Mixing, Mastering, Recording
Hi, I'm Adam and I'm an experienced engineer who's worked with many artists including Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Big Boy Bloater and many others.
I run an audio services company called AWSound, where I produce, record, mix and master audio for bands and artists. This can be in the live or studio domain. I also operate a travelling recording studio service allowing bands to record within the comfort of their own home without the need for expensive investment into professional recording equipment. Alongside all of this work, I've also been a professional engineer touring venues and festivals and performing front of house duties on stages with over 25,000 spectators.
I've spent many years improving my skills and collecting experiences which has brilliantly translated into my mixing and production work. I find mixing and recording is and always be a constant learning experience.
For years I've also specialised in recording acoustic sessions and live radio sessions for artists including Joe Bonamassa, Slash, Richie Sambora, Vintage Trouble, Cheryl Crow, Black Stone Cherry and hundreds of other acts. These sessions have always been produced to a very high standard, high enough that many bands have chosen to release them as a product to their fans.
I own my own mixing studio where I also do record small amounts of audio in the way of vocals and small source instruments - however most of my recording and producing is done elsewhere.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Adam Whalley
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Big Boy Bloater & The LiMiTs album Luxury Hobo was a project I loved working on as it was with a great band and great people where I had free reign on recording, production and mixes. It received great reviews in the press and Blues media and I got some really humbling mentions as well.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: No - But i've only just discovered the platform and will most likely find some fantastic professionals in the coming months.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I love the work flow of analogue. It encourages performances and real musicians to work together better. However, I believe that digital can create a fantastic sound and I see the perceived gap in quality narrowing a lot more nowadays. I'd always choose to work with digital if given the choice, but I much prefer it when I can approach it with a real analogue mindset. It really gets the best out of the musicians and that is what the beauty of music is to me.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will work until they're 100% satisfied - and I don't take payment until the project is complete and they're happy with it.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The creativity, the discovery of new music and the feeling at the end of a perfect mix or recording session.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can I get the mix sounding huge and can I improve on what they've done before?? I always answer yes, providing the artist isn't Metallica and they're not wanting to me to improve on the Black Album.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it can all be done at home by just buying all the gear and plugins - I really see that to be a lie. There's a reason why audio professionals spend their lives perfecting what they do, and that can't be achieved purely by a credit card and a waves license.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I usually ask clients to provide me with demo's, reference tracks and a to have a conversation with me about the project and what they're looking to get out of it in the end.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure you can connect with the person mixing it and that you trust what they can add to the project to make it the best that it can be. For example I've known of bands who've had no say in the mixing process and been unhappy with how it's gone as the producer and mixer didn't understand the music as they had hoped - so make sure you can open this line of conversation with that mixer so that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: UAD Apollo 8, Macbook Pro Retina, Aston Mics Spirit, Genelec Speakers, Beyer DT250 headphones.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started out doing acoustic sessions at an international rock and metal radio station working with huge artists like Slash, Alter Bridge, Rival Sons, Vintage Trouble, Cheryl Crow, Richie Sambora, Creed and literally hundreds of others.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Energetic, natural, live and big!
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: It'd always be my dream to work with Metallica, however I really enjoy working with any type of artist as long as they enjoy the music they are making and aren't just purely interested in the fame of the industry.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: More can often be less, and don't try to just slather a mix in effects, processing and plugins just because you've bought them!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Blues, Acoustic, Metal, Pop-Rock & Singer Songwriter
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think I get a nice balance overall. I create a live feel - with the mix sounding active and exciting I'd say.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: It's very difficult to write into a paragraph what I can bring to a song, but I would say that I'm good at getting the full potential out of a track. I think I get a great vibe from my recordings and mixes and make sure the artist is happy in the long run. I try and incorporate the artist as much as is possible without them having to get under my feet and sit in on the early mix sessions. I'd say that with my ability and intuition I can give a song the extra quality that it needs.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: The process very much depends on the project, but for my standard mix project I'd initially listen to the audio and get a good idea of the vibe and feel behind the initial song and recording. I'd then go through and get some good levels before I go into detail with independant tracks and processing. I prefer to try spend as little time focussing on individual instruments as possible to avoid getting distracted from the bigger picture and overall mix. Once it's all finished and I'm happy with the mix I'll take it to some other sources - like iphones, car speakers, laptops, tablets etc... to be able to guage how I think the mastering should go and then I'll work on mastering (all done with digital and analogue emulation software) and get it sounding contemporary, loud and just overall awesome.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My mixing studio and portable rig consists of a digital front end of 2 UAD Apollo's - One silverface, one blackface. Going into them I have 4 valve pre's, an Audient ASP800 adat preamp bank and a focusrite adat preamp bank. All of that thunderbolts into my Macbook Pro Retina 15, which I usually plug into a couple of screens and then the sound will come out of some Genelec 1027 speakers with a 8050b sub. As a reference, I have a large amount of old and new hifi gear and some Studio Spares SN10's alongside varying pairs of headphones. To keep this all under control in different rooms I also make use of IK Multimedia's ARC Acoustic Room Correction software. Inside the box, everything runs on Pro Tools and/or Logic, with a number of carefully selected-to-taste Waves Plugins as well as some UAD and Slate analogue emulation.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love any type of producer who can capture a great live sound and a band playing live in a room and keep that vibe throughout a production - and if they can't capture it all live, they can recreate that through the production and the mix. I don't personally love overly wet mixes and I like to keep it true to how the audio should sound (unless of course it's been badly recorded and I have to rescue it to sound better), but obviously every mix is different and I like to think that I accurately mix according to the required vibe.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Commonly I produce a range of studio albums, mixes for artists, remixes, acoustic sessions and live gig mixes and recordings. Additionally, I operate a travelling recording studio - so if clients want to record in a chosen space, I can bring the equipment to them.