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Chris Stein is a music producer and owner of Capital Hits Recording Studio in Albany, NY who has recorded artists all over the United States. Since interning at a studio at the age of 15 and working in studios across the country, Chris has been involved in recordings across genres. While he does work in Hip Hop, R&B, Gospel, and Pop, Chris' true specialty is in pop punk and modern rock.
Chris is known for making the studio a creative space while capturing the artist's vision. Chris blends his early experience in analog recording with the advancement of digital technology to create a unique and diverse sound. Never one to rush a project, the studio is always a place to explore and experiment with your sound. Chris tries to get the best performances out of musicians when tracking and helps refine arrangements when producing.
He has worked with The Legendary Soul Stirrers of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Comcast, Ford, PBS, Tavis Smiley, and Lionsgate films. Chris started in the industry to provide high quality and affordable recording and production for independent artists and his true passion remains working with new and developing bands.
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2 ReviewsEndorse Chris Stein
After working with Chris Stein on various projects I will simply say he does not disappoint.
From getting that right sound for your instrument, to mixing your band to perfection, to helping move your ideas forward Chris will help you achieve that next level of perfection. He goes out of his way to communicate ideas, present you with options on how to move forward, and lets you make the decisions that help your music sound better.
I would recommend Chris to any musician or band that is looking to take that next step towards getting that music perfection we all strive to achieve.
Wow! Chris is by far the best mixing engineer that our band has ever used and is amongst the highest level of professionalism I have ever seen.
Chris not only has an expertise knowledge on sound, but is so amazing at what he does. His wide diversity of genre makes him an exceptional assest for all types of bands and musicians. Chris is an absolutely amazing communicator and was always exceeding our expectations with his quick updates, responses, and mixes.
I highly recommend any musician that wants the highest quality of results to use Chris for his mixing, producing, & all abilities.
Interview with Chris Stein
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm writing a new album for myself. After engineering so long I lost a lot of my own creativity- I spent it all making others sound great. Now I've stepped back and hired a different person to engineer so that I can just be a performer again- it is so cool! I know so much more about the recording process that I am really able to communicate what I want out of a producer as an artist that I just didn't know before. It is a lot of fun. I'm also traveling to cool studios across the USA to do the record and it is so much fun to play in these great studios. I don't want to do any engineering on it and just perform. That is the best part of hiring a professional to record you- they focus on engineering and you focus on being creative, expressive, and emotional. The project has been on hold since COVID, but I can't wait to finish the album!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Tim Leitner. The guy is awesome. He's one of the best people to work with in the world.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing bass when I was 8 years old and thought it was boring so I picked up guitar (funny because I love bass so much more now). I then played guitar in bands and eventually started singing back up vocals. Somehow I became the lead singer on a few projects. At 14 I interned at Roxy Studios and learned to record. I picked up a 4-track and cut local bands with that before moving to ADAT and finally pro tools.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Get Up Kids meets New Found Glory, with some Smashing Pumpkins and Pink Floyd flavors.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First, I need to understand their vision for the energy and emotion of a song. I want to know if they have a very specific sound in mind or if they need added creativity in the mix. I need to know their release timelines and we need to set up a way to communicate effectively during the process. When I get your tracks, I load all the stems into a Pro Tools session. I listen to each track and relabel them. I then look at ways to comp tracks into buses or stereo tracks. Typically there are many tracks of instruments that can be combined prior to processing. One that is complete, I route everything though the patchbay. At this point I will search for any edits that were not complete before I received the tracks. Vocals and instruments are checked for tuning and phase issues. Tracks are also checked and processed for clipping or other issues. I do this in the morning and then break to work on something else or rest my ears. Now we are ready to mix! I make sure all of the instrument tones are right for the song and create enough space for each part. I apply various techniques like equalization, hi and low pass filtering, compression, modulation, delays, and reverbs. I run your sounds through either analog or virtual processors until the tones and performances are just right. If I think extra sounds, instruments, or samples are needed I will add them or request that the artist sends me a new track. I then run through a few passes of automation on volume, effects, and panning. Then I do the rough mixdown and listen on various speakers. I then send the mix out for review to the artist.