over an entire city — there’s an energy here. You’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of full-time songwriters. I can’t even imagine how many songs are being turned in every single day, some are crap, but a lot of them are really good.

You do most of your records at your house, is that right?
Yeah — most records I’ve made, and continue to make, I’ve done here at my home studio. At first it was because I couldn’t afford to work in a studio, and I wanted to work all through the night, then I began to love the sound of my house and learn some of its secrets. I produced Shawn Colvin’s last record here, and Richard Thompson’s last one, Solomon Burke made one, and we made a Robert Plant record here that might see the light someday. But the truth is, wherever I record, I use Universal Audio plug-ins. I use my favorite UAD plug-ins on every project.

It’s funny, I have a lot of the original hardware that the UAD plug-ins are based on, and the plugs really do sound great — even compared to the hardware.

I moved to Nashville over 20 years ago with a Studer A80 2” recorder, now I’ve got a Fatso, old Urei 1176s, and the new reissues, a Fairchild 670, DBX 160’s, BAE1073’s, an LA-2A, the Manley Massive Passive, and I’ve even got a nice plate reverb in my basement. My console is an old ’70s Trident B-Range 28x24-channel console.

And even with all this analog gear, the plug-ins are still amazing to me. They just sound great, they really do. So even though I have a 2” machine and a 1/2" machine, I find myself using the Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder plug-in and the Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder plug-in a lot.

“If you get a great vocal take, you’re set.” Buddy Miller

You’re a fan of ambient recording. Are there any particular plug-ins that lend themselves to that?
Well, the Ocean Way Studios Plug-In kills me. Yes, I’m a big fan of ambient recording, and I love the sound of rooms. To me, when I make recordings in my house, I like that it sounds like a house and I always use room mics. Bleed is my friend. I might have guitar amps in the room with the drums, and drums in the room with the singer. You just need to have great players, and singers that can really sing.

I’ll sometimes have my singer in the same room with the drummer if it’ll get a better performance. I’ve had Jay Bellerose or Marco Giovino in the room, with the singer about 12-feet from the drummer — and that’s without gobos or baffles around them — just singing in the room. And they sound like real recordings of a great performance, and isn’t that the goal?

That can make mixing a bit tricky, of course.
Y’know, if you get a great vocal take, you’re most of the way there. Sure, bleed can complicate the mixing, but it also adds something real to it. Upright bass is the trickiest for me to mix if it’s in the room. That’s the instrument I might isolate if possible. I like having a ton of low-end in the upright sound, and that can be hard to preserve.

Still, I’ll use the Ocean Way Studios Plug-In on tracks, including vocals. My room doesn’t always provide the sound I’m going for, so I look for ways to embellish: I might put up a pair of ribbon mics and smash them through a couple compressors, having the compression bring out things in the room sound that you normally wouldn’t hear. Mic placement and certain pieces of gear can help you do that, but the Ocean Way Studios plug-in is amazing for that.

Are there any other applications you might use the Ocean Way Studios Plug-In for?
Jim Lauderdale and I have a weekly radio show on Sirius XM — The Buddy & Jim Show. This town is home to so many deep songwriters and artists, many of whom are my heroes, I thought let’s do a show and have a guest every week, to sing a little bit, play old records, and then we’ll talk about music. So when they play, I add a little of that Ocean Way Studios Plug-In, to imply that it’s a nicer room than the one we’re actually in.

I feel like I hear the EMT® 140 Classic Plate Reverberator plug-in on some of your recordings, too.
I do use the EMT-140 Plate Reverb Plug-In a lot, which is funny, considering that I have a very nice real huge plate reverb in the basement, just below my console — except that sometimes I think I think I hear mice walking on my plate. You definitely do not have mice walking on the plug-in version, and the plug-in gets me most of the way there!

I understand you’ve also been using the Apollo 16 interface quite a bit.
There’s this cruise from Miami to St. Barts and St. Croix — but it’s not your typical party boat. It’s called Cayamo, and it involves probably 30 to 40 artists, all roots music; people like Lyle Lovett, John Prine and Bruce Hornsby, Ricky Skaggs and Lucinda Williams. We had Kris Kristofferson last year, and Brandi Carlile. Well, loving collaborative moments as much as I do, I realized that I was missing an opportunity to record some incredible moments. I decided to bring an engineer, a bunch of mics, and a recording rig onto the boat to make a record. And that’s what I did.

The Cayamo staff let me bring Gordon Hammond to engineer, and we brought in an Apollo 16. They gave us the ship’s bowling alley to use as our studio — it's the vibiest room on the boat. And I recorded collaborations with Kris Kristofferson, The Lone Bellow and Brandy Carlisle, Lee Ann Womack, and many others. I used the Apollo 16 throughout, and of course mixed it using UAD plug-ins and it sounds really great. In fact, I use the Apollo 16 for all of my location recording.

