Michael Jack is a recording/mixing engineer and producer based in Central Ontario and Toronto. Senior engineer at Phase One Studios from 2000 - 2007. Three singles charting on Billboard (#4, #18 and #30), seventeen CD chart positions on Billboard, over twenty Canadian chart successes (singles and CDs) and 23 gold and platinum record awards.
28 years in the music business. Owned Sessions Recordings in Newmarket from 1988 - 1992. Freelanced in Toronto from 1992 - 2000. Senior engineer at Phase One Studios from 2000 - 2007. Head engineer at Lenz Entertainment from 2007 - 2010. Freelance from 2010 to present. Editing and mixing suite based out of Barrie, Ontario.
Several U.S. Billboard chart successes and many more Canadian hits.
Artist based approach, top service. Indie friendly rates.
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
ReviewsEndorse Michael Jack
Interview with Michael Jack
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am inspired but many of the legends in the industry like George Martin, Phil Ramone, Bruce Swedien, Eddie Krammer, Geoff Emerick, Ken Scott, Ken Caillat, Jerry Wexler, Jack Douglas, Roy Thomas Baker, Trevor Horn, Nile Rodgers, Bob Ezrin, Todd Rundgren, Tom Dowd etc. These guys built the business as we know it today.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want to sound like? Are you prepared? What's your budget? Where do you want to work? What would you like my role to be? Who are your favorite bands/singers?
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I worked on the Rush CD "Feedback" back in 2004 at Phase One Studios in Toronto. I was second engineer and Protools editor. Rush was one of my favourite bands growing up so it was awesome to spent five weeks with them in the studio. I am also very pleased with results of the "Den Of Theives" sessions with The Trews. I was engineer/editor and mixer on that record. They are a great band and great writers. It was also an honour to work with producer Jack Douglas on this project. He is a legend. The CD produced several top ten hits and still gets heavy airplay today.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am finishing up a CD for a Victoria B.C. prog rock band called Spaceport Union. I acted as producer, engineer and mixer. I am also mixing tracks for Edmonton based producer Bobby Cameron. Also putting the finishing touches on a CD for folk artist James Scarni.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I haven't looked through the list yet but I have no doubt that there are many, many talented people here. I always think everyone else is better than me anyways :)
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Best case scenario is to use both when possible. Vintage gear (mic preamps, compressors and mics) is great on the front end. Top quality converters are important too. I love working with Protools for editing and mixing though. You can't beat the workflow in the digital domain.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is to always put their needs and vision first. I want them to tell me where they want to go creatively and I will help them get there.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to listen to music all day. It's rewarding to create something out of an idea. When the client is happy at the end of the session I know I did my job.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I often get asked, "How much will this cost?" My answer is, "whatever you can afford is how much it will cost." In other words, I am very sensitive to the artist's budget and will always try and work within their financial comfort zone. The budget will obviously determine how many hours and services are available.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I am not a magician. If the band isn't prepared or the songs are not ready I cannot wave a magic wand and make everything perfect. Can I improve things? Yes. Can I Autotune a vocal? Yes, very well. The misconception seems to be that all the heavy lifting falls on the engineer/producer. It's a team effort, everyone has to be at their best!
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you are looking to record with me please be well rehearsed and ready. If I'm mixing for you give me a good idea of what you are looking for. Perhaps provide rough mixes or examples of mixes you like and let me know why you like them.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Neve 1073 mic preamp, Teletronix LA-2A tube compressor, Telefunken U-47 mic, RCA 77 ribbon mic and Burls Audio converters.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this for 28 years. I started as an assistant and slowly worked my way up the ladder. I was fortunate to work (and learn from) some of the best engineers/producers in the business including: Jack Douglas, Bob Ezrin, David Leonard, Gordie Johnson, JK Gulley, Tommy West and others. There is no better education than "real world" learning and paying your dues.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I think I'm quick to learn and adapt to the vibe of the music/session. I like to work fast (efficiently) and always give 100 %
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Paul McCartney. He was in The Beatles.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't overthink or analyze too much. Try and capture the early takes, they are usually the best.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Pop, Country, Americana, Folk, Blues - and variants of all those.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I believe my strongest skills are more personal than technical. I try to create a supportive session for the artist/band. When they are feeling comfortable they will perform at their best. Being a successful engineer/producer is all about service. It's all about the client, not me.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: When producing I'm obviously focused on arrangement - trying to keep things tight and moving forward. The hook and vocals must be strong and fully developed.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When I'm recording I like to capture live performances as much as possible. I'll get as many takes as needed then edit and fine tune later. It's important to create a positive environment so the artists are at their best. Mixing can vary for each project. It's all about trying to achieve the artist's vision.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My personal studio is a balanced combination of digital workstation and analog summing. I use Protools as my DAW and sub mix my outputs through a Universal Apollo into a Dangerous Music summing mixer. The final stereo mix is printed back into the Protools session via a high end Apogee A/D converter. Of course when the client/budget allows I still like to record and/or mix through a Neve or SSL console.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Presently the majority of my work is editing and mixing. I still do a great deal of recording. I prefer to work out of Studio A at Phase One Studios when the budget allows. Depending on the client's needs I can act strictly as an engineer or can step into the producer's (or co-producer's) chair at the same time.