Being Your Biggest Fan

We work with creatives of all stripes. There seems to be a pervasive talent amongst us that can also work to our detriment: We’re hard on ourselves. Our expectations for our work has an often insurmountable standard. Why? We know that excellence takes a rigorous disposition. This becomes a problem if we start beating ourselves up.

Around the studio at Loud Color LA, we have reminders everywhere to be your own biggest fan. Not in any self-aggrandizing way. But to look at ourselves and our work through the eyes of a causal observer who could look at what we get to do every day and think, “Wow. Now that’s something I wish could do.” The picture above is from our Studio A Mixroom. The message changes from time to time, but at the moment, it simply reads “Ur my hero!” It’s cheesy as hell, and we love it. It makes me smile every time I read it. And it reminds me that little me would look at my life today and think, “Wow. I hope someday, I get to be like that guy.”

Studio Vibes

I’m a big fan of color. And good smells.

On the color front, I’ve gotten absolutely hooked on Phillips Hue lighting. Our whole studio is rigged with it. Basically, these are full-color RGB LED lightbulbs that can be controlled by your phone, Amazon Echo, or a typical light switch. Being able to switch up the mood across the whole studio with a tap is super valuable. In the mornings, it’s all about natural, bright whites to work with your body’s circadian rhythm. This keeps you energized and ready to roll. Later on in the day, I might opt for warmer tones. Often, around sunset, we get a beautiful, rich pink and purple hue coming in over the Pacific Ocean, and I like to complement that with similar tones in the studio.

Let’s talk about smells. We have several oil different diffusers around the studio here. They all have built-in RGB LED’s also, to match the Phillips Hue bulbs. These things are going 24/7. Quite the workhorses, they are! We stock up on racks and racks of different essential oils and frangrances that dial up the nostalgia. Or the energy. As I’m writing this, it’s winter. I love a good pine-y, Christmas tree scent in December, and those are on full blast. There’s a balance that needs to be struck, though. When voiceover talent or singers are recording here, scents that are too strong can trigger mild allergic reactions or cause their throats to be slightly irritated. Subtlety is key!

Why We Love Mixing Commercials in Logic Pro X

It’s not a popular thing to say in pro mix engineer circles, but I love mixing commercials, trailers and promos in Logic Pro X. The industry standard for most post houses is, of course, Pro Tools. So why am I such a fan of LPX?

First and foremost: flexibility! Usually, I’m up against the clock for a client, and I’m not just mixing. I’m recording foley, layering sounds, and synthesizing sounds from scratch. The latter is huge here. Pro Tools, for all its strengths, lacks the efficient workflow for anything involving midi, CC automation and complex sound design. Logic Pro is built with VST’s in mind. One of my biggest go-to’s is Xfer Records’ Serum. It’s incredibly simple to use if you come from the more complex world of extreme modular routing, FM synthesis and the like.

When I need a big, bass-y impact hit, I’m not always reaching for my sample library. Often, I’m layering from a sample-based VST such as Kontakt and a time-variable collection like Rise & Hit, along with a sub oscillator from Serum or Native Instruments’ Massive.

Another reason I love mixing in LPX? Speed. Holy cow. In my humble opinion, nothing beats the buss and aux routing flexibility inherent to Logic Pro. I should add here that familiarity plays a huge factor. In the end, anything that can be accomplished in Pro Tools can be accomplished in a multitude of other DAW’s. In the end, it just comes down to what you’re used to.