“Even though I have a Studer two-inch tape machine, I find myself using the Studer A800 and the Ampex ATR-102 plug-ins a lot.”

Can you go into more detail about your workflow with the Apollo 16 on the Cayamo cruise?
Pardon the pun, but it was a lifesaver! Being able to use the UAD plug-ins while you’re tracking, and be able to get good rough mixes real fast — I mean everything moves more quickly because of that.

Buddy Miller's Apollo 16 recording rig aboard the Cayamo Cruise.

We had a rack with16 outboard mic pres, and with the Apollo 16 that’s all we needed — it’s portable, has as many inputs as you can need to make a record, and instantly sounds right. We used all 16 inputs, and not only were we able to set up a kind of mini studio in the bowling alley on the boat, but with DB25 cabling, we could break down the system really quickly and set up in the theater for live recording the same night. Then bring it back to the bowling alley, and with our cue system working through Apollo’s Console application, we would listen to playback right off the Apollo 16. It was really easy to get rough mixes up right there on the boat in our makeshift studio.

When I’m engineering, it’s so fast and furious, I’m not finessing anything. What I’m concerned about is if there are headphones — and half the time there aren’t, because I also love to record without headphones — but if we are using headphones, I want them to sound as beautiful as possible for the musicians and singers, because that’s how you get their best.

Other than that, it’s about helping players get comfortable and not think about “making a record” just play music and capture the performance to tape — or whatever it is now!

You also own an Apollo QUAD interface. In what capacity do you use it?
I use the Apollo QUAD quite a bit when I’m doing my radio show, almost in a field recording capacity, and that small format with the four inputs is perfect for me. And I will say that the mic preamps on it are great. I don’t think twice about using them to for anything at any time.

I used to agonize over mic preamps, but I don’t anymore because the Apollo mic preamps sound really good.

You’re someone whose higher profile work happened a bit later in life. How did you stay strong in the business even during the leaner times?
Well, maybe because I was able to do a lot of things — none of them all that great — but a lot of things. I was able to juggle and somehow pay the bills. Doing everything from playing sessions to singing jingles, writing songs, engineering, producing, and touring as an artist or sideman. I’ve always felt that if I can make music and pay the bills, that’s the goal — everything else is gravy overflow. I grew up living in broke hippie band houses, with ten guys and ten dogs, playing six nights a week, living pretty lean. Eventually, you just figure out how to make things work. And these days I love everything I do, that’s a prerequisite: if it’s not fun, I don’t do it. Life is too short. It’s been an amazing run.

Buddy Miller Photos: CJ Hicks
Cayamo Cruise Apollo Rig Photo: Chas Smith


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:22:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Mixing Bronze Radio Return’s “Melting in My Icebox” with UAD Plug-Ins]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/producers-corner-bronze-radio-return/
F. Reid Shippen

F. Reid Shippen is a Nashville­-based music producer, engineer, and mixer who’s been fortunate to have mixed 10 Grammy-­award winning projects, as well as hits in multiple genres such as pop, country, R&B, and CCM. He’s worked with such luminary artists as Ingrid Michaelson, Dierks Bentley, India.Arie, Death Cab for Cutie, Matthew Perryman Jones, Shania Twain, the Temptations, and, of course, Bronze Radio Return.

Here, Shippen details how he used UAD-2 plug-ins on the Bronze Radio Return track, “Melting in My Icebox” from the album Up, On & Over.

Bronze Radio Return makes such fun, celebratory music, and their producer, Chad Copelin, is a badass engineer in his own right, so it’s always such a pleasure to work with fun and talented people, and this record was a career highlight.

BRR is a very quirky band, which is part of their charm, and then they turn on you with these massive, glorious hooks. The challenge in mixing this record was maintaining the band’s unique identity while making sure the hooks paid off.

“Melting in My Icebox” is one such earworm and we were all very happy with how it turned out.

Bronze Radio Return - Melting in My Icebox

I mix a lot of music in a lot of different genres, and I turn to UAD-2 plug-ins constantly for the character they impart. One of the things I like about them the most is that they have strange tricks and “weirdnesses” just like all of my favorite outboard gear. The first thing I’m going to show you is a bit of a secret trick — especially for electric guitars.

The Middle Finger on Guitars

Ok, so the old Helios EQ modules are awesome, as one knows, and the UAD Helios™ Type 69 EQ plug-in is a really great emulation of that hardware, right down to the unique tricks that make this my "go­ to" EQ for electric guitar.

Trick 1: Knock the bass EQ up one notch to 60 Hz. I don’t add any gain­ but the bottom end will instantly get thicker. (Rumor has it that Richard Dodd made the UA cats get this right. Sure, it makes no sense, but it’s how the real Helios works and it sounds great!

