Hard Rock Mix Engineer adds ‘Dangerous D-Box’ to his Home Studio
Edmeston, NY – Producer and engineer Sterling Winfield is known in the hard rock music world for his heavy sounds, and for the past several years he has been exclusively mixing through the Dangerous Music 2-Bus analog summing system at Gary Long’s Nomad Studios in Carrollton, Texas. Winfield says, “I’ve been spoiled. I’ve worked with the Dangerous 2-Bus summing amp at Nomad Studios and I didn’t want to do any mixing or critical listening without that technology at my side. The [Dangerous] D-Box is absolutely perfect for what I’m going to be doing at home. I also wanted to be fully compatible with Nomad.”
Winfield works regularly at the respected Texas studio, which along with the Dangerous 2-Bus also utilizes the Dangerous Monitor and Dangerous MQ products in its hybrid analog and digital environment. “I’m a best of both worlds kind of guy and that’s why I like the Dangerous gear. It’s compatible with all the digital stuff, but it’s an analog system. That’s what I love about it.
“My first experience with Dangerous gear was the 2-Bus at Nomad. I had pretty much mixed a project already and Gary [Long] asked me if I was finished and I said yeah but that it wasn’t mastered yet. He said ‘Do yourself a favor and get back into the mixes’ and he gave me the low-down on the concept of the 2-Bus. I said ‘That sounds pretty interesting,’ – he said ‘you won’t be sorry.’ And sure enough when I started monitoring the mixes through the 2-Bus, I could hear the difference immediately in clarity and how everything opened up. I heard the difference and had to have it. I told him he was right, and don’t ever sell that thing. And to this day I use the 2-Bus on everything that I work on there.”
“In heavy metal and hard rock music it’s not always just a wall of sound – a lot of people don’t understand that there’s a lot of intricacies to that style of music as well. And that’s where the Dangerous gear helps, it really retains the low end in the mix, and that’s essential when you are trying to add depth. When you only mix in digital, sometimes it can have this two-dimensional sound ‘Here’s your left, Here’s your right’ – that’s it. When you add something that has an analog presence to it like the 2-Bus, then you’re adding the depth to it as well – bigger, warmer, the front-to-back dimension. That’s what I hear – you get a rounder, fuller picture of the sound. The Dangerous stuff just couldn’t be better for doing something like that. It’s made for guys like me that sometimes, because of time constraints or what the client’s up against, have to mix inside the box, but Dangerous takes it outside the box. It gives you the quality to keep up with things that are going on in the music world today,” said Winfield.
And clients agree that mixing through the Dangerous gear sounds better, whether they ever find out Winfield’s secret or not. “I’ve had the chance to remix projects that were mixed in the box. I put them through the Dangerous 2-Bus and it’s made all the difference. You go to A-B them and ‘Here’s your two-dimensional digital mix’ and it isn’t bad, but it isn’t all it could be. Half the time I don’t even tell the client, I just A-B them and ask them to tell me which one they want. Hands down, 100-percent of the time, they always pick the ones I mixed through the Dangerous gear. It just sounds better. I’ve even had clients say to me: ‘What did you do, put it down to half-inch tape?’ I tell them ‘No I just ran it through a little box’ – it sounds better and that’s all I need to know,” concludes Winfield.
On setting up the outputs to the 2-Bus summing Winfield explains, “I’m usually working on the heavy [rock] side of things, that’s what I’m known for and what people usually seek me out for. The concept is simple: the way I break things down into the 2-Bus is drums out 1 and 2, bass out 3 and 4 and then 5 and 6 for guitars, and so on… sometimes I’ll separate lead vocals from background vocals, and I take the effects, like vocal reverbs, delays and use an output for that as well. The difference in the mix is amazing. Clarity and depth are the big words that I can think of to describe the difference the 2-Bus makes. It takes it out of the world of one’s and zero’s long enough to open it up and let it breathe without adding any harmful noise to the mix.”
Analog and digital both have their places in Winfield’s recording process. “I like to work with bands that have their act together and can cut to 2-inch tape, and then I like to put that into a digital workstation to mix and take advantage of what that environment has to offer. I’m all about what’s best for the music, and for the album. The Dangerous stuff really helps, especially on sessions where I don’t have room for a 2-inch machine or an analog console all of the time. The Dangerous gear affords me the luxury of a top-quality analog setup in those situations,” continued Winfield.
But getting the work done and having a satisfied client is where it really counts. “I rely on the time saving features that DAW’s have allowed us, and the Dangerous Music gear makes it possible to have the best of both worlds. [You can] spread the mix out across a large console, and that will let the tracks breathe but you have issues to worry about, like ‘What if I have to come back and remix it in a hurry,’ then you have to worry about recalling the console, and getting back to square one, and that’s time consuming. The Dangerous gear is basically a console in a box. When you recall your mix, you have all the analog summing ability right there.”
Winfield has just finished mixing a hard rock outfit from New Zealand “Legacy of Disorder” using the Dangerous Music 2-Bus, and also coming up is a project mixing with ex-Pantera and Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul, and members of Type O Negative, called “Seventh Void.”
Winfield works as an independent producer and engineer for various record labels, production companies, and original material bands. He has 18 years experience in the recording industry, and extensive touring experience. Known mostly for his work in the heavy metal and hard rock genres, Winfield has also worked on various types of music including – rap, R&B, country, choral, jazz, blues, and orchestral. His album production credits include: Pantera, Hellyeah, Rebel Meets Rebel, Damage Plan, Nickleback, Under Ground Kings, B.B. King, ABSU, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Pissing Razors, Night Ranger, and Herbie Mann & Deep Pocket. He has also toured with many top rock acts, including: Pantera, Hellyeah, Damageplan, Korn, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society , Metallica, Slayer, White Zombie, Godsmack, Marilyn Manson, Anthrax, Static- X and many more.
Contact Sterling Winfield via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Nomad Studio website at: http://www.nomadrecording.com/