Thom Russo
Recording mixer/engineer Thom Russo uses Metric Halo's Channel Strip session after session.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: When recording engineer and mixer Thom Russo goes to a session, Metric Halo's ChannelStrip is guaranteed to get a good workout. Russo, whose client list includes Eric Clapton, Macy Gray, Audioslave, System of a Down, Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, Jay-Z, Babyface, Kinky and many, many others, is never without the console-style audio processing plug-in.

"I'm trying to think when I don't use it," ponders Russo, who says that he has used ChannelStrip on every project that he has done for the last two or three years. "Especially for important elements," he adds. "I would say 95 percent of the time it's on my lead vocal, and a lot of times on the drums sub-mix and on bass. Its transient response is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else that's out there."

"It's the most versatile, efficient, and elegant compressor/EQ chain on the market," he continues. "You will certainly not hear a session of mine without it. And the sidechain on the compressor is a 'can't live without it' tool. The ChannelStrip sidechain is something that I favor a lot, for hardware compression and stuff like that. That just rocks my world."

Russo, who maintains his own production facility in a larger complex located in Studio City, California, will often take his large Pro Tools|HD rig and Apple G5 computer to sessions. "What's interesting is that in the last year things have really moved 'inside the box' due to the ease of it, and also the nature of the music business," he says. With no console in the signal path the features of the plug-in, including an equalizer, gate and compressor, are essential tools. "So much of what I've been doing has been in the box so ChannelStrip is a savior."

Recently taking a break from his high-profile clientele, Russo has been working with an up-and-coming act. "I've been working on a band that is signed to my production company, called Udora. They're an insanely cool, big, heavy, pop/rock outfit - a little bit Foo Fighters, a little bit Switchfoot, only heavier, but with a lot of the pop influences and dynamic and melody."

Russo reveals that he also enjoys one of the non-audio-related features of ChannelStrip. "I like the color switching that you can do with ChannelStrip. If I get bored with green I can switch to purple!"