1. Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
I like the stepped input gain on the dbx 786. It’s easy to see and feels solid when I adjust it.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
The Studio Technologies AN-2 Stereo Simulator does a useful trick, but has a terrible interface. A couple of knobs both affect the level, and I rarely want to adjust stereo width (which I do on my console) or add the modulation, so it’s confusing what to adjust if the level is wrong.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
So much of the work that I do involves analog gear, I don’t bring anything with me and do my work at the studio. The separation is nice… mostly.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I wish I had a box that did denoising like Izotope RX, that I could add to a single channel after processing and before the console.
I’m happy to do as much as possible without touching a computer!
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I feel like my mixes got worse while I was monitoring primarily through the ADAM A7x’s. I’m not sure if this was related to the speakers, but the direction seemed to reverse when I got midfields at the studio. I still like the speakers and they sound good, but they ultimately didn’t tell me how to improve my mixes, and I don’t know why.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
My Toft ATB-16 mix console. Being able to mix through a console with sufficient routing options that I can always have my hands on just makes life infinitely easier than any other workflow I’ve tried.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
Some frame or lunchbox for API 500 gear, and a Daking MicPre 500 to fit in it. There’s a pair at my shared studio that I just find incredibly versatile, and a good preamp can be a go-to forever.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
My B&B Systems AM-2B phase scope keeps losing alignment, which is annoying — maybe it needs to go back to the shop. I can’t live without it because it can show me problems in a mix more quickly than I can hear them.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
In mastering, a recent discovery was the utility of very-slow attack times on compressors. When I do mid-side mastering, for the mid, I often use the slowest attack time on the compressor. This tends to bring up the quiet parts without affecting the loud ones. I often use my Buzz Audio SOC-20 for this step.
Artist or Band name?
The studio is Steveco Worldwide. I currently make music under my name, Steve Silverstein — my band Christmas Decorations has not been active for over a decade.
I record music in all genres, including many albums in the suburbs of rock music. My own music is experimental electronic or ambient, or both, maybe neither.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, a place called Pikesville.
How did you get into music?
It was on the radio in my parents’ cars, and on my older sister’s stereo and boombox. I took piano lessons as a child. Eventually, a passion developed and stuck.
What still drives you to make music?
I can’t imagine what else I can do now!
How do you most often start a new track?
Most tracks that I work on are for other artists, so they usually start. With my own music, recordings sometimes begin with an improvisation on one instrument.
How do you know when a track is finished?
It depends on which step of the process. For a mix, I usually double-check against references in similar genres, or other approved tracks by the same artist, and then check on a few pairs of speakers. Mixes and masters are both finished by cleanup at the beginning and end of the track.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
A musician I work for tells the story that he used to think that a more expensive studio always led to a better result, and he’s learned that it’s more important to have a team of people he trusts for each step of his process where he wants professional help.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
I’ve been actively promoting my studio’s new Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/steveco.worldwide/