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: MICROPHONE PREAMPS Single Channel: API 512c (x2) BAE 1073 MPL (x2) Chandler Limited TG-2 (x2) Retro Instruments 500PRE (x2) Vintech 573 (x2) Vintech X73i (x4) Four Channel: API 3124+ Vintech 473 EQUALIZERS CAPI BT-50 (x2) SSL 611e Klark-Teknik EQP-KT Vintech x73i (x4) Vintech 473 COMPRESSORS API 527 (x2) BBE Sonic Maximizer DBX 560A (x4) Empirical Labs EL8-X (x2) Hairball 1176 Rev A - Hand built in house. Tube Tech CL1-B MICROPHONES AKG D112 Audix D2 (x3) Audix D6 Blue Snowball Ice Electrovoice RE20 R-1 Ribbons (x2) Neumann U87ai Neumann TLM-102 (x2) Pelusio CEMC-6 Rode NT-2000 Sennheiser e604 (x3) Sennheiser MD421 II Sennheiser e609 Shure SM57 (x4) Warm Audio WA-14 (x2) INSTRUMENTS Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop 2011 Gibson SG Standard 2013 Fender American Stratocaster 1997 Fender American Stratocaster 1998 Acoustic Guitars: Taylor Limited Edition 412ce (NAMM Neve model - one of 13) Bass: G&L SB-2 Bass 1994 Percussion: DW Design Kit 5 pc Shakers (LP) Roto-Toms Piano and Keyboards: Boston (by Steinway) Baby Grand Native Instruments S61 We also have a banjo and an accordion. AMPLIFICATION Bedrock 1200 (Boutique point-to-point amp) Fender Twin Reverb 1960's (CBS all original) Marshall JCM 2000 VOX AC-30 Ampeg BR-15 SansAmp CONSOLE Slate Raven MTi2 Lynx Aurora 16 Lynx Aurora 8 Presonus Central Station Yamaha HS10 Presonus Spectre 6 Switchcraft Patchbays Custom Control Room DI Radial J48 DI boxes (x2) CGM Passive DI
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I do a lot of tracking. The studio is well equipped to track and its a great space and environment to work in. Lately, I've been doing a lot more mixing and remote session playing. I also have been doing lots of re-amping.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recorded a band called Vesper years ago. They were drums, 2 cellos, 1 les paul, and a vocalist. Killer classic rock sound. We spent months in the studio getting everything perfect. It was one of the most fun projects to work on because we had a vision right from the start and commitment from everyone to get the best we could out of the project. I did most of the engineering on the record- I recorded all of the instruments and back up vocals, along with some lead vocals (they lived far away and it didn't make sense to do the lead vocals here). At the time my set up was not strong enough to mix the songs because we had over 160 stems per song!!! I didn't do the mix and I always regret that. It is still one of my favorite records.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! I love analog- I have tons of analog gear, but digital is great too! The recall and precision of editing is nothing like when you had to use razors to cut tape. Mixing is more fun and interesting now with the combination of analog and digital.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to do my very best to make your songs sound the best they can. I also promise that I will be open, honest, and fair with my pricing. I never take jobs that I do not think I can handle.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love hearing all these great songs by talented artists that I would never have the chance to hear otherwise. I love building something that comes out great in the end!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That anybody can do it. Almost anyone can put a mic on an instrument and turn a pre-amp knob so it doesn't clip. That's not producing or engineering. Getting cool sounds and creating a vibe for a record takes experience, patience, time, and vision.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How many stems? Do you need editing/tuning? What vibe do you want? Do you have mixes of songs that you like?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Reach out and say hello. I'd love to hear your music and see if I would be a good fit for you. If not, I'd help you find the right person for the job. I know my weaknesses and my strengths and I won't take a job I do not believe I can deliver on.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1073 pre/eq, Distressor EL8-X,a Neumann Mic, a killer converter, and a good song. I could cut just about anything with that.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Jimmy Eat World- I love their writing, its catchy, they are great musicians, and I would love to mix harmonies they have!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't be afraid to try something new! Little experiments can make songs shine!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Punk, Pop-punk, Emo, and rock. I've done hip-hop, R&B, and gospel in the past, but my main love is punk/emo/hardcore.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think that this industry is a people first industry. Many guys I've worked with in the past as a musician were set in their ways or only did things one way. This is a service. Your gear and experience help you get a good outcome, but focusing on the client's desires, needs, and goals is where it really shines. That is my goal and hopefully my strongest skill.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Energy, excitement, and some punk punch!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I grew up in the NY hardcore scene and that grew into an emo/punk/pop-punk background that I have. I loved bands like The Promise Ring, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Get Up Kids, and Jimmy Eat World. Many of my clients sound like these bands or more pop-punk such as New Found Glory. I love high energy rock, but also love intimate music as well.