Miami, FL (January 17, 2006)–Barbra Streisand released her latest album, Guilty Pleasures, in September, 2005, 25 years after her hit album, Guilty. Guilty Pleasures paired Streisand once again with producer Barry Gibb. For engineer/producer John Merchant, the SSL AWS 900 Analogue Workstation System was indispensable in the creation of Guilty Pleasures at two critical stages of the process–Streisand’s vocal overdubs and mixing.
Basic tracks for Guilty Pleasures were recorded through the SSL 9000 J Series console in Studio A at the Hit Factory/Criteria in Miami, with overdubs recorded to Pro Tools at the Bee Gees’ Middle Ear Studios, where Merchant served as chief engineer for more than 10 years.
Guilty Pleasures, recorded at the artist’s home. Merchant used the same AWS 900, rented from Advanced Audio, to mix the album. Photo by Gary Ladinsky.’ border=’1′> Engineer/producer John Merchant used an SSL AWS 900 console for vocal overdubs on Barbra Streisand’s album Guilty Pleasures, recorded at the artist’s home. Merchant used the same AWS 900, rented from Advanced Audio, to mix the album. Photo by Gary Ladinsky.”Barbra really wanted to do her vocals at home,” said Merchant. “She gave us this beautiful cottage with sweeping views of the cliffs of Malibu, looking out at the mighty Pacific. But we needed to create a studio, so we rented an AWS 900 from Advanced Audio and Pro Tools rigs from Design FX.
“I’d had a demo on the AWS 900 at GC Pro and really liked it,” Merchant recalled. “It’s very intuitive. We sat down, pushed up the faders and everything sounded great, surprisingly great. Within an hour, after seven or eight takes, Barbra came out and said, ‘That sounds fantastic.’ She said that from the first day to the last.”
Back at Middle Ear, mixing on the studio’s console was proving a frustrating experience. “Usually, I’d spend a day on the mix and then Barry would come in,” Merchant explained. “But I kept telling him I wasn’t ready yet. After three days, he finally came in and listened, and I could tell he was holding something back. I finally said, ‘It’s just not the same, is it?’ and he said, ‘It really isn’t, it’s not what we got used to.’
Merchant contacted Advanced Audio, and the same AWS 900 used for vocal overdubs was shipped to Miami. “Because of its size and portability,” said Merchant, “it went in a flight case and was here the next day. We set it up, and there was that great sound we had gotten used to for three weeks in California. So the album was mixed on the AWS 900, too.”
Solid State Logic