Artist Interview with Wayne Riley
- Gabriel Maceu Faria
Wayne Riley is a British sound engineer based in Beijing, China, and specialized in recording classical music. He has been in action in countless classical performances on that side of the globe, and agreed to share his expertise with us in a live interview. Last Friday, we finally had the absolute pleasure of chatting about his career, his workflow, how his techniques have evolved since he started out, and much more. Check it out!
Hi Wayne, thanks a lot for taking part in our interview series. Please introduce yourself to our readers!Wayne: Thank you so much for having me! I am a recording engineer based in Beijing. I love recording live acoustic performances, and I mainly focus on recording classical/orchestral music.
Tell us about your audio setup in general and, of course, in which part of your processes our product(s) are most important to you.
Wayne: My main live recording setup revolves around a Grace Design M802 unit that is connected to an old Tascam HS8. This setup is super clean and allows me to capture every detail of a performance. Sometimes signals need to go directly to a live-stream. When this is the case, I like to record the multi-track elements totally clean, but then send the stereo mix through my outboard gear chain before it’s streamed live/ sent to a camera.
My current chain is: WesAudio Dione feeding into a pair of Neve 542’s. Then I have a 4U flight case that houses a Heritage Audio Successor, Drawmer 1974 EQ, and a Creme Black edition. The Creme Black is a huge part of my sound and is now the final unit that I send my mixes through before delivery.Building an analog setup is all about creating a signature sound and constantly developing it further. Before you got your Tegeler unit, which changes in tone or workflow did you look for and why did you decide to go for our Creme Black? Wayne: Before I got the Creme Black I was looking for a reliable way to add the final polish to my mixbus, without relying on plugins or a computer in any way. When things are live, one shot is all you get. There is no time for crashing, software license issues, broken dongles etc. The Creme Black doesn’t crash. I just turn it on and the sound is there. No joking around. Can you describe the most important aspects of your work in 3 short sentences? Wayne: I need the best possible sound, show after show without relying heavily on a computer or software. With orchestral music some pieces can be very long, and turnaround times are sometimes quite tight. The Creme Black allows me to make my clients smile right from the beginning especially if it’s going out live. Sometimes there is no option to touch things up later. How did your production/mixing/mastering techniques evolve since you started? Wayne: I am able to work much faster now that I have a hardware mixbus chain. I no longer waste huge amounts of time searching through folders of plugins for one that might do something special. Do you think that gaining experience in audio production/engineering primarily benefits technical skills or does it also affect creativity? Wayne:I think that gaining experience in audio production/engineering allows people to be more technically creative. When someone has the technical knowledge about the importance of the room, mic choice, mic placement etc., they can make much more informed choice on what to use to create a desired effect. With this knowledge, a microphone is no longer just a microphone, a compressor is no longer just a compressor. The effects of the still ongoing Covid pandemic are a hard hit for society. We think it's important to keep up a good spirit. Did you experience any subjectively positive side effects of the pandemic? Did you spend more time in the studio? Wayne:I spent 99% of my time at home waiting for my Creme Black to be delivered. When it arrived I had no projects to try it out on. I was so eager to test it out I hooked it up to my Lynx Hilo and started running all sorts of live recordings through it. Are you currently planning on changing your hardware setup? Wayne: Ha haa! I always say to myself “that’s enough now, I don’t need any more gear…” I am not currently planning to change/ add something to my mixbus chain for now, as a lot of it was purchased fairly recently.
How satisfied are you with our products and would you modify them in some way if you could?
Wayne: I am 200% satisfied with the Tegeler gear! I would not change a thing about any of them.
If you could have our team of experts design your dream analog gear, what would it be?
Wayne: Perhaps a 2U Stereo Channel Strip with a low-pass, EQ, compressor, and insert points.
Last but not least, what are you working on at the moment? Any projects that will be released in the near future?
Wayne: I am going to be working on a live recording of a Mongolian band soon. The Creme Black will be used on that session for sure. I am not sure if it is going to be a commercial release, but I guess it will be shared on social media at some point.
Thank you very much for the talk, Wayne!
Links: Interview podcast (Spotify)
Record Classical Music (Facebook page)
Snipersounds (Twitter page)