null Immersive Talk with Grush Audio

Immersive Talk with Grush Audio

Genelec recently caught up with experienced Producer and Mixing Engineer Shane Grush at his studio in Clarkston, Michigan, to find how he entered the immersive era and how he takes advantage of the technology today.

Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

I'm the owner and operator of my studio, Grush Audio. Much of the time, I wear multiple hats there, working as a producer, songwriter and mixing engineer – both in stereo and Dolby Atmos.

My journey with music started in 1992. My parents bought me a bass guitar and a few lessons. I thought it was cool when my half-sibling received a guitar for Christmas, so I wanted to be like him. I was hooked on music right from the start, and my career has slowly progressed since then, becoming a true labor of love.

Can you tell us a little more about your studio space?

I lease the space from my church, Mt. Zion. I believe the church purchased it in the 40s to support their growth; it has some serious old-world charm. There's multiple rooms in the studio: a live room, control room, microphone locker and an office, totaling about 1,800 square feet.

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What are your key pieces of equipment?

My setup is Dante-based and consists of gear I find indispensable. At the center is an Avid MTRX Studio running Pro Tools, which helps me connect to all my outboard gear and Atmos rig. I'm using the Avid Dock and a couple of Avid S1s to fly around my sessions. This setup has shortened my days, which props up a fast workflow.

I'm constantly shuffling my racks around to better fit my workflow. At this moment, the outboard set I have in the studio is small but mighty, which backs up my whole approach – quality over quantity. I'm currently using two Rupert Neve Shelford Channels, an API Channel Strip, a Dramastic Obsidian Compressor, a Bricasti M7 Reverb, a Tascam ML-16, a UA X8P, a DBX 902 DeEsser, and an Aviom D400 Cue System with A320 Personal Mixers.

What type of work do you do in your studio?

The pandemic changed a lot for me. I went from writing, co-writing, and producing 99% of the time to mixing 99% of the time. I enjoyed this shift because mixing has always been my favorite part of the record-making process. In short, I still love songwriting and producing, but I'm much more selective with those projects these days. When it comes to immersive, I'm firmly planted in the Dolby Atmos format, using a 7.1.4 mix room.

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How and when did you become interested in immersive audio?

In 2015, I started taking portions of my projects to Nashville. On those trips, I befriended some great people at Blackbird Studio and witnessed what they were doing in their magical Studio C. While working there, I showed my clients surround mixes, which was always the highlight of the session. Before the Atmos trend hit, Blackbird were excellent pioneers in surround work. That was the start for me, even though I didn't know how multi-channel audio would advance, I felt it would be a big thing.

What made you equip your studio for immersive?

So, I have a friend who was tasked with getting Atmos mixes going for one of his artists. One day he invited me over to give him some help with an Avid MTRX. As I hung out with him and learned more about what they were up to, my curiosity grew. I could see Dolby was bringing scalability to life, and while there were still challenges, I loved immersive mixes. There's no comparison for me; stereo sounds broken when I switch between immersive and stereo mixes.

Shortly after that experience, I began checking my options for Atmos and if my room could do it correctly. After discussions with my man, Kurt Martin, at Sweetwater, I landed on Genelec 8030Cs for my 7.1.4 setup. Ken Capton of Solar 2 Studios did the installation work. I've used Ken for acoustics since 2015, because his work is simply incredible!

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How do you approach your immersive work?

I'm still figuring out what works best for me. Recently, when mixing in Atmos, prepping the session with headphones has been useful, helping me organize it and get familiar with the program material. There's a journey here regarding how your mixes translate into binaural; the sooner I hear the binaural version, the better, so I've been leaning into that technique.

The creative opportunities in Dolby Atmos are endless! There's interesting psychology at play with the brain's perception. For example, sounds from above can make the listener uneasy. So, we can make people feel music even more! How I use this power depends on the song and its original intent. Just because I can play "pinball wizard" with objects doesn't mean I should – so, my approach is to honor the music, the artist, and the song's intent. The biggest challenge I'm experiencing right now is how my clients review my work with their own playback systems. I’d suggest getting your clients into a suitable room for that!

Can you tell us more about your Genelec system?

My room had a lot to do with my selection of the Genelec 8030s. For me, the 8030 checked all the right boxes as I went down my list of what I needed: size, performance, mounting options, etc. I've not been disappointed. I love Genelec's sound, so that's perfect when there's this many monitors pointed at you.

How do you see the future of immersive audio over the next few years?

I have this theory that immersive is for music what color was for TV. It's overwhelming and new, but it's a whole new world to take advantage of. I feel like that's a great parallel.

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To find out more about the Grush Audio, click here.

Do you want to be featured in our ‘Immersive Talk’ series? If so, just post some pictures of your setup on Instagram using the #GenelecImmersive hashtag. We’ll be keeping a look out for the most interesting setups, so who knows? We may be in touch with you!

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