Pooch here with the first installment of Pooch's corner. Just got back from Australia. I am mixing Slash, and we were doing a launch for the new MTV Classic in OZ land. MTV Classic is supposed to be like back to old school MTV where they play music videos all day long. Wow, what a great idea! Music? On a music channel? Who would have thought?
Anyway—the show went really well. I had been carrying around a beta version of MultiRack SoundGrid (prior to the big launch), and Kevin "Tater" McCarthy (monitor engineer to the stars: Linkin Park, Slash, Godsmack) has been using it in monitor land with Slash. He has fallen in love with it, and won't give it back. Finally, this week, he received his own SoundGrid system that he purchased after the first day of using mine. He is currently using it in rehearsals with Godsmack and loving it, of course.
My favorite thing to do these days is to set up SoundGrid in monitor land and have everybody ooh and aah at the interface, because no one has seen it before. But THEN I make everyone put a set of ears in, and we pop inserts in and out. Great to watch people's faces as the wheels turn as to how they can somehow put Waves plugs on every insert they have, because of how good they sound. Buy two cards, I always say, because you are gonna want as many inserts as possible to have this on, and of course, anyone that has heard it agrees.
I've been using Vocal Rider on the last part of my vocal chain for a couple of months now. It is really awesome. I am still using my usual chain for vocals (Renaissance Channel, Renaissance DeEsser, SSL G-EQ) but now am putting Vocal Rider on the end as the last insert and, I have to say, I am really liking it. One of the MTV engineers was really interested in using it for broadcast applications, and we set it up on the host vocal for the evening. Very cool. Worked really well to keep people right in the pocket for speech and music.
Finally, I tried using Vocal Rider on a clean guitar channel. Slash is a really dynamic guitar player, and his clean channel goes from very quiet, to knocking you out of your chair. So I have tried various compressors on him and haven't found one that I really like. The problem is this: every compressor—Waves or not—when you hit it really hard, it changes the timbre of the thing you are putting through it. So when Slash is REALLY laying into it, it squashes really hard and starts to get really "compressed" sounding. Prior to giving Vocal Rider a try, I really didn't find anything I liked. So I decided to try Vocal Rider on the guitar, and it actually worked very well. Kept the guitar in line and didn't have the sound change of heavy compression. I describe it as a device that acts like a compressor/expander without the sound of one. Very transparent.
I encourage all of you to try different plugs on different things. Just because it is labeled as a "guitar" plug, it doesn't mean that it has to be only used for that. Here is my tip for the week: Try using Renaissance Axx on a percussive instrument, like drums.
Ken "Pooch" Van Druten
WavesLive Product Specialist