Klaus Hill chooses Metric Halo for dance music mastering
AUSTRALIA: Described as the ‘go-to guy for mixing and mastering dance music in Australia’, renowned Sydney-based engineer Klaus Hill has extended his complement of Metric Halo hardware and software with the manufacturer’s Production Bundle plug-ins package. The latest purchase follows Mr Hill’s long-term use of Metric Halo, most notably its 2882 interface.
Known as Klaus ‘Heavyweight’ Hill, the engineer has been involved in the dance music scene for over two decades, first as a producer and DJ on labels such as TCR, Mob, Bedrock Breaks, Distinctive, and his own Title Fight and 2S2 Recordings. He moved over to mixing and mastering 10 years ago and counts among his clients Felix Da Housecat, Yolander Be Cool, Ministry of Sound, Sony, Ubderjack'd, SCNDL, and Dub Phizix. He describes himself as ‘a studio geek – I love finding the best hardware and the best plug-ins to make other people’s creativity shine! I’m grateful that I get to do this for a living. It’s a job I really love.’
He added that he adheres to a less-is-more mix philosophy. ‘I use my tools only when I need to, not just because I can,’ he explained. ‘So much of today's EDM and dance music is over-processed, with people sticking on compressors for the sake of it or because such-and-such producer does. I prefer a more natural-sounding end result to my mixes. Correct equalising is always the most important thing.’
His use of Metric Halo began several years ago when he was introduced to the 2882 by Australian distributor Audio Chocolate. ‘I contacted several people who were already using 2882s, and all I heard from them were good things,’ Mr Hill recalls. ‘The 2882 has been at the centre of my work environment for a while now, and I’ve come to rely on it. Losing it would be like losing a family member.
‘When I was deciding on an interface, I had several units to demo. The 2882 had a really nice, clean, transparent sound. I loved the internal MIO Console mixer; it suited the way I worked. But the real icing on the cake was Character. It changed my whole mixing world. With it, I can add different colours to suit a particular part. Now that I have Character as part of my standard plug-in collection, I use it on soft synths to give them the warmth they always seem to lack. It takes the edge off them. I also use Character on bass lines; it gives them a roundness that I like a lot.’
Mr Hill’s mobile mix setup includes a Dangerous Audio D-Box, a Rolls Music 775 compressor, an A Designs HM2EQ, a Manley Massive Passive EQ, and various plug-ins and 500-series hardware modules. Outputs from the 2882 interface feed the D-Box, which outputs to the hardware. The 2882 takes the signal back into the computer, where Mr Hill mixes at 96kHz.
Regarding the Production Bundle plug-ins, he continued, ‘The ChannelStrip plug-in is now my go-to software equaliser. It’s so simple to use and has such a great sound. I can do surgical or broad strokes, and either way it sounds great. I’m also a big fan of the ChannelStrip compressor. It smacks very well on drums.’ In addition he uses the TransientControl plug-in on snares, citing its ability to add extra attack with a tight top end, and Dirty Delay. ‘It’s like no other delay out there,’ he explained. ‘The filters are what make it.’ Finally, the Precision De-Esser has become a regular part of Mr Hill’s mixes. ‘A lot of dance music producers don’t bother to de-ess vocals before covering them with effects,’ he said. ‘The result is that even the smallest sibilance gets exaggerated. Metric Halo Precision De-Esser lets me smooth all the vocals out easily. No stress.’