Benzner + Faust on Zimmer 483 production

We thank LoveGoodRock for finding this interesting interview with  producer Pat Benzner + Manfred Faust, discussing technical aspects!   Quote: Tokio Hotels latest success album produced with Pro Tools 15/10/07

The buzz about Tokio Hotels second album "Zimmer 483" is at its peak in Europe. The band has taken France almost overnight and had a safe position in the top five album charts for more than 5 weeks with their German album. They score high in Poland and Scandinavia as well and sell out the largest local venues.

Who is involved with the production of Tokio Hotel?

Patrick Benzner: We are a team of four producers in different areas, two of us are working with music creation and songwriting for the band: Dave Roth and myself. Manfred Faust has supervised the recording session and done the mixing of the album.

What did you want to change after the first album?

Patrick Benzner: The main thing we were desperately looking for was a system that does not crash the computer any more (laughs)!
On the first album of Tokio Hotel we were working on a Pro Tools Mix system in combination with a sequencer software as front end. For the new album we decided to switch to Pro Tools completely, including the Pro Tools software. We were looking for a more comfortable way of working with audio files and just needed a few days of Pro Tools tutorial to get going.
Manfred Faust: After getting used to Pro Tools I can't imagine working with different software any more; it consumed so much of my time and energy. Of course you can achieve what you want with many different tools. It's just the question how fast or how annoying it is (laughs). Pro Tools really helps me to be very relaxed in the studio!

What does your Pro Tools setup look like??

Benzner: We have four HD3 systems in our main studio or small vocal recording studio and zwo other studios where we usually just do edits or small overdubs.
Faust: All systems have 16 inputs and 32 outputs, all signals are finally routed to an analogue mixer. For sounddesign I'm only working with plugins though.
What I like most is the reliability of Pro Tools! There are no accidents and random errors like in other software seqeuncers. Pro Tools just exactly does what I want.

Which functions in Pro Tools help you most in you daily studio work?

Faust: All of them (laughs)! Seriously, here are some examples: The session import function is purely ingenious - it helps me building up a session for mixing in no time at all. It just takes a few seconds to import the whole effects of my last mixed song into a new session!
And we use Beat Detective a lot. What I like most is how detailed I can adjust Beat Detective for different tasks and material. When I think about how I used to do my drum editing before... Grouping in Pro Tools is a fantastic feature as well. We also use Vocalign a lot to tighten some of the chorus lines or enhance the comprehensibility of the vocals.

How has the guitars been recorded?

Faust: We record the guitars already amped and blended with different amps. Of course we are also working with Ampfarm and Sansamp on the recorded direct signal of the guitars to get different flavours of guitar sounds. In Pro Tools we do the fine tuning with EQs, compressors etc.

And the vocals...?

Faust: The signal chain for vocal recording consists of Brauner or Neumann microphones and a Manley Voxbox which is directly recorded into the 192 interface. For mixing in Pro Tools I use a combination of plugins and hardware inserts, which integrate my analogue outboard gear perfectly in Pro Tools. The automatic delay compensation is a gift from heaven in this regard and works perfectly fine!
I often use Waves plugins on the vocals, especially the SSL ones, but I also like the UAD plugins. I also use the DigiRack plugins a lot and feel they are underrated a bit sometimes. They do a good job, don't eat up all your resources and are a great tool for creating specific sound colourations.

Which reverbs do you use?

Faust: As hardware we still use our Lexicon 480, the rest is done by plugins, especially TL Space. But especially for guitars I like D-Verb, which is very dominant in the mix.

Could you imagine mixing in Pro Tools completely?

Faust: It actually happens more and more. Especially if I need 100% total recall. This is extremely important in my daily business where I don't have as much time as I do when I mix Tokio Hotel. The mix engine of Pro Tools sounds really good and in my opinion much much better than in other sequencing applications.



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