Top 5: George Seara
As one of Toronto’s leading mixers and recording engineers, George Seara has been a lifelong recording enthusiast and musician. His astute attention to detail is second to none and he has worked with some of the biggest names — across a variety of genres — during the course of his career. From Shawn Mendes and Demi Lovato, to Herbie Hancock and Sting. Seara has also won a Juno Award for Recording Engineer of the Year — a category that he has had a total of seven nominations for. Seara recently sat down with Audio Technology to discuss his five essential studio tools.
By Joe Matera
25 November 2022
AVID PRO TOOLS
I think of it as a canvas that allows us to work remotely, wherever and whenever we’re inspired. Many artists are making albums in less traditional ways nowadays; sometimes they’re working in a cottage, or somewhere a little ‘off the grid’, or even on tour.
With this being the case, why shouldn’t they be able to capture their best performances wherever and whenever they’re inspired?
Pro Tools allows us to collaborate and share our ideas, and we’re also able to record, edit, and mix — all within the one program. Avid is wonderfully supportive, and with the advent of Dolby Atmos they continue to be at the forefront of new technology. It really is incredible to have everything integrated into one platform.
SSL 4048 G+ SPECIAL EDITION CONSOLE
My console is the rare Solid State Logic 4048 G+ Special Edition. It is my musical instrument. There is no better mixing console than the 4048, and the G+ is arguably the pinnacle of SSL’s range. Built in 1999 as a limited-run reissue, this Special Edition console was previously owned by Pete Townshend who didn’t have it installed until 2002. I then had it shipped to Toronto by boat after purchasing it from him in 2019.
As this fully-loaded console had only ever seen use in his private UK studio its immaculate condition makes it quite possibly the cleanest and most advanced SSL G+ in existence. And as less than ten of these consoles were built, this is probably the most revered desk ever.
NEUMANN KH 310 MONITOR SPEAKERS
I really love these speakers. They’re deceptively small but their sound is big and musical. As you know, Neumann is an amazing company with a long history in the microphone world. Now they’ve taken on speakers, and they’re amazing. The KH 310 model is a three-way speaker with a small footprint, and I love that they’re able to articulate so well at the lower listening levels I’m often working at. I find that some speakers need to be driven a little to get a sound that I want, but these just articulate so well at all volumes.
I also like to supplement them with a pair of Neumann KH 810 subwoofers — which translate with equal accuracy — but the KH 310 speakers alone have a full enough range to run without subs. Another area where I find these speakers are able to shine is not being overly brash or bright across the vocal range, making for a pleasant listening experience.
So much of the creative process associated with recording and mixing these days is a blend of analogue and digital. Universal Audio has such a rich background, and one that is deeply rooted in analogue technology. I find that these plugins tend to carry forward that tradition, and sound remarkably great. I have plenty of analogue pieces in my racks and use them frequently, though the UAD plugins (EMT 140 Plate, Urei 1176 compressors, Pultec program EQs) still get an equal workout as they sound so good.
I have two UAD-2 OCTO DSP Accelerators for a DSP boost when running larger mixes and have a UAD Apollo Twin which allows me to get all the sounds remotely. The Apollo Twin also has UA’s Unison technology, which allows the audio interface mic preamps to sound and behave like a Neve 1084 mic preamplifier. This means I can record through the emulation in a live setting without any latency.
STUDIO G (Seara’s new studio space)
I’m really excited for this next chapter as I welcome people to Studio G, my new studio space — and a joint venture with Toronto’s prestigious Noble Street Studios. The studio space is full of natural light and centres around my custom Red SSL 4048 G+ Special Edition console.
To compliment my new studio space I have a bunch of vintage and modern outboard gear and microphones that I’ve collected over the years, along with a cosy, light-filled and great sounding vocal / drum room / recording space. There’s also a private lounge, bath, and kitchen ensuite — all behind a private entrance — to keep artists comfortable and inspired during all write, record, and mix sessions. With beautiful trees visible through the windows, plenty of natural light, and being surrounded by the finest musical equipment, this space lets my inspiration and creativity flow freely.