Trick 2: Turn the 10 kHz all the way down, and then crank up the midrange EQ between 10 and 15 dB. When the frequency is set to one of the top three choices, the midrange will stand up and give you the middle finger as you inch the gain up.

Here’s the guitar dry.

BRR Icebox EG  no UA

And here it is with the Helios EQ tweaks.

BRR Icebox EG  with UA

It’s like magic and it’s my favorite way to get some attitude into guitars. I added the venerable Teletronix® LA-3A Classic Audio Leveler plug-in behind it to catch the peaks and level things out. Granted, this example is a looped phrase, but the UAD plug-ins really helped it step out.


Something in the Air

Bronze Radio Return does amazingly textured vocals, and they have to sound interesting. There are a few things going on in this stack that I wanted to have happening.

First, the live vocals needed air, presence, and some space. But there’s also a synth choir blended in behind them, and I wanted to separate it out from the vocals in a way that would enhance the “stack” sound without being an obvious “synth” part.

I love the Cooper® Time Cube Mk II Delay plug-in for messing with soundfield cues. I use it constantly. I ran the synth choir through that to spread it out behind the vocals using the “Guitar Bloomer” preset. Then I ran the whole vocal stack through the Neve® 88RS Channel Strip plug-in, the Neve® 33609 / 33609SE Compressor plug-in, and the EMT® 140 Classic Plate Reverberator plug-in.

Here are the background vocals dry.

BRR Icebox BGVs - Dry

And here they are with the UAD plug-ins.

BRR Icebox BGVs with UA

The “trick” with the Neve 88RS is to crank up the high band of the EQ — as you can see I’ve dimed it — and then back the HF Filter down until you get some nice air in the top-end that has a lot of detail without being too crazy bright. This move also works very well on acoustic guitars.

The Neve 33609 behind the EQ gives me some level control and a touch of thickness, while the EMT 140 plate gives me a just a bit of space.


Space Jam Hand Claps

The thing I love most about the UAD-2 plug-ins is that they allow you to be subtle. For far too long a lot of digital processing sounded very “all-or-nothing” to me, but with UAD-2, I can do a lot of the little things that I believe add up to a lot.

In this case, I used the Teletronix® LA-3A Classic Audio Leveler plug-in and the Cooper® Time Cube Mk II Delay plug-in with the preset, “Haas Effect Left” to give the track’s hand claps a cool 3-D feel.

Here are the hand claps without UAD.

BRR Icebox Claps - Dry

And here they are with the Copper Time Cube and LA-3A plug-ins.

BRR Icebox Claps with UA

The Cooper kicks the hand claps out to the sides, away from vocals and kick and snare, and the LA-­3A has a natural brightness that always sounds great on percussion. I may have let the LA­-3A clip the output a bit to get a little more snap though — don’t tell the clients!

Visit F. Reid Shippen at robotlemon.com.


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:35:41 +0000
<![CDATA[5-Minute UAD Tips: Thermionic Culture Vulture]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/5-minute-uad-tips-culture-vulture/ Thermionic Culture Vulture for UAD­-2 and Apollo interfaces is an exacting emulation of the legendary, one­-of-­a-­kind, valve distortion tool. By faithfully capturing its three distinct all­-valve circuit topologies, the Culture Vulture plug-­in offers everything from subtle thickening textures to over­-the-­top buzzsaw distortions.

In this 5­-Minute UAD Tips video, learn how to harness the power of the Culture Vulture’s wide­-ranging distortion palette to your workflow.  

Learn how to:

● Beef up and saturate drums with vibey, old­-school distortion
● Add articulation and warmth to bass tracks
● Transform clean electric guitars into grinding rhythm parts
● Make clean vocals “pop” with attitude and grit

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:26:57 +0000
<![CDATA[UAD Thermionic Culture Vulture Plug-In Trailer]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/uad-culture-vulture-trailer/ Thermionic Culture Vulture plug-in for UAD-2 and Apollo interfaces faithfully emulates all of the original hardware’s sonic proclivities and diabolical details, including its three distinct all-valve circuit topologies. Now — thanks to an intense multi-year engineering effort from Universal Audio — you can track and mix with the only authentic circuit emulation of this one-of-a-kind valve distortion tool with the Thermionic Culture Vulture plug-in for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces.]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:09:39 +0000 <![CDATA[Softube Valley People Dyna-mite Plug-In Trailer]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/valley-people-dyna-mite-trailer/ Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:57:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Softube Tonelux Tilt EQ Plug-In Trailer]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/tonelux-tilt-trailer/ Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:29:40 +0000 <![CDATA[The Black Keys on Creating Hits with UAD Plug-Ins ]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/artist-interview-black-keys/
The Black Keys — Dan Auerbach (left) and Patrick Carney (right).

