On the go with Duet and Symphony Mobile
Recent Projects: Beyonce, Wyclef, Cheryl Cole, Natasha Bedingfield, Kylie Minogue
Transplanted from London, Wayne Wilkins has dug his musical roots into the City of Angels as a producer, songwriter, and mixing engineer, far-stretching now with credits on some of the biggest albums of the year. Faced with back-to-back sessions from studio to studio, city to city, Wayne is an advocate for easy-to-use and portable workstations that don’t require him compromise on quality. With Apple’s Logic paired with Apogee’s Symphony Mobile System, Wayne has found a workstation as nomadically capable as he is.
“When I travel, I do all my stuff on a Macbook Pro and a Duet because it’s simply the best portable gear there is. I’ve done vocals on that which were used on the record with Natasha Bedingfield, Wyclef, and David Archuleta.”
“I’ve used Symphony Mobile and Duet now for a couple of years and I can swear by both. I’ve been able to get amazing vocals with them wherever I am,” he says. With credits on his roster like Beyonce, Wyclef, Cheryl Cole, Natasha Bedingfield, Kylie Minogue, Jordin Sparks, and Leona Lewis, it’s been crucial for him to have a high quality portable system he can rely on. “When I travel, I do all my stuff on a Macbook Pro and a Duet because it’s simply the best portable gear there is. I’ve done vocals on that which were used on the record with Natasha Bedingfield, Wyclef, and David Archuleta.”
Even though he’s well versed in all the leading music creation platforms required of him from his days as a mixing assistant, Wayne has always opted for Logic for his own sessions. “I prefer Logic for the way I work. It’s one of those pieces of software that allows me to be creative and to work the way I like to work,” he explains. “I have a technical background so I understand the draw of the big studio Pro Tools rig for recording and mixing, but in my opinion, Logic is the best for creating music. It has an organic feel, it’s not all clean and pretty -in the best way- which is just how I want my music to sound. I love anything that has a sound to it. I like to experiment and see what plug-ins affect and distort the sounds the most, and Logic allows me to do that much more than anything else available.”
Wayne goes into an outboard compressor to control the level, and “since the quality of Apogee is amazing on Duet, I use it to record and mix the record.” Before converting over to Logic, Wayne was using a few different products and he says it was a lot harder to get the same level of quality that he has now. “They all had a brittle sound,” he shares. “The fact that the converters weren’t up to scratch actually had an accumulative effect and eventually affected the whole thing. Now I use an Avoset Crane Song with Duet, the two together give an accurate representation of what’s going on.”
“I also find many people I work with nowadays have similar systems, so I just need to bring my laptop and Symphony Mobile Card and plug it into one of their Apogee converters.”
More and more often, songwriters and producers are choosing to do all their music on a laptop. “Symphony Mobile allows me to have the best quality and lots of inputs,” Wayne adds. “I patch in lots of synths in addition to what my laptop has. It allows me to have a multi-track system running from my laptop at extremely high quality. I also find many people I work with nowadays have similar systems, so I just need to bring my laptop and Symphony Mobile Card and plug it into one of their Apogee converters. If I’m in an SSL studio, I plug into one of their Rosettas or AD/DAs and I’m good to go. Otherwise, I use my Duet.”
Wayne uses the minimal amount of gear because of his schedule on the road. “Great mics and a great pre amps complete my mobile setup. I also use Neumann U67s and an sE Gemini for a lot of things because it colors the sound in a certain way that I like, as well as a Neve 1073 and 1081, and a Focusrite Producer Pack. I use an Avoset Crane Song for monitoring, and loads of synths like M3, Roland Fantom, Virus TI, along with a load of guitars. And, I just actually bought a ukulele.”
When it comes to software, Wayne takes a less frugal approach. “I use a lot of Waves stuff in my laptop,” he says. “I have shifted from using a lot of outboard gear to more plug-ins. The Waves Classic Studio Collections are great because they have the most accurate sounds to them, and SSL’s Channel Strip in particular allows me to do what I need to do EQ-wise. I’ve found the right mix for what I need and have realized that I can achieve the sounds I want with just a few plug-ins.”
With Symphony Mobile, Logic, a mic, preamp and a few hard drives with an array of plug-ins, Wayne can take his studio wherever he needs to go, all without the worry of leaving anything behind.