LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 2009: Gussie Miller is one of those amazing people who are equally talented on either side of the microphone. With the ears of a musician and the ears of an engineer magically merged, the singer/songwriter/engineer/producer brings a unique sensitivity to his projects. He understands, better than most, how a musical performance will translate through the recording, mixing and mastering stages. On the flip side, he understands, again better than most, that some gear fights against the musicality of a piece, whereas other gear enhances it. It is with these subtleties that Miller often finds himself turning to Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip plug-in, of which he says – in a charming lilt that only a professional vocalist can deliver – “it’s all about the algorithm!”
Based in Los Angeles, Gussie Miller is the vocal talent that jazz master Marcus Miller frequently turns to, and is the featured vocalist on the Chris Rock movie “I Think I Love My Wife.” Over a career that spans decades, he has worked with a rich cross-section of contemporary music’s prime movers, including Lavern Baker, Seal, and Cher. He is currently working on a solo release, “Forever Plan,” and the music for Jonathan Lewis’ forthcoming indie film, “Darkness of the Night.”
Miller also runs Artis Musicai, a music production company specializing in pop, jazz and R&B songwriting, artist development, and production. Notable recent projects include the production of dance artist Lance Todd’s crossover to pop and the debut effort of Lindsay Douglas.
A self-avowed “native proponent,” Miller is good friends with many of the leading engineers at Mark of the Unicorn and Steinberg (Nuendo). He was first introduced to Metric Halo software while working in the sales group at Westlake Audio. “I’ve always been sensitive to how software sounds,” he said. “There are huge differences among the platforms and huge differences among the plug-ins.”
But going back even further, Miller cut his teeth behind the massive and unabashedly-analog SSL E-Series, G-Series, and J-Series consoles at The Soundtrack Group Boston. “To me, ChannelStrip embodies the classic SSL sound,” he said. “It’s musical and smooth, but it uses surprisingly few resources. I can run a tremendous number of instances, even on my older G4. It’s all about the quality of the algorithm; the way it does the math. Metric Halo has it right!”
Miller turns to ChannelStrip to sweeten just about anything that needs sweetening, but it’s most often inserted on vocals. “Contrary to popular belief and anything you might read on the Internet, my solo album is not completed,” he laughed. “ChannelStrip will be used for guitars, bass, and, of course, my own vocals.”
In addition to ChannelStrip, Miller frequently turns to Metric Halo’s other flagship software, SpectraFoo. SpectraFoo contains every piece of analysis that an engineer could ask for, including level metering, high-speed, high-resolution spectral analysis, correlation metering, triggerable waveform display, power balancing, and a variety of power, envelope and spectral histories and phase analysis on any number of input or output channels. “I’m a visual person,” Miller said. “Seeing what’s going on is a great help!”