With over 50 platinum and gold albums under his belt, producer and mixing/recording engineer Richard Chycki has worked regularly with Rush, Alice Cooper, Dream Theater and Aerosmith. We’ve asked Richard how he integrates the Nx Virtual Mix Room plugin into his mixing and recording workflows.
Richard Chycki has been employing the Nx Virtual Mix Room plugin for headphone monitoring as part of his workflow when mixing projects for Rush, Dream Theater and others, and in recording sessions for major artists such as Alice Cooper. Chycki has been using Nx go mix both stereo and surround on headphones, as well as to provide the artists he records a more comfortable monitoring experience during recording sessions.
“The first time I used Nx with headphones on a 5.1 mix,” Chycki says, “it was incredible to hear sounds emanating from front and rear with only binaural monitoring. I use Waves Nx as an alternate reference for confidence when checking 5.1 mixes. I’ve used it as an additional mix reference for the 40th anniversary 5.1 remix of Rush’s Hemispheres, as well as Dream Theater’s Live at Budokan 2017 broadcast.”
“Whether I’m in the studio, or when I’m travelling—at the hotel or any other informal location away from the studio—Nx gives me an alternate mix reference that translates well when I jump back to monitoring with speakers. For Dream Theater’s Live at Budokan 2017 mix for the Wowow Japan satellite broadcast service, I had final mix/performance updates completed at the hotel while I was working on another production in Switzerland. Later, I quickly confirmed the changes at the studio via my speakers prior to submitting. Overall, the translation was excellent, and the process was a real time saver.”
Powered by Waves Nx technology, Nx Virtual Mix Room is a virtual monitoring plugin that recreates the acoustics of a high-end studio inside any set of headphones. It delivers the three-dimensional depth and panoramic stereo image you would be hearing from speakers in an acoustically treated room, only on headphones. This way, it’s easier to make well-informed mixing decisions on any set of headphones, in stereo or in surround. As a bonus, Nx also includes a headphone EQ calibration feature, with a selection of corrective EQ curves for popular headphone models.
Nx serves Chycki not only for mixing, but also to give the artists he records a better monitoring experience on headphones during recording sessions, with more comfort and less ear fatigue. “I’ve been using Nx for talent monitoring, for example to cut some guitar beds on Alice Cooper’s latest album. For vocalists who don’t generally enjoy using headphones, I’ve found that Nx gets them on board. It allows them to perform for greater lengths of time when they record, avoiding the shortcomings of bleed, and without having to monitor in odd ‘one-speaker-phase-flipped’ conditions. It helps them, and me, achieve the desired performance.”
Chycki has been using the Waves Nx Virtual Mix Room plugin together with the Waves Nx Head Tracker, a small Bluetooth device that latches on to your headphones and tracks your head movements in real time to enhance the immersive experience. “The Nx plugin combined with the tracker gives my clients—especially vocalists—a way to perform wearing headphones, but with the sensation of monitoring through speakers, should the proximity and isolation of headphones be an issue. I also provide the Nx Head Tracker to clients who wish to monitor on headphones with the sensation of moving around within the sweet spot. It gives them that extra layer of reality. Having said that, personally I also like using the Nx plugin alone, without the head tracking: it gives me the sensation of my head held still in the optimum speaker sweet spot, regardless of my head movements. Personally, I love that stability.”
“Using Nx has added a solid alternative mixing reference to my workflow," Chycki summarizes, "allowing me to complete a greater portion of my mixes while away from the studio. Plus, my clients benefit from more comfort and reduced ear fatigue while they use Nx for record monitoring.”