Al Schmitt: An outstanding career in sound. One of the most impressive CV’s in the business
Producer/engineer Al Schmitt started his love affair with audio way back in 1956, so when The Rolling Stones played their first gig, he was already 6 years into his career. When describing his impact on the music business, we might start with a couple of numbers, such as 21 Grammy Awards and more than 160 gold and platinum records.
Al Schmitt on Tube-Tech
With a resume like his, Al Schmitt is a guy whose opinions matter a lot, which is why we are ever so enthusiastic about having him aboard as a Tube-Tech user. In his own words:
“I use a lot of the TUBE-TECH equipment, but I use the SMC 2B on everything. That’s my favorite, although I love all their gear. I usually use it when I’m mixing. I use it on specific instruments and sometimes I use it strapped across the two-track bus. I use very little compression; just a tiny bit – maybe 1dB all the way across. I use it more for the sound, because it just sounds so good. What I basically like is the warmth.”
Al has had his SMC 2B for about four years, he reports, but has been using TUBE-TECH equipment for decades. “I did a Willie Nelson recording years and years ago where I used a TUBE-TECH preamp and compressor on his vocal, which worked great.” Going full circle, Schmitt is currently working on a new project with Nelson, as well as one with Barbra Streisand, both using the TUBE-TECH stereo multi-band compressor.
When Al conducts the one-week “Mix With The Masters” seminars, he’s making good use of his trusted SMC 2B, and after the course, all participants normally states that they would go and buy one!!
At the 2011 AES show in San Francisco, we had the opportunity to talk to Al about his use of Tube-Tech,
in particular the SMC 2B – his view on the SMC basically boils down to: “It sounds wonderful – I use it all the time.”
Scanning his discography – which would take a long time, by the way – it’s tough to settle on a singular high point. That’s because Schmitt’s decades of award-winning work read like a trip through musical history.
From the early days, there’s Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Miles Davis; from the golden age of rock, there’s Jefferson Airplane, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Steely Dan, and of more recent times we could mention Barbara Streisand, Natalie Cole, Madonna and Quincy Jones/Michael Jackson, Diana Krall, Celine Dion, Michael Bublé and the new Paul McCartney album “Kisses on the bottom”.
Also, check out Pensado’s Place. Al Schmitt joins Dave and Herb on the 117th episode.
- 22:50: Recording setup.
- 37:34: Stereo bus ( TUBE-TECH SMC2B )
- 44:10: Mixing ITB / Console.