Bill Schnee: Recording 24/192 Blu-Ray Audio with Softube Plug-ins
Niklas Odelholm, February 2012

Coming from a background of engineering top records with artists like Rod Stewart, Dire Straits, Steely Dan, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston (including the mega-single I Will Always Love You), top-engineer Bill Schnee's new mission is to get quality live studio performances with the best musicians released on high resolution Blu-Ray discs.

"In a world where mp3 has sadly become the musical standard, I'm hoping to bring true high fidelity to those who want it, and hopefully expand the state of the art for everyone.", Bill explains. And he certainly has the means to achieve that. By starting Bravura Records (www.bravurarecords.com) his goal is to bring "real talent in real time", by recording live performances directly to a high resolution digital two-track.

To my ears, Softube's modeling techniques are the best of anyone's to date.

"I can now deliver the consumer a 24/192 WAV file that's indistinguishable from the original master. It's a dream of mine realized - to think that you at home can hear what I've been hearing in the control room of my studio for 30 years." Bill says, and continues by pointing out that the creativity and talent of the performers are the focus of the recordings.

"I hope to offer music lovers life enriching listening experiences while providing really talented singers and musicians a top notch outlet for their artistry."

Using Plug-ins
With an extreme care for details and a relentless ambition in getting the best audio quality possible, Bill Schnee has been searching for plug-ins with a sound quality that equals his analog hardware. "Being the analog dog I am, I have not been very impressed with most plug-ins. If they do their job at all (as in operate like the original), they seldom have any of the character of their analog counterparts."

...it acts and sounds just like an actual A Range console's EQ!

But his attitude changed once he was introduced to Softube modeling plug-ins. He recalls that "The greatest day for me with regards to Pro Tools was when a European engineer returned as a client to my studio. He hadn't recorded here since 1994, and we were recounting the 'good old analog days.' I told him how frustrated I was with plug-ins, and he said, 'well, they are getting better'. I cynically replied, 'REALLY?' Then he asked if I'd heard of Softube, which, sadly, I had not."

The engineering friend encouraged him to immediately try out the Trident A-Range and Passive Equalizer and Bill was quickly amazed by the sound quality. "He suggested I try the A Range and the Passive EQ out immediately—which I did. INCREDIBLE! I spent a lot of years in the 70's on A Range consoles in Los Angeles, London, and Nashville and, as a result, know them quite well. Not only does the Softube version sound and operate just like the original, but it actually has the character of the original as well... it acts and sounds just like an actual A Range console's EQ!

For more info on Bill Schnee, please visit www.bravurarecords.com or www.schneestudio.com

Vice President/Products. He's the one designing the products as well as doing a lot of signal processing and modeling. With a strong opinion about features, design and probably almost everything there's really no easy way to stay out of conflict when he's around. When he's not at work he can probably be seen behind a bass or piano at a jazz club or fiddling on semi-polynomial equations for creating optimal compression with minimal harmonics (let us know if he's done with that).