New York, USA – Juan Cristobal Losada is an accomplished songwriter, engineer, mixer, and producer, with two Grammy wins, multiple nominations, and a string of top-selling collaborations and credits including Shakira, Santana, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, and Plácido Domingo. He has a Latin Grammy award for his work on the Best Traditional Tropical Album To Beny Moré With Love by Jon Secada, featuring the Charlie Sepúlveda Big Band, and he has an American Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album category for Luis Enrique’s Ciclos.
My creative process involves many different stages, intertwined. That’s why the flexibility I have now is amazing.Juan Cristobal Losada
Losada has recently moved from his own Studio Sonic Projects studio at peermusic in Miami, to New York – setting up his own Sonic Room facility in peermusic’s New York office. He has also accepted a position as Adjunct Professor in Music Technology and Music Business, and Producer in Residence for the music business program at the NYU Steinhardt School. For his New York facility, Losada needed a powerful console with a modest footprint, so he chose the SSL AWS 948 δelta SuperAnalogueTM Hybrid console – a 48-channel console in a 24-channel frame that incorporates sophisticated DAW control.
Off to New York
“I love Miami, and I still have a lot of work there,” says Losada. “But I wanted to explore other things – to expand. My affiliation with peermusic was an important aspect of that move.”
Losada’s relationship with peermusic, the largest independent music publisher in the world, allows him to continue with his own creative pursuits, while working with peermusic as their in-house engineer. “It was one of the first publishers to have its own full-on, in-house studio – a very attractive proposition for prospective songwriters.”
Losada mixed the peermusic production, To Beny More With Love by Jon Secada, which won a Latin Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Album.
The New Ferrari
Before New York and the new AWS console, Losada had spent ten years on his own SSL 4000 console. “I loved the sound of that console, but I feel like it was stuck in that sound. On this console the clarity and transparency gives me options. I can get the crunchy sound by going harder on the gain controls and on the EQ, or I can choose a clean, transparent path that doesn’t add anything.
The background vocals can be up to 16 channels of Pro Tools premixed and then sent out to a stereo channel in the AWS 948. As I’m EQing that, I might need to switch and rebalance the pre-mix, and come straight back again. The AWS makes that easy, and fast.Juan Cristobal Losada
“It’s like comparing a 1986 Ferrari to a 2018 Ferrari. They’re both great, they’re both Ferraris, but the 1986 one is a collectable; the new one has GPS, Bluetooth, new leather seats, an auto-shift gear box, and it doesn’t rattle… This console is my new Ferrari.”
Losada characterises his new set-up as a “truly hybrid system.” He mixes analogue channels and DAW control, along with a flexible mixture of dual path channel modes – stereo or inline, depending on the input: “I have my drums separated across eight or ten analogue channels, then I have bass and lead vocal, and then I go to stereo channels for stems from BGs, keyboards, percussion, and so on – and the print bus.
“I’m also sending the aux sends on the board back to Pro Tools and my UAD plug-ins, using Pro Tools as an FX processor, as well as the main DAW.”
Having instant access to DAW control across the faders, also means Losada can drill down into stem mixes without any down-time. “The background vocals can be up to 16 channels of Pro Tools premixed and then sent out to a stereo channel in the AWS 948. As I’m EQing that, I might need to switch and rebalance the pre-mix, and come straight back again. The AWS makes that easy, and fast.”
Losada is by no means alone in having both a hybrid approach to technology, and a hybrid approach to song writing and production. He sees the AWS as a core creative junction that not only facilitates a range of analogue paths, but brings more choice and more freedom. “My creative process involves many different stages, intertwined. That’s why the flexibility I have now is amazing.”
The Latin Influence
Losada is confident his move to New York will be a fruitful one, and he certainly seems to have got the timing right: “Latin music has become very influential in the general market over the last few years,” he notes. “…Helped by songs like Despacito, which has broken all YouTube records… I didn’t think of it before the move, but as soon as I got here my phone started ringing. People in New York want a Latin influence in their music and there aren’t many Latin producers in the city – at least with the background and experience that I have.”