Tag Archives: freelance audio engineer

Episode 51 Barak Shpiez

Happy New Year to you all!

Today I’m pleased to welcome audio engineer and composer Barak Shpiez into the Sonic Garage!

Having received his Bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music and Master’s degree in composition from Duquesne University, Barak moved to Los Angeles, California and has been in demand for his technical and musical composition skills ever since.

A true audiophile, Barak constantly seeks to satisfy both his technical side as well as his musical side, and loves the interplay of each in his life and career.

Barak has over 5 years of experience as an electrical engineer and enjoys playing a part in developing, supporting and testing audio IP for professional and consumer markets.

Barak’s love for all kinds of musical styles and genres lends greatly to his ability to work on a wide variety of projects.  His music has been prominently featured on television channels such as MTV, The History Channel, E!, Bravo and many more.  Barak has also had the pleasure of working as a composer for independent films and this is something he hopes to do much more of in the future.

I hope you enjoy Barak’s interview and please feel free to leave any questions or comments about this week’s episode below.  Thanks for listening!

Barak Shpiez on Linked In

Spearhead Audio

Inheritance – The Film

Episode 50 Geoff Gray, Part 3

This week I continue my conversation with head engineer and owner of Far and Away Studios in Boulder, Colorado, Geoff Gray!

In this installment, Geoff talks about his ultimate pieces of gear, must-have gems that he uses regularly and would not want to be without.  Geoff gives us some insight into how he likes to use these favorites and reveals a studio trick or two in the process!

A couple of weeks ago, the Sonic Garage team (Troy and Nichole), took a nice drive from Lakewood, Colorado up to Boulder, Colorado to meet Geoff in person and tour Far and Away Studios.  Geoff graciously spent an entire afternoon playing us some great music recorded and mixed at his studio and gave us a detailed run-down of all of his gear!  It was a very fun day and we learned a lot as well!  I’ll be sharing some photos we took that day on the Sonic Garage Facebook page this week, so stop by and check them out!

Thanks for listening and please leave any questions or comments about this episode below!

Far and Away Studios

Episode 49 Jeremy Thomas, Part 2

Today I’m happy to be welcoming seasoned drummer and audio engineer Jeremy Thomas back onto the show!

For new listeners, Jeremy, also known as Big Jerm, is the owner and founder of Music Mania Enterprises in Burlington, North Carolina where he stays very busy recording, producing and developing new and talented artists.  In addition to his recording and mixing work, he is a drummer for Matt Boswell, Jonny Alright and the Hot Rod Mamas and his latest drumming and producing project has him working with the super talented new artist Jason Springs, whom we will be discussing in today’s interview!

Not only does Jeremy love playing drums, he also loves teaching drums and has taught over 18,000 lessons since 1998!  He believes in the power of drumming for peace of mind, body and spirit and he has a great number of long-time students who have experienced amazingly positive changes in their lives after undertaking regular drum practice.

When we last heard from Jeremy, he was going through quite a bit of upheaval and in the year since I last spoke with him, he has made great strides both personally and professionally and I think his perseverance in his own life can inspire us all to continue to follow our dreams, no matter what stands in our way!

I hope you enjoy Jeremy’s interview!  Thanks for listening and Happy Holidays!

Jeremy Thomas on Facebook

Episode 47 Geoff Gray, Part 2

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This week I am continuing my conversation with head engineer and owner of Far and Away Studios in Boulder, Colorado, Geoff Gray!

In this installment, Geoff takes us through how he became inspired to create Far and Away Studios and how his studio has evolved over the years, including being relocated from Goshen, New York to Boulder Colorado.  Geoff also talks about a couple of legendary studios that are dear to him that definitely influenced many of the special features of his studio.

We also get an overview of Geoff’s unique hybrid recording setup and the methodology behind how he set it up and why he likes it so much.  A lot can be learned by understanding exactly what prompted Geoff to make such drastic changes to how he approaches the recording process.  There is certainly a lot more to it than just longing for the “good ol’ days” when all that was available was analog recording.  For over a decade now, Geoff has been refining his hybrid process and although it’s second nature to him, it might not be to everyone.  It certainly takes a seasoned professional with decades of experience to truly comprehend the benefits of a true analog/digital hybrid system but I think engineers of all ages and skill levels could benefit from understanding how Geoff works his magic at Far and Away.

Geoff told me that the only thing he loves more than being in the studio recording is talking about recording and I want to thank him once again for taking a bit of time away from the studio to speak with me and to allow all of you listening to benefit from his many years of experience.  There will be more coming from Geoff in future weeks, so stay tuned for that!

In this episode, Geoff mentions Airshow Mastering, which as most of you are probably aware, is a world-class mastering facility located in Boulder, Colorado.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Airshow founder and mastering wizard David Glasser earlier this year, so if you haven’t heard that episode yet, be sure to check it out!  Another special guest from a past episode, Jeffrey Norman was also mentioned by Geoff, as Jeffrey works closely with David Glasser in remastering the Grateful Dead catalog and can occasionally be spotted at Airshow.  And lastly, Plangent came up in our conversation as well, so if you’re unfamiliar with the fascinating and incredible Plangent Process, be sure to look into it and also listen to my interview with Plangent creator, Jamie Howarth where he tells us the backstory of how he came up with the idea for Plangent.

