Los Angeles, CA (April 9, 2009)–When Kerry Brown took delivery of a 32-input Rupert Neve Designs 5088 at his Coldwater Studio facility in Los Angeles last year he immediately put it to work on a project that really put the analog mixing console through its paces. “If All Goes Wrong”, a two-disc DVD feature-length documentary film and concert video of the Smashing Pumpkins, was mixed in 5.1 on the stereo Rupert Neve Designs 5088 without the aid of automation — and won the Cinema Audio Society Award for outstanding DVD Original Programming in February. Other winners this year included, Slumdog Millionaire, HBO’s John Adams, and Fox’s series 24.
“We pushed the console to its limits, I think,â€ says Brown, a musician, engineer and producer who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan on a variety of projects over the last 20 years. â€œWe pretty much went crazy with it right from when we got it and did our first mix in 5.1. And we won an award for it! A big part of that mix was done old school — we didn’t use automation and used all the analog components and outboard gear that we have in the studio with the board.”
The 5088 at Coldwater Studio is outfitted with Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5033 five-ban EQ modules on every input channel, with five Portico 5043 stereo compressors in the master section, four on the groups and one on the main stereo output. The console is also configured with two 5014 stereo field editors and a pair of dual-channel 5042 “True Tapeâ€ processors. “Sonically, the board sounds fantastic,â€ says Brown, adding, “We used the tape simulation with the drums and bass. They added a little bit of warmth to the digital signals that we had coming from Pro Tools.”
“If All Goes Wrong” chronicles the Smashing Pumpkins’ residencies at venues in Asheville, NC and San Francisco over the course of three weeks during summer 2007. Live front of house mixer Jon Lemon and re-recording mixer Brian Slack of Widget Post Production were also honored by the CAS Award, as was Kevin Dippold, an engineer and musician who works with Brown at Coldwater Studio.
“Kerry mixed the concert and I mixed parts of the film and some of the music in the film,” reports Dippold. “We had 96 kHz/24 bit Pro Tools sessions that were set up from a series of live shows and rehearsals recorded by the Pumpkins. There must have been 48 to 60 tracks per session, so we did some pre-editing and submixing.â€
The DVD was only the first of many projects featuring the Smashing Pumpkins that have been mixed on the console, Brown continues. â€œAfter that we remixed some of the catalogue songs, like â€˜Bullet with Butterfly Wings and 1979 for Guitar Hero. Then we went right into a TV commercial that aired during Super Bowl.â€ That song, “FOL,” premiered before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIII on a commercial for the Hyundai Genesis coupe. In March, Corgan started working at the studio, continues Brown: “We’re using the console to write and demo some new songs.”
“We also worked with the Electric Prunes and did some private sessions,” adds Dippold, “and I’ve mixed a lot of my own music on the console. Last year we also mixed the Smashing Pumpkins’ 20th anniversary tour shows. They would record the shows 96/24 and send us the hard drives with about 60 tracks on them. We’d have to mix them and turn them around in 24 to 48 hours and post them online for sale through a website, www.nugs.net. We mixed 25 or so shows over the course of two months. It really sounded great, and a lot of people commented that it’s the best they’ve heard the Pumpkins.”
Appropriately, the console at Coldwater Studio is serial number 13 — Lucky 13 is a track by the Smashing Pumpkins that featured on the band’s free download album, Machina II, in 2000. “With the 5088 in almost constant use since being installed, Brown has certainly had nothing but good luck with it, and says, It’s been worth the investment!”