David Kahne and his Dangerous Music system. New York (July 13, 2007)–Producer/engineer David Kahne has gotten a lot of mainstream attention in the last year, as the architect of some very anticipated albums, including Paul McCartney’s Memory Almost Full and Kelly Clarkson’s My December. In addition to producing, Kahne recorded and mixed much of McCartney’s Memory, while the project also enlisted Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick and engineer Adam Noble. Technically, Kahne’s Dangerous Music system played a significant role in the engineering of both the McCartney record and Clarkson’s latest.
Kahne recently expanded his Dangerous system, adding a fourth Dangerous 2-Bus for 64-channels of analog summing. The producer/engineer also utilizes a Dangerous Monitor and Dangerous MQ in his system for speaker control, input selection and metering.
Describing some of the most important aspects of his system, Kahne said, “The Dangerous 2-Bus summing amp has a lot of headroom and is also extremely transparent. I like that the 2-Bus doesn’t have coloration, so I’m not thinking about the sound of it. I can put an (Allan) Smart or Fairchild compressor across the stereo bus and tailor the sound how I want to. Also stereo imaging is really important, of course, and the Dangerous 2-Bus is always phase coherent and sounds great on every mix.”
Kahne continued, “To me, my mixes sound better on the 2-Bus than just mixed in the box: that was what made me choose the Dangerous summing amps. Before I was using the Dangerous, when the audio came to the last summing stage in the computer it sounded crunchy, and crushed and phasey. With the Dangerous, the final product sounds like when I’m mixing on a great large format console.”
Recording, editing, overdubbing and mixing sessions for McCartney’s Memory Almost Full went down in a variety of studios in New York and the UK. “Three songs were mixed at Soundtrack, NY by Andy Wallace. The others were mixed in my room on the Dangerous Music rig, after we’d finished all the parts and set up the mixes at Paul’s studio in the UK at Hog Hill Mill. Most of the recording was done at the Mill, or Abbey Road. I worked on editing some of the songs in my room after we were done with all the recording, and finished most of the mixes at my place. Paul did some overdubs there, too. We were recording and mixing and arranging all at the same time, all through the album.”
According to Kahne, McCartney was closely involved in the mixing process and often added overdubs during the mix sessions. He shared, “Paul went through every mix with me, track by track. Even if he wasn’t there when I was working on some of it, we always went through every note together before it was decided that the track was finished.”
Adding the fourth Dangerous 2-Bus to his system allowed Kahne to fully utilize his 64-channel MADI card. He has a lot of outboard EQ, compressors and mic preamps, and he now has his system hardwired so that he can instantly access all of his equipment directly through the 2-Busses. “With the MADI card and the Dangerous 2-Busses, I have instant access to all my analog gear, and now everything in my studio is available at any moment,” Kahne stated.
The evolution of Kahne’s mix system came from working in his room at Henson Recording in Hollywood. “I was using a Speck mixer for pre-production and overdubbing, then got a Yamaha digital console to use for mixing. I was looking at it one day and it struck me, ‘why do I need two sets of digital faders and EQ’s?’ I’d heard about the Dangerous 2-Bus and realized that concept was the best solution for me if it sounded great. I dug more inside the computer after that, and took the most intensive processor task–summing–and gave it to the Dangerous 2-Bus and forgot about it.” Now with 64-channels of Dangerous, Kahne concludes that, “Dangerous Music was the first to make boxes like these, and in my opinion, they’re still the best.”
To finish his studio system and retain all the aspects of working with a large format console, Kahne uses the Dangerous Monitor and Dangerous MQ alongside his Dangerous 2-Bus setup. He’s even had Dangerous Music designer Chris Muth modify the Monitor unit to allow 4 sets of speaker outputs.
Dangerous Music, Inc.