Patrick Leonard's resume fills page after page. In small print! Small print that includes names like Madonna, Elton John, Jewel, Enrique Iglesias, Bryan Adams, Jody Watley, the Black Crowes, k.d. lang and . . . well, we'd better stop there, or we'll fill this page simply reprinting the list. The scary part is, the resume is divided into two sections: artists Leonard has produced and those he's written songs for. Both sections are equally impressive.
These days, Leonard's dual talents are united by one piece of gear: the Yamaha O2R Digital Recording Console. "I use O2Rs in my MIDI/digital audio rig, where I do my writing and sequencing," he says. "Later I transfer everything through the O2Rs to whatever format we're using for the project. Tracks usually travel back and forth a lot throughout the process. Any and all records I've made in the last three years have come through my two O2Rs, including Madonna's Ray of Light, Jewel's Spirit, and Elton John's Road to El Dorado."
Leonard is so enamored of the consoles' on-board EQ, dynamic processing, and effects that he generally turns to outboard gear only for "really over-the-top" effects. "I like the O2R EQ a lot," he says. "It's good and severe. The compression is also as severe as I'd ever want. It's great on the effects and I always have it on the two-mix."
There are several items on Leonard's O2R wish list: He says he'd prefer if the motorized faders were a touch quieter in automation mode and he wouldn't mind if certain effects parameters ran a bit deeper. But he's enthusiastic enough that he plans to incorporate a third O2R into his system. "It's great the way you can hook them together," he adds.
"Because the O2Rs are my main consoles in the initial stage of a project," says Leonard, "the conveniences they offer make my work more seamless overall. I like how the O2Rs give me the ability to monitor my Pro Tools system along with my MIDI gear. I like how they let me save presets with effects included. I like how they give me 48 tracks per board. In fact, everything I do, they make easier."