Top 5: Caesar Edmunds
Grammy award-winning Engineer, mixer & record producer Caesar Edmunds (Foals, Queens of the Stone Age, PJ Harvey, The Killers, The Lathums, St Vincent) works out of Battery Studios in London, run by legendary production duo Flood and Alan Moulder. He nominates his top five studio tools.
By Joe Matera
17 February 2022
REFTONE PASSIVE MONITOR SPEAKERS
They’re much like the old Aurotone mono speakers. I love the Reftones so much because it is so horrifying to hear your mix coming out of these two tiny speakers, it makes you cringe! But it helps you to perfect your mix. You know, everything sounds good nowadays — your mobile phone, the new iPhones — everything just sounds great but if my mix sounds good on the Reftones, then it will sound good on everything else. I can’t live without them. I had to go to Singapore recently for work and I brought one along with me. It’s self-powered and I could carry it around — it was so good. They’re very good at revealing the mids, especially the honky mids so they really help you clear things out in that frequency range.
WAVES SSL EV2 CHANNEL STRIP PLUGIN
I can’t stay away from the SSL EV2. I still use the old version but the new version looks even better and sounds better too. I really love the gain on top of the new version, you can easily get more crunch if you need it. I usually start off with just the default setting and because I’ve used SSLs for so long, it feels natural for me and instinctive to respond from there. I’m usually more of a booster rather than a cutter. I think that comes from having started out on analogue gear before moving onto digital — everyone says it’s better to cut than to boost on digital.
OVERSTAYER STEREO MODULAR CHANNEL
It’s like the Swiss army knife of everything! It’s got preamps, it’s got compressors, distortions, filters, it’s just crazy! You can use it on anything really. It’s that crazy that you can put a synth through it to give it extra colour and you can start distorting the high-pass filters until you get this crazy drone on top of whatever you’re recording. So, it’s not like a box ended EQ or compressor or preamp, it’s an all in one. The colours you can get with it are just amazing. Most of my hardware gear are distortion based as there is something about analogue distortion in the way it reacts compared to digital emulations, which can’t quite do it properly. The Overstayer is one of those creative tools I love so much. I got it after I worked with Queens Of The Stone Age, and whenever I’ve been recording with Alan Moulder I have to use it. So it is on everything I ever record. You can tune the filters to the tone of the song too, for example like I did on the track ‘Dead Bird’ from the album The Blue Hour by Suede.
GENELEC ONE STUDIO MONITORS
I managed to pick up a pair of them in 2020. I am in love with speakers just generally, and so I’m always buying and changing speakers because they all work differently. I like the Genelec monitor calibration. I was recently mixing a song in London and I had to go to Singapore, where I was forced to quarantine in a hotel for three weeks. I brought the Genelec speakers along and set them up in the hotel room and they tuned perfectly to the room — I felt like I was in my studio minus the subwoofer. It created an environment that was so good to work in that I finished the track. And then after I finished my quarantine, I went to this big warehouse and you could hear the space and reverberation when you walked in and, same thing again, once the speakers were tuned to the room with the calibration system, it was like being in my studio again.
SSL FUSION ANALOGUE MASTERING PROCESSOR
I use it on all my mixes. Usually I’ll use SSL compressors on my mixes and some form of limiter, after which I will add the SSL Fusion and it will give it a finishing sheen. If I was adding compression on the mix bus, I’d normally add no more than 2dB, as I’m very conservative with it. And then I would add the Fusion which will add a bit of density and distortion to the mix and make it sound nice. The top-end bass on the Fusion is also nice sounding, while the stereo width is great so the mix sounds nice and wide. Everything is good on it. It just gives me that little bit of a finishing touch that I need on my mixes. Effectively, I’ve got the sound of a SSL mixbus without the price tag of a SSL board. Perhaps in a few years’ time, I’ll be rocking a SSL board, when I can afford it!