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Mixing Until the Cows Come Home at The Dairy

Mix engineer Dean James Barratt (Sam Smith, Paloma Faith) has a new console.

London, UK (November 21, 2018)—UK mix engineer Dean James Barratt, who has worked with with Jess Glynne, Craig David, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith and Jvck James, has added an SSL AWS 924 SuperAnalogue hybrid console to his room at The Dairy Studios in Brixton, London.

“What you want in the analog world is as much color and as much depth as possible,” says Barratt. “The desk gives plenty of that, but its routing adds a lot too. At a basic level the AWS is a 24-channel summing box with great EQs on every channel, but things like the EFX function makes the difference with the parallel outboard compression.”

Simple Minds Didn’t Forget About You

Barratt most often uses eight stereo pairs from his Pro Tools rig, leaving another four for analog returns. “I use the group outputs from the desk to feed four different outboard compressors, ” he explains. “Those are returned to the other eight input channels on the desk for lots of parallel compression options. That way I can EQ the compressor returns in the desk and feed them into the mix in different ways.”

A recent development in Barratt’s workflow is to use the AWS 924’s independent Mix and Rec busses to bring some additional overall balance control. The bass and drums are routed to the Rec Bus, while everything else goes to the Mix Bus, and those are then summed. “I’m always very careful about the bottom end of the mix and the ‘pressure’ of the drums being right,” he notes. “Having those on their own fader, to then feed into the intimacy of the music and effects gives me a lot more control. That’s something I started playing around with very recently.”

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He comments, “I even prefer the sound to ‘classic’ older consoles. When I spread all the stems out on the AWS the tracks still sound fat and warm – when I do that on older consoles I have to work the warmth back into it.”

Solid State Logic •