FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Hit Mix Engineer Chris ‘Von Pimpenstein’ Carter Embraces Freeware Plug-in Developers on Hit Single: Variety of Sound, Vladg Sound.
By Mark Cutlass
“Vladg” and “Variety of Sound” are not names one commonly hears bandy-hood around professional recording studios where “Waves” and “UAD” are the standards. But that may be changing soon. Chris ‘Von Pimpenstein’ Carter, a hit mix engineer with multiple #1 hit records under his belt, is one of many prominent engineers embracing young plug-in developers who offer up their wares for free.
On the recent number one hit single “We Can’t” for Latvian based rockers Mr. Rally, Carter heavily employed freeware plugins, including Molot, Ferric TDS and Nasty DLA. Molot is a dual-mode freeware compressor offered up by Vladg/Sound that features a Neve 33609 style compressor and a Fairchild 670 style compressor housed in a retro Russian military GUI. “This has become like my go-to compressor,” says Carter, who employed Molot on vocals and distorted guitars. He continues, “I’m starting to even use it instead of hardware. It sounds killer almost every time on just about anything.”
Nasty DLA, a freeware plugin by one of the more popular underground programmers, Variety of Sound, was used by Carter for delay throws on the lead vocal. The plugin emulates classic delays which employs chorus in the feedback loop. “You can get some great character from Nasty DLA, just like in the old days; it’s a plug I use frequently,” says Chris. Also by Variety of Sound, Ferric TDS, a KVR award winning plugin, emulates tape saturation – only without the wow and flutter. Carter employed Ferric TDS after mixbuss compression, “for a little extra oomph and glue which takes it to the next level for a rock mix,” he says.
In the post-DAW mixing world, many mix engineers get caught up in the large selection of plug-ins available, trying to find the one plug-in that will fit exactly what they are trying to do. That’s a mistake, according to Carter, who employs a much more organic approach to mixing. “Find things that are just plain ‘good’ and use them,” he says, “and don’t get so caught up in the technical.” He views himself not so much as a technical mixer, but as a creative and emotional mixer. This makes sense, as anyone can really learn the technical ins and outs of mixing a record, but breathing life into a record is what, according to Carter, makes a hit record. Bear in mind that while he doesn’t view himself as a technical mixer, he has a wealth of technical knowledge that can make anyone’s head spin. “The goal,” he says, “is to know the technical inside and out so well that you don’t have to think about it; it’s just intuitive and you can reserve all your brain power for generating emotion.”
Carter works almost exclusively out of the Feisty Chicken, his own private recording studio which comes fully loaded with an abundance of hardware and plug-in options for processing. But how much something costs isn’t a criterion he employs when selecting an effect. “I could care less;” he says, “it doesn’t matter what something costs and if some freebie plug-in beats the snot out of the competition to get the sound I want, then so be it.”
Chris Carter at The Feisty Chicken Recording Studio: http://www.feistychicken.com
Variety of Sound: http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/
Mr. Rally: www.mrrally.lv
Mark Cutlass is a freelance journalist who contributes to numerous pro audio magazines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org