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How does he do it? Gary Paczosa Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 11th November 2015
  #1
How does he do it? Gary Paczosa

You’ve heard it before- the questioner asks “how do I get this sound” and the chorus of replies says “you can’t unless you have Alison Krauss singing” or “you need to record with this or that mic”, etc.

Then there are those mixers who just do things a little differently and come up with a style that is all their own- regardless of who did the recording.

Gary Paczosa is one of those people- and to my mind, the best at mixing the kind of music he does.


So, I ask the question “How does he do it”? What techniques; is it a lot of compression on the individual tracks, his use of reverb with no predelay or early reflections, differential EQ, etc., etc.- or what? And to just compare mix to mix, I’ve removed the recording itself from the “equation”, using the following two examples. In each case the recording was not done by Gary, nor was the original mix done by him. In both cases the original (the “A” samples), the record was produced, recorded, and mixed by someone other than Gary. The “B” samples are Gary re-mixes of those same recordings and they show his “trademark” style, characterized by warmth, great depth, and great clarity. The originals are very, very good (and done by very competent mixers), but Gary’s just has a little something extra.

So, how does he do it?

[I should note that there are level difference between the “A” and the “B” samples (the advent of the loudness wars in mastering during recent times being the primary reason). But despite the level difference, it is evident that Gary’s mixes convey the emotion of the song through his ability to conjure up warmth, depth and clarity from the original recordings.]
Attached Files

sample-1A.mp3 (3.59 MB, 2000 views)

sample-1B.mp3 (3.60 MB, 1975 views)

sample-2A.mp3 (4.98 MB, 1935 views)

sample-2B.mp3 (4.94 MB, 1933 views)

Old 11th November 2015
  #2
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most of his tone comes from one of these

Old 11th November 2015
  #3
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Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mulcahy View Post
most of his tone comes from one of these

Except he uses the red version. Hotter sound.
Old 11th November 2015
  #4
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ionian's Avatar
I'm not sure...

I feel like the 1A mix was better than the 1B mix. To my ear, there's some conflicting frequencies between the guitar in the left channel and the vocal - particularly when he sings, "Midnight cigarette". I feel like in the 1B (Gary's) mix, I have to strain to hear it clearly, or that it kind of stresses my ear because I feel like the guitar is banging into the vocal, whereas in the 1A mix, I felt like the vocal kind of floated above the guitar and was easier to listen to, and understand.
Old 12th November 2015
  #5
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I have to say, I also like 1A better than 1B. 1B sounded "hard" for lack of a better term. Kind of like it lost a little bit of its freedom.

For 2A / 2B, I didn't like the "Air", or "breathiness" that was added to the voice. It sounds too contrived, and not very natural. For some moments in the music I liked 2B better, but because of the vocals, I'll have to say that I like 2A better. It mostly sounds like EQ adjustments to me.
Old 12th November 2015
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Great comparison! Love Gary's work! Gary's EQ sounds a lot more high-midrange forward, and he emphasizes elements of interest a lot more prominently. Gary's mixes sound like a record whereas the other mixes sound like really nice rough mixes.

Is he still using Myteks?

M.
Old 12th November 2015
  #7
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I like the vocal rides better on 2a. Some people really dig into that stuff. With Alison Krauss, I would.
Old 12th November 2015
  #8
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mig27's Avatar
Care to share what this box is about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mulcahy View Post
most of his tone comes from one of these

Old 12th November 2015
  #9
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TurboJets's Avatar
Still to this day the AKUS record "Forget About It" just slays me. Aside from the incredible talent on that record Gary Paczosa really grabbed my attention as to what is possible when it comes to engineering and mixing. That record is one of my "white whales". And FWIW I prefer the B mixes from the samples posted. I think its a cop out to scoop all the mids and turn a mix into glass. Gary Paczosa has a way of presenting the pure fundamentals of each instrument to create a sonic landscape that is more interesting than some of his peers. From engineering to mixing the guy just makes amazing recordings, at least to my ears.
Old 13th November 2015
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mig27 View Post
Care to share what this box is about?
It's the fattest, warmest, punchiest box out there. It sounds amazing!

It sounds like tubes, tape and transformers wrapped in gold leaf, covered in $1,000,000 and dipped in molten chocolate.
Old 13th November 2015
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
It's the fattest, warmest, punchiest box out there. It sounds amazing!

