I recently had the opportunity to talk with Juno Award winning producer, engineer, mixer and songwriter Siegfried Meier of Beach Road Studios in Ontario, Canada. We discussed using Eventide plug-ins in his mixes and how they aid the creativity of his productions.
How extensively do you use plugins on your recordings?
I use plug-ins just as much as I use any analog hardware in my productions and mixes, as I feel every tool has its special place – it’s likely why I can’t get rid of any gear, haha. I’d immediately feel like I’m missing out on something… even if I only use a specific unit once every 2-3 years on a project, it means it was the right piece to use in that instance. I always liken it to the tools of a carpenter – they can use a hammer for most of their work, but the specialized tools have their place and are used in those certain instances when they need them.
Do you find that some plug-ins are more creatively oriented than others? For example, some reverbs may be used to blend different tracks together, but some reverbs are so unique and strange that they almost sound like another instrument in a mix.
Absolutely. Some of my favourite plug-ins are the ones that I can instantly create a new soundscape with – call up some presets, make a few tweaks and tailor it to my sound source for some crazy and emotional sounds. Eventide has so many of those effects, and it’s what keeps me using them (Blackhole specifically comes to mind here when you mention the reverbs, it’s been all over my mixes since it was released). I have over 100 hardware reverb units at the studio now, and I use them whenever I can as they have such unique sounds, but plug-ins continue to be at the forefront of the sound design process. The algorithms and patches being created today really allow for new and amazing sounds that I can’t create in any other way. I welcome the authentic recreations of yesteryear’s classic reverb hardware into software, but the companies that create the new and unique sonically charged plug-ins are the ones I’m really excited about.
What other Eventide plug-ins do you use, aside from Blackhole, and when do you gravitate towards using them in a mix?
I use the entire Anthology pack, both in AAX as well as in the original TDM format on our main system, which is still an HD6 running Pro Tools HD10 – a very stable and perfect system when you also use a lot of outboard gear. I love the Eventide Omnipressor (I’ve actually been actively searching for the hardware unit of this) and use it on my drum room mics and listen back mic for the artist. Fission [now Physion] is getting more and more use as a wacky creative tool on guitar and drums. UltraReverb gets used pretty near on every mix for things like vocals and spatial effects. Quadravox and Octavox when I wanna create wacky and thick harmonies of sections (I still prefer tracking real harmonies, as nothing beats that). H910, Instant Phaser and Instant Flanger get used a lot, both in mixing as AAX as well as TDM on our old rig while I’m tracking and need those effects applied to things like vocals and guitars (I print the TDM effect down usually, so as to permanently keep the effect when I move to PT 12HD for mix). 2016 Stereo Room is one of my favs to use as a guitar amp room, since it sounds so authentic to my actual live room here. And of course, H3000 on vocals for that classic microshift effect! Can’t beat that!
Have you used any Eventide hardware in the past, and if so, how do the plug-in emulations hold up against the originals?
I’ve been using an H3000 for decades, and I own both the H3000 and an original mid 70’s Instant Flanger. I’m a hardware guy, and I love collecting what I can for the historical as well as sonic value, but I can truly say the plug-ins get used most of the time as they sound pretty near identical, can be automated and recalled instantly, and travel in my backpack much easier than the real deal 😉
As a fellow gear addict, I have to ask: do you have any pieces of gear you’re working particularly hard to acquire right now?
There is sooooo much I’m still looking for… either I will find used versions of them or I will custom build my own, whatever the budget allows for, haha. 33609 compressor, pair of 2254’s, 480L, Sta Level…the list goes on and on. And it’s not just the high end outboard gear either, I’m constantly scouring Kijiji, eBay, Craiglist and Facebook gear forums for rare and cheap and weird stuff… if it makes sound, if it gives off a vibe, if it helps me make a musical decision faster, it has a place here at Beach Road.
About the Author
Jack Impink, aka. Gestalt7, works with the Eventide Development Lab. When he’s not testing upcoming products, he spends his time messing around with old hardware and plug-ins.