Broadcast Beat Magazine September, 2015 - Page 74


A renowned music producer, sound mixer, and photographer based in the greater Los Angeles area, Peter McCabe has worked in virtually every popular music genre over his 30-year career. He has recorded and mixed more than 100 platinum and gold artists for some of the biggest names in the music business ranging from Willie Nelson, BB King, Paul McCartney, and Kiss to Puff Daddy. More recently, McCabe moved into sound mixing for cinema and television, although he’s still actively involved in music producing. “I got my start in the 80s, hanging out with some awesome musicians and bands, and I’ve been at it ever since,” he says.

McCabe notes that the past decade has been a time of significant transition for the business of music and sound mixing, both technologically and economically. With the global financial crisis in 2008, he and many other music professionals were at a crossroads as large studio clients negotiated permanently lower rates. “Along with many of my colleagues, I realized that I had to find ways to work ‘leaner and meaner.’ For me, it meant closing my studio and moving my operation into my home,” he explains. “So much of the work of sound mixing is a one-man operation that completely lends itself to a home-based facility, and you don’t really need to carry the overhead of running a studio. Plus, with the tools and systems we have at our disposal now, I can do almost anything out of my house that I was previously doing in the studio.”

One approach that McCabe has adopted for his home operation is a pair of “smart” professional studio monitors that can be calibrated to provide a frequency response equivalent to any mastering lab or full-on studio. Another key technology development is the evolution of software tools and plug-ins that work in the Avid Pro Tools environment. “These tools make a home-based operation possible because they let me work faster, easier, and with more precision, but without sacrificing creativity,” McCabe says. “I can work much faster than I could 10 years ago, and in some cases I can perform tasks – such as monitoring an output mix and correcting it on the spot for compliance -- that weren’t even possible before.”

A Pro Tools plug-in that McCabe uses practically every day is Visualizer, NUGEN Audio’s analysis suite and real-time comparison toolset for recording, mixing, and mastering. “One of the

things I appreciate the most about Visualizer is its excellent graphical interface, which gives me an at-a-glance view into what’s going on technically with the signal,” he notes. “For mixing, I can access views and tools for tasks such as low-end control, masking, hidden frequencies, and stereo placement. And for mastering, Visualizer supports a wide range of views such as stereo spread, phase relationships, and EQ distribution.”

Besides Visualizer, McCabe relies heavily on two other NUGEN Audio music plug-ins: Monofilter and Stereoizer. “Monofilter is a fantastic low-frequency management tool that enables me to define, sharpen, and add clarity to my bass lines. Although other vendors make similar tools, what stands out about Monofilter is the design of its graphical user interface – which makes bass work much more intuitive and interactive,” he says. “With instant feedback that shows me how I’m affecting the mix and lets me make adjustments with each step, Monofilter makes it easy to root the bass line solidly in the mix and give it real power and definition.”

Peter McCabe, Pro Mixer and Producer


IBC Issue September 2015