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The Art of Music Mixing
NUGEN Audio Enhances Creative Process | Dave Isaac
- Original article first appeared in Regional Film and Video
Throughout my career as a producer, mix engineer, and artist, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different types of tools and technologies to help refine each piece of music and create the artist’s signature sound. Since I work primarily in the Avid Pro Tools environment, I’ve been especially pleased with the NUGEN Audio family of tools that consist of a range of powerful Pro Tools plug-ins designed to enhance the creative process, while also saving time and lowering costs.
One of the most impressive NUGEN Audio toolsets (and one I use almost every day) is Stereo Pack. This bundle consists of three popular tools, Stereoizer, Stereoplacer, and Monofilter, that are not only accessible and configurable, but also highly mono-compatible – using algorithms that maintain the original character of the music without introducing phase, reverb, or delay-related artifacts.
My favorite plug-in is Stereoizer, a high-specification stereo image manipulation tool that enables me to naturally expand, reduce, and introduce stereo width at any state of the mixing process. Stereoplacer is another extremely valuable plug-in that enables me to fine-tune using a parametric balancing control. This allows me to place a stereo instrument across the field I’m looking at, based on specific frequencies across the limits of the mix. And Monofilter is ideal for defining, sharpening, and adding clarity to my bass lines.
One of my goals as a mixer is to create an environment where the listener can escape into the music and “see” the artist – a hologram of the artist, if you will, without any awareness of the speakers. In effect, Stereoizer floats between the mixer and the speakers to make this effect almost effortless. I’m able to give the music an almost ethereal energy that is immediately interesting to the ear.
In addition to the Stereo Pack, I’m beginning to explore the use of other exciting tools in the NUGEN Audio family. The loudness tools, including VisLM, LM-Correct, and ISL, are becoming indispensible in the creative process by enabling me to mix to the widest-possible dynamic range and avoid mixes that are over-compressed. And I’m looking forward to learning more about NUGEN Audio’s newest product, MasterCheck, a loudness plug-in designed specifically for music production. MasterCheck is designed to empower producers to mix audio according to the new loudness criteria for streaming services such as iTunes Radio, Spotify, and DAB Radio.
My philosophy is to create a mix that will guide the user’s ear from a musical perspective as opposed to a technical or mixing standpoint. With tools such as Stereoizer and Stereoplacer, NUGEN has helped me realize this concept. I’d even go as far as to say that the NUGEN Audio tools help me be a better artist.
Dave Isaac is a titan in the world of R&B music, having honed his craft during the heyday of Motown in Detroit. There, he collaborated with superstars such as R. Kelly, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder. After moving to Los Angeles, he continued to build on his resume with artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. Eventually Isaac paired with bass legend and producer Marcus Miller to produce and engineer Pop, R&B and Jazz music, along with work in the Film & Television industry extensively. To date, he has earned three Grammy Awards and has many more nominations.
Mix & Mastering