It sounds like tubes, tape and transformers wrapped in gold leaf, covered in $1,000,000 and dipped in molten chocolate.
When's the UAD version coming out?
Old 13th November 2015
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
It's the fattest, warmest, punchiest box out there. It sounds amazing!

It sounds like tubes, tape and transformers wrapped in gold leaf, covered in $1,000,000 and dipped in molten chocolate.
Old 16th November 2015
  #13
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The frequency balance is certainly quite a bit different from A to B. Too much high end in the B mixes, particularly vocals. You could take 1 maybe even 2 dB off 10 or 12k with a shelf (or better yet multiband) and have things sound immediately better. I prefer Paczosa's take on the instruments, notably in the second clip. He really latches onto the motion and drive of the music (drums) and brings that out - and it works very well.

The time constants for the vocal compression on B sound more musical. A clips are slightly off, though this could be how they were EQ'ed going into compression. A clips are more reserved and natural. With some creative mastering you could take either mix on clip 1 depending on what you want, but preferably mix B on clip 2.

Not a fan of the verbs on the B mixes when the vocals are isolated, yet they blend nicely when the song picks up.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
It's the fattest, warmest, punchiest box out there. It sounds amazing!

It sounds like tubes, tape and transformers wrapped in gold leaf, covered in $1,000,000 and dipped in molten chocolate.
since the pictures of the Magic Box are not appearing for some reason .. can you tell us what the Box is called ??
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Nut
 
lucasanything's Avatar
I believe it's a custom version of a Maag EQ. From a Tape Op interview:

"Do you still rely on any of the same gear? Yeah, apart from KM 54s — and it's been talked about before — this wax box [custom Mäag EQ] that I'd mix through. Mostly I use the Mäag's Air Band on top end. The sub band gets used every now and then... For tracking, I've been going through the Mäag 500-series. Their EQ2 module is a lot more controllable."
Old 1 week ago
  #16
I prefer the A mixes also.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
since the pictures of the Magic Box are not appearing for some reason .. can you tell us what the Box is called ??
This was 4 years ago. I have literally 0 recollection of even participating in this thread.
Like you said, the pic is gone so I can’t even refresh my memory.
Reviewing this thread now, I can confidently say I was joking. I’m not sure what the pic was but the description I made was meant to be funny.
Sorry I can’t be more help.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
This was 4 years ago. I have literally 0 recollection of even participating in this thread.
Like you said, the pic is gone so I can’t even refresh my memory.
Reviewing this thread now, I can confidently say I was joking. I’m not sure what the pic was but the description I made was meant to be funny.
Sorry I can’t be more help.
Nice !! That’s truly Classic !! I guess I will spend my Special Gear Money in Chicks and Tequila. Maybe not in that order. Haha. Thx for the reply after all this time !! Cheers john
Old 6 days ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Gary works with the best musicians, artists and rooms. That's truly a major part of the formula. I've seen Union Station on Tavis Smiley on PBS and they sounded like the records. That show is not set up for live performances. Never diminish how important the source is. You've heard the saying, "How do you get a great drum sound? Record a great drummer!" Like Greg Morrow!!
I remember a conversation I had with Frank Fillipetti over dinner one nite. He said that as an engineer as you advance in your carreer and your abilities you end up working in the best rooms with the best gear and greatest players. He was working at AIR Studios, Lee Sklar was on bass. He plugged the di into the
Neve and simply brought the fader up. No eq, no compression just gain. He remembered thinking to himself, this is the best bass sound I've gotten.
I believe Ed Cherney once commented about Chuck Rainey that you could put Chuck next to the tape machine and not even plug him in and you'll get a great bass track!
Gary is a talented engineer, has earned to work with those players etc.. A talented engineer with great players almost always creates great records.

