I've been mixing and mastering music for over 15 years. I have amazing Solid State Logic Super Analogue Mixing & Neve Mastering equipment. My studio, The Social Club, is where my last few albums, Dearly Departed & Sincerely Yours have come out of. I also mixed Block McCloud's "4 Walls" album.
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Interview with Von Hertzog
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you looking for the song to sound like? Do you have any references of tracks you really like as a baseline of what you're looking for? If so, I take those into account and start working.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: SSL Sigma, Console 1, Antelope Orion 32+, Amphion One18s, Amphion Amp500
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a rack mounted Sweetwater Creation Station PC optimized just for the studio. I use Cubase Pro 10.5 for mixing and Wavelab Pro 9.5 for mastering duties. As for hardware, I use a Solid State Logic 2+ for preamps, monitoring is done via Drawmer controller, control surfaces are Console 1 and two Fader 1 modules. I map the Faders to control the Solid State Logic Sigma Summing Rack. That is where the magic happens. Outputting 32 channels from the Orion 32+ to the Sigma and returning a mixed 2 track is where it really comes together. Literally. For monitoring I use Amphion One18s paired with an Amphion Amp500, and a Dynaudio subwoofer. Secondary monitoring is Yamaha NS-10's with a Amphion Amp100 and an Polk 12" subwoofer. I also use a 1990 Panasonic Cassette Boom Box as a consumer grade reference. Finally I take a ride in the 5 to test on my Bang & Olufsen Sound System to listen for anything that fell between the cracks. This setup has served me amazingly well.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I tend to find myself mixing and mastering more often than not. I have been known to provide sound design or soundtracks for video games and I also have a few feature length films under my belt. But mixing and mastering songs is typically the standard request.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Once I get the song loaded into Cubase, I start will all the faders down and start bringing them up to make sure I don't overload the mastering buss. I get levels just about right in my first session. Then I usually step away and come back with fresh ears to see if anything stands out. If it does I rein it in and continue. Before long, I have a track ready to show to the client and start the rounds of feedback.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: A highly trained ear for quality and space. It's taken a long time to train it, but they're working great for me right now.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Synth based music or hip-hop have been my bread and butter.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Betamaxx. I think I could open his music up even more via mixing.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My musical career path started in the mid 90's as a DJ. I began producing music in 1999 and continue to this day. I've been mixing and mastering since 1999 as well and that definitely took priority over DJing. Over the years I got a chance to work with platinum artists as a producer and mixing engineer.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you'd like me to mix your song, please have your stems ready. Ideally I like to mix with 32-bit 48khz stems, but if you have higher resolution I'll take it! If you're looking for me to master your song, please get it to me at a minimum of 24-bit or preferably 32-bit. Sample rate should be a minimum of 48khz, preferably up to 96khz.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That a computer plugin could do it for you. Mixing and mastering is an art and despite whatever new plug-ins are claiming, they're not able to make artistic decisions like a trained human ear can.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Every project is like a new puzzle. How can I get the best possible sound out of this song? To me it's fun to dig into a song and get to really flesh it out and help it become all it can be from a sonic standpoint.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will use all my equipment and experience to the best of my ability to get you the cleanest, clearest song around. I'll make it as loud as I can without losing quality or distorting. I won't push it into a territory where sound quality suffers, over here, sound quality is king!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I use plenty of digital plug-ins but for mixing, it always has to be Analog Summed. There is a magic that still exists in the Analog Realm that I like to tap into. Every song I do gets run through analogue gear/circuitry. It imparts a characteristic we've all grown to love but can't quite put a finger on.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently doing a few remixes for artists. I'm currently mixing & mastering songs for a few artists too.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm especially proud of my own two albums, Dearly Departed & Sincerely Yours. Dearly Departed was my first solo album which was also pressed onto 180g Limited Edition Vinyl. My second album which just came out May 2015, Sincerely Yours, has a Limited Edition Cassette Tape. Both albums were all written, performed, mixed and mastered by myself. If you want clean, clear music at the perfect volume, I'm you're engineer.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Chris Lord Alge is the mix engineer I admire most. I love how he manages to get a lot of volume out of his mixes without sacrificing dynamic range. I modeled my monitoring setup after him.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Fresh ears, a light hand on the faders, and an attention to detail. I don't gloss over a track, I put thought into the moves I make and why they're beneficial to the song.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use a frequency monitor! Make sure your sounds all fit without blowing out one frequency band. Try and make sure you used a nice balance of sounds.