Producer Steve Levine Shares Tips and Tricks on Using the Little Labs IBP Plug-In

December 23, 2009 11:11:11 AM PST
Steve Levine
Producer Steve Levine

Steve Levine is perhaps best known as the producer behind mega-acts such as Culture Club and the Beach Boys. But these days, he spends much of his time as the Chairman of the UK Music Producer’s Guild, running his Hubris Records label, and producing bands every chance he gets. Levine shared a special technique that he recently used while producing and recording the UK’s Patch William.

"Absolutely one of the best things you have ever made is the Universal Audio Little Labs IBP phase aligner plug-in."

Levine recorded the guitars through both the DIs and the band’s amps. “They've got a lovely collection of really good vintage amps, so we used those in the studio. But to cover myself, I recorded with a DI, as well as a set of mics. On a couple of the songs, we used the I.K. Multimedia Fender plug-ins, on the DI'd signal, and then used the Universal Audio DreamVerb to create a sense of another environment. I used a brittle concrete wall with a very, very short release. I found that sounded really good, to sort of separate the two guitars. But the killer, that we have used on every single track on Patch William — which is absolutely one of the best things you have ever made — is the Universal Audio Little Labs IBP phase aligner plug-in.”

Multiple mics on an amp
Multiple microphones set up to capture the amp and blend it
with the direct signal during mixing.

"I implore every guitarist out there to use that Little Labs plug-in."

“We used a Royer ribbon, maybe six or seven inches away. Then a B&K 4004 omni a little further back, and a pair of Schoeps PZMs for the room mics. I wanted to have the maximum control when I went to mix, effectively printing five tracks of guitar in each take. But where it was absolutely brilliant was changing the phase relationship between the Royer and the omni using the Little Labs plug-in. I hardly used any EQ at all on those guitars. The color changes [using the Little Lab IBP plug-in] were just breathtaking — an amazing tone coloration … people aren't aware of how incredibly powerful it is. I implore every guitarist out there to use that Little Labs plug-in.”

"The Little Labs IBP plug-in is a powerful tool that doesn’t require a ton of EQ, and it makes the mixing job so much easier."

Levine also found the Little Labs IBP plug-in useful on the drum mix. Because using multiple mics on the front of the kick and close to the beater, along with room mics, you can get a lot phase problems, “I used Little Labs to get rid of that 300- to 400-Hertz bump that you get. The result is you get more of a — dare I use the phrase — ‘disco’ bass drum sound. You get a much more solid sound, which you wouldn't traditionally want with an indie-sounding rock band. But when you mix the room mics back in, you get the best of both worlds. There's a point where, as you twiddle the dial, it suddenly just sits perfectly. So I'd urge your users to experiment with it on some of the drum mics as well.” Listen to Patch William and check out Steve's website.

— Marsha Vdovin