Bob Clearmountain’s Personalized FX Signal Chain Recreated in a Simple, Powerful Plugin
For decades, engineers, producers, and musicians have marveled at Bob Clearmountain’s mixes. Recordings by iconic artists like David Bowie, Chic, Roxy Music, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, INXS, and so many more, are prime examples of how Clearmountain’s work elevated the role of “the mixer” to that of an essential creative partner in the process of making records. Clearmountain’s ability to build a soundscape and atmosphere where voices and instruments seem to effortlessly live in an intimate space but all blend together seamlessly set new standards for mixing. And, his artistry and passion to reveal the true character of the song and highlight the emotion of the music, gets to the heart of what inspired the song from its inception.
While this is a craft honed over a career of many experiences, accomplishments and hit records, there are secrets that can be shared and Clearmountain’s Domain offers one of Bob’s most refined and important techniques in a simple and streamlined plugin.
Apogee’s Clearmountain’s Domain plugin reproduces Bob Clearmountain’s personalized FX signal chain for creating the cohesive spaces, expansive dimensions, and rich atmospheres where his mixes live. Classic presets help you to recreate the sonic environment of your favorite Clearmountain mixes. Advanced views reveal Clearmountain’s decades of expertise and empower you to create your own musical mix domain.
Clearmountain’s Hardware FX Workflows Made Accessible in your DAW
Over decades of mixing hit songs, Clearmountain has developed a complex and personalized hardware FX signal chain for creating the imaginary soundscapes where musical elements each have their own space and dimension, but remain cohesive to the whole. This FX signal chain, developed over decades, involves an entire studio’s worth of hardware gear – live echo chambers, delays, harmonizers, de-essers, EQs and a large format SSL analog mixing console. And lots of patch cords…so many patch cords! Reproducing this complicated interconnection of hardware using individual plugins in a DAW proved to be almost impossible. With Clearmountain’s Domain, it’s refreshingly simple to achieve Bob’s results with a mere click on a preset.
Classic presets make it easy to access iconic Clearmountain sounds and create your own
Thanks to the Clearmountain Classic presets, you don’t need an Engineering degree to get started – instead, start with the awe-inspiring sounds you know and love from your favorite Clearmountain mix!
Bob has carefully created each preset based on specific instruments and processing from his extensive catalog of timeless hit mixes. Looking to nail the Bowie “Let’s Dance” guitar and vocal delay or the Springsteen “Born in the USA” snare sound? Simply load the presets!
Custom Impulse Responses of
Clearmountain’s Reverb Spaces
Earlier in his career, Bob leaned heavily on physical rooms and chambers for realistic and unique reverb – for example, the custom designed echo chambers at his MixThis studios in Los Angeles. Once convolution reverb technology allowed him to “capture” the characteristics of his favorite rooms as digital impulse response files, he was free to use all his favorite spaces no matter their location. With Clearmountain’s Domain, you now have access to these spaces, the very ones used on countless hit mixes.
- Home: It’s easy to get started with Clearmountain’s Domain from the Home page – trim the Input level, then scroll through the Clearmountain-designed presets until you’ve found the ideal domain for your mix. Sidebar Signal Flow. If you need to tweak a preset, navigate through Advanced views from the Sidebar signal flow diagram. Click anywhere in the diagram to navigate to the specific settings and controls for that part of the signal flow.
- Input: “Pre-conditioning” the audio before sending it to reverb and delay is an important aspect of the plugin’s unique character. De-essing and 3-band EQ based on Clearmountain’s original hardware devices are included on this view.
- Delay: You’ll find all the settings you expect – and a few you don’t – for configuring the stereo delays. Set delay time according to session tempo or tap tempo; link Spin (feedback) for both sides and alter its routing; EQ each side independently; add Blur (saturation) for a crunchy, lo-fi sound.
- Pitch Shift/Reverb: Create subtle or outlandish sounds with up to an octave (+-) Delay Pitch Shift plus Random pitch modulation. Then send the perfect mix of direct, delay and pitched delay to any or all three reverbs. Now we’re deep in the Domain!
- Mixer: Create the ideal mix of the five FX processes – delay, pitch-shifted delay, and Bob’s three personalized convolution reverbs, then set the blend between the dry and wet signal
Clearmountain’s Personalized FX Signal Flow
• Pre Delay/Reverb De-esser
• Pre Delay/Reverb EQ
• Stereo Delay with Spin Time Compensation
• Delay Blur (Saturation)
• Stereo Unison to Octave Pitch-Shift
• Clearmountain Spaces Convolution Reverbs
• FX Mixer
Clearmountain’s Classic Presets
Clearmountain Spaces, Convolution Reverbs
Real Time FX Visualizer