“A la Primera Persona”
El Tren de los Momentos (Warner Music Latina)
Summer 2006 at Hit Factory/Criteria’s Studio E in Miami
Lulo Perez and Alejandro Sanz
Assistant Mix Engineer:
Stephen Marcussen at Marcussen Mastering in Los Angeles
Russo has contributed his production and mixing skills to recordings by artists such as Juanes, Tony Bennett, Macy Gray, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, Audioslave, Babyface, Eric Clapton, Diana Ross, and Puffy AmiYumi.
96-input Solid State Logic 9000 J
Digidesign Pro Tools|HD (files transferred from Apple Logic)
Yamaha NS-10 and ADAM S2.5A
Mix Vocal Chain:
Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor, Teletronix LA-2A leveling amplifier, API 560 10-band graphic EQ, and circuitry from an SSL J Series channel strip in Criteria’s Studio E.
Neumann M 149 TubeENGINEER’S DIARY
Already well known for his distinctive touches on a variety of modern Latin American music productions, prolific mixer Thom Russo has added yet another Spanish-language superstar to his discography:
international vocalist/songwriter Alejandro Sanz. The artist, who produced his latest full-length release alongside co-producer Lulo Perez, depended on Russo to deliver the very best final mixes of El Tren de los Momentos while adding the occasional (and last-minute) vocal overdub to the track list.
On Sanz’s new single, “A la Primera Persona,” his emotive signature vocal rides buoyantly atop a unique, yet natural-sounding and acoustic instrument-dependent mix, which remains acoustically strong and full-bodied throughout. “Alejandro is an experimenter,” Russo offers. “He likes to play around with things for a while.” Thus, after a two-year production, Russo had more than plenty of tracks to choose from for his mix. “Trimming fat or leaving it as is; this is how it always is during pre-production, production, or — even after the fact — in mixing: you add some extra dressing to the salad or you leave it alone. Either way, it just needs to taste great.”
Sanz and Perez presented Russo with audio files from Apple Logic and, since Russo is a Pro Tools|HD-based mixer, there was “a lot of bouncing back and forth” during the mix process. “I am getting a lot more stuff like that these days,” admits Russo of Logic-born recording projects. “The fact that the tracks were all in Logic first and had to be changed cost us a lot of time. I don’t know whether there will ever be an easier, more streamlined way to go between the two formats, but it would be nice.”
For the vocal track, Russo depended on some of his favorite processors procured by the Hit Factory/Criteria, a studio he often frequents. “I used a double-chain compressor thing on him:
a Tube-Tech CL1-B and some easy limiting after that with an LA-2A,” Russo explains of Sanz’s chain. “It’s pretty deep — there’s an API 560 in there, then a little bit of the SSL J Series. Basically, the vocal overdubs were the same setup that he had in his house, which I recreated and centered on a Neumann M 149.”