LONDON: Prolific songwriter/producer Wayne Wilkins has accrued a formidable hit discography, including work for Oasis, No Doubt, Leona Lewisâ€™ Take A Bow, Michelle Williamsâ€™ We Break The Dawn and Beyonceâ€™s Beautiful Nightmare. Currently enjoying wide success with Natasha Bedingfieldâ€™s Pocket Full of Sunshine CD,and Love Like This single with Sean Kingston, heâ€™s got equally high expectations for T-Shirt, by Shontelle Layne, a Clear Channel Artist To Watch and Universal/Motown priority.
Of the many software tools in Wilkinsâ€™ arsenal, Sonnox Oxford Plug-ins seem to play a supporting role in the lionâ€™s share of his productions. â€œI was just in Miami, with my production team, The Runaways, working on Energy, a single by new Timbaland artist Keri Hilson,â€? he says. â€œWe made good use of Oxford Dynamics and Inflator while programming that single. Theyâ€™re especially helpful in fine-tuning my style of music. Iâ€™ve used them on virtually everything Iâ€™ve done, especially vocals, and the master bus.â€?
Wilkins finds the Dynamics Plug-in particularly helpful on stereo mixes with Logic. Heâ€™ll often print his parts through Dynamics to give his sounds a final â€˜polishâ€™. â€œWeâ€™ll end up printing the individual parts out of Logic even if we go to Pro Tools and mix on an SSL,â€? he says. â€œWe use that sound on every record I do. Weâ€™ve compared our tracks with and without Dynamics, and they truly sound a lot better with.
â€œI like the â€˜analogâ€™ sound of Dynamics on the vocals,â€? he adds, â€œand the â€˜Warmthâ€™ function is good for fattening up certain sounds, like bass guitars and vocals. Sometimes Iâ€™ll use that on the whole mix. Iâ€™ll turn the Amount Control to 10 oâ€™clock, to add a subtle kind of analog sound that I like.â€?
For Bedingfieldâ€™s Pocket Full of Sunshine album and upcoming Put Your Arms Around Me single,Wilkins employed the Inflator on the master bus in exactly the same way. Occasionally heâ€™ll use it along with the Compressor to â€˜fatten up vocalsâ€™ recorded on multi-tracks that originate from other sources. â€œI end up getting all the music together pretty fast when weâ€™re writing our songs,â€? he says. â€œBefore I used the Compressor, I actually struggled with using master mix compression. But when I started using the Oxfords, it really seemed to make everything gelâ€?
Wilkins uses the Oxford plug-ins primarily in Logic. If heâ€™s recording vocals or traveling, he prefers to have a Pro Tools HD system. He also uses Pro Tools when separating tracks out across an SSL after theyâ€™ve already been processed by the plug-ins.
When using the Dynamics Compressor heâ€™ll set Attack to the slowest time and Release to the fastest to start off with a minimum effect. Heâ€™ll also push the Makeup gain up a bit to control his gain structure. â€œIâ€™ll play with the Attack and Release times from there,â€? he explains, â€œbecause I like getting my mixes pumping a little bit. I play with those settings to get a compression effect happening. It just gives things a lot more energy.â€?
He also varies the settings on the Inflatorâ€™s Effect and Curve sliders just after the halfway point. â€œI donâ€™t play around with any of the other controls much,â€? he concludes. â€œI just put it up so I can gently hear what itâ€™s doing. I just love its sound, because it adds a richness to my mix. Sometimes, Iâ€™ll use it directly on a vocal, especially when Iâ€™m working with something recorded by someone else. Inflator can help add some warmth to the sound. Itâ€™s very musical sounding, just like all the other plug-ins from Sonnox.â€?
Photo: Songwriter/producer Wayne Wilkins