Recording Will Knox with Al Schmitt

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In this video, the ever-amazing Al Schmitt records the singer-songwriter Will Knox, while sharing his life-long experience in the music industry.

He experiments with various microphones and mic placements to achieve a sound that's worthy of his sky-high expectations.

Al also tells us about his idea of mixing a record and how much treatment should be applied, as well as his own philosophy regarding sound engineering.

If you would like to know more about Al Schmitt please visit his website.

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If you would like to know more about the amazing Will Knox, please visit his website.

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Al Schmitt

Al Schmitt is a mixing and recording engineer whose talent has been showcased over more than 150 gold and platinum albums. Al has been around since the beginning of the music recording industry and has witnessed all technological changes that occurred in the past decades.

His is the proud owner of 20 Grammy Awards (no less) and has worked with the biggest artists and producers in pop, jazz, classical, and country musics.

Everybody who has attended a recording / mixing session with Al says there is something magical about the way he does things. His intuition and years of experience allow him to position microphones faster than anyone else. He just knows how it is going to sound. Then pushes the faders on his Neve console and that's the sound everybody was waiting for.

Al Schmit's love for minimalistic eq and compression moves (if at all) makes for a very natural and unprocessed signature sound. He would rather record it right... than fix it in the mix later.

You can witness Al's amazing skills by watching him record and mix Cyrille Aimée on pureMix.


Frank Sinatra

Ray Charles

Steely Dan

George Benson

Quincy Jones

Barbra Streisand

What do you have to say?
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2022 Apr 08
That Gloria Estefan album he mentioned sounds incredibly good, natural and organic. I had no idea he didn't use EQ, he's just an absolute master of mic selection and placement, wow!
2022 Feb 20
beautiful and motivating video. And now with more value than ever because Al is no longer with us
2022 Jan 11
We miss Al, thanks for your wisdom and for share it to us. This is a golden video.
2020 Jul 27
very impressive. an eye opener!!
2019 Dec 30
Well I guess I need to go by more mics!$! I wonder what Al thinks about using different consoles as eq!?! Loved the vid!
2019 Nov 03
The best of the best. What a blast!
2019 May 30
Hola es grato ver la sabiduria de Al en sus tecnicas porfa mas videos de Al un saludo desde Colombia
2019 Feb 23
This is awesome! I've always known this, never touch what sounds good but still going against my own gut feeling. I'm always eq and compressing only because of lack of choices like rooms, mic, interface, preamp, amateurs, etc etc. Great facility, equipment, and talent theres no excuses.
2018 Nov 22
more Al Schmitt videos, what a legend!
2018 Jan 15
I would love more of these videos! I learn much from seeing how people approach the same task differently, and also having fab there, react to their different methods to his
2017 Jan 12
2016 Nov 29
Awesome information
2016 Oct 25
I almost fell off the couch. No eq. Brilliant mic placement and selection. Lovely song lads. Ben
2016 Oct 12
Had to watch this a second time. Would love to see more videos of Al Schmitt
2016 Aug 08
interesting , that soft , that clean, free . tutorial incredible , thanks
2016 Jul 03
That was extremely refreshing and insightful. Wow, no compression or eq ever material he records. I'm going to try to incorporate that in my recording and mixing too. It will make me work harder to get a better recording.
2016 Jun 24
Would love to see another video of Al !!!!
2016 Feb 29
Great video, what a class!
2016 Feb 02
Just listen....
2016 Jan 17
I would have loved to have seen him do Toto IV.
2016 Jan 02
Thank you!
2015 Dec 09
Brilliant insight.
2015 Nov 29
by far the most inspiring I've seen. I love to see video's where it comes down to autodidact style and some common sense with natural approach. Why EQ when you can change the mic. It gives so much more.
2015 Nov 25
Totally fabulous to see and listen to Al Schmitt. Creating his sound through his microphone selection. Dispensing with phase altering EQ. In comparison to the completely different technique that George Massenburg is so well known for. Which involves careful manipulation of parametric equalization. So what does Al do? If he gets a recording track by George? What does George do? If he gets a recording from Al? Will George then EQ Al's recording? And will Al try to undo the EQ that Massenburg added? Or do they both just growl and snort and Say nasty things under their breath about each other?
2015 Aug 06
Kudos! As you said, that's "the most refreshing thing I've heard in a long time". I've heard about using mics as the only EQ before, from other people, but to hear it directly from Al Schmitt gives it a certain Je ne sais quoi. This brings it back to basics. A truly FABulous way to learn recording. :) It would be an EQually powerful discipline to practice tracking to a limit of 4-tracks, bouncing as needed – like old school. No "fixing it in the mix". Just laying it down straight, brick by brick, so to speak. Seriously: imagine trying to straighten bricks after the concrete had set...
2015 Jul 14
On Fleek!
2015 Feb 26
"LEAKAGE is your FRIEND"!" (When you use good mics.) I love it. The name Al Schmitt has appeared on records I've loved since before I read album credits. I could spend days hangin' in a studio just to watch and listen to this master. THANKS so much for this video.
2015 Feb 11
Amazing stuff, could have watched way longer as Al was doing his magic :-)
2015 Feb 10
Incredible.... To be half the engineer that man is would be the highest aspiration I can imagine in my career. We can all learn from his approach... Am I going to never use EQ again? Doubtful. Though, it really does challenge the ubiquitously popular notions of fledgling engineers, twisting knobs just for twisting's sake, or putting their "touch" on everything. Trying to process EVERY track was a mistake I had to unlearn when I became serious about my craft. But to see someone like Al work is simply nothing short of amazing, for every intent and purpose of the word.
2015 Feb 08
Awesome video... back to basics and back to the true Craftsmanship of our artform!
2015 Feb 02
Great stuff, Fab! I'd love to see you step up the challenge and get a strummer/basher type player and record that simutaniously with the vocal. I've battled that type of singer songwriter for 25 years and it's always a struggle. In fact, I most often end up using 1 mic because phase is such a problem when either the vocal or guitar are out of balance volume wise. I'd love to see what Al or George or yourself would do with talent less than Will or Diana Krall. Thanks!
Fabulous Fab
2015 Feb 02
@mer: we did not discuss his reverb techniques. this was solely focused on mic placement. He does mean reverb when he says echo.
2015 Feb 02
Hey Fab, did Al talk to you about panning 3-5 reverb returns a certain way on the vocal track? I assume he meant reverb when he says echo in the video but I want to know his effects techniques since he doesn't eq anything. Thanks!
2015 Jan 31
Wow. I didnt know some engineers use different mics as EQs.
2015 Jan 31
Al Fab and Will: Masters!
2015 Jan 31
Awesome video, Al is the man
2015 Jan 31
I did really enjoy watching George in previous recording video and now watching Al to work his magic just puts a smile on my face. Thumbs up to Will, on every video he always puts in emotion into performance which is pleasure to listen.
2015 Jan 31
Show 'em, Al!!!