Discusses his gear and signal flow at Mix LA
Recent Projects: U2, MIchael Bublé, Green Day, Foo Fighters, The Who
Chris Lord-Alge is a mixing legend that needs no introduction to many. With 5 Grammys and credits on virtually every rock hit of the last two decades including U2, Green Day, Foo Fighters and The Who, Lord-Alge’s work and career have often been a basis of comparison for both aspiring engineers and seasoned pros. For those that have never heard of Chris Lord-Alge before, there’s a good chance you’ve heard his work (unless you haven’t listened to the radio in the last 20 years). Apogee recently had the opportunity and privilege to visit Chris at his Mix LA studio in Tarzana, California.
Before Chris begins a mix, each track is sent from Pro Tools to a Sony DASH 48-track digital tape recorder. Transport control is synced between his custom SSL console, the Sony DASH and Pro Tools, allowing both he and his Pro Tools operator to start and stop playback. Mixing entirely in the analog domain, Chris uses the SSL’s EQ and dynamics processing as well as a wide array of outboard gear to sculpt each mix into his signature Lord-Alge sound. Once finished, the stereo mixes are recorded back into Pro Tools, requiring a final stage of digital audio conversion. For this delicate transition from analog back to digital, he uses Apogee.
“Everything you hear, it all comes down to those two-tracks. You gotta live and die by the two-track.”
Countless chart topping Lord-Alge hits have been mixed and recorded to 2-track with the help of Apogee conversion, most prominently the Apogee PSX-100, which Chris began using shortly after its release in 1999. After years of trusting the PSX-100 to capture his finished mixes, Chris recently decided to try out Symphony I/O.
When did you start using Apogee?
I started using Apogee at its first inception – It must’ve been 18 years ago that I bought their first digital audio converter, the AD500. They’ve always been on the cutting edge of digital audio conversion, so I’ve trusted them from day 1.
What made you choose Symphony I/O?
I only use gear that that I believe in 100%. It took a lot of testing and changing interfaces – I’ve tried everything else. With Symphony I/O, it was so seamless and musical that it seemed almost invisible to me. It’s the clearest path from the console to two-track. Everything you hear, it all comes down to those two-tracks. You gotta live and die by the two-track. The final mix, the conversion to that is everything, so everything that can make that as good as it can be, is what makes the mix as good as it can be.
What’s important to you when choosing a converter?
I want to hear my mix and nothing else. That’s what’s most important to me. For me, if I hear the converter, I don’t want to use it.
What differences are you noticing now that you’re using Symphony I/O?
Everything is so much clearer now! With Symphony I/O, I don’t hear anything but what comes off the console, exactly as it went in. After switching, my mastering engineer said to me, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing differently, but it sounds like you’ve cleaned the windshield!’