Coffee Break Club: Paul Orofino

Coffee Break Club: Paul Orofino

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Paul Orofino is a music producer hailing from New York. He has worked with artists like The Cars, Bleeding Through, 36 Crazyfists, Immolation, A Life Once Lost, Dry Kill Logic, The Agony Scene, Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, Mountain, Straight Line Stitch, Shai Hulud and many more. He works out of his Millbrook Sound Studio in Millbrook, NY. We spoke about how the Music business these days is like the lawless Old West, why Royer SF12 is a damn good mic, why young producers need to listen more and what made him become a music producer.


1. What was the thing that got you into Music Production?

Like many in my field, I started first by playing in a band, my instrument was guitar.

As the band progressed it was time for us to record some demos. So we booked time at a pretty well known place

in the city, and basically had the worst experience as a group in that studio.


Long story short since I was the person in the band with the most interest in electronics, and a real desire to figure out

how records were made, I took it upon myself to start collecting equipment and the knowledge to record our stuff by myself.

That was around 1970 .

2. What’s your stance on the digital vs analog battle?


  No battle here, as I use both everyday. My main recorder has been Radar since 1996.

I bought it when it just came out, and have owned 5 Radar systems at one time.

2 in each of my rooms, (48 tracks) and one for my remote recording rig.

Right now I still own 3 Radar systems.


I don’t use ProTools, (hate the interface, layout), but I do have a computer setup with Digital Performer for mixing

those sessions that will require lots of recalls.


That being said, I do firmly believe that the front end of a recording chain, mic, preamp, equalizer,

and or compressor / limiter have to be analog.

3. Do you think one day software, emulation-hardware etc will surpass the real thing?


Now you’ve hit a nerve, because I believe none of these emulations sound exactly like the units they were modelled after.

I don’t care what anyone says, to me they are different.

The makers of these plug in’s are just jamming this shit down everyone’s throat, telling us they sound as good.

That’s a load of shit!

– BUT,

I do believe there are some very useful Plugins that sound & work great, as long as they are judged on their own merits.

No matter what they call them.

These plugins are useful and should be used as you would any hardware piece.


I feel making the claim that these emulations are sonically exact reproductions of the famous units is just not accurate.


4. How do you see the current Music Production scene?

The pros the cons, what we might be missing / what we could improve?


–  For everything that was wrong with the OLD record business, I believe right now the inmates are running the asylum.

The industry is like the old west right now, with no law…

Anything goes, which some people think is a good thing, There seems to be no order,

and anything and everything can be released….way too much folder to sort thru.


–  As far as what to do, I literally have no idea?


5. What’s the latest piece of gear (hardware/software) that made you go bananas?


–  Been a long time since a piece of gear blew me out of the water, but I can say about 10 years ago I purchased a

Genex  9048, which was the first DSD 48 track digital Multitrack recorder on the market.

The sonics of that unit was (to me, and the artists I recorded with it) Jaw dropping good.


And I would also have to say, the Royer SF-12 Stereo ribbon mic. Used one in front of a drum kit,

it was the first time what I heard when I walked back into the control room sounded exactly like what I heard

standing in front of the kit in the tracking room.

Since that time, I purchased a few of them. Amazingly real.


6. Let’s say we could get the brightest of the brightest and smartest of the smartest to come up with a piece of gear (software/hardware) and it could eliminate one annoying thing, what would it be (could be audio or anything, physically impossible or possible)?


–  A plugin that makes everything “MORE BETTER”


7. If you could give one piece of advice to a young starting home-studio producer, what would it be?


–  Get out and listen to a live performance of a solo artist, band, choir, orchestra, etc.

Listen very carefully, and learn what things really sound like in a given space. Document this mentally,

and use this as a basis for capturing whatever you are recording….


And by all means, never let the technology get in the way of a session or recording of a piece of music!


8. Can you name the most unusual / unorthodox idea that has ended up on the record in your career?


  Sorry, Those are family secrets, If I told ya about them, I’d have to kill ya! OVER & OUT~!



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