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Old 1st October 2004
Guest Moderator - September 08
Dave Pensado's Avatar

easier than you think

One of the more disappointing days in my life was when I finally saw one of my engineering heroes work. I heard these awful drum and vocal sounds he was given, then I blinked and they sounded amazing. I looked to see what gear was blinking so I could figure out what he had done (without being obvious), and I couldn't figure it out. I finally asked him, and he wasn't doing anything special, he just did some basic compression and a little EQ. I was pissed. I realized it was TALENT and NOT gear! This meant I had to go work even harder, instead of finding the magic equipment chain that would make me sound like him. Yeah, yeah, I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I can't impress on you enough that it is the person's taste and determination, combined with experience that determines the sound. NOT GEAR.

OK. Whew, now that we have established that, let's discuss some gear which is better than others at certain tasks. On Christina's album I added some samples to the snares and kiks. I tried to be respectful of the original sound, but added a hi end thin snare or stick to get the pop or shine. If there wasn't enough bottom, I would add an old reworked Clearmountain snare I pinched from an old (springsteen I think) album. The stick sound I used I made about 15 years ago by taking a 1/2" steel rod and using it like a regular drum stick by hitting the snare head and rim at the same time. I did the mult thing. I put the EXACT same snare (I was given) through: 1) chan 1-board EQ, and comp. 2) chan 2-a 160xt (see other posts for settings) and out of that to a tube EQ, either Pultec or VacRack. 3) chan 3-any compressor that has attack/release and ratio control ( I used a Lacy Thompson CLX) but any newer compressor will work). That's pretty much it. Check out some of the mixes by Jean Marie Horvatz. He does pretty much the same thing, as he showed me some of these tricks (along with learning some from the AMAZING Bob Power).

For the Bass I used the 120xds by DBX sometimes, also an old Roland Dimension D, along with a MOOG parametric EQ. I also like preset #35 on the Sony M7. Every once in a while I will use Tile Room from the PCM70 on a ballad.

Did I answer everything, if not let me know? Also, again, let me add that the answers/ideas by the other guys on this thread are VERY cool. Some I already do, and some I will try very soon.