Last edited by kellyd; 6 days ago at 10:40 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
This was 4 years ago. I have literally 0 recollection of even participating in this thread.
Like you said, the pic is gone so I can’t even refresh my memory.
Reviewing this thread now, I can confidently say I was joking. I’m not sure what the pic was but the description I made was meant to be funny.
Sorry I can’t be more help.
Today is the first time I read this thread but I thought that WAS the original picture mean't as a joke....They were just making something up to reel you in and then hit you with that blank picture....LOL....moon
Old 6 days ago
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
Nice !! That’s truly Classic !! I guess I will spend my Special Gear Money in Chicks and Tequila. Maybe not in that order. Haha. Thx for the reply after all this time !! Cheers john
Spending it on tequila first may make for an interesting "next morning"...LOL....moon
Old 6 days ago
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyd View Post
Gary works with the best musicians, artists and rooms. That's truly a major part of the formula. I've seen Union Station on Tavis Smiley on PBS and they sounded like the records. That show is not set up for live performances. Never diminish how important the source is.
Of course, but this wasn't about performance. Both of the examples were recorded and mixed by someone other than Gary and appeared on separate albums. Sometime later, Gary remixed the original sources and the re-mixes were included in the 100 miles album.

The question I asked was about the difference between two different people mixing the same multitrack recording and how they achieved those differences. And the differences are striking, right from the first note of the first example (the Paisley/Krauss duet).

Some people like the original, some liked the re-mix. My curiosity was more interested in how Gary achieve the results he did, when compared to the other mixers. Or, you could look at it another way: What did Gary do differently compared to the way things where done on the original mix.
Old 5 days ago
  #23
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If Gary recorded it then the mix is extension of his vision which is different than another eng taking the song thru the mix. He is very good at that type of music. Technique and approach is one way to look at it but I find that once you get to a certain level most times it's an engineers sense of aesthetic. Everyone mixes different. Taste is a major deciding factor on choosing mixers. Gary gets it. Just like some rock artist choose CLA.
Old 5 days ago
  #24
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyd View Post
I remember a conversation I had with Frank Fillipetti over dinner one nite. He said that as an engineer as you advance in your carreer and your abilities you end up working in the best rooms with the best gear and greatest players. He was working at AIR Studios, Lee Sklar was on bass. He plugged the di into the
Neve and simply brought the fader up. No eq, no compression just gain. He remembered thinking to himself, this is the best bass sound I've gotten.
That's all true. But the dues you pay to get there involve finding ways to make less than stellar artists sound stellar. And this principle applies to more than just music and recording.
Old 5 days ago
  #25
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I agree Brent but kind of take that for granted. As in any vocation, you have to be good at what you do to rise to an elite level. Very few get there if they suck.

Last edited by kellyd; 5 days ago at 07:50 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #26
Kelly-I guess I still did not make myself clear.

Gary DID NOT RECORD EITHER SONG. Both songs were recorded by other engineers, then mixed by other engineers; and both appeared on multi-platinum albums which Gary had nothing to do with ("Mud on the Tires" by Brad Paisley and "In My Hands" by Natalie MacMaster). Both of the original mixed are, IMO, excellent. All the other engineers are also at the top of the game in Nashville.


Some years later, when Gary was putting together a compilation album for Krauus and Rounder, he re-mixed the original recordings (which he did not record). His mixes are also excellent, but quite different from the originals. Personally, I am not concerned with whose mixes were better (although I found other Slutz's comments on that interesting); all the three albums sold very well.

Certainly, both the artist and the tracking engineer affect the final result. I do not disagree with you.

However, I purposely chose as examples songs which Gary did not record so as to take his recording methods out of the analysis. The differences between the mixes, therefor, can not be attributed to his tracking methods (btw, he has given several interviews where he discuses his tracking techniques in some detail, but I have not seen any where he goes into detail about how he mixes). Given that he did not record the songs, any differences between the original mixes and his re-mixes must be due to how he handles a mix. (Same would be true if you or I did remixes using the original recordings.)


I was interested in what Gary did (techniques, equipment, philosophy; whatever- for example, one Slutz mentioned differences in the time constants for the vocal compression; another mentioned the use of the EQ3, a box that I am also addicted to) that made his mixes distinctively different from the originals.
Old 5 days ago
  #27
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Sorry brother I shouldn't use my phone for GS since I sometimes miss details. Think my response to Brent is a little more on point.

Quote:
He is very good at that type of music. Technique and approach is one way to look at it but I find that once you get to a certain level most times it's an engineers sense of aesthetic. Everyone mixes different. Taste is a major deciding factor on choosing mixers. Gary gets it.
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