a delay sound that suited a live show . This can be heard on Dave ’ s call and response in “ I Go Blind .” The reverbs were Aux 3 “ Music Club ” and a bit of Aux 6 “ Large + Stage ” from the 480L .
The compression on each background vocal was a UAD 1176 with a fairly fast attack and release with wet / dry mix at about 75 %. The EQ was a Neve 88R for each vocal .
( A note to say that the Neve 88R EQ is unlike the vintage Neve modules that have set EQ points , because this one allows you to choose any frequency . I love it because you can do similar EQ to L and R guitars but differentiate them slightly to give more perceived separation in a mix .)
On the mix bus I have a series of compressors and EQs set up on the patch bay daisy chained together for its insert . Again , I love having a lot of things doing very little and here is no exception . The chain is a Millennia NSEQ-2 ; SSL FX-G384 ( Attack 30 mS , Ratio 4 , Release . 1 ); GML 8200 ; Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Processor ( 1.5 ratio medium attack and fast release , stereo width , some top-end centre EQ , slight limiting catching some peaks as well as Silk Blue for low to mid transformer saturation , Mix wet / dry at 50 %); into , lastly , a Chandler Curve Bender , which is my favourite EQ , adding 20k , 2.8 , 1.8 , and 50 .
I usually use the volume on the Curve Bender to attenuate the mix if it ’ s hitting too hard . Also , when bouncing mixes to the Ampex ATR-102 half-inch tape machine , it ’ s great to have the stepped volume controls to bring the level back so it doesn ’ t hit the tape too hard . The console itself does have a “ sound ,” however , and when driven into clipping , it ’ s not a pleasant one . There is a sweet spot where everything glues together on the mix bus and you will hear a nasty distortion with loud clicks when it gets out of control . Alternatively , the Rupert Neve 5060 ’ s mix bus loved to be driven and could take a wicked beating . It would just keep compressing the signal in a cool way ( but I still prefer the tonality of the Genesys ).
At the end of the signal chain was a Burl B2 Bomber ADC , which has level metering and is used to bring the mix back onto a printed track in Pro Tools . I will usually print a mix on the ATR-102 and then send the tape mix through the B2 as a mix option , as well , and choose the best one between the digital and tape for mastering . The converters in my studio consist of two Burl B80 Motherships with 72 outputs and 16 inputs as well as a Burl clock .
When learning how to mix , it was such a challenge to figure out proper gain staging , both in Pro Tools as well as understanding how to get the best out of plug-ins . I had the opportunity to attend a Mix with The
Masters seminar with Tchad Blake and the most important takeaway for me was , especially in the digital realm , to let many things do a little as opposed to one thing doing a lot . When mixing on a console , I had to get the Pro Tools track levels attenuated enough that the signal on the faders was at a manageable level . When all of the combined channels get summed to the mix bus , it can easily get too hot and distorted . My friend Andre Doucette , who is the head of production at the El Mocambo , turned me on to a plug-in called LUFS Meter , which I add to every channel . You can make everything one group or multiple groups . When you play the tracks , the plug-in will average out all of the tracks and even out the levels . This allows me to set all of the faders at -5 or 0 and have a pretty decent rough balance going . It saves time and is usually how I start a mix once the tracks are all out on the board .
Often times , the gain will still creep up and hit the mix bus too hard , so luckily the Neve fader automation has a Trim function where I can select all or any individual channels and bring them down by 1db or . 1db intervals . Although this feature is great , it doesn ’ t affect the Aux knobs that are often reverbs . When the channels come down , the reverbs get more prominent , so those have to be attenuated . I guess I could just turn down the master fader , but I try to avoid that for some unknown reason and simply keep everything at a good level from the beginning and leave the Master fader all the way up !
Mixing this record was such a great experience for me , and I ’ ve always had a lot of admiration for 54-40 . They were great
OUTBOARD RACK & PEDALS IN BROADBRIDGE ’ S TENNESSEE STUDIO
to work with and gave detailed , clearlyexplained feedback on the mixes and any revisions — a mixing engineer ’ s dream ! For most of my years mixing , I worked with a lot of indie bands doing records that were often recorded in less than ideal spaces . Yet , no matter what issues were in the tracks I received , it was my job to make it all work in the end . But mixing a live album presented some tricky sonic challenges that took me some time to figure out .
In the end , though , the magic really just came down to a great band with great songs playing with conviction . It ’ s not a typical-sounding live album and I ’ m happy about that . There was a raw spirit in the original El Mocambo recordings that I tried to inject into the new , refined , state-of-the art “ hi-fi ” El Mocambo and I think I found a nice balance between those two .
Once I was done , the record was mastered for vinyl by Pete Lyman of Infrasonic Sound in Nashville , who I ’ ve worked with on a number of records and singles over the years and will be released this fall . I can ’ t wait for you to hear it !
Clifton David Broadbridge is a Canadian engineer , producer , and musician now living in Crossville , TN where he has a recording studio and is the president and part owner of John Cruz Custom Guitars . He has written nearly 30 songs for Sir George Martin ’ s Grandmaster Music Library ( Extreme Music ) and has many songs featured in film and Television , including Netflix ’ s limited series The Serpent . For more information , go to www . cliftondavidbroadbridge . com .
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