Patience Higgins Archives - Recording Studio Rockstars

Tag Archives for " Patience Higgins "

RSR032 – Slau Halatyn – BeSharp Studio

(Press play on the green strip above or listen on iTunes with the link below)

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

If you dig the show I would be honored if you would subscribe, and leave a rating, & review in iTunes.

RSR031 - Slau Halatyn - BeSharp Studio

My guest today is Slau Halatyn is a recording engineer, Producer and owner of BeSharp Studio in New York City where he specializes in classical, jazz and musical theater recordings as well as rock and pop music.

Slau has credits with many Grammy, Oscar, and Tony-winning artists like Steve Houben, Ulysses Owens Jr., Vince Giordano, Dennis Diken, and Shawn Pelton to name a few. But you might be more likely to know these names for the artists and bands they represent such as Steely Dan, King Crimson, The Smitherines, James Taylor, Hall & Oates, Cassandra Wilson and Wynton Marsalis.

He is also the host of a great podcast called Sessions With Slau where he takes you behind the scenes at BeSharp studio to listen to excerpts from sessions, gear reviews, and equipment shootouts. Go check out some his past interviews with Rockstars like Ed Cherney, and MixerMan.

And I have to give a thank you for today’s interview to one of our own Rockstars, Jose Neto, who enjoyed listening to my interview with Blessing Offor so much that he reached out to connect me with Slau for this interview.

What do Jose, Blessing, and Slau have in common? They are all blind recording engineers, and make great records despite this obvious obstacle. In fact Slau works directly with AVID to help make Pro Tools accessible for blind and visually impaired audio engineers and musicians.

Engineering with Visual Impairment 

What is it like to record using only your ears?

I was trained at a time where everything was quite tactile so I was working with consoles that had dedicated EQ buttons, faders, etc, and that's why to this day I still prefer to mix using a control surface because its so much faster for me. Back in the day when I was working with tape, I still had enough residual vision to be able to see a VU meter. Over time I wouldn’t look at the needle so much as I would the peak light.

How do you address a level now? Is there a method to let you know you’re peaking other than sounding like it distorting?

In ProTools the UI elements are actually exposed to the built in screen reader in OS10 which is known as Voiceover, so I can keep track of that. I don’t worry about preamps so much. I got to the point where I use my preamps so much, I just happen to know pretty much exactly where to set those pre’s for an average singer. I usually keep them -10, -6 maximum.

“When you work with great musicians... they make you sound great”  @SlauBeSharp

Click to Tweet

Slau on Plugins

How do you compare different plugins?

Everything with plugins, as far as the way voiceover sees it in ProTools, is just parameters. You see what the parameter is, what it’s value is and you can boost it, cut it, change the frequency, etc, but you’re not at all influenced by what it looks like.

Are there some new plugins that have new settings that are remarkable to you?

Plugins like Sound Radix drum leveler. Holy shit I am stunned by what it can do in terms of gating and stuff like that. I could never get that result or effect with any other plugin. The SPL transient designer. I used the hardware unit once in a rental situation, but I did know that was something I wanted to look into, so I got the plugin. It’s just fantastic. I usually ride things into the SPL designer.

Jam Session 

Q - What was holding you back at the start?
A - I don't think there was anything holding me back per say. When I was kid Music/Recording didn’t seem like that viable of an employment option and It did take me years to get to that point. I just didn’t think that I could do that for a living.

Q- What was some of the best advice you got early on?

A- Two things. One relates a little bit more to music. My old piano teacher said “A musician, no matter how good they are, can only be at one gig at a time. Meaning, there a plenty of gigs out there for the taking. So it doesn’t matter if you’re the best. There’s always going to be something for you. The other piece of advice is “Talent will not get you the gig, but talent will allow you to keep the gigs you get."

“Talent will not get you the gig, but talent will allow you to keep the gigs you get” @SlauBeSharp

Click to Tweet

Q- Share with us a recording tip, hack, or secret sauce.

A - There’s this one thing that I started doing on drums room mics. I’ve asked a lot of engineers and I haven’t heard of anyone doing this. It is to take a blumlein pair of ribbon mics and point the nulls at the drums. So then what you’re getting from those mics, is just room. Yeah you’re getting some direct signal, but it’s a way to get a room sound that sounds even bigger than if the mics were facing a drum kit. Then it’s just getting the corners of the room. Then take that and crush the shit out of it. It’s Fantastic.

Q - Share a favorite hardware tool for the studio
If I had to start all over again, The first thing I would buy would be the Microtech Gefell um70’s. They are fantastic, they are my favorite mics, and I could record anything with them.

“To me recording music is sacred. It’s something that's so deep and so moving” @SlauBeSharp

Click to Tweet

Q - Share a favorite software tool for the studio

A - Waveburner from Apple. I still use it to this day. It runs on the latest version of OS and I love it. It’s fantastic just to make DDP files or anything like that. I use it all the time.

Q - Share with us a tip for the business side of the recording studio

A - Use Square. The studio at one point used to just be cash or check. But since, I started using square last year, It’s fantastic. I mean, if you’re not taking credit cards there's like no excuse.

“Who cares what tool you’re using? It’s what you’re doing with it” @SlauBeSharp

Click to Tweet

Q - If you had to start over what gear would you need? How would you find people to record? And how would you make ends meet while you got started?

A - I think people generally know that a laptop is the way to go with some type of either apoggee or UA basic interface. Then get a couple of mics. Then you know, get involved in the music scene. Just go out there, meet people, hang. There’s like no replacement for that. Because you can do all the science experiments you want in your studio. But if you don't get out there and meet people it's not going to lead to anything. You have to network. I would volunteer to record a few live events. I might also undertake recording things like panel discussions, conferences and not only music venues. Audio is required everywhere.

Q - What is the single most important thing a listener can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio?

A - I don’t think there's a single most important thing. Because, you as a human being are a whole person. You are not a pro tools operator, you are not a person who knows what the business end of a 57 end. You a person with a personality, you are a person with opinions, a person with interesting things to say. I think that you as a person, has to try as a person to become the most knowledgeable, the most fun person to be with. People are going to come to you because they trust you, and feel good about being around you, especially if you have an 8 or 10 hour session in a day. I think you have to become the best all around person that you can be in order to become a rockstar. It doesn't matter how much you know, because if you’re an asshole no one's going to want to work with you.

Email -
Twitter - @slaubesharp