Reading through audio forums and magazines, it’s easy to become convinced that the next upgrade is the one that will really make a difference, taking your tracks from mundane to impressive.
Some upgrades of course, are bound to be more significant than others. This week we asked a handful of busy engineers for some of their most essential “big wins” in recent years: Those simple changes that brought significant results.
Sometimes, big results come from big investments. For instance, Vaughan Merrick, an engineer and mixer who’s worked with Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Ghostface Killah, and The Chemical Brothers, cites his recent upgrade to a Pro Tools HDX2 system as one of his most important and satisfying new acquisitions.
Merrick is a vocal proponent of high sample rates and 32-bit floating systems, and he’s also the kind of guy who considers expensive mic-pres, compressors and microphones to be an “invariably excellent investment.” Still, even he’s quick to admit that “choices in the high-end market are often more about aesthetic choices than quality.”
In addition to sexy and significant investments in new systems and boutique audio gear – which are often among the first things we think of when we hear the word “upgrade” – I also wanted to suss out those simple and essential changes that always seem to have a positive impact on every other link in the chain, and pay dividends for years to come…