The Black Keys — drummer Patrick Carney and singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach — are a stunning story of musical evolution at every level: artistic, commercial, and certainly in terms of production acumen and ambition.

From home-recording their first indie album—2004’s The Big Come Up—on a Tascam 38 eight-track machine in Carney’s Akron, Ohio basement, to creating their new number one album Turn Blue with super-producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) at LA’s Sunset Sound Studio 2, no other band has so thoroughly mined the lo-fi, budget-analog ethos for inspiration.

And yet, over the course of their last few albums, they’ve successfully married that approach to a dizzyingly high level of cinematic soundscaping and top-shelf engineering — analog audio stalwarts who’ve stayed true to the organic, warts-and-all sound of analog, while embracing the digital age.

Carney and Auerbach are also each accomplished producers. Auerbach has produced records for Dr. John, Hacienda, and the most recent Lana Del Rey release, Ultraviolence. He also won a Grammy in 2013 for Producer of the YearCarney has produced bands such as The Sheepdogs, Tennis, and Houseguest among others.

Here, the duo talk about their recording process and how UAD Powered Plug-Ins are essential to their careful balance of raunch and refinement — key tools in their quest to make epic music on a very human level. 

Turn Blue is your third record with Brian Burton, and songs like “The Weight of Love” seems to go even further toward that big, cinematic direction that started showing up in songs like “Too Afraid to Love You,” on Brothers.
Patrick Carney: Every record sounds different, probably just because we get into different types of music over time, and we learn new things about recording, writing, and producing every time. We’ve worked with Brian for seven years now, and at this point, it’s basically like a three-piece band — it’s extremely collaborative. We figure out and refine all the parts together.

Can you describe that process?
Patrick Carney: We’ll write bass lines together and fine-tune guitar and drum parts; though I will say that pretty much all the drum and guitar parts do still start with either Dan or I coming up with an initial idea. From there, we work with Brian on recording and arranging the songs with bass and keys, very much as if we were actually a four-piece, even though there are technically just two of us in the band.

"I always have the UAD Precision Limiter plug-in on the mix bus."

Was it nerve-wracking — or perhaps liberating — to write, arrange, and record Turn Blue entirely in the studio?
Dan Auerbach: Well, we’ve written in the studio before, so it wasn’t a new experience. The songs can start from any small idea — it’s all about finding that little thing that sparks your interest and makes you want to investigate further. There is no right or wrong way. And besides the keyboards, we actually spent very little time on the instruments and tones. We brought instruments we were familiar with and had used before, and instead opted to spend more time focusing on the songs themselves — the changes, the melodies, etc.

Patrick, your drum sounds have evolved from the sprawling, very dead kit sounds on the early records, to the fatter, crunchier, and more ambient sounds of the last half-decade.
Patrick Carney: Well, I’m very particular about drum sounds, and Dan’s very particular about his guitar sounds. And though we’re both very capable of achieving the kind of sounds we want, we leave it to the engineers to put their own stamp on the tones as well.

As far as my drums sounds are concerned, I like a little bit of space around the drums, and I like the toms to be round, but I don’t like any reflection. In a way, I don’t want a room sound. I want the hi-hat to be like the Hi Records hi-hat. [Memphis label Hi Records’ roster included Al Green and Ann Peebles, and their records often featured house drummer Howard Grimes -Ed],

I want the kick to sound like early-’70s, poorly recorded tape, like that old Memphis rock. And I want the snare drum to have some sizzle, depth, and fatness, but at the same time, no ringing at all.

Dan, you get very distinctive guitar and vocal tones. Is there a particular production philosophy behind the way you capture sounds?
Dan Auerbach: I’m a believer in “less is more” and “simpler is always better” when it comes to micing. For vocals, I prefer a hand-held microphone like a Shure SM58, and only use large diaphragm mics for songs that are more delicate and maybe call for greater detail to be captured. And I prefer small tube amps for guitar, with built-in reverb as opposed to outboard.

So you’re not necessarily auditioning a million different rigs?
Dan Auerbach: I believe in simplicity, and if something doesn’t grab my attention fairly quickly, I’ll move on and try a different pedal, amp, or guitar. Once I find a compatible guitar and amp combination, though, I’m happy to stick with that for the remainder of the session. After all, it’s the player, not the gear.

“UAD plug-ins are amazing these days — very intuitive and easy to get good sounds on. I’ve used them on all my projects for the last few years.”
—Dan Auerbach

Patrick, do you have a particular method of capturing and building your drum sound?
Patrick Carney: I almost always record with just four mics — typically an Electro-Voice RE20 on the kick, an SM57 on the snare, and two Coles ribbon mics for overheads, usually with the Glyn Johns technique. [With some variation, the classic “Glyn Johns technique” features a kick mic, a snare mic, a side mic for cymbals/floor tom, and a single overhead about three-feet above and roughly centered between the kick and snare.]

