SAN DIEGO – Mixing projects for clients located around the world can be a challenging prospect requiring a unique combination of passion for high-quality audio, a well-designed control room, great ears and, of course, exceptional gear. Recognizing these criteria, Gaslamp Studios based its new mix room around the SSL AWS 948 Console while enlisting the talents of a Grammy®-nominated mix engineer and a world-class acoustics expert. Located in the heart of the San Diego district bearing the same name, Gaslamp offers remote mixing services for artists and producers.
Gaslamp was designed by German acoustics expert Jochen Veith of JV.Acoustics. A collection of vintage analogue outboard and modern digital equipment, as well as a comprehensive library of plug-in processing, complement the AWS. Studio monitoring includes a mains system by PMC along with Yamaha and Sony nearfield monitors.
“The AWS allows me to have a hybrid workflow,” says Gaslamp chief engineer Kellogg Boynton, a Grammy® nominated engineer whose credits include Eric Clapton, Taylor Swift and Warren Haynes. “When we are tracking or in the production stage, I might use the outboard gear for the front end and keep everything inside the box. The AWS’s DAW control capabilities are perfect for that part of the process, giving me access to transport, faders and plug-in parameter control in Pro Tools®. When we get to the mixing stage I use the AWS more like a legacy console. I spread the outputs from Pro Tools across the console inputs and interface it with the outboard gear.”
“We have always loved SSL as a company,” explains Gaslamp partner Carlos “Charlie” Padilla. “They have been manufacturing the best-sounding consoles for years, they’ve been a part of legendary recordings. We love the workflow and versatility of all SSL consoles and most of all, their sound. When we were building this room, it was a no brainer; we knew we needed an SSL in the room, and that’s what we got.”
Boynton credits the AWS’s analogue capabilities for providing him with flexibility in the mix process. “Each channel of the AWS has two line inputs,” he explains. “So, sometimes I’ll sum certain aspects of a mix to stereo inside Pro Tools, and then route them to a stereo channel on the SSL. For example, with background vocals or strings, I might make small changes using the automation in Pro Tools. But, if the backing vocals need to come up as a group in the chorus, I’ll use the SSL automation rather than the Pro Tools automation, which hits the desk harder and changes the input level to the SSL.”
The two classic SSL Dynamics processors in the center section of the AWS provide Boynton with a compressor and an expander/gate that may be assigned to any channel. “My mainstay for those dynamics is for the kick drum,” he continues. “I usually have the kick on two faders with inside kick and outside kick mics; those two dynamics sections are my go-to compressors for those channels. I’m definitely using all of the analogue features that the console offers in the mix process. One of my favorite features is the ability to switch between SSL E and G Series EQ curves because the two curves sound different. I have the ability to try each of the two EQs and see which one is more fitting for a particular instrument, or instrument group. It’s a very nice feature of the console.”
“Recently we’ve been working on the debut album for an artist named Shy Porter, and of course the AWS has been integral to the process,” adds Padilla. “But, we also do mixes for other artists from all around the world — and that’s a strong part of our business. The way that we can use our SSL console as a tool has absolutely been an asset for us. We see the response from the artists and they always love the end result. SSL has been a constant for us, an integral part of our studio and our sound as both a production house and in providing mixing services to the world.”
Solid State Logic is the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for music, broadcast, live and post production professionals. For more information about our award-winning products, please visit: www.solidstatelogic.com.