From making beats and playing in bands, to stints as a runner and assistant at Paramount Recording, to full‑fledged engineer status with some of the biggest names in hip-hop —Tyler the Creator, Solange, Mac Miller, and Frank Ocean — producer/engineer Vic Wainstein has risen through the ranks by sheer determination andself‑application.On Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy‑winning album, Igor, Wainstein dug deep into his bag of tricks to fulfill Tyler’s vision. Here, learn how Wainstein leaned on UAD plug‑ins and Apollo interfaces to bring the album tofruition.

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Everything I work on ends up in Pro Tools. But Tyler’s a Logic Pro guy, so the creative process starts there. We did all our production in that environment, then imported the tracks to Pro Tools. With Mac Miller, for example, we would start in Ableton. So I’ve had to acclimate myself to different artist’s workflow, and as a result, I’m pretty fluent in multipleDAWs.At this point, I’ve got a potent three-point attack any time I need to step into a room with a new artist. “You know Ableton Live?” Gotcha. “Logic?” Gotcha. “You good with Pro Tools?” I gotcha there, too. I’d recommend any engineer try to familiarize themselves with more than one DAW. It’s certainly helpedme.

"There are no guidelines anymore. The only good new rap music is the stuff that’s pushing theenvelope."

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Any secret weapons for drum or mix buses?

The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor came in handy a number of times. I could put that thing on everything, but I especially like it on the mix bus while I work. I pop it in and out often, so I know how things change when they hit it, but you have to be aware of what it’s doing because there are so many parameters. You don’t want to find out after you’ve tracked a bunch of stuff, that you weren’t really hearing the sourceaccurately.I also like the SSL G‑Master Buss Compressor on the mix bus. The SSL boards are the first recording desks that I really got familiar with. Paramount had every SSL except for the K series, so I learned on the SSL E‑Series, J‑Series, and the G‑Plus. At the end of a recording day, having to sum stuff together, I got used to having that iconic SSL Quad Compressor ondeck.