Scott Donnell: This project is only the beginning
Scott Donnell is Vice President of Marketing for Drum Workshop’s umbrella of brands which includes DW Drums, Gretsch Drums, Latin Percussion, Ovation Guitars and many others. As an industry veteran, he’s worked for some of the most iconic brands in the percussion industry, also including Remo and Vic Firth.
As a former professional drummer he was signed to multiple major label record deals, has recorded and composed for feature films, television shows and continues to make music whenever possible. And he is also one of the men who stood behind the creation of DW Drum Enhancer.
How did the companies meet in the first place?
Chris Denogean is our trusty Audio Engineer. Not only does he record and engineer most everything we do on the DW content side, he’s also been with Drum Channel for years, and recorded some of the best drummers on the planet. He’s acutely aware of what it takes to create a drum-friendly signal path and capture the right sound for every musical situation. Although we’re fortunate to have a host of outboard gear at our studio, he also works inside the box in many instances. He discovered Audified’s U73b Compressor and was very happy with the results. In reaching out to the company, talks began about how we could potentially work together. After Much discussion, we settle on the idea of a user-friendly channel strip for drummers.
Where does the idea for the plug-in come from?
These days, so many drummers have to assume the role of multi-instrumentalist, engineer, record label, PR team, etc., just to get their music heard. With the advent of high-quality home digital recording, a large percentage of the drummers we work with, now have the ability to help realize their own drum sounds. Even though they may have been working in recording studios for years, they may not be experts when it comes to compressions ratios, EQ settings around the kit, or even getting the right sound out of a particular type of kit. We thought it would be beneficial to have presets that would remove all of the guess-work.
What made DW believe Audified would be the right company to do the job?
After being introduced to Audified and testing some of their most popular products, we thought the company had the right combination of thought-out execution and innovation. They really did some fun things, MixChecker for example. Plus, they had already co-branded the Gallien-Krueger modeler. We thought the marriage would be perfect.
What would you say is the most exciting about the project?
It’s exciting because it’s completely outside of our wheelhouse. We are a very analog company at the moment, but we have a few surprises just around the corner. This is the first of many DWe or DW Electronics offerings to come. Projects like this allow us to cross over to other musicians and find a home in cutting-edge studio environments. Our company is predicated on solving problems for drummers, and this is still very much in keeping with that philosophy.
Were any of the DW artists involved in the project?
We gave the beta version to guys like Curt Bisquera, Brain, Blair Sinta and Thomas Lang; drummers that do home sessions on a regular basis, and would benefit from this plug-in. The response was a resounding YES! They were very impressed by the ease of use and audiophile sound quality. At DW, we’ve always been keen on “road testing” everything we make. It’s the real world experience that leads to product improvement and new ideas. We’re excited to get feedback from drummers and recording enthusiasts as this product starts to make its way into DAWs all over the world.
Talk about the design process. What was DW’s role?
Audified is well-versed in creating these plug-ins, so we didn’t want to pretend to be software engineers. Our strength is knowing what drummers want and translating that into a product that’s not over engineered and is easy to use; something that makes the music-making more fruitful. We gave them a list of ideas and they ran with it. Before we knew it, we were working on presets and had already established a way to maximize workflow. We think it’s a very elegant design that’s based on our DW MFG machined pedals. There’s something about anodized aluminum that looks right on a faceplate. Audified decided to play on the idea of our perforated and footboard and added the glowing tubes to make it appear analog; a really nice touch.
Is there anything planned for the future between the brands?
This project is only the beginning. There’s so much we can do, but again, the world will have to wait and see where we go with DWe. But they won’t have to wait long!