Bruce Swedien - RIP - Legendary Audio Engineer

Steve Sidoruk

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You'll find Bruce Swedien's name in the credits of:

Sergio Mendes 1983 s/t and PICARDIA

among others

Mike Blakesley

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I first remember seeing his name on the credits of Michael Jackson's Thriller and I don't know what all else after that, but definitely a big name behind the scenes. RIP


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Got plenty of albums with his work here. He's done a few unusual things in recording vocals for Michael Jackson. This is one for his hit "Rock With You," and explains how Jackson's backing vocal tracks always sounded so rich and full:

'Rock With You' is also an excellent showcase for another of Swedien's creative live‑room production techniques. Each of the backing-vocal lines was first double‑tracked with a close mic, then Jackson moved a couple of steps back from the mic for another pass, while Swedien increased the preamp gain to match his level with the previous takes. Finally, an even more distant pass was captured using a Blumlein stereo pair, again matched for level. The result: an increased density of early reflections, which creates a natural depth and width to the soundfield.

He would also use a Blumlein pair on Michael's vocals on "Bad." Swedien is mentioned in the testimony given my Michael Fremer, called in as an expert witness when Quincy Jones sued his estate due to contract issues with some remixes that were done. (The part about Michael's vocals is near 14:50 but the rest of the video provides the background story.)

Swedien has some books I wouldn't mind reading--I'm into the tech side of recording.


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OMG!! Yes, Bruce was a legend indeed. He did a lot of Quincy Jones' albums, and of course his work with Michael was absolutely legendary. He also engineered Christian music artist Ken Medema's album Through The Eyes Of Love circa 1977. He will definitely be missed. This year was a real tragic year in terms of losing legends, and this horrible virus.

Anyway Bruce, RIP.
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