Platinum mix engineer Eric Racy made his entrance into the world of high-profile mixing and producing via the underground world of dance music and has since gone on to mix Robin Thicke, Lil' Wayne, Pharrell, and Busta Rhymes, among others.
He’s also half of boutique analogue signal processing manufacturer Black Box Analog Design.
Here, Racy describes his faithful reliance on Metric Halo's ChannelStrip plug-in, which he has used on every song he has mixed since discovering it four years ago.
Racy describes his established methodology in which ChannelStrip plays a key role: When he first opens up a new mix, he combs through each channel, carefully listening for unpleasant resonances and low or high frequency content that can be filtered out. He uses ChannelStrip to then notch out the resonances and filter the unnecessary extremes:
“I’ve tried this with a million plug-ins and outboard EQs but nothing is as effective as Metric Halo ChannelStrip," he explains. "It doesn’t mangle the audio around the notch or filter, and it doesn’t make it sound like there’s a hole in the frequency range. It gets rid of the annoying frequencies and content, and it does it transparently.”
For vocals, Racy explains how he will often automate the notch frequency to keep the resonance from peeking out when the vocalist changes his or her mouth shape: “The results are well worth the effort. Nothing else I’ve found can compare with this technique.”
While Racy has all of the software and hardware tools he could want in his LA-based studio, it was taking the job of building the audio tracks and doing Pro Tools playback on the Katy Perry 'Prismatic World Tour' that made him appreciate the Metric Halo plug-ins even more:
“I’m a mix engineer first and foremost, and I certainly didn’t want to give that up on the road,” he said. “Metric Halo plug-ins formed one of the essential components of my mobile rig; ChannelStrip of course, but also Metric Halo’s Character plug-in. Given everything they can do, the Metric Halo plug-ins are very efficient and wouldn’t drain DSP resources on my native rig.
“The Character plug-in is great. It models different kinds of analogue signal paths, and just like real high-end studio hardware, the effect is critical, but also subtle. Placing different Character settings on a few different channels really adds up to something. It was especially useful to have on the road when I didn’t have access to my outboard gear, but I’ve continued to find plenty of uses for it now that I’m back in my studio.”