There are many important stages to finishing an album, one of the last steps being the mixing and mastering process performed by a sound engineer who uses sophisticated software to ensure that the music will sound great on all playback devices. For my latest album, Lotus Dreams, Anchorage (Alaska) based sound engineer Peter Ratner (who also mixed and mastered my last three albums) used Fusion-IR reverb software designed by LiquidSonics, a revolutionary new processing technique that captures the evolving character of time-varying reverbs. This process uses multiple true-stereo reverb streams that are processed simultaneously. In this blogpost, and by way of sharing samples of my music, Peter Ratner will explain how he implemented this cutting edge software on two compositions of my new album, Lotus Dreams.
LiquidSonics develops high quality music production software for Mac and Windows, and is producer of leading modulated convolution reverbs that pioneered the revolutionary Fusion-IR processing technology. For the laymen (including myself) among the readers, convolution reverb is a process used for digitally simulating the reverberation of a physical or virtual space through the use of software that creates a simulation of an audio environment. LiquidSonics, based in London, has been around for about 10 years, and produces a new take on these reverbs designed to reproduce the acoustics of the original living and breathing sound of the classics as accurately as possible. With many of the hardware reverbs now out of production, and those left slowly becoming obsolete (and newer designs too expensive for most users), LiquidSonics offers an affordable cutting edge product to a wide range of users, while being respectful of the original creator’s IP and business interests.
For Lotus Dreams, sound engineer Peter Ratner used LiquidSonics Seventh Heaven Pro, bank Spaces 1, preset Tanglewood. He describes below his working process in title track Lotus Dreams, and Liquid Zen, which are two of the nine compositions on my latest album, Lotus Dreams.
When I started working on Christel’s project I had a slight problem – some of the tracks she sent me from Indonesia already had effects on them, so I decided to use just plugins to make it consistent and keep it completely in The Box (ITB), which, again for the laymen including myself, means not using any external music production hardware, just software.
Fortunately you can achieve a lot with today’s arsenal of plugins. On all tracks of Christel’s album Lotus Dreams I used just three reverb plugins – two from LiquidSonics – Illusion and Seventh Heaven Pro, with Relab VSR 24, which I mostly used for some percussion instruments.
On Lotus Dreams for overall feel of space I used Seventh Heaven Pro, bank Spaces 1, preset Tanglewood, with a little bit more of late reverb and short pre-delay to give an original track some space before reverb appeared. Seventh Heaven was covering most strings and pads, Relab was on Percussion group, and all was good but I could not find a good space for guitars. After several minutes of trying this and that I pulled out Illusion, opened bank Rooms, preset Guitars – Acoustic and that was it, I didn’t even change a preset because it was what I wanted to hear. Subtle Flux on Reflections and Reverb immediately brought in this feel of intimate space.
On other guitar parts though, in Liquid Zen, instead of room I used Illusion plate, one of my favorite preset Berlin Plate, which I remembered from days of beta-testing – I guess it’s just grown on me! Seventh Heaven again was used on all orchestral instruments, strings, flutes, pads, synths and Christel’s favorite, the duduk. This time I used bank Halls 2, preset Concert Hall B where a little bit of modulation embedded in IR’s brought instruments to life and helped to separate them, in pretty dense arrangement, creating a very delicate sonic atmosphere.
I really loved how this album turned out, and LiquidSonics reverb plugins played a very important role in its overall sound palette. – Peter Ratner