How did you arrive at this interest in using fewer mics on the drums?
Patrick Carney: Well, when we first started recording, I would put mics up all over the place. The first real studio we went into had something like twelve mics on the drums, and of course, I wanted to use them all! It wasn’t until maybe our fourth record that I started realizing that using fewer mics — and putting them in the right spot — made the drums sound better.

Still, when I first tried the Glyn Johns technique, it sounded like shit. But I’ve recorded five or six bands this year — all with that technique — and it sounded great. The trick is talking to the drummer about not going crazy on the cymbals. In fact, I’m at the point with it now where I will almost always overdub the crash cymbal.

"With every record I do, I learn new things," says Patrick Carney.

Can you talk about overdubbing the crash? What are the advantages?
Patrick Carney: I started doing that around the time we made Brothers. I didn’t even have a crash cymbal in my drum setup, so I literally couldn’t play it when tracking the main performance.

By doing that, you leave a lot more room for the overheads to pick up the actual drums, so you can really hear the thickness of the drums through the overheads. And you don’t even necessarily need two overheads. We had a great engineer named Mark Neill who recorded most of Brothers, and he used one old Neumann KM 84 tube mic as an overhead. That’s what I’d been doing until recently, when I switched to the Glyn Johns technique. And that’s all I really need. Sure, if I have a song that’s particularly heavy on the floor tom, I might add a spot mic there, but even then I’ll thin that way out, just to get the attack.

What do UAD plug-ins bring to the table for you guys on your records and various projects?
Dan Auerbach: The UAD plug-ins are amazing these days, very intuitive, and easy to get good sounds on — and easy to quickly change if you’re not getting the sound you like. I’ve used them on all my projects for the last few years.

Patrick Carney: For me, the SSL G Series Bus Compressor plug-in usually comes first on my drum bus for just a little bit of gain reduction. Rather than compress individual drums, I’ll just compress all the drums together on that main bus.

Then I’ll use the Pultec EQP-1A plug-in for EQ, and the Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder plug-in or the Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder for saturation/distortion. If I’m going to put reverb on it, I’ll just send a bit of that whole bus submix out to a reverb bus, generally with a bit of the Ocean Way Studios plug-in or the EMT® 140 Classic Plate Reverberator plug-in.

I actually have a nice antique plate reverb, but the UAD EMT 140 comes pretty close. In fact, my plate is darker sounding, and if I roll just a bit of high-end off the UAD EMT 140, you really can’t hear the difference at all.

What is it about the Ocean Way Studios plug-in that appeals to you?
Patrick Carney: The Ocean Way Studios plug-in gives me that subtle space around the drums. I use a Neumann U47 in cardioid as a room mic, place it close to the kit, dial-in a bit of the Ocean Way Studios plug-in, and I get exactly what I want— no slapback or big reflection — just a nice little bit of depth.

“The Ocean Way Studios plug-in gives me that subtle space around the drums — just a nice little bit of depth.”
—Patrick Carney

Do you have any other “secret weapon” plug-ins for drum sounds?
Patrick Carney: The Roland® RE-201 Space Echo Tape Delay plug-in is another one of my favorite plug-ins, and having the sync function on that is one of the most useful things, especially if you want to put a dub echo on a snare and automate it on and off. I’ll keep that same drum bus going, with the reverb, and I’ll add a delay.

If I want to hit the snare with some Space Echo, I’ll just have a send from the snare directly to the delay. And it actually ends up sounding, to me, more like an analog desk, where you would be having an eight-bus return, and an AUX return. And if you were compressing those drums going to the bus, you wouldn’t be compressing the Sends—that sounds more natural to me.

Do you employ any UAD plug-ins for mixing?
Patrick Carney: When I’m mixing, I like to use the Precision Limiter plug-in. I always put that on the mix bus, and try to get between 2 and 4 dB of limiting, but I find that it’s completely transparent if you set it right. I love that thing. I’ll also use the UAD SSL G-Series Bus Compressor plug-in, with about a 4 dB peak, for a fuller attack, and I’ll use the auto-release sometimes, and then hit it into the Precision Limiter.

Sometimes I’ll use the UAD SSL G-Series Bus Compressor, followed by the Manley® Massive Passive EQ plug-in, or I’ll send a Pultec EQP-1A directly into the Precision Limiter. That’s pretty much my fake mastering! But like I said, with every record I do, I’m learning new things.

Photos of Patrick Carney: CJ Hicks

Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:27:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Mixing Volcano Choir's "Byegone" with UAD Plug-Ins]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/producers-corner-volcano-choir/
Justin Vernon (Left) & Brian Joseph

Brian Joseph is a Grammy Award-winning mixer and recording engineer based in northern Wisconsin who has worked with the likes of Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Phox, S. Carey, The Fray, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Kathleen Edwards, and Givers. Joseph works mostly out of April Base Studios and his own personal studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In addition to making records, Joseph does a fair amount of mastering and live mixing with bands he has worked with in the studio as balance to his “desk job."

