Technology, Tracking Hits with Apogee & the Importance of Tuning
Recent Projects: Rihanna, Katy Perry, Usher, Beyonce
At no slower pace than full, Grammy-Winning recording engineer and mixer Miles Walker has been accruing credits on a proliferating chain of chart-topping albums over the past few years. Artists like Rihanna, Usher, Beyonce, Enrique Iglesias, Ludacris, Bow Wow and Katy Perry have recorded their hits with Miles, including current records like the iTunes #1 album, Loud, by Rihanna and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.
Mainly a ProTools user, Miles relies on his Apogee Big Ben, Duets, Rosetta 200s and 800s and now his Symphony I/O so he can toggle back and forth easily between Pro Tools, Logic, and any other application he has to work on. Regardless of where he is- at Roc Da Mic in NYC or at his room at Parhelion Studio in Atlanta- he stays armed with his Apogee gear, even taking them with him on the plane to have at every session he does. “My Apogees are so easy to patch in,” Miles explains. “They are always in my vocal chain.”
Though born in Waterville, Maine, Miles considers himself a Southern man after spending many years jostling between South Carolina, Nashville and his current home, Atlanta. After graduating with a degree in music production and Engineering from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, he engineered for artist and producer Sean Garrett (Usher, Destiny’s Child, Ciara, Janet Jackson) which inevitably opened the door for his own career as a recording engineer. For the past few years, Miles has teamed up with Stargate, the Norwegian producing/songwriting duo Tor Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen, in NYC at Jay-Z’s Roc Da Mic studio, with whom he collaborated on Rihanna’s Loud and other massive albums.
“Capturing the fidelity of the source is what’s crucial and Apogee allows me to get clean recordings with accuracy.
I won’t record anything, especially vocals, without
Why do you use Apogee?
“Capturing the fidelity of the source is what’s crucial and Apogee allows me to get clean recordings with accuracy. I won’t record anything, especially vocals, without my Rosettas. I take them with me everywhere I go. If I could buy out the rest of the Rosettas, I would.
“I also use Apogee for the extra features and sonics I feel they have over their industry parallels. For example, the soft limit on the Rosetta 200 is amazing, as well as the superior image and detail I get using the Big Ben versus a Digi Sync I/O. In addition to that, I feel its main function as converters are just better and give me a cleaner signal to work with… on the way in, and on the way out.”
You said you mainly work in Pro Tools but taught yourself Logic for when you need it. How does Apogee fit into your studio setup needs?
“Before getting Symphony I/O, I typically would work with different Apogee products for my Logic usage. I would use my Rosettas with Pro Tools because of the X-HD card. Since it was already set to go, I would rarely swap out cards (Firewire or Symphony cards) because it would kind of be a pain. Instead, I used my Duet mainly for monitoring purposes and would do most signal recording with the Rosettas in Logic land. Now with my Symphony I/O, I can easily switch back and forth between programs based on my needs.”
Rayza Soundz from “Clubba Langg” and Miles have also recently worked together on a few projects, such as “How Do You Sleep” for Jesse McCartney as well as a number of other pop records including Raven Simone on Hollywood Records. Miles also worked with producer YG for CLubba Langg Productions on the single “Energetic” for the Korean artist BoA. He recorded “What’s my name”, “S&M” and “Only Girl in the World” on Rihanna’s current album, Loud, as well as “Firework” and “Peacock” on Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream record, all with his Apogees.
Why did you choose to get Symphony I/O?
“Growth…with the Symphony I/O, I can meet all my current studio needs, but have room to add additional I/O from the same box. Aside from all the other benefits, being modular is really what appealed to me. I see my gear as an investment. I’m never getting rid of my Apogee stuff!”
Any recording tips or tricks for novice engineers?
“Make sure the source is right first before anything else. If your guitar isn’t tuned correctly (which needs to happen often), then it will never be right. Tune, tune and tune again.”