Thanks once again for listening and supporting the show!

Far and Away Studios

Episode 46 F. Reid Shippen

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I am very pleased to welcome F. Reid Shippen onto the show this week!

Making his home in the legendary music city of Nashville, Tennessee, Reid has established himself as one of music’s preeminent and most talented mixers.  Not everybody can be as successful as Reid has been across numerous musical genres, but he finds working with radically different kinds of music and artists to be quite exhilarating and he loves the challenge that each new project brings.

Reid’s enthusiasm and passion for his craft has led him to mix a myriad of platinum and gold records, a large multitude of charting singles and albums and if that’s not enough, he’s proud to have mixed 10 Grammy-winning projects to date as well!

As you might expect from someone of his caliber, Reid stays consistently busy mixing from his own personal SSL hybrid studio, uniquely named Robot Lemon, so this is where he spends a  great majority of his working hours.  As a father of two, Reid values the quality time he gets to spend with his family, but when he does have a lighter mix schedule, he loves to produce, co-produce and develop gifted new artists as well!

I found my conversation with Reid to be quite inspirational, so I really hope you enjoy Reid’s interview and the opportunity to get a glimpse inside the mind of a guy who is absolutely killing it right now!

Thanks everybody for listening!

The Website of F. Reid Shippen

Robot Lemon

Episode 44 Ryan Tucker

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Joining me on the show this week is audio engineer and music and audio product development expert Ryan Tucker!

Since graduating from Berklee’s Music Production and Engineering program Ryan has had the opportunity to work in a variety of different areas within the music industry.  He has gained a vast amount of knowledge in music production, post production sound, studio technical, and product development. This knowledge has granted Ryan a wide range of experience from advanced music mixing and production techniques, recording studio setup, editing, and sound for TV and film, to computer software/hardware quality assurance for product development.

MUSIC PRODUCTION
Through his home-based TuckerMix, Ryan provides customized music mixing services and technical support to independent artists, producers, studios, and labels online as well as in the Los Angeles area. Notable clients include: Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars, the hit TV show “The Bachelorette”, (the band Chicago), Henson Recording Studios (A&M), and Imperative Records (Immediate Music). TuckerMix was designed to help independent artists, musicians, and composers bridge the technology gap, allowing any project to reap the full benefits of the most advanced audio production tools and techniques available today.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
In addition to mixing music, Ryan also helps some of the most innovative companies in the world create software and hardware tools for music creators. Ryan has served various music / audio companies in software and hardware quality assurance, product design, user experience, artist support, and technical support. Of the more then two dozen companies serviced a few notable companies include: Universal Audio, Line 6, DTS (Digital Theater Systems), Sound Machine, Artiphon Inc, Blue Microphones, AEA, CB Electronics, Minnetonka, Propellerhead, X2 Wireless, Sonoma Wire Works and more!

Ryan lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife April Tucker whom I had the pleasure of interviewing a few months back.  Ryan & April are also expecting the birth of their first child!

TuckerMix

Episode 41 Billy Perez

Billy Perez at IIWII

This week I am very happy to have Billy Perez from IIWII in Weehawken, New Jersey!

Billy is an audio engineer, studio manager, and systems technician.  Although relatively new to the industry, Billy has had experience in recording, engineering, and audio production from an early age.  Billy’s career as a recording engineer has involved him working with such artists as: Will Calhoun, Dolores O’Riordan, St Vincent, Christian McBride, The Rolling Stones, Anderson East, Tony Trischka, John Batiste, and others as well as many indie artists. As a studio manager and technical liaison of the prominent sound stage at SST Billy has worked with dozens of major artists including Black Sabbath, John Mayer, Jeff Beck, The Kills, The War on Drugs, Rachel Platten, Edward Sharpe and many more.

Billy is well known for his work in the restoration of a rare Focusrite studio console which was destroyed by a flood along with the studio that housed it.  The restoration involved pairing two custom built studio consoles out of the necessity for difficult or impossible to find parts. The story behind the work that was done has been featured in Focusrite’s popular  documentary released in 2014.

Within his professional career, Billy has had the opportunity to be involved with building four unique recording studios and aiding in the design of one.

When not in the studio, Billy enjoys exploring modular synthesis and hanging out with Heather and their two cats Lupe and White Baby.

I was introduced to Billy by Sam Berkow, whom I spoke with in episode 16, and who has also introduced me to David Morgan and Bruce Botnick.  Thanks again Sam!

I hope you enjoy Billy’s interview, and thanks to everyone who has been listening to and spreading the word about the Sonic Garage!  Have a fun and inspirational week!

IIWII Sound

Episode 39 Ross Hogarth

Ross Hogarth Photo

My guest on the show this week is Grammy Award winning producer, engineer, and mixer, Ross Hogarth!