Volcano Choir’s Repave came to us fairly realized from the band members, so it was up to co-mixer BJ Burton and myself to push the energy and make the landscape in front of us move and breathe. While working on this record presented many unique situations, one I had never encountered was to record the drums last

The band’s drummer, Jon Mueller, is such a unique and recognizable part of Volcano Choir’s sound, I am going to focus on the drum character we captured and further sculpted using UAD Powered Plug-Ins on the track, “Byegone.” 

Volcano Choir — drummer Jon Mueller is far right.
Volcano Choir - Byegone


Taming Treble Information

The drums were tracked to tape before making their way into Pro Tools. Their overall levels — especially the overheads — are a prominent feature on this track and needed to be far forward in the mix, without sounding shrill and taking up too much high-end real estate.

Here are the overheads without the UAD plug-ins.

OHs - Dry

Although they were tracked to tape running through a pair of hardware dbx 160 VU compressors, the overheads still needed some saturation as well as some high- frequency cuts. So once in Pro Tools, we inserted the Studer® A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder Plug-In and the Harrison® 32C / 32C SE Channel EQ Plug-In. Here are the overheads with the Studer and Harrison UAD plug-ins.


The UAD Harrison and Studer really smooth out the tone, softening up the cymbal hits so they could be cranked in the mix without being painful. This treatment also had the benefit of leaving the guitars a little more space to sparkle. 


Enhance Tone and Space

Once in the box, the use of parallel compression on the kick, snare, and toms using the SSL G Series Bus Compressor plug-in filled out the sound niceley. In addition to the bus compression, I used a light amount of dbx® 160 Compressor / Limiter plug-in and a heavy dose of the SPL® Transient Designer plug-in on the kick, an EMT® 250 Classic Electronic Reverb plug-in on the snare, and an 1176LN Classic Limiting Amplifier plug-in on the room mic.

Here are the drums without any processing.

Drums - Dry

And here are the drums with the UAD processing on the individual tracks and drum bus.

Drums - UAD Wet

The SSL on the bus added an even greater sense of urgency to the performance by lengthening the waveforms between hits, while the dbx and SPL thicken the kick’s overall sound, attenuates a small of amount of its attack, and lengthens the sustain.
The snare sound greatly benefited from the 250, as we had it pretty tightly gated, and it was in need of a clean sounding space without all the bleed from the rest of the kit.

Lastly, the room mic received a liberal amount of coloration and compression from the 1176LN plug-in. Since I hesitated to get aggressive enough with our hardware 1176 on the way in, using the plug-in version brought the grit and dirt it was missing.  It makes a pretty drastic difference when placed in the mix.


Twitter & Instagram: @crudplyson


Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:18:37 +0000
<![CDATA[5-Minute UAD Tips: Magnetic Tape Plug-In Bundle]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/5-minute-uad-tips-magnetic-tape-bundle/ The Magnetic Tape Plug-In Bundle for UAD-2 and Apollo interfaces features the Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder Plug-In and Studer® A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder Plug-In. Each of these classic tape machines bring warmth and cohesion to any kind of music.

In this 5-Minute UAD Tips video, learn how to use the rich saturation and unique characteristics of  analog tape in your workflow.

Learn how to:

  • • Use the Studer A800 for incredibly vivid drum sounds
  • • Bring out the lower octave of synth bass tracks with the A800
  • • Create unique ADT-style delay effects with the Ampex ATR-102
  • • Add the final touches to your music by mixing down through the ATR-102
Mon, 09 Jun 2014 20:13:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Stuart Price on Creating Hits for the Killers and Pet Shop Boys with Apollo & UAD Plug-Ins]]> http://www.uaudio.com/blog/artist-interview-stuart-price/
“The Pet Shop Boys made me eager to pursue electronic music,” says Stuart Price.


With credits that include Madonna, Scissor Sisters, Pet Shop Boys, and the Killers, as well as albums with his own group, Zoot Woman, Stuart Price has been an artistic force for over 18 years. Three-time Grammy winner, producer, remixer, and synth wizard, Price and his nom de plumes, Les Rythmes Digitales and Jacques Lu Cont has continued to churn out a stunning body of high-quality music. Here, Price details his influences, the similarities between remixing and producing, and how he uses UAD Powered Plug-Ins and the Apollo interface to achieve his sonic ideal.

What was your first musical memory?
I think it was smashing up my walkman because I had taped it to a BMX bike so I could listen to the Pet Shop Boys at all times.

Did you have a musical and supportive family?
Yes. They were most supportive without me realizing it because they didn’t complain when I left secondary school and didn’t want to go to University. But I had a record out that month which I thought was a good negotiating point.

