Recording and mixing

Coming from a family with a strong musical background, stepping into music was a ‘no-brainer’ for Clay Krasner. His passion for music was recognized early and encouraged by his father – a musician and a choir director for both school and church. Starting with piano lessons, Clay eventually discovered the guitar and, later on, the bass – which turned out to form his career.

Now, a professional bass player and producer based in Nashville, Clay is engaged in several areas of music creation. He is often on the road with multi-platinum country artist Terri Clark. When back in Music City, Clay plays on different sessions around town and provides bass tracks for songwriters, producers, and publishers through his service called “Nashville Bass Tracks”. In addition, together with his wife RyLee Madison – an award-winning Canadian singer and songwriter – Clay runs a small production company called 7-17 Music.

Clay Krasner with Amphion studio monitors

“I believe it was Duke Ellington who said, ‘There are two kinds of music: good and bad.’ I know it sounds cliche, but ultimately I just love good music no matter what style it is,” says Clay.

For him, Nashville is a source of inspiration. Although the city is historically centered around country music, Clay still finds a variety of styles there. “One of the great things about country music today is that it draws influences from a lot of other genres, be it Rock, Pop, R&B, Folk – all genres I love,” says Clay. Another aspect he appreciates about Nashville is that it is full of world class players with fabulous music pedigrees and interesting artistic ideas. “The collaborative element is super strong in Nashville, so while I come to each session with my own ideas, I rely heavily on each musician’s experience and expertise to help bring our artists’ songs and our vision to life,” shares Clay. 

Clay’s home studio is fairly compact and his set up is pretty simple and straightforward. His space is used primarily for pre-production and editing, with the occasional vocal and/or instrument overdub. According to Clay, the monitoring is “of the utmost importance”.  “When you’re auditioning tracks and paying attention to all the subtleties and nuances, you need to be able to trust your speakers, that they are delivering an honest representation of what has been recorded,” says Clay and adds,

“Likewise when I’m recording a bass track, I rely on my monitors to represent my sound clearly and honestly. Your tone affects the way you play and as a bass player the One15’s make me feel good about everything I’m doing on the instrument.”

“If I’m tracking a vocal or an instrument overdub, I will use a good mic running thru my Teegarden Audio Magic Pre (a mic pre built by Bret Teegarden, a veteran engineer/producer here in Nashville),” shares Clay and continues: “For vocals here, I’ve most recently used an SM7, Miktek C7 and the Aston Origin. When I’m tracking bass, my signal chain is typically a Creation Audio Labs “Grizzly Bass” pedal, a Fatboy Tube DI (also made by Bret Teegarden), the the Magic Pre, sometimes an old Aguilar DB924 preamp, and a Chandler Limited RS124 Compressor.” From there the signal runs through his Apogee Duet and a pair of Amphion One15 studio monitors. “This space isn’t very big and I sit directly in front of my desk, whether I am engineering, auditioning tracks, editing, or recording bass,” says Clay — “ so right now the One15’s are the perfect size for where I am and what I’m doing.”

Clay heard of Amphion studio monitors from his good friend Shayne Hill, a musician/engineer and the lead guitarist for Sawyer Brown. The interesting aspect was that Shayne had never heard Amphions before, but had read about them and had told Clay they were worth checking into. “So, I had my budget and I went to a local dealer to check out all the powered monitors they had but nothing was exciting to me,” remembers Clay. “They all lost me with what felt and sounded like either a false sense of highs and uncomfortable sibilance, hyped midrange, unnatural bottom end, or all of the above.” Stepping out of that room into the main studio demo space he noticed a pair of Amphions.

“I played some music through them and was instantly floored at the overall clarity and evenness across the frequency spectrum! They sounded so clean and honest that I knew I had to get a pair right away,” says Clay.

Clay’s producer’s point-of-view is not much different from any other producer using Amphion studio monitors: “I feel my Amphions translate everything with incredible clarity and transparency so nothing slips by as I’m auditioning tracks and editing files. I don’t want to miss anything before I send a session to my mix engineer. With these speakers, I feel like what I’m hearing is exactly what’s there.” What is really more exciting is how, as a bass player, Clay feels about the small 5.25” mid/woofer speakers.

“From my perspective as a bass player, and one who is cutting a lot of bass tracks in my home studio, the Amphions are fantastic! The bass response on these monitors is really great so I use them constantly, whether I am doing a bass track for a project we are producing, or for another client, or even if I’m just practicing or learning tunes for a gig,” shares Clay.

“The speakers in the One15’s aren’t exactly huge but the sound is incredibly tight and pure and they really pack a nice, quality punch. I’m incredibly pleased with the tone and sound of my Amphions and I love working on them,” he adds. According to Clay, the key attribute of Amphion speakers is their “honesty”.

“I work with a good deal of confidence as I can hear every detail and nuance in the tracks. They are just amazingly pleasing and beautiful sounding across the frequency spectrum. The low end feels great, the mid-range is smooth and clear, and the highs feel natural and not hyped.”

Another huge benefit for Clay is the lack of ear fatigue. “Because of my tour schedule, sometimes I’m forced to spend some extra long, focused days in the studio in order to be able to finish a project and it’s good to know that my ears won’t be worn out from the extended hours of listening,” adds Clay.

Recently, Clay and his wife co-produced some songs for a couple Indie Canadian country artists – Ben Klick and Stephanie Rose. The bass tracks were, naturally, played by Clay. He also played bass on a few tunes on “Shape And Sound” – the latest record by Toronto-based songwriter/artist Luke Nicholson. More new tracks for Ben Klick and Stephanie Rose, as well as some new music for Clay’s wife, RyLee Madison, are on his to-do list right after the busy summer touring.