Alan Whelan

Recording, Mixing, Mastering

Alan Whelan on SoundBetter

Let me mix and master your projects to release standards. I am here to get your product to where it needs to be in today's music business. I am person who is not finished until you are 100% happy and I strive for perfection in everything I work on.

I am a professional sound engineer with 31 years experience in recording, mixing and mastering. I am also the owner of Solitaire Recording studio which has been running since 1999.
I have predominantly worked in the studio, on acoustic instruments, singer songwriter, live musicians, bands, artists etc., because I am based in Ireland and that's predominantly what gets recorded here.๐Ÿ˜
However, I love all types of music and am very comfortable to mix in most genres
Over the last 20 years I have been doing a lot of live work as I am also a FOH Engineer, L'acoustics K1 Audio System Tech & Technical Production Manager and I have been working solidly alongside studio work, on very large festivals and events around the world with audiences up to 85,000. In live entertainment, I have worked in every genre from Metallica to Tiesto.
Due to Covid19, I am in the studio full time and could not be happier to be back where it all started.
Please contact me to discuss your project. i promise you will not be disappointed.

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

Interview with Alan Whelan

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: I have been proud of a lot of projects. My first Mentor, when I was doing my 7 year apprenticeship, passed away. I made it my goal to finish all of the projects that he was involved in before leaving to go freelance.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: I have just finished a 5.1 mix for a video which will be used in an exhibit at a visitors centre for a very well known whiskey brand. I am also currently working with a new US publishing/record company who are supplying several artists for mixing and mastering. Everything from Rap, hip hop, trap and RnB.

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: Not that I am aware of.

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Analog. I trained in an analog studio using 24 track 2 inch with Dolby. I just loved the warmth and musicality of the sound. Digital also has it's place and I try to work hybrid by using solid state and valve preamps/compressors/eq in the recording process. I then mix in the box. Sometimes breaking out to analog if needed and using outboard effects.

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: I will not be happy until the client is happy.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: Recording. I love creating music with the artist.

  13. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  14. A: Will you do unlimited revisions. The answer is I will do as many revisions as are needed. However if it takes more than 5, then something is wrong. Go back to the drawing board.

  15. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  16. A: That problems can be fixed "in the mix" or at mastering stage. Problems should be addressed as early as possible. The easiest way to solve a small problem is fix it at recording stage when it is a simple issue on a single track. Once this issue is mixed into a final master, it may be impossible to remove or eradicate.

  17. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  18. A: How they would like to approach a recording. Live take with a full band? basics and then build by overdubs. What style are they looking for in the end. How do they want it to sound. I always ask a client to supply a track which shows what they want their own recording to be similar to once finished. You can give 100 engineers the same set of tracks and without direction, you will get 100 different mixes back.

  19. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  20. A: In most cases i Will be hired to mix and master. I would say for me to give the best job mixing, supply well recorded tracks. If they are not looking for a hugely live ambient sound I prefer to get dryer sound tracks which I can manipulate and add ambience, reverb etc. It's very hard to give a very intimate in your face tone of a track if it has been recorded in a large bathroom. Think in advance about what you want to achieve, record with the end goal in mind.

  21. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  22. A: I don't see any use for recording equipment if I am on a desert island. My family, sunscreen, lounger, umbrella, Food & Drink.

  23. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  24. A: I started in a studio in Dublin in1989 straight from school. I was 18. I did a seven year apprenticeship there before going freelance. In 1999 I opened my own facility - Solitaire Studio in Dublin. In 2004, we moved to its current location in the Irish countryside. We are still here today and this is where I do all of my studio work.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: Patient, easy going, perfectionist.

  27. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  28. A: There are some amazing artists coming out of Ireland at the moment, where I am based. Gavin James is producing some of the most melodic pop songs I have heard in years. another would be Erica Cody. Erica is Irish and an upcoming RnB artist. These are the realistic ones. Others would be Sting or George Michael if he was still alive. Both of these artists are amazing but their attention to recorded sounds are second to none. I love their album sounds.

  29. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  30. A: When recording, spend time if you have it, to try different mics and mic positions. You would be amazed at how a source sound can change by moving a mic a few inches. I always listen first to the instrument and then choose a mic an move it around the instrument while listening on headphones to find the sweet spot.

  31. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. A: All genres with a lot of experience with live musicians and acoustic instruments. I love Rock, RNB, Rap, pop, and singer songwriter.

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: I am a very good at listening and that also means to the clients. I have clients that I have been working with for over 20 years and still continue to work with to this day. My clients know they are in safe hands when working with me and I will always go the extra to make sure everyone is happy. I am also a perfectionist. I simply can' let anything leave my studio unless it reaches a high standard.

  35. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  36. A: I bring experience. I have been a pro engineer for 31 years. Although I specialise in acoustic instruments and live players, bands, singer songwriters etc., I have worked on every genre. I listen to everything from Hard Rock, pop to orchestral music.

  37. Q: What's your typical work process?

  38. A: When recording, depending on the type of project, I like to get the rhythm sections down live with a click if possible and then build from there with overdubs. For mixing, I start by importing an gain staging. I also like to have a ref track from the client with an idea of what overall sound and vibe they are looking for. I then listen to the song to see what needs work before I jump into individual track manipulation.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I use Digital Performer as my DAW. I have quite a lot of outboard Valve Preamps, valve & solid state compressors and vale EQ. I like to use outboard effects units from Lexicon, Eventide, TC Electronics as they sound better than most plugins (In my Opinion). I also have a huge set of plugins from Plugin Alliance, DUY and Waves. I have a hand picked set of very good quality microphones which is always being added to. I monitor in a measured, tested and acoustically treated control room and speakers have been calibrated and balanced using Smaart8 software. I mix thru Genelec 1029a with 7060a Sub. I also have Genelc 8030 to complete a 5.1 surround setup for 5.1 mixes. All my AD/DA conversion is done thru Lynx Aurora converters.

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: David Foster. This man is one of the most influential producers of all time. He has been involved with over half a billion sales in his career. I have the weirdest and widest selection of music in my collection. In my opinion all genres have something to offer. I love any genre which is recorded and produced well.

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: I work in all types of sound from studio to live for festivals with audiences of 85,000. In the studio I am extremely experienced with acoustic instruments and live players. I have recorded, mixed and mastered everything you can think of over the last 31 years. The usual rhythm section players, drums, bass, guitars, Keys, plus unusual instruments like Celtic harp, Bandonian, orchestral instruments etc. I have even recorded a vacuum cleaner hose when the didgeridoo didn't arrive. It worked ๐Ÿ˜ฎ.Bass drums from Africa which consisted of a large bowl of water and another upturned smaller bowl floating on the water and hit with a big leather covered mallet that looked like a Turkey drumstick. I think I have covered it all, and then some.

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Gear Highlights
  • Lynx Aurora converters
  • Eventide
  • Lexicon
  • TC Electronics
  • DolbyA
  • Avalon
  • TL Audio
  • Focusrite
  • DBX
  • Genelec
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