Did you play in bands when you were younger?
Yes, I was in bands at school. I played bass. But I also had a Yamaha 4-track that I would take around with me, and I was always interested in writing songs so that they could be recorded. The recordings weren't very good, but it’s a good reminder how much you can do with a 4-track and some intention.

How did playing bass inform your musicianship?
All the pent-up frustration of standing at the back came out later on!

What did you listen to growing up?
My parents both played piano so there was mainly Bach, Liszt, or Chopin. Pop music wasn’t really around in our house. When I was 19 I heard Human League’s Dare and I couldn’t believe how it sounded. Eventually, I got into Orbital and they started opening my ears to dance, which then led me to artists such as Thomas Fehlmann and Polygon Window. I also used to tape the Colin Faver show on KISS FM, which was really good.

Do you think it's harder these days for kids coming up with the mass of technology and presets at their fingertips without necessarily learning the basics first? 
Well you can certainly be distracted very easily from a kind of basic learning-through-mistakes-mentality. That is, it has become harder to make mistakes when a lot of software is designed to prevent mistakes. A competent record is somehow easier to make. But competent is probably the ultimate sign of failure to make something interesting. Often, when everything is "right," something is just missing. But when a track has something unfathomable about it, the critique of its production becomes secondary, and it's just magic again.

Behind the scenes chat with the
Pet Shop Boys & Stuart Price

How did you start off and transition into the world of Techno?
Adam [Blake] from Zoot Woman and I were at the same school. He liked The Who and I liked Jean Michel Jarre. A friend of ours used to collect records from UR and Metroplex, and that was some sort of bridge we could both get into. 

Do you have a collection of vintage synthesizers?  
Yes. But personally I only like to use a handful at a time to prevent tracks from becoming too general with a touch of everything. You need to live with each one for a while to get to its secrets. I love the Yamaha TX7, the Casio CZ-101, the ARP 2600, Ensoniq Mirage, Roland MKS-50, and the EMS VCS3. I like to have them around mainly for inspiration. In my experience, turning away and just focusing on a different object in front of you can yield good results.

With the proliferation of inexpensive or free audio programs, virtual synths, effects, and sound loops do you think people are really learning their tools or have the tools become disposable?
That’s possible. It’s more like a kind of temptation. For example, there was a store in London that once created one of the biggest analog synth collections in the country and assembled it in their basement. You could get free time there if you bought product from the shop. So you had this sort of gluttonous synth porn store. I think anyone who went in there emerged completely overwhelmed and empty handed because firstly it's hard to jump in the deep end with a Moog Modular and expect to get any decent results out of it 30 minutes later and, secondly, the level of distraction just made it one big unfocused head job for anyone. In many ways, software can be like that too.

“The 1176 plug-in seems glued to my input chain,” says Stuart Price.

How did you transition to producing?
It branched off from remixing. I love reworking songs and ideas into new directions, and doing that is an element of modern production itself. The two are not dissimilar — you are always trying to improve your ideas until you get something really good. I started producing a lot of the artists I worked with because of the remixes I had done for them, like the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” The band liked it, so we met up at a concert and made plans to work together more.

Why have you recorded under pseudonyms like “Jacques Lu Cont” and “Les Rythmes Digitales?”
A few reasons; a pseudonym allows you to pursue a stylistic idea, it’s a world you can disappear into outside of your own. The music can have its own personality, just like the pseudonym.

Pseudonyms can also be like album titles. You have a new direction and instead of putting it under this one big umbrella you use the pseudonym to name that record. In many ways, using pseudonyms allows the music to live on its own merits, because there might be less preconceptions about other material you have done.

What is your history with UAD Powered-Plug-Ins?
I think I bought a UAD-1 the month it was released. I go through phases of finding a batch of UAD plug-ins and they become my “go-to” plugs for a while. I could drown too easily in a long list of options so it's much easier to just use a few at a time and remove some options.

What do you mean?
For example, just resign yourself to using, say, the Pultec EQP-1A plug-in from the Pultec Passive EQ Plug-In Collection as your only EQ. I find that I get that EQ sounding right in the same time I could still be poring down a long list of other EQs. It's an important part of the flow. It also builds your confidence in them — you know them better. But with patience there is time for all!

“Using pseudonyms allows the music to live
on its own merits,” says Stuart Price.

Do you have any “go-to” UAD plug-ins?
The 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection  almost always works for me. I love it. There’s a lot of variety in there from essentially one unit’s history. 

I started using it on Madonna’s vocal sound, along with the Pultec. I set the 1176 at 4:1 and ran it into the Pultec with a high-shelf. It clicked really well on her sound and I’ve found that I adapt that chain and still use it a lot. And even though we used a large condenser mic with Madonna, the 1176/Pultec chain is equally useful with a Shure Beta 58 mic. It just does all the right things, and quickly.

