RECORDING NEWS AND TECHNOLOGY
Focusrite Liquid Channel
A Songwriter / Producer’s Dream
(As published on the Focusrite Audio Website www.focusrite.com)
When Nashville songwriter/ Producer Eddie Reasoner first read a review of Focurites’ new Liquid Channel he wondered, how could so much sonic history be designed into one unit? After hearing he was convinced that without a doubt that the Liquid channel is a songwriter and producer’s dream.
Dreams became further reality when legendary recording artist Stella Parton, whose family name alone is an international icon of music royalty, asked Eddie to produce her new Appalachian recording project.“Stella’s success in both music and film provided a unique opportunity for me to explore the musical roots of Appalachian American culture while utilizing the new Focusrite convolution technology to capture a fresh interpretive sound on record,” said Reasoner.
“My people came from Scotland and Ireland and settled all throughout the Appalachian Mountains which provided the natrual resources my ancestors needed to sustain life. Most were poor families and only brought with them what belongings they could carry or fit in a small wagon or on horseback and that included musical instruments – thus the beginnings of Appalachian music,” Parton said. Guided by their faith, the Appalachian people passed traditional songs through generations mostly being sung by only a lone voice or perhaps in close family harmony.“My sisters and I used to accompany ourselves by playing gourds and small stringed instruments which we would make ourselves or which had been passed down. In fact, many of my fondest memories are of singing with my sisters and other gifted musicians of my family,” Parton added.
Mountain sounds and hertiage instruments such as the mandolin, dobro, dulcimer, autoharp, banjo and fiddle provided authenticity for the recording while a full string section offered a touch of old world traditionalism that Reasoner found vastly intriguing to work with. “These wonderful Appalachian stringed instruments are filled with sounds and frequencies that are unique to each instrument and each are played in a style that is clearly not bluegrass or pure country. I’ts really the sound of the mountains – the sound of Appalachia. My challenge as a producer was to marry all these different sounds and frequencies while featuring the tone and musical dialect that only Stella Parton’s performance could provide. The Focusrite Liquid Channel did that for me and did it superbly,” Reasoner added.
Being somewhat new to Liquid Channel convolution technology, Reasoner became obsessed with exploring all the subtleties in mic pres and compressors that the unit could provide and would ultimately deliver in capturing the sounds needed for this project. “I chose the Focusrite Liquid Channel because it sounded so incredible right out of the box – all of the requencies were there in the recording – no need to over-equalize any vocals or instruments to get them to cut through the mix, which is especially important in this type of record. Using the Liquid Channel I found I needed almost no equalization although there was plenty there to use when I needed to tweak some “air” or add “warmth” into the track. Stella’s performance continued to sound as natrual as if she was sitting on a rock in the middle of a Mountain Stream – flowing and fluid but with total control.”
Initially I was concerned abou the sound of the authentic instruments like Gary Oleyar’s flattop guitar, banjo and vintage violin collection which had the potential of overlapping Stella’s vocal frequencies which I definitely wanted to try and keep open. When we recorded Dan Justice’s 1931 BroMan Dobro- everyone was just astonished at how natrual and lifelike the instrument sounded which really worked well to our advantage at mixdown because the Dobro has one of the signature licks of the record.
By using the added product features such as internet accessability to the library of emulations and the “session saver” feature I was able to control all the aspects of the recording, even while using “close on” microphone placements. If it sounded good just listening in the studio on “air” then recording with the Liquid Channel brough life to every note – it just sounded incredible!
“These days I’m on the move doing alot of record dates and writing sessions and I take the Liquid Channel with me everywhere. It’s solid,dependable, travels well and with a library of legendary mic pres and compressors at my command, in fact, I don’t leave home without it!” Truly a songwriter and producer’s dream. Thanks Focusrite.”
Stella Parton adds: “Having a song like Mountain Miracles that lyrically captures my love for God, my family and my Appalachian roots is really a musical miracle in and of itself. To have available the technology to capture all that I hear in my head while singing and then hear that same quality in playback is a must-have for any artist. focusrite has done that with the Liquid Channel – I hear all the highs, the subtle variances in my voice while keeping it honest, pure and seemingly transparent. I will never record again without Focusrite!”
Additional quotes from BMI:
“This is absolutely the BEST sounding record I’ve ever heard from Stella Parton. “MOUNTAIN MIRACLES” is a great BMI song and Stella’s vocals are sparkling! This recording could very well be headed for an upcoming Grammy nomination.”
Harry M. Warner, BMI Executive Vice President, Writer / Artist Relations
“I just love the song and the message that it delivers. Stella Parton’s voice shines brilliantly above the symphonic sounds of Appalachia. A Great marriage of production, sound and Artist – what a wonderful BMI song and wonderful sounding record!”
Patsy Bradley (daughter of Owen Bradley) BMI Senior Director / Publisher Administration
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