Chris Bellâ€™s career already includes a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album (Kirk Franklin) and work with the Eagles, Erykah Badu, Everclear, Destinyâ€™s Child, U2, Earth, Wind & Fire among others, Now heâ€™s a partner and resident producer-engineer at Blade Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana, eager to move to the next phase of his enviable career.
Working with friends and colleagues Brady Blade and Scott Compton at Blade, Chris points out the obvious musical and cultural advances of working just miles from New Orleans along with the tax incentives offered by Louisiana to make records there.
Asked about his career, Chris explains how he made a logical transition from musician to recording engineer, mastering Â¼â€? tape machines at an early age and quickly moving up through the ranks to professional status in Dallas, Texas.
â€œI was at a huge 5-room studio called the Dallas Sound Lab, â€œ he points out.
I eventually became chief engineer working on Grammy nominated records and films like â€œTitanic,â€? â€œHope Floats.â€? Eventually I figured out how to do every type of recording, from commercial spots to surround mixing and records.
â€œThe owners had invested a lot in the facility because they were trying to make Dallas â€˜the third coast,â€™ he continues, â€œwhich didnâ€™t work out in the long run. Now itâ€™s a school like a lot of the big studios. You have to change the way you work nowadays. A lot of the stuff Iâ€™ve done over the last few years has been in peopleâ€™s houses.â€?
One of those records, the Eagles appropriately entitled â€œLong Road Out of Edenâ€? released in 2007 and six years in production, started at Don Henleyâ€™s home studio in Malibu. But Henley had to return to Dallas for personal reasons and ended up working with Chris at a facility named Luminous Sound that included an 80-channel J Series SSL console among other high end gear. â€œHe came in and worked with us and liked what I did and asked me to finish the record with them.â€?
At that point, Bell was already using ADAM monitors. â€œI had a set of S3As and once I started using I got pretty hooked. Whenever Iâ€™d go to other rooms, I had to have them. I got so used to them and what they do. Itâ€™s like you listen to another speaker and all the detail you usually hear on ADAM speakers is gone.
â€œAnd with ADAM, what Iâ€™m hearing inside the control translates really well out of the control room. The imaging is absolutely crazy. I just got the newer S3XHs and I really love them. Theyâ€™re even better than the S3As if thatâ€™s possible. And the amps sound better as well. Overall, itâ€™s definitely a step up. We have 5.1 in both rooms so we have three S3XHs up front and four S3XVs in the rear of the room.
â€œIâ€™ve been playing around with mixing a lot of records in 5.1, I donâ€™t get hired to do those because nobody really wants them, but I do them and give them to the client and tell them just to put them away because they really blow people away when they hear them.â€?
Chris has also worked with his friend guitarist Doyle Bramhall who is producing Sheryl Crowe and still works with Erykah Badu. Asked about current projects at Blade Studios, Chris concludes on a positive note: â€œWeâ€™ve worked with a bunch of independent artists and just completed a session with Darryl Jones, the bass player for the Rolling Stones. He came down to have Brady track drums on this project, so he was like our first client. Things worked out really well and he wants to come back and finish his record here.â€?
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About ADAM Audio: Combining extensive experience and research in the field of speaker systems with their revolutionary ART and X-ART tweeter designs, physicist Klaus Heinz founded ADAM Audio in 1999. Based in Berlin, Germany, ADAM designs and builds professional monitor systems for leading recording studios around the world as well as sophisticated hi-fi and multi-channel loudspeaker systems for the home and residential installation markets.