Located just outside Orlando, Florida, Red Lion Audio has been a hot spot for recording, mixing and mastering for over a decade. Engineers Gustavo Porras and Caine Lee have over 25 years of experience between them and have recorded and mixed countless albums. While the duo will handle any genre, the studio has garnered a reputation for working with punk, metal and hardcore bands.
In our latest Studio Spotlight interview, we're chatting with Gustavo Porras and getting the lowdown on all things Red Lion Audio. Read on to learn more about the studio's set-up, Gustavo's latest gear acquisitions, why he chose the API The Box II console for this space and so much more.
Describe Red Lion Audio for us. What's the layout like?
Red Lion Audio is located in a quiet complex in Edgewood, Florida. The studio is over 1200 sq ft. and divided into a lounge room, control room and live room. The control room is equipped with the API The Box 2 Console, a Burl Audio B80 Mothership, Barefoot Sound MM27 monitors and loads of other outboard gear. We've got gear from Neve, Chandler Limited, SSL, Retro Instruments, Looptrotter, etc.
The Live Room is a 600 sq ft. space with a 12’ ceiling and is fully equipped with various amps and a big selection of drums. In terms of amps, we have Marshalls, Orange, Ampeg, Soladano, Divided by 13, Fender, Metropoulos, Bogner and more. For drums, we have a Yamaha Recording Custom, DW Collector, Q Drums and A&F drums.
How would you describe your studio workflow?
Each piece of gear we select is handpicked to our tastes and everything is normalized in our patch bay to save time during mixing and tracking and achieve the best quality sound in our production.
What attracted you to the API The Box 2 console?
I love having the API preamps, the option of loading up the 500 Series slots and the monitoring section. It always gives that punchy sound during mixing and, of course, the price.
What do you like most about working on that desk?
The way I can mix with two hands without having to use a mouse. I can shape the sound how I want it much faster than using outboard gear and not need to worry about latency issues. I can also use my Bricasti Design M7 reverb with my aux send and return and that's all I need!
What's an essential piece of gear to your process and why?
Besides the API The Box 2 console, I would say the Smart Research C1LA Compressor, API 2500, SSL Fusion and Kush Audio Clariphonic are essential pieces of gear that I always use during my mixdown.
What are your go-to microphones for tracking?
For vocals, I like the Upton 251 for modern sounding vocals and Neumann U87 for classic rock vocals. On guitar, I usually use a Royer Labs R-121 and Beyerdynamic M 160. If we're talking drums, a pair of Coles 4038 for overheads and a pair of AEA R84A for room mics.
What was your most recent gear purchase? How has it changed what's going on at Red Lion Audio?
I just got a Burl Audio B80 Mothership BMB4 filled with BAD4M, BDA4M, BAD8 and BDA8 cards. This gives me the best audio quality that you can ever have.
What's a special trick or technique you use constantly in the studio?
I like to sidechain the guitar with vocals, bass with kick drums, harmonies with main vocals, and a lot of harmonic distortion outboard gear.
What's an album that really changed the way you look at music? What about the record stands out to you?
Production-wise, the Beatles' Revolver because they were making music way ahead of their time. Sound-wise, Muse's The 2nd Law. That is the sound of a perfect mix to me.
Who are some of your favorite engineers and producers?
Chris Lord-Alge, George Martin and my friend Sam Guaiana. He is killing it in the mixing game.
What's the greatest piece of advice you've received about working in the recording studio?
Always record guitars using a DI and always use an analyzed spectrum on your mix buss.