Tyrese Gibson’s latest studio album, Black Rose, made its debut in early July 2015 at the Number One position of the Billboard 200, the Top Hip-Hop/R&B Albums and the Top R&B Albums, as well as on top of the album charts on iTunes in 15 countries and on the new Apple Music service, preceded by its two chart-topping singles, “Dumb S**t” and “Shame.” Audio engineer Richard Furch—who has mixed numerous Grammy Award-winning songs and albums for artists such as Prince, OutKast, Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men, India.Arie and others—mixed Black Rose in its entirety.
For his last four albums, Gibson tracked with a Sony C800 tube mic paired with an Avalon mic pre/compressor with the “Babyface” mod for faster attack time. Furch recorded most of Black Rose in Gibson’s Matrix Decoded studio, with additional recording by Andrew Hey.
Furch says that he ran all of Gibson’s lead vocals through his hardware Tube-Tech CL1B compressor to give them a high-end sheen.
“That combo is very popular, and it gives the vocals a good, ‘forward’ sound,” says Furch. “However, it also gives them a rough, brash-sounding high end. I’ve found that if I just tap the Tube-Tech CL1B—just 1 to 3 dB of gain reduction—it makes the vocals leaner and beautifully highlights all of their details. It’s like it puts a satin glove on the high end. In addition, using the CL1B made Tyrese’s vocals so articulated and smooth that they required less equalization as a result.”
Furch says he has used this technique with other artists, such as BJ the Chicago Kid, India.Arie, and Marvin Priest. Because he’s almost always using compression to bring elements of a mix forward, Furch says he favors fast release times, and his use of the CL1B is no different. For Gibson, Furch says he used a medium attack time with a mild ratio in the neighborhood of 3:1. He configured all of his settings in manual mode.
“More and more pop and R&B artists are starting to track with the Tube-Tech CL1B to get that particular sound right from the start,” Furch says. “They’re usually paired with a U 67, an M147 or a C12 microphone and a Neve-style preamp.”
For more information about the Tube-Tech CL1B, visit www.transaudiogroup.com/brand/tube-tech.