LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 2009: Khaliq Glover, perhaps better known by his 80s-video-game-inspired moniker “Khaliq-O-Vision,” is a Grammy-winning sound engineer, producer and songwriter whose career neatly spans the analog-to-digital-to-hybrid revolution that has defined the audio industry over the past quarter century. He began working for Kenny Rogers at Lion Share Studios in 1982 and, as an apprentice to many of the top engineers at the time, including Humberto Gatica, Tommy Vicari, and John Guess, learned the skills, perspectives and philosophies that have served him so well.
Even though he cut his teeth in the analog domain, Glover saw the benefits of digital technology even in its infancy. Nevertheless, he maintains a keen sense of proportion and only uses technology that clearly serves the music. Two of his long-time favorites are Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo and ChannelStrip, the first for visually analyzing mixes and the second for making necessary adjustments.
Among the highlights of Khaliq’s career to date were his participation in the Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones’ epic “We are the World” project and his 2002 Grammy Award for Marcus Miller’s “M2” album. He has worked with Jermaine Jackson, Donna Summer, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Herbie Hancock, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder, and more. Just within the last year, Khaliq has engineered on projects for Jamie Foxx, Usher, Angie Stone, and Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam.
Given his experience and inside knowledge, Khaliq has recently started training upcoming engineers and producers at his website, www.Hypnotic-Audio-Secrets.com and at his video upload community called www.MusiciansVideoTube.com
Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo is a standalone audio analysis program loaded with every tool necessary for understanding the spectral, phase, power, and envelope aspects of a mix, either at a snapshot in time or integrated over seconds, minutes or a whole song. “I’m especially into the Spectragram, which displays the intensity of different frequencies across time,” said Khaliq. “In addition to my own music, I’ve used it to analyze hit music of the past and present. There are clearly a lot more extreme highs and lows in today’s music, but it’s obvious that there is a little less care about distributing frequencies across the spectrum. I see a lot of buildups. The older stuff tends to look more even, and I think that comes across aurally as a smoother mix.”
Having that insight has made Khaliq approach his own mixes with more nuance and has affected the way he hears things for the better. “When I have to make changes in the mix, I almost always turn to ChannelStrip,” he said. ChannelStrip folds the three most commonly-used processing tools into one CPU-lite plug-in. It’s gate/expansion, compression and EQ modules feature extensive parameterization that is made intuitive and accessible by a visual graphic interface. In addition, ChannelStrip includes a precision delay for time-aligning tracks.
“I love that ChannelStrip sounds so good, but doesn’t bring my system to its knees,” laughed Khaliq. “It’s a lot of bang for the buck!” When asked about its sound and functionality, Khaliq responded, “It’s organic. I find that with almost every other digital processor out there, I really have to crank things to make audible adjustments that I can easily get with minor tweaks on analog gear. ChannelStrip responds more like the analog gear in that respect. You can really hear what it’s doing.”
Together, SpectraFoo and ChannelStrip have improved Khaliq’s mixes. “I came up in the era of tape and learned from all the old school guys,” he said. “Now I guess I’m one of the old school guys! There have been a lot of changes in audio technology in the last twenty-five years. Digital audio brings with it tremendous power and flexibility, but it also demands sensitivity and moderation that can be a real challenge for a young engineer. The deeper understanding afforded by SpectraFoo and the intuitive visual interface of ChannelStrip have made my work thousand-times better.”
METRIC HALO Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and hardware.