Scott Van Zen is in great demand these days. One of the reasons Van Zen
is a much sought-after composer is the speed at which he works and the
high-quality level of his material. He has composed the main titles, background
and source music for FOX, MTV, CBS, NBC, ESPN2 and Paramount Television,
commercials for Game Boy, Match Box, Hot Wheels and Nickelodeon, the animated
series Dirty Pair, in addition to regular episodes of Americas Most
Wanted. With as many as three or more projects in the works at any given
time, Van Zens mainstay mixing console, the Mackie
Digital 8 Bus, solidifies Van Zen as a marvel at multi-tasking.
Located in a small back-room studio at his home in Los Angeles, California,
Scotts varied music production work demands instant access to many on-going
projects at once. When I got my Mackie Digital 8 Bus console it was like
adding three more of me. Van Zen says. From a working perspective,
the most practical aspect of the D8B is the speed factor. If Im in the
middle of doing three projects, a toy commercial, a sports package and a drama
mix for Americas Most Wanted, I can pull up mixes while Im on the
phone with the client. Thats something I could never accomplish before
with any other console.
One of Van Zens first set-ups was a Mackie CR1604
compact console and a couple of Alesis ADATs. Last year he moved up to
the D8B and went to hard disc recording on a Macintosh computer using
Steinbergs Logic software. Working with the D8B was fast and
efficient right out of the box. I appreciate the D8Bs simplicity
and ease-of-usebecause the people I work for expect things
to sound good and projects turned around immediately, he says.
When I make a demo and run it off to DAT it already sounds mastered
and finished. I think that fact alone helps me get a lot more work. You
cant tell creative directors that itll be ready tomorrow.
I can make any mix available in seconds, regardless of what odd hour a
director calls and needs to hear something.
One of the current projects that Scotts been working on is a massive promotion
package for Paramount Television. I have done well over 30 spots, including
changes, with lots of :30s, :20s and :10s, etc, he says. Being able
to save multiple mixes has kept me in very high standing with the president
of the agency. I would not have even come close to finishing so many multiple
projects before I got my D8B.
Since working on multiple projects is the normnot an exception,
Van Zen values the ability to always return to the same creative mixing moment
he left at. I can work on several songs at once, mix them on the fly and
just hit save and be finished for with that song for the moment, he says.
I no longer lose the tone or the feeling of the piece. With the D8B, if
something gets intricate you automate it and you dont lose a thingplus
the mix just gets better along the way. I like the fact that by the time Im
done recording, I am also done mixing, as well.
Automation aside, what impresses Van Zen the most about the D8B is its sound.
Im from the old school, he says. I love the warm analog
sound and the tone of the D8B is very warm. From a song-composition
standpoint, thats great. You can do albums on the D8Bthe sound
of it is so good and I have yet to load all of the new third-party plug-in effects!
The one thing I like about the EQs is that there is a wide-range of them and
they are really very warm and clean.