Andrew and Fab address the "Wall of Doom" behind them and talk about the gear he used mixing Ziggy Marley entirely analog.
Hear the history behind the gear that Andrew has collected throughout his illustrious career. Andrew discusses his transition away from analog mixing and why he now works exclusively in-the-box.
Finally, the conversation turns away from gear and onto what really matters when mixing professional records.
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- 00:00 - Start
- 00:4 - The Wall of Doom
- 06:40 - ITB vs OTB Mixing
Toys, toys, toys! All right. So, wall of doom.
Some new stuff, some old stuff.
On the mix, you majesty uses this three or four 1176s.
Four of the five got used.
The two silver faces and two of those black faces.
Black faces, yeah.
So, there's a big...
discussion about silver faces versus black faces.
I think basically...
they are different when you get into the really old black faces, and these are Rev D, and it went through Rev H or something like that.
These sound different and probably because they're old and they're getting slightly out of spec and things are dying.
The circuits are slightly different, they react differently.
In my head, the black faces work great on guitars, silver faces work great on vocals.
It could be because when they are silver they are brighter and it makes me think that they are brighter, I don't know.
With the extreme settings I'm using on the silver ones, on this mix, I really don't think it would matter.
As long as they can go super fast and be able to distort they are gonna be fine, it doesn't matter which.
These pair are a little bit special only because they came from the original Motown LA Studio.
They have a little bit of history, they came as pair and have lived together their whole lives I don't split them up, I actually use them in a stereo configuration.
Not with a stereo link but they always work together.
They just have a little special place in the studio.
And we have some DBX 160, a whole bunch of them.
Yeah, we're only using one in particular, on this mix, but yeah, 160 VU, used on every mix I ever do with gear.
It's fun on drums.
Some of the first compressors I ever bought.
When I started that was the compressor that I saw that could do everything.
When it was time to buy compressors I bought 165As.
Unfortunately, in my head, that gave them this sort of Swiss army knife thing but not necessarily the best for anything in particular.
I use them a lot less than I probably should.
But they've been here since the beginning.
Then, Aphex. We talk about the Aphex a lot in the video.
You use that on vocals.
Aphex has built a bunch of different models of their stuff all based on the same concept but they sound totally different.
I love that one on vocals, percussion.
That's a lovely thing, TG.
The TG 1 from Chandler, Wade actually gave me the mastering release mod so it has in-between settings.
Yeah, it's great.
It just does a thing, and the thing it does is wonderful.
And you use it on the mix.
I use it stereo for some drum stuff.
And a couple of 500 racks for some exotic stuff.
On the mix you're only using this guy.
Yeah, we only used that Moog ladder filters.
Awesome filters, they are filters, they are Moog Filters.
They are wonderful, wonderful.
And then an Alien holding the world.
- And we all need one of those. - Best sounding thing in the studio.
Next are Lang PEQ 2s.
I love these EQs.
We use these on the stereo bus.
The three of them are a pair.
These are actually from Motown.
This one is not from Motown.
This was from Sound City, Studio B, when they closed it.
Before some famous guy bought the console I bought some of the outboard gear.
This one has been modded with an API style output amplifier.
It's not actually a 2520 but it's that topology amplifier.
To try and give me a little more headroom.
Turns out it's a little too clean.
I ended up using these two guys which still have the old out amps.
Pultec style EQ with a solid state amp.
It sounds awesome.
I see you take good care of your gear.
I bought this like this and actually the guys at Spectra-sonics are after me to send it in so they can put a new front plate and a meter on there.
And I'm going to do it, I swear. I'm sorry I haven't sent it in yet.
Sort of LA-2A style but not really.
And it also has an amazing peak limiter which is completely transparent.
You can get rid of 6 dB peaks and you really don't hear it doing it.
It's fast enough to do that.
It's super fast, to the point where they feel like it's impossible to model.
I'd love for someone to take on that challenge and see.
But apparently you're down in the nanosecond range where you can't model.
Really fast and awesome.
But when you start distorting it it does it's own thing.
And then that's a wonderful thing right here.
- Fat-boy! - The fat is written on it.
That BA6A has spoiled me for all other BA6As.
Twice I've tried to buy a second one.
And they sound like they are broken compared to this one.
There's something that goes on the low end of this one.
And probably this is the one that's broken.
But it's fat boy.
- It's amazing. - My favorite compressor.
BA6A are my favorite compressor I've ever heard.
They are the smoothest, fattest...
Don't listen too carefully to this one because then you're gonna get sad.
Don't look when we leave, it might be gone.
It won't be gone, it weights too much.
You are using the Eventide.
That H3000 has been on the same program, with a couple of tweaks along the way, since Stadium Arcadium.
I modified a dual 910 program to act like the dual micro-pitch program.
And that has stayed...
I mean, that box you could remove the entire front face plant, it wouldn't matter.
This is not being used.
- Yes, just some more stuff. - And then...
Distressors are distressors, sometimes you need them.
