HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK: DeeTown Entertainment is the brainchild of prolific contemporary composer and musician Ali Dee Theodore. In less than a decade, DeeTown has risen to prominence in the American film industry, turning out a seemingly limitless number of chart-topping scores and songs for a huge number of films and musicians, including Hannah Montana: The Movie, The Jonas Brothers, Hot Tub Time Machine, Transformers, Mary J Blige, Daredevil, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Ghost Rider, and Iron Man, among many, many others. The rise of Ali Dee and his crack team of writers, producers, musicians, and engineers has been compared to the heyday of Tin Pan Alley, when Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and their contemporaries ruled New York City. Indeed, DeeTown’s recent move to an upgraded facility in Manhattan makes the analogy all the more apt. From
the beginning, Ali Dee and the engineers and producers of DeeTown have relied heavily on the superlative frequency and dynamics processing of Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip plug-in, and Ali Dee asserts that every DeeTown product, without exception, bears its sonic signature.
“I was introduced to ChannelStrip eight years ago when I was working with mix engineer and producer Brian Malouf on The Grand Skeem on RCA Records,” said Ali Dee. “I was drawn to its clean, transparent sound. It reminded me of the best solid-state gear that I used to work with. It has a fast response and a full frequency response, from silky highs to tight lows. The dynamics are punchy and responsive. It clearly stands above other software processors, and most hardware processors as well. That’s why we turn to it all the time, for every sort of instrument we record.”
ChannelStrip is compiled to work seamlessly with Logic, GarageBand, and other leading sound recording platforms, including the Pro Tools HD and RTAS systems that populate DeeTown’s new facility. ChannelStrip’s intuitive interface includes a comprehensive set of frequency and equalization tools, combined with an equally thorough set of dynamics processors – just the sort of thing one would expect on a classic, analog, large-frame console strip. Ali Dee stated that every instrument they record, including drums, percussion, guitar, bass, vocals, and even things more exotic, can potentially benefit from ChannelStrip processing. On many occasions, DeeTown products are even mastered using ChannelStrip!
Given the tremendous volume of high-quality work that flows out of DeeTown, one must presume that the team has mastered the often-elusive art of inspired workflow. Ali Dee noted that ChannelStrip plays a role there as well. “I often start from one of the presets, which always seems to get me almost where I need to be. From there,” he continued, “I can tweak parameters to home in on exactly what is required for the situation. It’s incredibly fast. Even better, we’ve saved a bunch of our own custom presets. For example, even after using a $4k microphone and a top-dollar mic pre, a female vocal lead often needs a little something extra to really shine. We’ve saved our own ‘female vocal’ preset that immediately puts a female vocal on top of the mix, with clarity and presence that could not be improved upon, even with hours of noodling on high-end outboard gear.”
Just as Ali Dee had been converted to a ChannelStrip user so many years ago, he has gone on to convert “a lot” of other people in turn. “We’re creatures of habit,” he pondered. “When something works, we stick with it. ChannelStrip has been so useful in so many capacities and across all the varied genres we deal with, it would be a sore loss to go without it. I’m glad I don’t have to.”
ABOUT 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 future-proof hardware. www.mhlabs.com
PHOTO CAPTION Ali Dee Theodore, the creative force behind DeeTown Entertainment, hanging with Miley Cyrus. PHOTO CREDIT: Â© Nick Suttle