SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 2014: Klaus Hill is the go-to guy for mixing and mastering dance music in Australia. He’s been involved in the scene for over two decades, first as a producer and DJ on labels such as TCR, Mob, Bedrock Breaks, Distinctive, and his own Title Fight and 2S2 Recordings. He made the shift to mixing and mastering ten years ago and counts among his clients Felix Da Housecat, Yolander Be Cool, Ministry of Sound, Sony, Ubderjack'd, SCNDL, Dub Phizix, and countless others. But beyond his success – Hill has been involved in dozens of Australia’s ARIA Club #1s and Beatport Hits – the well-rounded engineer relishes the opportunity to work with sound every day. “I’m a studio geek,” he laughed. “I love finding the best hardware and the best plug-ins to make other people’s creativity shine! I’m grateful that I get to do this for a living. It’s a job I really love.”
When Hill needed a new interface several years ago, he spoke with the folks at Australia’s Audio Chocolate. “They recommended the Metric Halo 2882,” he said. “I contacted several people who were already using 2882s, and all I heard from them were good things! The 2882 has been at the center of my work environment for a while now, and I’ve come to rely on it. Losing it would be like losing a family member!” Hill’s mobile mix setup involves a Dangerous Audio D-Box, a Rolls Music 775 compressor, an A Designs HM2EQ, a Manley Massive Passive EQ, and various plug-ins and 500-series hardware modules. Outputs from the Metric Halo 2882 feed the D-Box, which outputs to the hardware. The 2882 takes the signal back into the computer, where Hill mixes at 96kHz. “The Metric Halo 2882 has been running all day, every day since I got it without an issue,” said Hill. “I’m all about that!”
Hill adheres to a less-is-more mix philosophy: “I use my tools only when I need to, not just because I can. So much of today's EDM and dance music is over-processed, with people sticking on compressors for the sake of it or because such-and-such producer does. I prefer a more natural-sounding end result to my mixes. Correct equalizing is always the most important thing.” In that vein, Hill is a recent convert to Metric Halo’s Production Bundle of plug-ins, which features its flagship ChannelStrip plug-in. “Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip is now my go-to software equalizer,” he said. “It’s so simple to use and has such a great sound. I can do surgical or broad strokes, and either way it sounds great. I’m also a big fan of the ChannelStrip’s compressor. It smacks very well on drums!”
Even before he got the Production Bundle, Hill had used Metric Halo’s signal path modeling Character plug-in via Metric Halo MIO Console. MIO Console controls all the routing for the 2882. “When I was deciding on an interface, I had several units to demo,” he said. “The 2882 had a really nice, clean, transparent sound. I loved the internal MIO Console mixer; it suited the way I worked. But the real icing on the cake was Character. It changed my whole mixing world! With it, I can add different colors to suit a particular part. Now that I have Character as part of my standard plug-in collection, I use it on soft synths to give them the warmth they always seem to lack. It takes the edge off them. I also use Character on bass lines; it gives them a roundness that I like a lot.”
Although only recently acquired, the other Metric Halo plug-ins in the Production Bundle are making regular appearances in Hill’s mixes. He’s used Metric Halo TransientControl on snares, citing its ability to add an extra bit of attack with a tight top end. The Metric Halo Dirty Delay adds movement to his mixes. “It’s like no other delay out there,” he said. “The filters are what make it.” Finally, the Metric Halo Precision De-Esser is now a regular part of Hill’s mixes. “A lot of dance music producers don’t bother to de-ess vocals before covering them with effects,” he said. “The result is that even the smallest sibilance gets exaggerated. Metric Halo Precision De-Esser lets me smooth all the vocals out easily. No stress.”
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