Solid State Logic, the world’s leading manufacturer of creative tools for audio professionals, is pleased to announce that Grammy-winning Nashville mix engineer and producer Rob Burrell has improved the tone and workflow in his personal workspace, emotionmix studios with an SSL X-Desk.
Rob Burrell is an audio all-rounder. Along with numerous GMA Dove Award-nominated productions, he has RIAA-certified Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum albums to his credit, has produced and mixed for television series, short films and two feature films, but is perhaps best known for having engineered or mixed five Grammy-nominated albums and two Latin Grammy-nominated albums — including the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s Live – God Is Working (2000 Grammy-winner); Michael W. Smith’s Worship Again (2003 Grammy-winner); and, more recently, Alex Campos’ Lenguaje de Amor (2011 Latin Grammy-winner), often on large-format SSL consoles in NYC and around Nashville.
Burrell is also a long time personal studio owner, “I’ve had my own studio since 1999 across four different locations — two in my home, and two in commercial facilities. I’ve always been ‘in-the-box’ with my private studios to facilitate budget needs and time constraints when clients cannot put me in a commercial mix facility. The latest incarnation of my emotionmix studios resides in my 1,100 sq. ft. basement to accommodate the comfort and needs of my clients — mixing, recording, and recreation are all available to make everyone feel relaxed and at home.”
Burrell is a self-confessed SSL lover, who says, “There’s something about the combination of the sonics and workflow that just makes sense to the way I hear things and helps me arrive at the end result. And the sound… it just sounds like what’s in my head! Whether tracking, or mixing — 4000 Series or 9000 J or K Series, I feel at home.”
Of course, it’s just as important for Burrell to feel at home, equipment-wise, when working from his home, which is exactly why the X-Desk was a perfect fit, but getting there was quite a journey: “I have owned and/or used many different summing boxes, but kept going back to doing in-the-box mixes to see what I was gaining by analogue summing. I continued to find that whatever tonal changes the summing boxes provided, when I mixed ITB I would compensate to achieve similar results, because I was just trying to hunt down the sound in my head. In the end, there was always something about tone and workflow still not sitting right, so I would sell the summing box in question and return to ITB — a fruitless quest. However, the more I looked into the X-Desk, the more I became aware that not only would it provide the sonic stamp I was after — it’s an SSL, after all, but the deep flexibility would do something positive for my workflow and hybrid mixing creativity.”
How so? “Ergonomics is such a key to being creative for me, so I built exactly what I needed in my new setup. I wired it into a 192-point patchbay with all my outboard and I’m loving it! I can pick a signal off the inserts or direct outs to send to effects units or parallel compression, I can insert analogue gear with the push of a button. It just allows me to be more tactile in the mix experience, which is how I love to function.”
Rob has also found a canny method for 5.1 production, “I also have a template and patching scheme that allows me to mix music stems in 5.1 for film or trailer scores through the X-Desk. All the dialogue and FX stay in the digital realm, where they are best handled, but the added dimension to the music mix is wonderful.”
Thanks to the X-Desk, Burrell is obviously one happy mixing man: “The X-Desk has made great impressions on both me and my clients; I can get to the happy place in a mix so much faster, and that’s good for my clients, my business, and my family! This is especially helpful, because not all projects are well recorded anymore — not just indie projects, but even label projects are often ‘engineered’ by producers that believe engineering is just hitting ‘CMD+SPACEBAR’. I understand this is a product of the technological and financial times we’re in, so I won’t fight it, but my setup allows me to use the X-Desk and my outboard compression and pre-amps to often re-track the entire record after the fact, effectively ‘healing’ a lot of technical errors, to bring the mix to a more professional-sounding end result much more efficiently than ever.”