Jean Claude Ades: 9 production power tips

13th Jun 2012 | 10:30

Jean Claude Ades: 9 production power tips

From monitoring to compression; the million selling producer offers his advice

He's produced hit singles for Danni Minogue, remixed everyone from The Pussycat Dolls to Deadmau5 and has DJ'd at some of the world's biggest clubs and festivals.

With all this and over a million records sold, Jean Claude Ades is clearly a man in the know. You'd do well to listen, then, to his nine tips for production perfection.

Listening situation

"The most important thing you can do is to optimise the listening situation so you can compare how your production sounds for the listener, whether in a home environment or in the club. A balanced space with proper speaker placement must be a standard in every studio."

Selection of the speaker

"My absolute favourite speakers are the ESI uniK 5 as they sounds absolutely honest. I hear a track that has over-compression, if it´s mixed too flat or if it has too much high and low frequency activity. Sometimes they are 'too honest' for me. The speakers are so straight, that it´s always like a big challenge to do a production.

"Now I just use the subwoofer to get the feeling of how the production sounds in a club. The main mix I do completely without the subwoofer, as the speakers reproduce all the important frequencies in the mix. The subwoofer just gets used to check the low-end for the club and not to finalise the mix.

"Furthermore I use - especially for mixing radio mixes - a good small and cheap set of computer speakers to get a different reference of the sound. This also helps to make a good mono compatible mixdown."

Proper calibration

"It´s very important to calibrate your speakers if you have different types. Room equalisation and calibration is really important for the subjective evaluation of the speakers. I always calibrate my reference level to 85dB C slow, as my studio reference level is minus 14dB Fs."

Audio interface

"It doesn't matter what brand of audio interface you have, but it should be as clean as possible from the converters. I prefer to use one from Sound Devices as it has a clean mic pre, very good dynamic range and is easy to transport."

Microphone

"I recently bought the most amazing microphone, special hand made from a United Minorities Greeny. It´s the purest, most honest microphone I ever worked with. It doesn´t change the colour of your sound. It tells you purely the truth. In this case I only can say my philosophy on vocals is: no EQ is good EQ.

"If I need to add colour to the vocals I'll use plug-ins. It depends on the style of the vocals and the production."

Instrumentation/placement

"I attach great value to the correct instrumentation or sound choice so that everything sounds right in the arrangement. To get your mix clean and transparent you need to try to separate frequencies in between your bassline, kick drum and synths.

"It´s important to pan your instruments correctly to give more of a 'sphere' to your mix. When you work with vocals or a great kick, take them as a reference as the highest level in your mix and build your instruments around them."

Mix

"The best way to get the maximum dynamic range in your mix is to keep your mixdown as low as you can and to maximise it at the end. It´s not about being loud and shrill: it´s more about the dynamic feel and the warmness of the mix, especially when working in the digital domain."

Compression

"I do not compress my sounds too much, because I don´t like to overload my mixes with instruments. I prefer to use bass simulation or tape simulation plug-ins. I like to leave my mix open as I believe too much compression kills the dynamics of a track."

Dynamic EQ

"Oxford SuprEsser - that´s my secret weapon. I don't destroy the general sound of an instrument or vocal - instead of using a classic EQ to eliminate the frequency that is disturbing me I'll use a dynamic EQ, so I have more control and I do not destroy the colour or the original sound of the instrument."

Catch up with the latest news on Jean Claude Ades at his website

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