As the leading architect of the “New York Sound,” which features prominent, heavy-hitting lows set against clean, luscious highs, veteran mixer Tony Maserati has been influential in the music industry and in pop culture in general. His clients include Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey, R. Kelly, Puff Daddy, and The Notorious B.I.G. Indeed, the list could go on and on and on, with no reduction in the represented star power. Maserati has his pick of tools, and his sessions typically engage A-list outboard gear that would make any gear-junkie fall into a Pavlovian fit of drooling and sputtering. In the box, Maserati relies on the Metric Halo ChannelStrip plug-in and, more recently, the Metric Halo Character and HaloVerb plug-ins.
Maserati learned about ChannelStrip when he received some sessions from the band Miike Snow to mix. “ChannelStrip was all over those sessions,” he said. “They were doing really cool things with it, so I was interested.” Owing to its transparent workflow and solid sonics, ChannelStrip quickly became one of Maserati’s go-to plug-ins. “It’s just a very useful plug-in,” he said. “For example, the parametric EQ has overlapping bands, which help when notching problem frequencies out of vocals. The compressor allows great possibilities, forsubtle gain control to heavy pumping. The metering represents what I’m doing and what I’m hearing very well. The sonic quality puts ChannelStrip in league with all of the other equipment in my arsenal.”
Two examples serve to demonstrate the breadth of function expressible with ChannelStrip. “I was just working on Casey Abrams’s self-titled record, which comes out June 26 on Concord Music Group,” said Maserati. “Although the mixes sounded great, Casey and his A&R had small details that they wanted to address up until the very end. Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip allowed me to easily control level differences with compression and frequency changes with EQ without coloring the overall sound of the mix.” But ChannelStrip is also useful in extreme applications, as well. “I’ve also been using it with Glory, one of the artists on our own label, Mirrorball Entertainment,” Maserati continued. “Our approach with Glory’s sound is funky and aggressive, and Channel Strip has provided us with tremendous manipulations on everything from kick drums to lead vocals.”
So useful was ChannelStrip that Maserati recently added Metric Halo’s Production Bundle, which contains all of the Metric Halo plug-ins, to his arsenal. “The Character plug-in adds slight harmonic differences to help tracks cut through a dense arrangement or to help them sit properly in the mix,” he said. “HaloVerb is also great. There are a lot of reverb plug-ins available these days, and I’m always looking for something that stands out. HaloVerb’s straightforward interface enables me to dial in a sound immediately or inspires me to shape room characteristics.” On top of great sound and great workflow, Maserati asserts that the very affordable price-point on Metric Halo software makes it easy to recommend to colleagues, both professionals and novices alike.