Wayne Shorter: Live, 'Without a Net'

Mar 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

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Without a Net album cover

Without a Net album cover

More on the piano: In addition to the three [4021s] on the piano [played by Danilo Perez] , I use two Schertler pickups--they're from Switzerland. They're about the size of a silver dollar and I mount them under the piano. And here's something I learned years ago--I use a stethoscope to place them. They're moving coil diaphragms. So I use a mid-hi pickup as a security blanket in case we're playing outside for 20,000 people or if Brian's ripping it up [and noise bleeding into the piano mics]. So I constantly mix. And I also have one for the low end, only when he digs down into the lowest octave of the piano.

Mics pre's and cables: I use True System Precision 8 mic pre's, which gives me eight discrete channels in a single rack space. They have excellent transient response and the accuracy is great. It's also fantastic that they have dual outputs--both DB25 and TRS, so I shoot a cable out of there using the TRS outs to go to the live sound system and DB25 directly to the iZ RADAR AD's. I also use and highly recommend Vovox Sonorus cables. Jurg Vogt is making the best cables I've ever heard--they're shockingly good. We have the RADAR near Gabriel Fonseca's monitor position to keep those cable runs short.

On the track from L.A.'s Disney Concert Hall, featuring the Imani Winds: The Imani Winds had toured with them several years before in Europe, but we didn't record that stuff multitrack, and we also had this one-off about a year-and-a-half later [2008] at Disney. We went in and had one little rehearsal soundcheck and Wayne brought in this piece called “Pegasus,” and man, they just kicked ass on it. Normally, I use a little Korg DSD recorder and we [record] every show, but Disney would not let me do it. So I went back to them and I said, “Can't you just archive this somehow so it exists, please?” And what they did was record on a Tascam [stereo] CD recorder at 16-bit.

They lost the recording for several years and then ended up finding it and they got it to Wayne. You would be shocked if you heard it. It was so ambient and there was virtually no piano, so I went crazy when I hit the studio with it and started tearing it apart with sum and difference, my frequency sections... Usually I don't mix in the box at all, but for that one I took it over to Jeff Ciampa's Orange Studio and he was using Sound Performance Lab's De-Verb, which is something like a transient designer, and we were using it to decrease room ambience. Then I was doing everything I possibly could to bring things forward in the mix. I ended up on the console with maybe eight different channels--stereo channels of various amounts of De-Verb, tracking with maybe -2 dB of the room, -3, -4, and I brought stuff out like a maniac.

More on the post-production work in his home studio: On all this stuff I rerecord everything. I track it live, I come home to my studio and I go at it in RADAR, using Vovox cables, and I go to an auto router, a CM Labs 64, which is like an automated patchbay--a 32-in, 32-out digitally controlled analog patchbay. I have two of those, so all of my analog gear in my studio is connected to this thing, and I can route anything to anywhere and then immediately change to another setup instantly. They're awesome.

So I take everything out [of the RADAR] and rerecord everything two to four tracks at a time, and I do crazy stuff. One thing I do is phase-align every microphone to the best of my ability. Say I've got an overhead and a bass drum. I'll turn off one speaker, pan two items into one speaker and use that control until it feels like one thing, not two things. Phase aligning is so incredible because you're getting an entirely different sonic effect and frequency effect than you can possibly get with equalization. Thank God for Jonathan Little at Little Labs, who created the IBPs-in-between phase boxes.

I also use a Cranesong Ibis EQ--I love that--and the Cranesong STC-8 stereo compressor. Another amazing thing from Little Labs I used on the record is called the VOG--the “Voice of God” analog bass resonance tool. That thing is awesome.

The only reverb I use is the Sony S777 convolution reverb, which is the most realistic thing I've ever heard. I use Adam S2.5A [nearfield] speakers, a big Tannoy 15-inch subwoofer and a Sony DMX R100 digital console for fader automation and panning.

I want to mention, too, that I mastered with Mark Wilder at Battery Studios in New York. He did a wonderful job for us. He has great ears and so much experience mastering jazz classics and reissues.






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