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Tag Archives: Chris Carter

How to describe the sound of a plugin?

First, check this very cool article:

[Psychology of a Mix Engineer: Chris Carter]

And this is the most interesting (for me) part of it:

Q: What’s your go to digital compressor and what are you listening for when you use it?

Chris: There’s a few that I use very frequently but the one that I go to the most is probably the freeware guy called the “Molot”. It’s made by this Russian dude and I frigging love the thing. It’s got two modes and they are supposed to mimic a Neve 33609 and a Fairchild 670. I don’t really think either one is convincing but I don’t really give a rats ass how accurate it is [laughs]. I pretty much just use it in the “Fairchild 670″ mode. I don’t know what the heck is up with that guy but he understands attack and release characteristics really well. It’s almost damn near impossible to get that thing to sound bad, I swear to God. That’s my generic utility compressor because I like Optical Compression a lot.

Now, let’s talk about the thing that bothering me. After 2 years from Molot release, I think that mention of “Fairchild 670” and “Neve 33609” compressors in the description of Molot sound was not a good idea.

Imagine, I did Molot and now I should describe, how does it sound?
“The most accurate emulation of…?” No, it’s not emulation of anything.
“The most transparent sound?” No, it’s not transparent.
“Bus compressor?” No, it wasn’t designed in such way.
“Track compressor?” No, it’s too heavy to use on each track (at least 2 years ago).
“Mastering?” No again.
“Tube compressor?” No, I didn’t implement any kind of tube emulation.
“Opto compressor?” No, it doesn’t mimic opto-cell behavior (it has fixed attack/release times and feed-forward compression).
“Powerful?” No.
“Flexible?” No.
…and so on…

My initial description of Molot had words about “aggressive hammering sound” (don’t forget “Molot” is a “hammer” in Russian), “suits well for rock drums”, etc. I think, this kind of description is not correct, because I tell you where you should use this compressor and where you should not, e.g. I limit your creativity.

I already forgot the details but it was told, the compressor sounds like Fairchild in alpha mode and like 33609 in sigma mode. I never heard either real Fairchild or Neve. Also I didn’t try to emulate their sound. But in my opinion this description was better so I used it. Now why I’m so unhappy with it? It’s like “What kind of music does your band play?” question. “It’s like Children of Bodom”, that’s the answer. “Well, you band mimics CoB sound then.” And finally it looks a bit like the sound was stolen…

Current version of Molot page doesn’t try to convince you to get this plugin. Instead, it contains reasons why you shouldn’t do it! Freeware plugin can afford this 🙂 Really, I don’t want to change this. And I think, it’s cool! What is my final definition of Molot sound then? Check this out. It’s a dynamic tool to add a character to the track. It tends to make your sound “fat” and adds some feel of old guitar amp.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/9085247-post43.html

Faderjockey:
I also like the free Molot for smooth color. I use in on the 2buss after hardware comp just cause I like the sort of soft cushion or sag it gives.
Sort of like rectifier tubes in a gtr amp.

Yeah, yeah! That’s about it!

So what? In some future I will have the same problem to describe the sound of a new plugin. And I think, I’m ready for it!

Hit Mix Engineer Chris ‘Von Pimpenstein’ Carter Embraces Freeware Plug-in Developers on Hit Single: Variety of Sound, Vladg Sound

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.” 

More info:
Chris Carter at The Feisty Chicken Recording Studio: http://www.feistychicken.com
Vladg/Sound: https://vladgsound.wordpress.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 markcutlass1@gmail.com