And sometimes you don't.
And then this guy.
The LA-2A, Sound City Studio B.
I re-tubed it, it sounds magical.
I did not put a new opto in it.
So of course, it sounds nothing like a LA 2A is supposed to sound like.
But it is great.
- Ok, well, gear doesn't matter right? - No.
- No. - It's not about the gear.
It's about what's in your head.
It's about what's coming out of the speakers.
Which is a projection of what's in your head.
We hope. That's what we're striving for.
This was just a little bit of gear porn because everybody is drawn to this stuff.
I know that lately you've been working more in the box.
- Yeah. - Do you think that's a compromise? No, when I was starting to migrate into the box I was worried that it would be.
I was really worried about the results.
And once I finally got over myself and just did it and stopped thinking it was about the gear, that the gear is the source of all my power, because if that was true, anybody with money would be a great mixer. You just buy some stuff, right? It took a little while to get used to it but I actually much prefer mixing in the box now because it's all about the process and what makes you feel creative.
And what makes me feel creative now is working on more than one song at a time usually three or four, sometimes six songs at a time.
Be able to work on one for 10 minutes and if I'm not feeling it, close it, open up another song and been able to do it anywhere in the world and not bother telling people where I'm going.
I think it's freed me up mentally to not have this milestone of a non-recallable mix on the console.
Because there's so many knobs involved, you're never gonna get them all back to the right place.
So when you've got a mix going on the console at least for me, I'm terrified of taking it down when I know I'm gonna have to put it back up.
And the way record making is these days, you're always gonna have to put it back up.
Even though it may not be about someone wanting to make a change two weeks from now, it may be that's gonna take them 2 weeks to actually listen to the mix even though they said it had to be done by Thursday.
So now I've completely eliminated that from my world.
And that lack of stress I think is making me a better mixer. It makes me listen.
It makes me make decisions based just on the mix instead of thinking about: "Humm, if I do that it's gonna be harder to recall".
"Or maybe I need to print it first".
I just am removing as many problems as possible and I don't think I'm taking anything for it.
However, seeing you mix with the console today... - Oh, it's fun.
It's a lot of fun but you know what, there's something really fun to me about mixing in the box as well.
It's a totally different fun.
It's a much more sedate fun.
It's not as visceral.
But it is actually fun because there's less to commit to in a way because I can like: "Nooo, I'm not really ready to work on the vocal".
Fine, close it up. Call up another song.
Work on the vocal on that. Learn something.
Come back and work on the vocal.
So, one mix informs the other, there isn't this kind of serial progression from the first song you mix on a record to the last song.
Invariably you wish you could mix the first four again.
And nobody even hears it until I'm happy with all of them.
I think there was an amazing balance between the two mixes and I think you guys will enjoy seeing that.
I think it was a very informative process.
I have never seen it and I'm a scholar of the stuff, on the geeky line of scholar.
It was amazing to be spectator, and to witness somebody at your level of vision and your level of skill set and experience have fun both ways, get two completely different results and they are both valid.
And that's great I think it can maybe put an end to the 'one is better than the other'.
I think the one versus the other argument is getting old.
This experience has the potential to put an end to that.
I really believe that if something makes you feel more creative, than it's better.
I think that the problem is that most of the time people spend a lot of energy thinking that they're being held back because they can't have this or that or the other thing.
And I think that all you need to do is look at people like Chad Blake who's moved into the box for reasons that had nothing to do with moving into the box but now wouldn’t mix any other way.
And people who stayed on consoles because they really feel that they need to be on consoles.
Both of those are completely valid but they are motivated by what they hear and how they wanna work.
And it's not letting gear or software or anything else be an excuse for you for saying: "Ohh, my mix isn't that great but it's because I don't own a Neve".
If you are tracking things with microphones and you have bad preamps, I'm right there with you, That's gonna be a problem, but for mixing, at this point, there's no excuse to give yourself one way or the other and don't let it be an excuse.
Know that if that mix is not great for you it's just because you're not done.
I think that's the best way to put it.
I think what we're gonna do is wrap up for today planning to learn about mixing in the box mixing in analog with the incredible Andrew Scheps.
- Et voilà! - He's Fab.
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Andrew Scheps is a music producer, mixing engineer and record label owner based in the United Kingdom. He has received Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album for his work on Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium, Album Of The Year for Adele's 21, and also Best Reggae Album for Ziggy Marley's Fly Rasta
Andrew started as a musician, but found that what he enjoyed most was working behind the scenes. This led him to study recording at the University of Miami. After graduating, he spent some time working for Synclavier, and then on the road with Stevie Wonder (as a keyboard tech) and Michael Jackson (mixing live sound). But he found his home in the studio, and he honed his craft working for producers such as Rob Cavallo, Don Was and Rick Rubin.
Scheps is known for his balanced and modern sounding mixes. He is also the owner and president of Tonequake Records
Lana Del Rey
Red Hot Chili Peppers