Estimated reading time for this article: 4 minutes

In the last post we have been looking at Federico’s passion about music composing and how this was the starting point to build a career in the music for pictures field.

The control room of the Parcosuoni studio (Ph. Sergio Meloni)

In this second and last part we shall go inside the other Federico’s passion: the sound design and the tools to create/process the sounds.

This passion developed along with the musician’s carees. To learn the techniques beyond the sound processing Federico did not take any specific class or course. He got experienced working directly in the studio and, when possible, learning from experts stealing their secrets looking at them working.

Thanks to the time spent in experimenting he has got the chance to learn both hardware and software tools. The path must have been very effective since he has become a Sound Design teacher at the Rome University of Fine Arts (RUFA).

The passion and the need to have everything ready when inspiration (or business) come have been the driving factors to the born of an own studio. The facility, to guarantee a frictionless availability, it is amlost never rented to third parties. As we are about to see, the studio is organized to facilitate the generation of music for pictures.

From the studio to the music production is a small step. That’s the reason why the label Wasaby was set up by Federico. The Wasaby main goal is to find and promote talents in the intermational music scene. Among the Wasaby’s proposals give a look to Dott Reed:

Dott Reed \ Lipstick \ Wasabi Rec. [Official Video]

The studio’s layout

The Parcosuoni studio is mainly divided into two rooms respectively dedicated to tracking and control. A small closet between the two hosts the computer (Apple G5) and the audio interfaces (Antelope and Avid). Other rooms are available for utilities and storage.

Aiming the creation of music for pictures, in the tracking room there are video monitors available for musicians to help them looking at the footage while playing. The control room allows for both stereo and surround formats.

Tracking music for pictures

In the tracking room a piano and a drum set are always available. Microphones are already in place so there is no need to provide time for mic setup when needed. Among the others, it seems we have found a couple of Neuman KM184 for the piano helped by an Electro Voice RE20 while a Sennheiser MD421 takes care of the snare on the top.

The tracking room (Ph. Sergio Meloni)

For voice tracking federico is faithful to an U47 clone and to a Neumann U87 always welcome in a professional studio.

The preamps are a dual valve Tubetech mainly used for guitars and a three unit rack made by Argentini with eight very clean and full sounding mic preamps. Vocal tracks are, directly (in tracking) processed by a couple of vintage Universal Audio 1176. The control room is filled with other quality outboard (SSL and Empirical Labs to name a couple) witnessing the Federico’s propensity to signal processing via hardware tools.

To keep the tight timelines, the mix is, in some ways, pre organized during the tracking sessions. This is possible because of the deep know how about the processor’s behaviour and a clear idea about the final goal.

Mixing audio in music for pictures

Even if the studio hosts a Yamaha DM2000 console, almost avery time the mix passes through an AMS Neve 8816. This also helps for recalls just in case. The master bus is taken into care by a GML 8200 equalizer, a Thermionic Culture (The Phoenix) compressor and a Pendulum Audio limiter.

Further processing is achieved via a Mid Side matrix made by Argentini which implements also a few other and specific processors as usual with this brand.

Surround buses processing is assigned to an AMS Neve 8051 compressor which is also capable of working on the stereo bus.

The rough mix got from the tracking phase is finalized via the Pro Tools DAW. Software plugins (mainly Waves) are used to complement the hardware capabilities.

Native Instruments is the main brand for libraries even if sometimes it become necessary to join more libraries to get the right complement of sounds and articulations. Whenerer is possible, as stated above, real instruments (and musicians) are preferred.

Main monitoring is achieved through a couple of ATC SCM25 but a 5.1 facility can be used when needed.

The mastering

Being the products of his work dedicated to music for pictures, Federico prefers not to work on mastering and leave this phase to whomever will work on the finalizing stage. This also to avoid the need of managing the several specification for the specific formats to be supported.

Conclusion

Here ends the report about the chat we had with Federico about his approach in working with music for pictures.

The time spent at Parcosuoni Studio has been enjoiable and full of interesting hints and advices. Federico did not save information and shared a lot of his experience with us to help in understanding of his music world and his profession. Thanks a lot!

Sono un ingegnere elettronico con la passione per la musica ed il suono. Mi sono avvicinato alla musica da autodidatta (salvo una breve parentesi alla University of the Blues di Dallas) e ho suonato nei peggiori locali italiani (con casuali puntate all'estero). Ho costruito la mia prima radio FM appena finita la terza media. Ho continuato con amplificatori a valvole e transistor fino ad arrivare alla produzione di circuiti integrati. Collaboro da anni con varie riviste (cartacee e web) di musica nelle quali mi occupo di recensioni di strumenti musicali e sistemi per l'elaborazione del suono. Trovate le mie pubblicazioni su Accordo (accordo.it), la rivista Chitarre (dal 2010 al 2015) e su Audio Central Magazine (audiocentralmagazine.com). Produco musica da un po' nello NTFC Studio che serve sostanzialmente per le produzioni di NTFC Band.