Ross’s path to success has been a long and fruitful one.  As a teenage musician, Ross was fortunate enough to be able to witness and be a part of the golden age of punk rock in 1970’s New York City, which ultimately inspired him  to move to California, where he was able to make important connections which lead to him touring as a very successful live sound engineer with some of the biggest musical acts of the 70’s.

During his time as a live sound engineer, Ross not only acquired many new skills that would further his career, but also fully developed skills that were first instilled in him as a child, like the importance of service and learning what makes creative people tick.

Once Ross was given the opportunity to make the move into the recording studio, he knew he was just where he was meant to be.  Through hard work and determination, Ross worked non-stop through most of the 80’s, and in 1986, he founded his own production company, Hoax Productions, and to this day he is still doing what he set out to do when he started his company:   Promote and produce top name talent as well as discover and nurture the new and promising superstars of tomorrow.

Thanks again to all of you out there listening to and supporting the Sonic Garage podcast!

If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment to subscribe to the show via iTunes or Stitcher and please leave a rating and a review as well, I would really appreciate it!

Have a great week, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, comments, or feedback about the show, I always look forward to hearing from you!

Hoax Productions

Episode 38 Hillary Johnson

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Joining me as my special guest on the show this week is producer and audio engineer Hillary Johnson, from New York, New York.

Hillary has been actively recording since the early 90’s, and above everything else, she relishes every opportunity she gets to be in the studio doing what she loves most: making records with talented musicians.

Over the course of her career, Hillary has broadened her skills immensely and puts just as much emphasis on having great people skills as having great audio engineering chops.  These days, Hillary does just about everything as it relates to working in the music industry, from engineering, producing, and mastering,  to live sound, and even working as a tech.  If that wasn’t enough, Hillary is also a talented web and graphic designer, and has created some very nice websites for artists, bands, and even recording studios.  And if you’re in the New York City area, you might even catch Hillary DJ’ing someplace!

After speaking with Hillary, it’s apparent how passionate she is about what she does and I hope she gets to continue making records with bands she loves for many more years to come!

Thanks again to everybody who has been listening to and spreading the word about the show, I appreciate it very much!

Please enjoy Hillary’s interview, and have a great week!

The Website of Hi-Fi Hillary Johnson

Episode 36 John Haeny, Part 2

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Greetings everybody!  I’m happy to be presenting part 2 of my continued conversation with internationally acclaimed engineer, producer, and mixer John Haeny this week.

When John mentioned that he wanted our next segment to be about why “the good ole days, were not the good ole days”, I thought what a great topic of discussion!  And who better than John to have that conversation with?  Having started his career in the late 50’s, John has witnessed every major technological advancement that has occurred in music recording and production over the last 50 plus years, and he’s a true pioneer and expert on all things audio, that’s for sure!

Before we started our discussion, John recounted the time in his childhood when, after much hassle on his part, his mother bought him his very first record player, grey and pink as John remembers it, and with that his lifelong obsession with music started in earnest.  Working under the belief that more was better, John started finding shoeboxes and old car speakers, and each time he collected a new speaker, he would hot-wire it into his hi-fi.  John told me he must have had at least 15 speakers set up in his bedroom at one point!

Eventually, John’s parents bought him a tape machine, and almost immediately, John could be found in his closet for hours at a time, with a microphone taped to a music stand, reading things into his tape recorder.  This is how he learned how to best record his own voice, and planted the seed for his future career as an in-demand audio engineer!

John’s countless hours of experimentation and studying paid off when he got his first job at United and Western under Bill Putnam.  Bill has been described as “the father of modern recording”, and he had a test that he would give all of his engineers to see if they were on top of their game in terms of knowledge, types of microphones, patterns of microphones, etc.  In his early 20’s at the time, John knocked out all of the big engineers working for Bill at the time in terms of his grade on the test.

John attributes this to everything he did back home as a teenager back in Minnesota.  For many years, John would collect every audio related article he could find – read and study all of the technical information contain within, and study all of the pictures, absorb microphone placements, and memorize any other information he could pick out.

To this day John has a photographic memory for studio setups.  On countless occasions, John has walked into a studio, rather innocently wandered around from one end to the other, and then sat down with pencil and paper and drawn out the setup he saw, including what kinds of microphones, and which way the microphones should be pointing, etc.

John truly believes that his early obsession with learning everything he possibly could about audio engineering, microphones, and mic placements, and his endless hours in his room playing with his hi-fi and tape machine gave him a leg up on everyone else and is a big part of why he went on to have the amazing career he is having.

John continues to be very passionate about music, and working with talented artists to bring their creative vision to fruition.  After decades of honing his skills as an engineer and producer, John feels he is better now than he’s ever been and he is always open to taking on new engineering, recording, and mixing projects.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to John at his website to find out more about the possibility of working with him on your next project!

As always, I want to give a big thank you to everyone for listening and for supporting the show!  I really appreciate it!

The Website of John Haeny