While it wasn’t until 1994 that he jumped behind the console, Boudreau has been working in music for the past 29 years. Starting off as a drummer, (The Sextants, Seven Day Diary) Boudreau became inspired to transition into the control room after working with veterans like Larry Hirsch, Joe Chiccarelli, and Gil Norton. Currently Boudreau is busy as a mixer, producer, and audio educator. When he is not teaching at Pyramind Studios or working with Bay Area bands like New Diplomat, he stays busy tracking and mixing KFOG Play Space live performances with artists like Amos Lee, Rufus Wainwright, and Death Cab For Cutie.
McDSP plug-ins play a key role in the live performances at KFOG. “That’s a situation where I have a band coming into a live performance spot, they’re playing in front of an audience and I’m in a separate control room capturing a split off the Front of House and I’m actually tracking with plug-ins. An EQ, and a compressor normally. It’s like a channel strip type of setup that is all being fed to a 2 track mix within the Pro Tools session. The reasons I choose McDSP plug-ins are, sonically they sound great, they don’t eat up a lot of DSP, and the interfaces are great.”
McDSP Plug-ins are part of my toolbelt. I use my tools on virtually every mix.He continues to work with bands and artists at Bay Area studios Spliggity Fidge, Studio Trilogy and Tiny Telephone, and mixing out of his dedicated mix room at home. “When I’m working with a band at a studio, my workflow is to set up the band in a live situation, get good takes as a group, typically go back to cut guitars, overdub vocals, percussion and whatever is left.” Studios are a subject he knows quite a bit about.
Boudreau previously owned and operated the Bill Putnam-designed Broken Radio Studios in San Francisco, CA. Originally built in 1969 by Mercury Records, Bill Putnam soon took over with a custom redesign and named it Coast Recorders. After changing hands a few times, Boudreau rebadged the acclaimed space in 2007 as Broken Radio Studios and continued his passion for engineering, mixing and producing, as he described it, “…bands that play instruments.” Among other hallmarks, Broken Radio was widely regarded for having the largest live room in San Francisco.
Throughout his career, McDSP plug-ins have always been a key aspect of Boudreau’s work. “McDSP Plug-ins are part of my toolbelt. I use my tools on virtually every mix. If I’ve got a frequency-based problem, I’ll go to FilterBank.”
One thing that makes McDSP plug-ins stand above the rest for Boudreau is their interface and “The fact that I can go into FilterBank and I can pick any one of the bands or any one of the controls and I can make it any frequency I want. I like it when I can go anywhere with any particular control in an EQ.”
When starting a new project, Boudreau relies on his ears and experience to develop a quick and concise game plan for where the sound needs to go. “I have a very clear idea of what I want it to sound like and every move I make is geared toward that end result. Although I definitely let stuff evolve naturally, I don’t get in the way of the band being itself or any cool new ideas.” With 10 different compressor types in one, the 6030 Ultimate Compressor provides a quick and simple way for him to find the exact sound he’s looking for. “Sometimes I’m looking for something aggressive or something smooth. Now that’s what’s great about the 6030 is that it’s a lot of different flavors in one package. Had you made all those compressors different plug-ins, that really would have been a pain in the ass. By putting all those compressor into one package, it allows me to pull that up and go ‘Does this work? No. Does this work? No. Does this work? Yes!’ Ooh this is brilliant.”
For Boudreau, mixing is not about patching different pieces of a song together, or using plug-ins to accentuate a part of the song. “I don’t want to hear a song and say ‘Oh wow, cool reverb’. No, I want to hear the song and say ‘Great song, great mood, great vibe’. I want everything to exist in a giant eco system. Or better, it should be pieces of a puzzle that form a bigger picture. I don’t want a mosaic, I don’t want broken up pieces. I want a complete picture that is smooth and has all of its colors, shapes, depth and width.”
For more information about Matt Boudreau, please check out his website at www.mattboudreau.com.
Photos taken inside Studio A at Pyramind.