Los Angeles, CA (July 8, 2014)—Michael James, mixer, engineer, producer, songwriter and more for artists including New Radicals, Hole, Edwin McCain and Too Much Joy, has been using a number of Manley Laboratories limiters on the various projects coming out of his Los Angeles analog-digital-hybrid studio.
When mixing, James starts with the Manley Variable Mu across the main stereo bus. “I have a Manley Variable Mu and a Dangerous Compressor, and I mix and match…but the Variable Mu always gets used,” he says. “and it’s not something I throw on at the last minute. I tend to use different flavors of compressors in series, each of them doing different things with the needle barely moving. It sounds great. I can make a loud record that still sounds very dynamic and exciting.”
Though he houses around 140 rack spaces of analog gear, he says that “within a few hours of working with the Manley Variable Mu and ELOP, I was wondering how I’d managed to live without having them. The way that I tend to use the Variable Mu, I can do a rock record, an R&B record, a jazz record… When it needs to be smooth, it can be smooth. When it needs to be urgent and in-your-face, it can do that as well.”
“With the sidechain filters, I even love throwing the ELOP over the mix bus from time to time,” James added, noting that he even goes so far as to “pre-process” vocals and acoustic guitars with the ELOP, recording the result back into his session and freeing up the ELOP for other tasks within the mix.
James’ private studio consists of 64 channels of I/O to be used in any combination of hardware inserts and outputs, which feed an array of analog summing boxes by Dangerous Music and Chandler Limited. “The way that I tend to work is almost as if I had a 32-channel console…but it could be 24, it could be 48, it could be 64. I generally reserve 32 outputs from the computer to the inputs of the summing mixers, and I use the other 32 channels for analog inserts, but I have flexibility. In the last 14 years, I’ve had very little reason to leave my own mix room.”