The Cooper Time Cube Mk II Delay is another one that is great for building sounds, without making them too effected sounding. I like the “suffocated” sound you can create with it. When the delay is so short it’s almost superimposed on the original and it makes for a nice thick tone.

Also, the Fairchild Tube Limiter Plug-In Collection is great because it is unique; none of the other compressors sound like it. On the Killers Day and Age, that was often a drum compressor, for either individual sounds or the entire kit. It suits Ronnie’s [the Killers’ drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr.] sound well. His kit is really more like one single sound source than a collection of multi-micing drums.

The Precision K-Stereo Ambience Recovery plug-in  is also excellent on a bus because you can really start altering your perception of what the group was before. It makes suggestions that, if you were thinking too logically, you wouldn’t have thought of. 

It’s good to experiment making broad stereo groups a bit more subtle, and vice versa, creating unnatural ambience from sources that had little before.

“The Apollo with Unison technology bridges the gap between using 'real' preamps and virtual ones,” says Stuart Price.

Do you compress individual channels and then compress them again on the mix bus?
Although it’s so dependent on the source I would say yes, a lot of the time that happens. The irony is that a lot of the time you need to leave sounds sounding individually un-mixed in order for them to work with processing on a bus or master. Five individually “worked on” sounds that have all been "perfected," can suddenly sound wrong when put together. I find it’s better to imagine them as an aggregated sound and think how that can be treated.

I learned that lesson working on Take That’s backing vocals — too much individual processing made no sense in the mix. It was more the sound of many uncompressed voices being compressed as a group that worked. It was more interesting, if less perfect.

That’s really a bigger point about the importance of working on all sounds together at the same time than focusing in on tracks one-by-one and then expecting them to work together. 

Is it safe to say you garner inspiration from not having too much of a set workflow?
What is easier to say is that repetition can get you quick results, but can also be very un-adventurous. Which means when you need some inspiration, you might not be feeling particularly ready for it. Workflow implies a restricted approach. I suppose “just mess around” is a better way to look at it.

When it comes to my workflow, however, the truth is it’s really different from day to day, and that’s why it's important not to get stuck into patterns or routine. It’s fascinating because almost any advice can be made redundant by your next scenario.

Could you describe your current setup?
Yes, it’s the new Mac Pro with an Apollo QUAD  connected via Thunderbolt. I was using a UAD OCTO PCIe card  in a Sonnet chassis as well which worked great too. I used that in tandem with a Neve Melbourn 12 channel board.

What do you like about Apollo?
I don’t like having things setup too nicely and I mostly patch stuff in when I feel like using it — that’s why the Apollo is really helpful. I have one cable that wherever it gets plugged in has some combination of UAD front end on it — the UA 610 Tube Preamp & EQ Plug-In Collection or the Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ Plug-In Collection, an 1176, an amp simulator, or the Boss® CE-1 Chorus Ensemble plug-in.

The Killers' “Flesh and Bone" Jacques Lu Cont remix.

Do you take advantage of tracking with near-zero latency with the Apollo?
Yes. That has made a huge difference. I previously used to apply UAD plug-ins further down the line. But now working with them on the front end lets you get closer to your final sound sooner. This feature alone is worth getting an Apollo for. And with Unison™ technology and plug-ins such as the 610 and Neve collections, the Apollo really bridges the gap between using “real” preamps and virtual ones.

Are you printing effects a lot? 
Yes, if it's part of what’s going on. Adding compressors or effects on the way in forces some sort of discipline as well — it forces a decision on the sound instead of leaving it for later. The way I see it, if you constructed a sound with reverb or delay as an intrinsic part of it, then print it. If it doesn’t work out, redo it.

What’s the most unconventional way you’ve used UAD plug-ins – how were you surprised with the result?
Maybe chaining amps together — say a Softube Bass Amp Room into the Chandler Limited GAV19T Amplifier plug-in. The DI feature on the Softube has quite an extreme effect, which makes the Chandler act very differently to the input it’s receiving. 

When you sit down to start a session, do you have any general strategies for mixing? 
The thing that always helps me the most is the thing I least like doing — turning everything down and gaining headroom. If you can “have a word” with yourself and back the input to the master bus down and mix again from there, you will probably get stronger mixes.

But it’s hard to do because I get excited where everything is peaky and pressurized! But from then it’s diminishing returns. Although it’s a bit risky, I normally set my monitor gain almost at maximum, then start soloing in elements of the mix so I’m forced to keep them low and hence gain overall headroom.

I suppose another strategy is to walk around lots. Hearing what you are working on from another room helps keep you focused on things like arrangement, as well as broadly telling you if the mix is working or not.

Photo credit: Universal Audio

Tue, 27 May 2014 21:45:24 +0000