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2002-Jul-27: At Work on the Live Album

Updated August 6.  On Thursday,  Sir Paul could not join the Queen on the balcony of balcony of the Liverpool town hall to watch the jubilee parade because he had to get to a pressing recording session in London.  (see July 25)  The current issue of Billboard magazine reports that producer / engineer Michael Brauer and producer David Kahne spent most of the month of July with Sir Paul in Studio One at London's Sarm West mixing 36 live tracks from Sir Paul's Driving USA tour. Mr. Brauer, who is creating a 2-channel mix of the live tracks for CD while simultaneously preparing for a subsequent 5.1 mix for a DVD release documenting the tour, told Billboard:
"The tour is so good.  It's beyond the imagination that he could have written that many hits. When I saw him [at Madison Square Garden], I got a rush from my head down to my toes."
Mr. Brauer explained that the concerts were recorded directly on to Tascam MX-2424 hard-disk recorders,  then transferred to Steinberg's Nuendo digital audio workstation (DAW) platform:
"It sounds fantastic.  It's probably around 40 tracks: If [McCartney] is playing the piano, there might be four tracks for the acoustic piano, but if he's not, those are four less tracks. Other times, he might be playing the guitar and Brian [Ray] plays bass. There's basically four tracks for Wix [keyboardist Paul Wickens, who also plays accordion and guitar], then four tracks available for Paul on the piano. And there's six tracks for audience."
David Kahne edits in Nuendo before giving tracks to Michael Brauer to mix.  According to Mr. Brauer:
"Normally, everyone's been doing [Pro Tools] HD, but the Nuendo sounds great."
Mr. Brauer is adding compression to McCartney's vocal and bass with hardware from his own racks, processing two multitracked vocals on separate tracks:
"The main one was through the [Inward Connections] Vac Rac [TLM-1] limiter/EQ; the second was  either a Decca, [Empirical Labs] Distressor, or Dept. of Commerce, an old vocal compressor that is vicious! On the bass, I  used either the E.A.R./Moog EQ and/or the Avalon 737 [tube preamplifier/compressor/EQ]. I put the bass up on two channels; the 737 was put up for fatness and the E.A.R. for definition."
Mr.  Brauer is mixing to half-inch analog tape for stereo; for 96kHz resolution for DVD, the 5.1 mix will go to Pro Tools HD.   Mr. Brauer is seeking to replicate the experience of sitting 10 to 15 rows from the concert stage.  At the same time, he is striving to maintain the integrity of the original Beatles sound.  He told Billboard magazine:
 "I grew up with these songs, and I want to maintain their integrity.  David also makes sure that the spirit of the song is again brought out. And Paul is here to listen to it. I've got all the original songs from the show on my iPod, so I'll listen to it, asking  myself, 'What were the elements that made it so cool?' A classic is a classic-you don't want to mess with it."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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