Mini-Massenburg Helps Out Austin Powers Mix

Aug 15, 2002 12:00 PM, Editors


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Steve Kempster, a veteran recording and film scoring engineer, mixer and producer who works regularly with some of Hollywood's top composers, recently completed the score for Austin Powers in Goldmember using the George Massenburg Labs (GML) 8900 Dynamic Range Controller. The GML 8900 compressor combines modern analog processing elements with surface-mount construction in a unit that allows for accuracy, reliability and calibration stability.

"I have quite a few compressors and each one has its strengths," said Kempster, who reported that the GML 8900 is a crucial component of his processing arsenal. "I use the GML when I'm looking to manage a sonic situation and I want complete transparency. In other words, I don't want to know the compressor is on. I want it to function clearly without tampering with the sound."

Working with composer George S. Clinton, who has scored all three Austin Powers movies, Kempster said that the GML 8900's transparency was used to sculpt the sound of several musical elements in the Goldmember score. "I used it for several applications: some in tracking, some during mixing," he said. Most notably, he recalled, the GML 8900 was used on "some percussion elements that we wanted to have really pop and not hear the effect of the compression."

"You can really get into things and manage peaks, manage average levels, and not have the 8900 tamper significantly with the quality of the audio," he continued. "That's just a huge win in a compressor."

Kempster works regularly with scoring composers such as Mark Mancina and Trevor Rabin in addition to Clinton, and has recorded the scores for such blockbusters as Tarzan, Armageddon and Twister. He won two Grammy Awards for Best Soundtrack Album for Tarzan and Best Cast Album for the Broadway cast recording of The Lion King.

This fall, Kempster will be using the GML 8900 on the score of an upcoming Disney feature animation and on Santa Clause 2, also with George S. Clinton.

For more, visit GML on the Web at

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