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Michael Brauer Mixes Paul McCartney

Slated for broadcast on the A&E cable network, Paul McCartney In Red Square highlights the ex-Beatle’s visit to (and first-ever concert in) the Russian capital in May.

Slated for broadcast on the A&E cable network, Paul McCartneyIn Red Square highlights the ex-Beatle’s visit to (andfirst-ever concert in) the Russian capital in May. McCartney played fora crowd of almost 100,000 and made a side trip to St. Petersburg, wherehe received an honorary doctorate from the St. PetersburgConservatory.

The show employed a staff of industry veterans, including videoproducer/director Mark Haefeli, music producer David Kahne and mixengineer Michael Brauer (pictured), who mixed the footage in stereo and5.1 for broadcast and a future DVD release at Henson Studios (theformer A&M facility) during the week of July 14.

“I actually got involved in the project through David[Kahne],” said Brauer. “He called me to mix Paul’slast live release, Back In the U.S. Live 2002. I did the 5.1 andstereo mixes for those, so David contacted me again to do the RedSquare show. Henson is a great facility, and it also happens to be oneof David’s favorites, as he has his own studio within thebuilding for his production work.

“The original recording was a direct board recording to twoTascam 2424 hard disk systems, done by Pablo Boothroyd, the live soundengineer, and the original material was excellent, very clean,” Brauercontinued. “The only additional channels were near and far-audiencemics.” Brauer and Kahne worked in Henson’s Studio A, usingan SSL SL9080 J, Nuendo and Pro Tools recording media. “I chosethe MSP10 Studios after some serious evaluation. The sound was clearand didn’t break up at higher volumes. The room I was mixing inhad high ceilings, so I had to crank it up a bit more, but they filledup the room nicely. The range was also good—I didn’t needto take out any bottom end or do a 75dB cut; we kept everything veryflat. We also used the Yamaha SW10 sublow, due to the fact that so manyhome-theater systems that are equipped for 5.1 employ a sub cabinet.When David listened back to the project in mastering, the things weintended on doing came out exactly as planned.

“I’m not into 5.1 tricks,” he added. “Myapproach to 5.1—especially for a live show—is to presentthe performance as though you were about 15 rows back from the stage,as opposed to way back. That way, the perception is not really abouthearing what’s going on behind you. Instead, it’s aboutfeeling a lot more dimension in front of you. For instance, when theaudience comes up, that audience should surround the listener bothpanoramically and realistically.”

Brauer’s outboard gear included an Avalon VT-747ST for thestereo processing. “For the front L-C-R, I used a Neve 33609compressor along with a couple of Pultecs,” Brauer said. “For the rear,we added a Pendulum compressor. As for the instruments, the drums gotEL8 Distressors; the bass, Avalon 737s; and the guitars, a combinationof EAR 660s and some Fairchild compressors. The vocals got my favoritecompressors: the VacRac on the main, or maybe the Federal. I also usedsome old Motown EQs on the drums and Neve EQs on the toms.”