Recording and Production in the News
Producer Alex Silva chooses Prism Sound conversion for Herbert Gronemeyer's live DVD mixCambridge, UK: EMI Music Germany is about to release Live In Leipzig, a DVD that captures the performance of legendary German pop star Herbert Gronemeyer during his recent Schiffverkehr tour.
Herbert Gronemeyer live in Leipzig
This major project, which was filmed in one evening, encompasses Gronemeyer's 'warts and all' approach to live DVDs by allowing the viewer to see and hear the concert as it really was.
"What is on the DVD is 100% pure," says producer Alex Silva who was responsible for mixing the audio. "As nothing was going to be repaired or fixed in the mix, everyone had to bring their A-game to the concert, which certainly made for an adrenaline filled evening behind the scenes. Of course there were problems - with a live event a lot can go wrong and technically things often do. For this project we had to contend with heavy rainfall on the crowd microphones (and there was a lot of rain) to interference on the 128 radio mics - not to mention things that were best left in the bar after the gig!"
Originally from Cardiff, Alex Silva has been part of Gronemeyer's production team for nearly 15 years. He began his career in record production under the direction of former Eurythmics artist and producer Dave Stewart and has subsequently worked with many international artists including Texas, Mick Jagger, Daryll Hall, Manic Street Preachers, Suede and Jon Bon Jovi.
For the Live in Leipzig project, Silva and Gronemeyer chose to mix at Hansa Studios in Germany, in conjunction with Michael Ilbert. Integral to the sound of the mix was Prism Sound conversion. Silva used a Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel AD/DA converter with a Pro Tools digital interface option as a replacement for 192 and 96 IOs that come as standard on a Pro Tools system.
"We chose Prism Sound conversion for its sound quality and also for its versatility." Silva explains. "We used the unit as our converter while transferring the multitrack audio from one Pro Tools system to another to create the 5.1 mix. We also used it for the analogue fold-down for the stereo mix. The converter did everything I had hoped for and I was very happy with the results."
As with any live recording, preparation is key to its success and this project was no exception.
"My production technique in this situation really happens in the rehearsal process," Alex Silva says. "Technically there was a lot of preparation for these shows and artistically the songs had to be re-worked to suit a stadium environment. Basically, I push things as far as possible without tiring everyone's patience."
After 14 years of collaboration, Silva and Gronemeyer have developed a close relationship that enables them to know how the other will react and think during the recording and mixing process.
"We have our own studio, which is based around an API board and a Pro Tools system, plus we also have a lot of vintage mic pres and outboard equipment such as Helios, D. W Fern and ADL, and a great collection of microphones including Altec, RCA, Telefunken and Coles," Silva says. "Part of my work is to challenge the artist creatively and this is something that Herbert excels at. He has a gift for letting go and allowing his songs to evolve without fear. It is very liberating for a producer to feel trusted and be allowed to explore a song's potential. Herbert has an amazing gut feeling for things and I know I can reply on his opinion. For me, that is the mark of a truly great artist."
Herbert Gronemeyer's Live In Leipzig DVD was filmed by Austrian production company Just 24/7 and will be released through EMI Germany this month.
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