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John Cornfield records and mixes best Irish album with Soundscape

ohn Cornfield isn’t a recording engineer and producer who courts the limelight, but in a career that’s spanned four decades it’s hard to stay completely off the radar – especially when you’ve played a part in producing some of the greatest British music of recent times.

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John Cornfield isn’t a recording engineer and producer who courts the limelight, but in a career that’s spanned four decades it’s hard to stay completely off the radar – especially when you’ve played a part in producing some of the greatest British music of recent times.

John’s credits already include seminal albums from the likes of Muse, Supergrass, Athlete and The Stone Roses. And now he can add his most recent success to this ever-growing list as The Coronas recently picked up a Meteor Award, Ireland’s equivalent of the Grammys, for Best Irish Album.

Tony Was an Ex-Con, The Coronas second album, was recorded and mixed by John back in 2009 and beat the likes of U2 and Snow Patrol to scoop the award on the night. The album was both mixed and recorded on Soundscape V6, as John is happy to reveal…

"For me, Soundscape is a complete recording and mixing package. All recording, editing, mixing and mastering is done in the box."

"I’ve been using Soundscape since the mid-90s. I tried out a few systems at the time – I connected them all up so I could record to 2" tape then did a lot of comparisons. I came to the very firm decision that the Soundscape system was easily the best in terms of the sound. Even better than 2" tape."

"But to be fair I’ve always been disappointed with playback from tape. I always found myself grabbing the EQ to play the take back to the band, but with Soundscape I don't have to do that."

"I still use the system in much the same way as with tape, in that I like to record live and keep sessions as lively and real as possible. I hate having to quantize, tune and edit the life out of performances – if the magic isn't there then we’ll just do it again."

"With Soundscape I can mix in my own time at home, or indeed anywhere I have a decent monitoring system. Mixing in the box has been a steep learning curve but it’s been well worth the effort and I’m still honing those skills with every mix I do."

"One of the main things that I like about Soundscape V6 is the colossal amount of inputs and outputs that are available across 128 tracks with total routing flexibility along with huge DSP power. I haven't scientifically proven this in any way, but my productions definitely sound better since moving to Version 6. I think some of this could be attributed to the SSL Alpha Link cards, the SSL plug-ins, or just that the freedom of routing that I have is helping to gel the mixes together much more easily."

"Through mixing entirely in the box now I’ve proved to a few sceptics who believe that analogue summing is the only way to go that Soundscape can in fact beat the analogue route. The fact that V6 uses the Windows file system has also opened up a lot of new paths for sharing files across a network with multiple users, which has increased productivity tremendously. And, of course, the system has lost none of its rock solid reliability."

"Working with The Coronas was a real pleasure. We approached the making of the album to be as live and as real as we could make it. Of course there were the obligatory nights out that usually ended up with at least one member of the band getting lost and not returning until some time the next day. We even found time to do a live gig in the village pub, which was well received by the locals. This also doubled as a rehearsal for a couple of gigs they had to fly off to perform mid-album."

"I’m always delighted when punters appreciate the work that I’ve put in to making records, it gives me buzz when it happens. And yes, I am one of those sad gits that has all my Gold and Platinum discs on the wall in my studio – I like them!"

Never one to spend too long away from the studio, John’s got a busy year ahead of him. The big plan? "World Domination, of course. But failing that, I’ll just keep on making music. That may be a bit more realistic."

How did John manage the production with a system that was not commercially available? John has been a long time Soundscape Alpha Tester and he is one of many professionals who have helped prepare Soundscape V6 for commercial release.

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By our press release coordinator Sunday January 2, 2011
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