HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK – MAY 2010: Prolific recording and mixing engineer and guitarist Sean Gould works with some of the greatest up-and-coming and established acts in the music industry through his close association with renowned production team S*A*M and Sluggo. His most recent projects have included We The Kings Smile Kid, Metro Station “Shake It,” Train Save Me, San Francisco, Boys Like Girls Love Drunk, and Uncle Kracker Happy Hour. The list would resonate loudly in any hipster’s soul – and it goes on and on and on! Gould relies heavily on Metric Halo ChannelStrip, a multi-platform plug-in that combines equalization, dynamics, and precision delay, to turn out stellar results on short deadlines.
Gould uses three separate systems, all of which have ChannelStrip at the ready. At the studio he uses a Pro Tools HD3 system, but he often takes projects home with him, where he works on
a laptop/Pro Tools LE system. Gould is also comfortable using Logic, and often does, depending on the project. Partly because he prizes that portability, Gould always mixes in the box. Part of ChannelStrip’s allure is its surprisingly small CPU footprint. Gould can run more instances of ChannelStrip, even on his home LE system, than he would be able to with an equivalent number of separate EQs, dynamics, and delays.
“ChannelStrip is always the first plug-in I go to when something needs a fix or a change to make it sit better in the mix,” said Gould. All instruments are equally favored for ChannelStrip processing – vocals, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, or anything else that bands bring to their recordings. He’ll often add it to a drum bus or even the mix bus. “The interface is easy to look at and use,” he said. “It’s all right there – gating, compression, EQ – and all with selectable pre- and post-arrangements. It’s very versatile.”
That versatility helps explain part of what makes Gould such an efficient engineer. “I think there’s a tendency for people to collect as many plug-ins as they can,” he said. “It can be a little overwhelming and ultimately, I think, counter-productive. It’s not like I have time to try out five different manufacturers’ EQs on a particular track! For my way of thinking, it is better to have a few excellent plug-ins that I know backward and forward. It really speeds up the workflow. ChannelStrip is that plug-in for all the basic stuff that I need on just about every track.”
It may seem surprising, but when Gould finds himself stuck for a bit of inspiration on a track that needs to really stand out, he again turns to ChannelStrip – relying on the presets to set him off in a productive direction. “It’s funny, but I don’t even stick to the presets that are designed for the instrument I’m working on,” he said. “I’ll scroll through the vocal presets for a bass track. I invariably find something that makes me say, ‘wow, I never would have thought to do that, but it works!’ With a few tweaks, I have something inspiring.”
Gould’s most recent works are due out soon. He recorded Hey Monday’s sophomore effort, Beneath It All coming out this summer and 2AM Club’s new release What Did You Think Was Going To Happen? due out in July. Both releases benefitted tremendously from ChannelStrip
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