Professional Sound - June 2022 - Page 41

the analog outboard gear combined with a console , it can be quite archaic at times and limits your ability to work on several songs or projects at once . I ’ ve really had to tighten up my workflow and put in the extra time needed for stems and documenting in case of a recall .
For their 40 th anniversary , Canadian rock luminaries 54-40 performed at the El Mo in September 2020 , which was also livestreamed via service Nugs . net . At the centre of the on-site studio is an SSL 500 live console with remote mic preamps meant for capturing the raw signal in Pro Tools , as well as being used for mixing of livestreams in real time . Amazingly , Doug McClement of LiveWire Remote Recorders , who recorded and mixed many of the live shows for radio through the 1980s with his Comfort Sound truck / mobile studio , does all of the venue ’ s livestreaming mixes . Incredibly , McClement was the guy who recorded and mixed Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble ’ s classic El Mo show in 1983 , which was my first introduction to the venue .
The mix of the 54-40 show started in my studio in Toronto on a Neve Genesys 64-channel console and finished at my house in Crossville , TN . I was able to basically pick up where I left off after completing my studio here with the brilliant studio designer David Rochester , owner of Technical Audio Services Inc . out of Lebanon , TN . The move also forced me to wire the entire room , console , and outboard myself — which was , let ’ s just say , a “ character building ” experience .
For this album , my monitors were a pair of ATC SCM 45s and a pair of Auratones purchased right from their factory in Nashville . For a power amp , I used the original El Mocambo ’ s Bryston 4B from the 1970s — a little overkill but sounds great ! The Neve Genesys is an analog console that is digitally controlled . Meaning , the EQs are all instantly recalled with a single row of knobs on an EQ strip in the centre section with a digital “ plug-in ” representation of the EQ displayed on a screen . The first eight channels are the Neve 1084 EQs , which are the vintage-style similar to the 1073 with set EQ points . It has three bands with hi , mid , and low frequencies , which I use for kicks , snares , and toms .
For drum tracks , I was given kick , snare , two overheads , rack tom , floor tom , and hi-hat . I had the overheads sent to a Bricasti room reverb called “ Studio B Far ” on the console ’ s Aux 6 . I edited the room size , high-end roll off , and pre-delay to give the drums a bit of reflection without sounding unnatural . ( Normally , I wouldn ’ t add the room reverb to direct drum mics and usually stick to overheads and the room .)
For this project , I wanted everything to live in the same space on the drums and the ambience mics were not picking that up in a way that showcased the venue ’ s acoustics . To accentuate the drum “ room ” sound with something livelier , I added a second Bricasti to Aux 3 called “ Music Club .” It has a more bombastic character with a venue-like reflection sound . Also , I added a bit to the overhead mics as well as the toms and the original snare . I always found there was a sound that the El Mocambo recordings had that exemplified what a live band in a small club should sound like and , after some tweaking , this setting gave me a little bit of that feeling .
The new El Mo room , although quite large with about 26-ft . -high ceilings , was designed to have clear and balanced acoustics , but I wanted to dirty it up just a bit . As a side note , the original venue was generating no more electricity than an average house . ( When I played on the second-floor stage , my amp was distorting way sooner than it normally would . Maybe its over-taxed electrical situation was part of the magic El Mo sound !?). The snare was also sent to a gate reverb for some width and a slight delay on the hits . For this , I used a UAD Lexicon 224 . It was a pretty grainy sound and helped the spread and perceived energy of the snare drum .
With the room sounds added to the drums , I sent everything except the hi-hat and overheads to a pair of Empirical Labs Distressors set to Nuke to give the kit some dirt and brought that up on a pair of faders . The kick-in and the top snare were EQ ’ d with vintage Neve 1081s into a stereo Neve 2254 compressor . There is also some other
parallel compression and EQ happening with the kicks and snares with API 550As and a Neve 33609 . I also added some 30Hz to the main kick with the 1084 on channel one of the console .
The overheads went through two Pultec EQP1-A EQs and then into an Empirical Labs Fatso , which approximates tape saturation and compression . This gave the cymbals some more excitement and character and lengthened their decay .
The bass track that I received was a mono DI that had decent low end and good clarity in the top . I ended up duplicating it and running it into a UAD Ampeg B-15N amp to give it some extra low-end dimension . I also sent a copy of the DI to a dbx 165A compressor overdriven as a distorted signal to introduce some grit that greatly helps the bass come through in the mix . The DI went through a Urei LA2A and a Pultec MEQ-5 , as well as a Neve 88R EQ . The amp was a Urei 1176 Rev F with the 88R EQ . I also added 60 to the HLS plug-in . By turning it on , it will add some nice low end without even turning it up .
I would vary the balance of the signals depending on the song and the level of distortion . With the three signals it required , there was phase flip on the bass “ amp ” channel , too . I also added a Waves R-Bass plug-in on the bass amp , which was automated to add some sub bass to certain sections of songs and some differentiation on parts , such as a chorus . The DI and the amp also had a little bit of the Bricasti “ Music Club ” ( a setting in the Bricasti ’ s Rooms section ) added for some size and reflection .
In the recording , I really loved the interplay between Dave Genn and Neil