Keeping it musical
As one of Toronto’s leading mixers and recording engineers, George Seara took the pure path to his chosen career: through his own music. As a young guitar player in various bands, he realized early on that he had a passion for helping other musicians write, record, and demo their own songs. “Along the way, I realized I wanted to go the mixing route rather than try to make a go as a pro musician or session player, and I studied computer science and recording engineering in college,” he notes.
“One of my greatest joys is seeing projects take off and musicians flourish."
After a stint in Portugal working for a range of studios and getting a taste of audio post for television, theater, and film projects, George settled in Toronto – first working under the tutelage of renowned recording engineer Mike Jones and later serving for more than a decade as chief engineer for Toronto’s legendary Phase One Studios. Today, George is a highly respected independent mixer and recording engineer who applies his musical ear and astute attention to detail on projects in every music genre, ranging from the latest album from Shawn Mendes to works by Drake, Rihanna, Herbie Hancock, Sting, and Canadian jazz artist Holly Cole. In 2012, he won a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for Recording Engineer of the Year, and he just received his fourth nomination in that category for his work mixing Shawn Mendes’ smash single 'Treat You Better' amongst several others from Shawn’s chart-topping Iluminate LP.
“One of my great joys is seeing projects take off and musicians flourish. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with very talented people and their producers – such as Drake and his producers, Boi-1da and T-Minus – and see them grow from teenagers to artists that are now at the top of their game,” George comments. “I enjoy being the unifying link, working closely with such talented and creative artists, producers, managers, record labels, songwriters, fellow engineers, and studios, to bring continuity to a project and see it through to the finish line.”
"I gravitate to tools that let you get the exact sound you’re looking for quickly and easily, and SEQ-S is a very musical-sounding EQ."
Spurred by the digital revolution, the role of technology in mixing and recording has evolved significantly over George’s career. Building on his computer science background, he was one of the early recording engineers in Toronto to begin using computer-based tools – and he views computers as essential creative elements today. “As computers have become more portable, affordable, and powerful, they’ve made it easier for the artists themselves to record their own ideas and demos from anywhere,” George explains.
He adds, “It’s all about the song and the performance, and sometimes the most beautiful, heartfelt performances may happen outside the studio. I try to equip artists with the professional tools they need to make great-sounding music whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, whether it’s on the road, in a hotel room or on a tour bus. Intuitive computer-based tools like those from NUGEN Audio allow the creative process to be more spontaneous and organic.”
It's about the music
In a typical work week, George bounces back and forth between projects. With tools that help him turn out high-quality results as efficiently as possible, such as NUGEN Audio’s SEQ-S linear-phase equalizer, he’s sometimes able to mix a song a day. "I gravitate to tools that let you get the exact sound you’re looking for quickly and easily, and SEQ-S is a very musical-sounding EQ."
“One of the things I love about it is how intuitive and easy it is to add presence to the sound. It’s super-fast to draw things in and work in analog shadings, and it’s brilliant to be able to bypass, undo or redo, go a few steps backward and then toggle forward to maintain creative flow. And the spline curve adjusts automatically for the sharpest-sounding audio image.”
“The high-cut and low-pass filters on SEQ-S sound amazing.”
He gives the example of the recently completed music video for Shawn Mendes’ 'Treat You Better', pointing to one scene in which Shawn is shown singing outside a car with a couple arguing inside – and the music is appropriately muffled inside the car.
“The high-cut and low-pass filters on SEQ-S sound amazing,” George says. “I was able to create that muffled effect by applying a steep high cut and then filtering all the vocals above a given frequency. And being able to sweep down with SEQ-S is extremely musical and effective.”
The right tools
In addition to SEQ-S, George has praise for other NUGEN Audio plug-ins. He has relied on the VisLM loudness meter for a number of years to maintain context in the mixing process and ensure an album’s continuity from track to track.
He’s also excited about NUGEN Audio’s MasterCheck Pro, a tool that lets producers audition different playout and loudness matching codecs to deliver masters that are precisely tuned for the major digital music streaming services. “Of course I want the mix to sound good in a high-res environment, but at the same time consumers might be listening to it on laptop speakers, in the car, or on an MP3 mini-player. The ability to listen to your mix in real time and hear what it’s going to sound like with the different codecs applied is pretty brilliant,” George comments. “It takes the guesswork out of delivering great-sounding music for any platform or device.”
He notes, “There’s probably not a mastering engineer in the world that’s not using these types of tools because they let us bring continuity to the mixes and make our jobs so much easier and more efficient."
SEQ-S gives you powerful sonic sculpting, dynamic filter morphs and EQ matching up to 7.1, with stereo mid/side operation and automated spectrum analysis.
SEQ-ST gives you powerful sonic sculpting and EQ matching, with stereo mid/side operation and automated spectrum analysis.
Optimising your mixes for today’s music delivery services. MasterCheck reveals problems ahead of time, and enables you to audition and deliver masters perfectly tuned for today’s playout systems.
Loudness compliance perfectly integrated into your workflow, using a clear resizeable interface and ground breaking ReMEM automated loudness memory technology.