Derek von Krogh and VST Connect
By Matthias Quellmann, October 9, 2014
Not only is Derek von Krogh the live keyboardist for Nena, one of Germany’s exceptional artists, he also serves as a producer for her. During the vocal recordings on her latest album, Nena and Derek used VST Connect for the first time, and were enthralled right away. Derek, who’s been using Cubase for many years, spoke to us about his experience with our revolutionary remote recording plug-in.
How do you use VST Connect in your productions?
I don’t have many clients who are based nearby, which is why I used to travel a lot to record vocals at their locations. Nowadays, I do most of my vocal recording with VST Connect.
VST Connect offers you a fundamental kind of improvement that goes beyond the studio realm; simply put, I have much more time now for my kids now.
How has VST connect enriched or facilitated your workflow, and what’s it like for the artist “on the other side?”
One could talk about the advantages in terms of travel and how it makes everything easier, but after so many sessions with it, the biggest advantage to me is actually something else: it’s how relaxed the whole situation has become. Recording vocals can be a fraught process; the producer is listening intensely, because of course the song he’s working on relies on good lead vocals. For the artist, it’s a “do or die” moment as well, and standing in in some studio somewhere in front of a intimidatingly large diaphragm mic, knowing that the clock is ticking and the meter is running, that accentuates this feeling even more. There’s always a certain pressure involved which of course isnt exactly helpful.
A recording session with VST Connect, on the other hand, tends to rather have the vibe of something like a Skype call, making it a lot more relaxed. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. We’ve been working on Nena’s next studio album for the last few months, and of course, part of the process was recording her vocals for around 20 songs. In the past, this used to be quite a marathon, but this time it was pure joy. We simply had our regular evening “call” to do some vocals, working in a very relaxed but also focused way. And because Nena was recording in her own living room, she felt very comfortable — literally “at home” — during the whole process. Of course, this isn’t Nena’s first record, so she doesn’t feel much pressure when working in a recording studio anyway, but even for an artist like her, the whole thing just felt very different, and recording vocals became a real joy.
We ended up recording all her vocals for the album using VST Connect. At her end she’s got a very nice vocal recording “station” set up, with a small computer, a wonderful U47 microphone and the fine Manley Voxbox as preamp. We sorted out all the gain staging once at the beginning, so that all the levels are set up properly and her headphones have the right volume. Now all I have to do is call up my remote recording template, set the instrumental track to about -10 dB, and that’s it. For her, it's even simpler — she just enters the access code, puts her headphones on and here we go. And each and every time, we still have a grin on our faces when experiencing this surreal, science fiction-like situation of hearing each other in “studio quality” while really sitting at opposite ends of the country.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest advantage of VST Connect?
I've got to say that I think VST Connect is the most revolutionary and biggest new feature in, say, the last ten years. We producer nerds often tend to think about new features in terms of better workflow, fancy new functions for this or that musical aspect, that kind of thing. But VST Connect offers you a fundamental kind of improvement that goes beyond the studio realm; simply put, I have much more time now for my kids. To get something as abstract as a feature in a DAW to have that kind of effect on ones private life, that's quite an astonishing archievement. I can’t think of anything comparable.