The image was wider, more solid and the vocal appeared to project towards me.
The second for me was way more stunning. I’ve had a few things blown in my life :), and yesterday my mind was one of them. About 8 months ago I changed clocks from a Rosendahl to the Antelope OCX-V to control the SSL, PT masterlinks….everything. That was amazing in itself because I could hear everything as being more focused. Saturday, I happened to mention, at my AES masters class, the importance of a top of the line clock and used the Antelope as an example. Of course, I had no idea, nor did I care that the designer had a booth. (I’m not technical, I don’t give a (bleep) if you show me on paper that a device is the best in the world or the worst or shows nothing conclusive at doing a particular job. I’ll be the judge of that by closing my eyes and listening).
So one thing led to another, they got word to me to come visit them at the booth. So I did. The designer, Igor and his Rep had three or four different models with one called the Trinity that is coming out in early ’08. What they were all excited about showing me was the atomic clock 10M. I was already bored and I stopped them in mid-sentence as they were throwing big words at me. I said to them “Look I don’t know Atomic from Gin & Tonic except that one gets me drunk and the other will blow my (bleep) up”. So I told them to come by the studio the next day and I’d listen to it. Since I had no idea what it was and how much it cost, at worst it would be a waste of 20 minutes of my time.
They came by the next morning and I put up a session that I had just mixed with a safety going to PT. I had them play the song with and without the Atomic clock. I had them do this maybe a dozen times, back and forth until I would just listen to just the first 16 bars. Then I put my head down on the console because what I was listening to was making me feel ill…like car sick ill. I turned to them and said, “I don’t know what this is but I feel ill and the other one makes me feel really good”. The one that made me feel really good was with the Atomic connected. I could describe the non-atomic as being less focused and not as present. With the Atomic, I’d say there was a 20% improvement, which for me is mind-blowing. The image was wider, more solid and the vocal appeared to project towards me. So does that mean the OCX sucks on it’s own? I don’t think so because I already heard the improvement when I switched to it months ago.
There were four people that I wanted to hear it. Two mastering engineers and two producer/engineers. I figured if they describe the same thing…I’m not full of (bleep) or having delusions of sonic grandeur. First person I called was David Kahne. I asked him what his clock was…an Antelope….”OK good, the designer is on his way down to show you an add-on to the OCX” After you hear it, call me. An hour later he calls me. Within one minute of listening, he bought one. He described almost word for word the same impression I had.
The next day they took it over to Chris Athens and Greg Calbi at Sterling. These are the two guys that I bring all my work to…and Ludwig. Chris called me later that day, they said at 96k they too heard a 20% improvement. Now think about that, for a mastering engineer that is huge. They said that at 44.1 it was much more subtle but it didn’t matter, they each were getting the OCX and the 10M.
….No, I’m not a part owner in the company and no, I didn’t get one free in return for talking (bleep). Homey don’t play that.
Michael Brauer is a New York-based mixer whose credits encompass a wide range of genres, and include The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Ben Folds and John Mayer.
Michael mixed such records as the Stones’ ‘Steelwheels’, New Radicals, Tony Bennett’s Grammy® Album of the Year Unplugged. He has received 4 Grammys® including Coldplay’s Alternative Album of the Year Parachutes, John Mayer’s Best Pop Vocal Album, Continuum, Coldplay’s Best Rock Album, Viva la Vida and John Mayer – Best Engineer in Non-Classical, Battle Studies. Recent projects include Christina Perri, The Kooks, Grouplove, Daryl Hall and Nathan Pacheco. www.mbrauer.com