Audio Engineer with over 20 years of experience in Hard Rock. I am a musician and audio engineer. That's what I do for a living. I have a reasonable turnaround time and I am reliable. - studio mixing - live audio - vocal tuning - editing Specializing in hard rock and metal.
Massive walls of guitar, earth rattling drums and crisp, present, in your face vocals are the name of the game. I am a passionate audio engineer with years of experience in performing, recording and mixing both in live and studio settings. If you need some collaboration on a song or direction for your sound or you need a sweet mix, I can help. Let’s make your next masterpiece come to life.
Check out the recent mixes I completed.
*Where Were You by One Less Reason* - Please note that I am not the hired engineer for this track - This is my mix.
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
4 ReviewsEndorse Jim SimmonsPhoenix
Jim was very professional and prompt. He did everything we asked and more! We are definitely going to be working with him in the future. This dude is the real deal!
Played a show that Jim mixed at a church. We never sounded better. Thanks Jim.
Jim was hired to run sound for a concert my band performed at. It was a festival with 6 bands in total. Jim helped set up, and sound checked everything got the stage all prepped, and all instruments properly mic'd and into the system. The sound on stage was crisp and clear, and in taking to audience members, he did a fantastic job when we were on stage. I was in the lobby of the church where the event took place during the other 5 band's sets, and occasionally popped into the main hall to hear a band or two, and the mix was very clear from both aspects! AAA+++ Highly recommended!
I have worked with Jim for the past year, and he is one of the most experienced and enjoyable audio engineers and producers I have worked with. He is great at problem solving, and is amazing at translating what I want as a musician into the live sound and experience that I want to give to the audience. He is both technically experienced as a musician and an an audio engineer, making it very easy for him to understand my requirements and be able to thoroughly implement them into the live sound. You can't go wrong with Jim!!
Interview with Jim SimmonsPhoenix
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently working on my own full length album and working with a local metal band on the start of their new album. I am also working front of house / live audio for a metal show in about a week.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: QUESTION: How quickly can you get this done? ANSWER: It depends, what's the rush, and why? If you have a release date on your album before you've recorded anything, this is a huge mistake. Take your time and deliver a polished product worth being proud of and don't announce a release date until the mix is done. Each song can take about 3-4 hours to mix. This is just the first draft. Typically, there are couple revisions on the horizon.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Well assuming there is no power on said Island, I would take my Taylor acoustic, my violin and a drum kit.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing guitar 23 years ago and never looked back. I have been writing and performing music ever since. I have played in rock bands, on worship bands and led worship music. I am a vocalist and play guitar, bass, drums, keys, violin, and write and record for every instrument. I have been mixing live for over 20 years in both live and studio. I worked for a concert promoter for 8 years and also ran my own concert venue and designed and installed the sound system from the ground up. I have been recording my own music in my own studio for about 13 years and have been polishing my mixing along the way and over the years. I am constantly growing and evolving as an engineer. I feel like music and recording is really in a great space and this is the best time ever to be making music. There are so many resources at our disposal that were not available even 10 years ago.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: One tip?! Oh, so many to choose from... Always strive for the best recording possible and don't overthink it. What I mean by this is, don't hold back on recording or overthink the process. Just because you don't have a vocal booth and $10,0000 251 mic, doesn't mean you can't get a great vocal track. Just because you don't have the best guitar in the world playing through a $3,000 boutique amp running into a top of the line ribbon mic in the best recording room in the world, doesn't mean you can't get a killer guitar track. You need to be creative with your space. Use pillows and towels and moving blankets. Find ways to get the room to sound good. When recording guitar for example, put pillows up in the corners of a full closet. Run the mics on the amp and drape blankets and towels over the mics to kill some of the sound bouncing off the walls. Above all, recording comes down to PERFORMANCE. Get the absolute best take you can. Especially vocals. The song needs to showcase the power and emotion behind the lyrics.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hard rock and metal. That's it.