Reid Shippen is a multiple Grammy Award-winning mixer, producer, and engineer. His engineering and producing credits include a wide range of artists such as Ingrid Michaelson, Kenny Chesney, India Arie, Cage the Elephant, Little Big Town, CeCe Winans, Steven Tyler, Colony House, Lucie Silvas, and Dierks Bentley.
In this article, we asked Reid to share some tips and tricks for the Maag Magnum-K, as well as create a handful of presets! (Download below)
Hi Reid, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us. You’re the owner of the studio called ‘Robot Lemon’ based in Nashville, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Robot Lemon is my mix room- it’s centered around an SSL 4000 desk and a bunch of outboard gear.
Speaking of outboard gear, you have a fantastic collection, what is your take on "mixing in the box"?
I’m lucky to have access to some fun gear, but if I didn’t, I could still mix. It’s a question of scale, I think. You can play a good song with a midrange Epiphone, and it will sound good- you can play it with a 1958 Les Paul, and it will (probably) sound better (and it’s more fun!), but it’s still a good song. There’s stuff you can do with software that you can’t with hardware, and vice-versa. I feel fortunate that I have the option for both.
What is the studio scene like in Nashville these days?
Booming. There’s so much creativity going on here, it’s fantastic.
Nashville is an embarrassment of riches- we have a lot of the best musicians, songwriters, and engineers on the planet here, or coming here to work. It's amazing. Actually, that’s a lie, it sucks here, there’s no Italian food, please nobody move here, we’re full. (Laughs)
One of your favorite plugin brands from Plugin Alliance is Maag, and you were kind enough to create some presets for the MAGNUM-K. What is it about the MAGNUM-K that you like so much?
Hard to say, but it’s tight and punchy when you need attitude, and super flexible when you need smaller moves. The secret sauce is the K comp, I think. And the Alliance additions at the bottom are so crucial I’m going to ask Maag to add them to my analog units!
Those extra controls add an order of magnitude of usability to an already great plugin.
Can you walk us through the presets you’ve created?
This is a good starting point for that final polish on vocals. In fact, I’m getting myself into trouble here, because now that I’ve found it, I want to go back and add this to all my mixes, which would be a can of worms. Don’t tell anyone when I wrote this!! haha. Anyway, salt to taste with the mix knob.
High Pass can be useful on some lower or boomy vocals. K Comp usually lives between 10 and 1 o’clock, and LMK gain between 0 and 2.
I mostly use this mono but I’ve also found that this can be a nice BGV thing, and sometimes a little Stereo Width helps too (although they need to allow for finer steps + direct number entry for this control!) the mono version is Moore Vocaals.
This is for, um, overheads. Usually, these don’t need the K Comp, but if there’s harshness or a nasty snare, this can help. And yes I opened up 40k on the top. check the Mix control, a little goes a long way.
Lights up the drum rooms and tames the hell outta the midrange. This is either awesome on drum rooms, or it sucks.
By now I’m sure you've figured out I couldn’t find the umlaut on the mac keyboard. anyway, acoustic guitars. It’s been a while since I found anything that I liked on Acoustic Guitars.
This is a bizarre setting but it works, especially on a stereo acoustic pass. Something like this, barely dialed in with the Mix control, is the stuff.
Overall, I’m surprised by how much I use this. and I never, NEVER use fast attack compression on anything…until now.
What’s next for Reid Shippen?
Given the good fortunes I‘ve enjoyed in music, I want to give back. I co-founded a charity called SongFarm.Org we partner with songwriters and musicians to bring creative tools to kids in schools. We’ve been asked to collaborate with 'Save The Music', and it’s going so well that we may partner in the future also.
Music makes a fantastic impact on high school kids, and since our government doesn’t feel like education or arts is a societal priority, we’re going to do something about it.
Please check us out at SongFarm.Org and join us!
Mäag MAGNUM-K Sound Examples:
We would also like to congratulate F. Reid Shippen on his 2020 Grammy-Award for work as a producer on Gloria Gaynor's album, Testimony (2019).
For more on Reid Shippen visit:
Visit Mäag Audio: