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Peter McCabe, Pro Mixer and Producer

EVOLVING WITH THE TIMES: Chatting With Peter McCabe


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Peter McCabe, Pro Mixer and Producer

Peter McCabe, Pro Mixer and Producer

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-timeScreen_Shot_Visualizer_Large_1 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.”

Screen_Shot_MonofilterBesides 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.”

McCabe uses the Stereoizer high-specification stereo image manipulation tool to naturally expand, reduce, and introduce Screen_Shot_Stereoizerstereo width at any state of the mixing process. “Again, the brilliant design of the graphical user interface makes this process fast, easy, and intuitive by representing the mix exactly as it might be perceived by the ear,” he comments.

In recent years, McCabe has expanded his horizons into recording and mixing for cinema and television projects, including documentaries and TV shows for the Discovery Network and video work for U2. He’s also the content manger for the start-up [email protected], an online music streaming service, enabling subscribers to create playlists that are scientifically optimized to boost concentration and focus. To address loudness management for these projects and produce mixes in compliance with global loudness regulations, McCabe has recently adopted NUGEN Audio’s Loudness Toolkit 2. “With Loudness Toolkit 2 I’ll be able to integrate a near-seamless loudness measurement and compliance workflow into my existing Pro Tools environment and make both program and short-term loudness corrections on the spot. Like the other NUGEN Audio plug-ins, Loudness Toolkit 2 will allow me to tighten up my audio engineering pipeline significantly by providing full wraparound solutions from monitoring to problem correction,” he says.

Peter McCabe websites:

www.petermccabepictures.com

www.focusatwill.com

Credits:

Music

Ricky Martin

Roger Daltrey

Kiss

Paul Rogers

Puff Daddy

Steve Miller

Bowling 4 Soup

Barry Gibb

Smashing Pumpkins

Jennifer Lopez

Beck

Katie Melua

Paul McCartney

Billy Joel

Willie Nelson

Chrissie Hynde

Alice Cooper

Kelis

Heart

Jamie Cullum

Perry Farrell

Booker T Jones

Brian Wilson

Yosuf (Cat Stevens}

Cheap Trick

Joe Elliot

Owl City

Vintage Trouble

Harry Connick Jr

Corinne Bailey Rae

Airborne Toxic Event

Toots Hibbert

Everclear

Slash

Ramones

Bone Thugs & Harmony

Matthew Sweet

Sugar Ray

Cheap Trick

Billy Currington

The Smithereens

BB King

Violent Femmes

Tracy Byrd

Billy Idol

Sublime

Robi Rosa

Mark Wills

Helmet

The Toadies

Presidents of the USA

Neal McCoy

P.M. Dawn

Smokey Robinson

Frente!

Dion

Ivan Neville

Allen Toussaint

Alien Ant Farm

Peter, Bjorn & John

Divinyls

Guru

RuPaul

The Living End

Dig

Tripping Daisy

Wax

Anita Cochran

Graveyard Shift

The Murmurs

The Plimsouls

Big Red Button

Merrick H-Town

Semisonic

Dusty Drake

Jeff Carson

Hagfish

Phantom Planet

Mark Chesnutt

Eve 6

Fu-Schnickens

Tag Team

Jimmy Wayne

Brian McKnight

American Hi Fi

The Goops

Collin Raye

Charles and Eddie

Mad Cobra

Rickie Lee Jones

Tracy Spencer

Brian McComas

Mary Lou Lord

  1. Kelly

Nancy Wilson

Lillix

The Donnas

Liz Phair

Scatterbrain

Ednaswap

Portrait

Face to Face

Crystal Waters

Collective Soul

Baka Boys

Jimmy Page

Johnny Gil

Tom Morello

Krazy Bone

Bizzy Bone

Leon Silver

Reverend Horton Heat

The Living End

Shabba Ranks

The Temptations

Flesh-N-Bones

Coolio

Domino

Brad Wolf

Price

Ronnie Spector

Pete Yorn

Darlene Love

Bizarre

Ian McCulloch

J Kwon

Wanda Jackson

 

Film

“Just Like Heaven,” Dreamworks

“Nancy Drew,” Jerry Weintraub Productions

“Say Anything,” 20th Century Fox

“Clueless,” Paramount Pictures

“Speed,” 20th Century Fox

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” 20th Century Fox

“Bull Durham,” Orion Pictures

“Billy Madison,” Universal Pictures

“Encino Man,” Disney

“Black Circle Boys,” Alliance Entertainment

“Bio-Dome,” Universal Pictures

“P.C.U., ” 20th Century Fox

“Detroit Rock City,” New Line Cinema

“Girls Room,” Menemsha Entertainment

“Addams Family II : Family Values,” Paramount Pictures

“Friends and Neighbors,” Polygram [ produced end credit song ”My Hollow” ]

“Minus Man,” Artisan Entertainment [ produced 3 songs w/ Kitty Bank]

“You’re in Charge,” Harmonic Pictures Associate Producer /Post Supervisor

 

Television

Discovery “Airplane Repo,” Audio/Camera

Discovery “Unlikely Friends,” Mixing and Colorist

Produced and co-wrote theme music for A&E “Evening at the Improv”, “Comedy Album,” and

“Comedy on the Road”


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