NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 2015: Matteo Marciano is an audio magician who can work just about any recording into a solid, emotionally-engaging mix that beautifully conveys his client’s vision. His mixing expertise flows from a full embrace of all things musical and sonic. Marciano is an accomplished mix/recording engineer, bass player, studio musician, live performer, and songwriter. He also currently holds the position of chief professor at the Music Production and Engineering department at Master of Music from LUISS University in Rome. And when he works on the other side of the glass, Marciano brings a singular clarity of purpose and emotion to his production work and recording engineering. His credits include the mix of triple-platinum single Cups by Anna Kendrick, Frozen, Despicable Me 2, and Turbo, among many other music-for-picture work, and artists such as Idina Menzel, Astral Weeks, Lang Lang, and 2Cellos. “Versatile” and “dependable” are perhaps the two words that describe him best. “People call me most often to mix records because I am able to make records sound current and huge.”
Born and raised in Rome, Italy, Marciano worked for over eight years all around the world as mix engineer and producer. He moved to New York City in 2013, where he continues to work for clients throughout the world. “Since I discovered Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip plug-in in 2012, when it was mentioned in an online article, it’s been my secret weapon,” he said. “I’ve used ChannelStrip on literally every vocal track and percussion track I’ve mixed in the past three years. Every single one! It’s remarkably versatile. I can use the EQ section alone and get utterly transparent results or I can engage the compressor and get a beautiful color. Either way, the sound quality is solid. Metric Halo’s plug-ins sound more analog than digital. It has a depth and clarity that blows my mind.” Marciano works his magic in the genres of pop, rock, metal, hip-hop, R&B, funk, electronic, and orchestral.
A self-avowed “drum and vocal geek,” Marciano uses his predilections to his advantage. “I always start my mixes by getting the drums and vocals sounding great,” he said. “Then I can build the rest of the mix around them. My first insert is always Metric Halo. I often use ChannelStrip’s compressor with the side-chain engaged, which allows me to dial in those aspects of the drums that need to be cleaned up. Metric Halo can be very surgical when I need it to be. I also use TransientControl on drums, which gives me incredible control over the sustain, gain, and dynamics without clouding the sound or squashing anything too much. It’s got the right flavor, especially for pop and rock.”
Marciano also applauded the fact that all Metric Halo plug-ins can be resized. “It’s so helpful! Resizing a plug-in can be a real lifesaver after mixing for hours and hours. I don’t know why other companies don’t allow it.”
In addition to crafting and clarifying a killer vocal sound with ChannelStrip, Marciano also commonly instantiates Metric Halo’s Precision De-Esser. “I always advise vocalists to back off the mic for studio recordings, but they can seldom help themselves,” he said. “That tends to make sibilance problems worse, but it’s not such a big deal since I got Precision De-Esser. It’s a very powerful tool, and it’s also remarkably transparent. I can clean up a vocal track without taking anything away from the performance. There’s no compromise. And when I press the bypass button, it’s like ‘whoa, it’s really working!’”
As he goes on to craft the rest of the mix, Marciano is careful to stay faithful to the artist’s vision. “I work to bring the recorded tracks in line with the sort of sound they’re striving for,” he said. “I’m versatile, and past clients know that I can give them the sound they have in their heads. That said, I still flavor all of my mixes with my own style in ways that enhance the overall effectiveness of the work.”
A great example is Marciano’s tasteful use of reverse reverbs, which serve to fuel emotional anticipation. “Metric Halo’s HaloVerb is one of my favorites,” he said. “It’s very user friendly and flexible. The decay tail is so beautiful, and it reverses so nicely. Other reverbs give me a ‘wobble’ at the end of the reverse, it’s hard to describe. But HaloVerb is clean. I also commonly use HaloVerb as a normal reverb because it does a great job of creating space and dimension without being obvious or overbearing. I want to give my mixes a sense of place, and HaloVerb does an excellent job of that.”
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