Kruse & Nuernberg
Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been a working musician?
What is your educational background? Are there any schools, courses, or books you recommend?
Both of us studied at SAE (School Of Audio Engineering) in Hamburg and reached the ‘SAE Audio Engineering Diploma’. We can recommend that school but you have to kick your own ass all the time to learn as much as possible.
The SAE courses are based on a learning by doing concept. You can book different work spaces while you are studying, and if you have any questions somebody is around and will help you for sure but most of the time you are sitting there on your own trying to understand that program, compressor, equalizer, mixer or whatever you are working with.
There are also a couple of good books we read about microphones, music theory and music electronics. It’s definitely a long process to learn how to produce music.
What hardware are you using?
We are working on a Quad-Core Mac Pro with a MOTU 828 mkII soundcard and 2 pairs of monitors Klein & Hummel O 110 and Genelec 1032A. The monitors are the biggest gold in our studio. Having two totally different sounding speakers is a gift when it comes to the mixing process. Doing music on the Genelecs is much fun and mixing on Klein + Hummel gives you a great sound picture especially in the mid and high frequencies.
In the vocal booth we use a Neumann TLM-103 microphone. This is a classic mic and works very well in combination with our british preamp: Safe Sound Audio Model P1 including compressor and expander. We are also recording guitars and bass guitars with that preamp and the result is always good.
For the recording of our Korg SP-200 E-Piano and the Roland Super JV-1080 we use the Mackie 1402-VLZ PRO mixer which is directly connected with the soundcard. For live sessions we have an Evolution U-Control and a Novation Launchpad plus mobile soundcard by M-Audio (FireWire 410).
We are not using that much hardware anymore but we still own some samplers and filters from Akai and some other fancy stuff. Nowadays it’s way more comfortable using good software – that’s what we think.
What software are you using?
On the software side we have Logic Pro 9 as a sequencer and a UAD-2 Duo DSP card which is really the best sounding simulation of classic analogue equipment on the market. The UAD standard plugins already sound fantastic, and if you like to spend some extra money, there are great plugins to add to your card, like The Massive Passive, which is a simulation of a Manley EQ, or the Neve 88-RS channel strip.
For software instruments we are using Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate 8 and Arturia V-Collection 2. Both packages are offering such a wide range of instruments that it’s never getting boring. Arturia comes with the classics like Jupiter, Minimoog, Prophet and so on, and the Komplete Ultimate 8 includes beside to the known synthezisers like FM-8, Massive and Absynth a lot of real sounding instruments like Session Strings, Alicia’s Keys, Guitar Rig and the Abbey Road Drummer just to name a few.
We also like the Rob Papen synthezisers. Especially his bass synthesizer Sub-Boom-Bass is a great product and the Albino 3 is a classic for sure! We are using that one most of the times for arpeggiator sounds. To add the analogue feel to these sometimes digital sounding synthesizers, we use the PSP Vintage Warmer-2 on a channel strip. We are also using the PSP 84 and 85 delay for effects.
What would be your dream setup?
We are quite satisfied with our setup so far. There is really not much that we are missing so far. Sometimes we’d love to have a big mixing console for the mixing process like an SSL or so… Just to get this special feeling of twisting knobs and actually just for a change. And because it looks so fancy… lol
Can you describe your creative process? Is there a particular routine or schedule you stick to?
We never really follow any particular pattern. Sometimes it is just a groove, sometimes a sample, a cool tune that we just listened to or a cool gig that inspires us and the we just take it from there.
We both have the same skills when it comes to producing though you could say Florian is really good at arranging whereas Nils loves building beats and grooves.
When it comes to mixing we always sleep one night and then start the whole process the next day. It really makes the difference. Coming to the studio in the morning with relaxed ears and then having a listen to what you have done the day before sometimes gives you a hard time. In the past we were really wondering sometimes like what the heck did we do last night, this sounds awful. Your ears get tired during a whole day of producing. After six to eight hours in the studio you shouldn’t do a final mixdown of your track. So we always have rest before we mix.
Where do you shop for and discover music?
There are so many sources. Of course we go shopping at Beatport, WPP, Juno, Traxsource, etc… But sometimes it is just cool to flick through Facebook and have a look at what other people post on their pages. YouTube is also a cool tool to find good music.
Discovering new music doesn’t neccessarily mean to look for the latest releases. Crate digging is so much fun sometimes and really inspires us. We get a lot of promos these days but we have to confess, compared to the huge amount there is barely good stuff hitting our inbox.
Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?
Tyson – Mr. Rain (Mano Le Tough Remix)
Karmon – Wowshit
What’s brewing in your studio?
There is always something brewing in our studio. For the album, we worked a lot with organic elements. Which means we were using samples that have a very warm and natural sound like real hats, shakers, etc. Most of the tracks contain real instruments like guitars, pianos or a vocal.
It gives the production its very own character, something that you won’t find on a sample CD or in a library on the net. Recording instruments and especially vocals is not an easy process, but maybe that’s why we like it cause it’s a challenge.
When Fred Everything came by the studio while he was on his Europe tour he showed us a little trick: how to make your beats sound a little more phat and dense. It’s probably a thing a lot of people know already but for us it was new. You sum up your beats on a bus — something that we do all the time anyway — and then you send the bus track to a new bus. This new bus track contains maybe a distortion plugin or a compressor that is really cranked to the maximum. You slowly add this new track to your mix and you can immediately see that your beats get a more dense feeling. You shouldn’t exaggerate it though as it might kill your dynamic.
Any production tips & tricks you’d like to share?
We really love creating our own drum sounds and sometimes layer more than 6 bassdrums for example. The trick is to find the right frequencies with an eq on every channel. We are sweeping through the lower frequencies and stop when it sounds right. We do the same with the claps and hihats. As soon as the groove sits right we group single elements and put them on an aux or bus channel, insert some plugins to get the right sound, and finally export every single group to just one track. That makes it easier for the arrangement.
We always try to maintain a certain dynamic in our tracks. Create kicks with a depth, use good rooms, or even better, try using samples that already have a natural room. We never use any dynamic shaping plugins like multiband compression or limiting effects. We leave this to the mastering engineer.
The most important fact for us is to know how your room sounds and that you know how your monitor speakers sound. That’s it!