One of the great things about using Universal Audio Unison powered hardware is the ability to print effects as you are tracking. This allows us to make decisions and commit fantastic sounding DSP based effects processing directly onto our tracks. Does it limit flexibility in the mix? Well, that depends on how you use the plug-ins. I always strive to get the best sound I can while tracking that won’t limit me later on. I only print broad general EQ curves that I know suit the track and help me get the sound I want, but leave me enough flexibility to not feel painted into a corner when it comes time to mix.
When it comes to tracking drums, this means a few broad EQ moves on each channel. I don’t like printing with compression. It’s too risky. Should the performer play louder in the heat of the moment, it may trigger the compression more aggressively in a way that I may not want later on.
But what about Bus effects or effects returns? Universal Audio’s Console app allows us the opportunity to create sends and returns, and print those onto separate tracks in our DAW. This is the best of all possible scenarios. We can try out some effects that we think will work in the mix, capture them on separate tracks within our DAW, free up the DSP by removing them Console afterward, and still, have the flexibility to ultimately use as much or as little of them as we want in the mix.
In this video, sponsored by Universal Audio, I have Montreal session drummer Jean Nadeau in my studio to lay down some drum tracks. We set up sends on the five drum mics to Aux 1, using Ocean Ways Studio reverb and Oxide Tape. And then to Aux 2, using the Neve 33609 and Elysia Mpressor for a drum crush bus. Both Aux channels are printed to Logic Pro X independently of the five drum tracks.