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MPG Mix Engineer of The Year Manon Grandjean About NOVA

16 May 2024
Case Studies

Manon Grandjean is a French award-winning mixing & mastering engineer based in London.

In the past 10 years, she has been involved in 6 UK number 1s and 17 top 10s, working with a wide range of international artists like pop star Ed Sheeran, indie band London Grammar, UK rappers Stormzy or singer-songwriter Birdy. In 2022, she was awarded "MPG Mix Engineer of The Year".

We interviewed Manon at The Qube recording studios in London where she uses Trinnov NOVA as a processor.

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I was classically trained on guitar, harp and piano when I was a kid. I also love science and have quite a scientific background, with a physics degree, so I wanted to marry music and physics together. I really do love mixing and finishing records. I'm also mastering either things that I've mixed or mixes from other mixers.

So this is my room here at The Qube studios in London, and I've been here since 2020.

Getting the low-end right

What challenges did you face before NOVA came in the room?

Obviously, when mixing, monitoring is crucial. Good monitoring is crucial because you have to be able to make decisions, accurate decisions, and make sure that what you're doing in here translate everywhere else.

When I've moved into this room, obviously there's going to be reflections and sound bouncing off in any room. So I just looked at what improvement I could make. There was some issues around 80 hertz and in the low-end, which needed to be addressed and controlled a little bit better. I wanted to be sure that I'm not boosting or cutting things that actually, when I'm taking that home or in the car, it just sounds weird.

The standard for Room correction

What was your introduction to Trinnov like?

A couple of engineers across the corridor had a Trinnov, so we were talking about it and they were raving about it. So that's how I got to know what the Trinnov does. I think in the recent few years, more and more people are talking about it. It's known as the standard for room correction.

A "Set & forget" solution

Has it influenced your workflow?

The main thing is the center. When the Trinnov is not on, the center just disappears and it's just in the back, a bit undefined.

The NOVA just brought that center right back. It doesn't feel like I do have the screen, it's just really so present. I don't see how else you're going to get that precision and that result and that correction. You have to get used to it and just know what the issues are and just compensate it by yourself, but that's tricky.

What I like is that it's set and forget, and I don't hear it or think about it anymore. And that's exactly what I want because you can't have to constantly worry about something when you're mixing or doing revisions in your workflow. Everything has to be transparent and work seamlessly. And you can hear it when you just bypass it in and out, the difference that it makes. You're like: "Oh my God, this is what I was listening to before!".

Simplified mixing/mastering decisions

I instantly jumped on it and it's been in my studio ever since. It's just faster for me now to make decisions on the mixes or on the masters. Before, I could get there, but there was a lot of checking and referencing on other systems. It's just so hard to make decisions when you don't know what you're hearing and you end up spending maybe a week on the mix, which is not what you want to do.

Now I know that if it sounds good in here, I still reference, obviously, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be consistent, and I'm not going to have any surprises when I come out of this room. 

A lot of great records have been made historically with rooms that were probably less than ideal. And you get really used to your room. I did get used to how it sounded before, but it's such a precision, especially mastering. You have to be so precise.

Nowadays, the turnover of mixes has to be quick, and you have to be able to switch between sessions almost instantly to recall a mix and send a revision and work on another mix. I know some people would say, I don't want any DSP in my workflow and stuff, but I'm not. It's whatever works for me is what I'm going with. I try to not get influenced by how things used to be because we're in a different era now of how we make records.

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