A few days ago KMR Audio was invited to British Grove Studios by the Music Producer’s Guild (MPG) to put the Kush Audio Clariphonic Parallel EQ and Tweaker Compressor through their paces as part of the MPG's 'Under The Hood' series of events.
Far from a product demo, 'Under The Hood' asks for three renowned engineers to discover, use and abuse these units in traditional studio settings. The three guests were MPG Full Members Alan Moulder (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighter, Foals), Danton Supple (U2, Coldplay) and MPG Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year Catherine Marks (Foals, Kanye West). With very limited places, the audience was made up of 15 MPG Full Members, there to ask questions and suggest ideas.
All three engineers appeared eager and intrigued to hear and test the Tweaker which, was undoubtedly the star of the night. Using a multi-track session kindly provided by Catherine, both Alan and Danton started pushing the Tweaker to its limit trying to hear how each component of the Tweaker affected the sound and understand how the different side-chains worked. After a few minutes of abuse, all three engineers started finding settings they loved commenting that simply the drive function made the unit worth their while.
Catherine then wanted to test the unit on the bass guitar track she had recorded with a spring reverb on using the drums as the external side chain. Combined with the drive, this proved to be the most magical moment of the night, transforming a well recorded electric bass into a powerful overdriven bass sound that would have been at home on some dubstep classics. Playing with the Drive, Attack and Release times, as well as the Mix knob provided a flurry of flavours that went from subtle enhancement to magnificent sound transformation.
The guest engineers wanted then to see how it behaved as a tracking compressor on bass and spent a lot of time trying the different side-chain curves trying to understand how they worked and how they affected the sound. They then moved on to electric guitar. At this point, a question arose about its side-chain output and input before realising that it allowed us to customise our own side-chain filters with the different EQs at hand. Naturally, the engineers then wanted to try this feature and plugged in the Clariphonic to see how it would affect the signal.
During the whole process, the response was unanimous in its admiration at what this unit was capable of doing. Comparisons with the Distressor came naturally with all engineers saying that both were seriously versatile compressors.
Halfway through the event, it was time to move on to the Clariphonic, which Danton and Catherine hadn’t tried before. Playing drums the audience and both engineers were pleasantly surprised to hear how it was capable of beautifully raising the top end without ever sounding harsh. At this point, the engineers and guests engaged in a conversation about how this unit could be used and how it compared to the Clariphonic plug-in. A question was raised about the unit not being a true bypass as simply connecting the unit already imparted a nice sheen on the top end and the discussion moved onto applications with Alan Moulder confessing that his use of the unit had changed from when he originally started using it.
The whole event went in no time with the audience, guest engineers, and organisers all highly impressed by both units. We at KMR felt extremely privileged to have been invited to represent Kush Audio and to witness how engineers we truly admire use the equipment we proudly supply.
This is event was reserved to Music Producer's Guild full members. If you want to find out more about the MPG, their work and why you should become a member go the MPG Website