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run a studio in my home. Everything is mostly done "in the box" digital mixing with countless plug ins. I run Pro Tools into a Universal Audio Apollo. I have a MOTU 8 Pre. I run the full suite of Slate plugins and many of the Waves plugins and some UAD. My room is completely treated for mixing purposes. I have Steven Slate Drums, Ministry of Rock as well as the full suite of East West Instruments including, strings, synth, world instruments, random weird sounds and so on. I have two Gibson Les Paul's, a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Tremoverb with a 2X12 Rectifier cab, quite a few guitar pedals (I can elaborate), a Taylor jumbo acoustic, Ibanez Bass, and an Alesis Electric Drum Kit. I use an AKG C4000B, a pair of Sterling ST31, Shure 57, Shure Beta 87A, and some other random mics.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: At this point, I mostly do producing and studio mixing. I used to do a lot of live mixing but have scaled back on this in favor of studio mixing. I have done some system development and install, but mostly running front of house. I've always produced and mixed my own material in the studio as well.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: My first time installing a sound system and setting room eq, crossovers, etc was pretty rewarding and was really a great experience. Every band in the area wanted to get into our venue because it really came together.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I cannot say that I know this one personally, but he is really a great engineer and a personal acquaintance worked with him for years and has a lot of great things to say. J. R. McNeeley - https://soundbetter.com/profiles/41867-jr-mcneely
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: For recording platforms, digital. It's so much easier to punch in and out and copy and paste (sparingly of course). I love the sound of a great analog mixer, but emulations have come a long way and frankly, it's way more affordable.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To do what I say I will. I will only commit to what I know I can accomplish. If there's something I am not comfortable with I can refer you to someone.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the transformation that takes place from initial recording to polished mix. It's great helping something come to life.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That you just 'plug and play' and that mixing is quick and easy, that you just turn knobs until you get the right sound. It just isn't that easy. How do I know? That's what I thought at first until I started mixing. Knowing what your mix is missing and how to get it fixed is the toughest thing to learn and takes tons of practice. Once you know how to identify the issues and more importantly know how to fix them mixing does become easier.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your plan and goal for the album / song and ultimately the mix? What is the sound you are going for? What is one song with that you feel is most similar to your song? Which song do you feel has the greatest mix ever?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Recording on your own has never been easier, but don't be afraid to ask for help. Mixing your own music is daunting and very time-consuming. More importantly, it is extremely specialized. If you don't have the heart or stamina, it's better to pay a pro. There are so many "tricks" that your audio engineer will know that you may not. They probably have more gear and more tools as well. Many times, I would've much rather paid someone to mix my album, but because I am stubborn I did it on my own only to eventually give up and hire someone anyway. Not to mention, you hear your music one way, and your engineer will hear things you won't. Like how you missed the mark on that high note by 20 cents and you need additional vocal tuning. ;)
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Vibrant and colorful. I think of the mix as colors. Which colors do I need and how vibrant do those colors need to be? Where do those colors need to be in the spectrum to sound the way the artist wants, and feel the way it should.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Foo Fighters. Still an all time favorite. I just really want to meet those guys because I respect them and their music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strength has always been mixing for the feel of the song. Every song is different and should be mixed differently. Some songs, guitar needs to be subtle, others the guitars need to drive the song. Some parts of the song need the snare to jump out and punch you in face. Some kicks need to feel like you are getting kicked in the chest. Mixing is about width and depth and placement of each instrument. I believe in breaking the mold to take the mix to the next level.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I am an artist myself and write and record my own material. I know how to get the song to have more "guts" more "feel" more dynamic. It's about taking something you hear and turning it into something you FEEL! Many can build a great mix, but a great mix is not enough. The song has to memorable and it has to stand out in some way. The greatest hits are memorable. Example: remember the first time you listened to Nirvana's Nevermind? The opening drums on Smells Like Teen Spirit? Just putting the CD in for the first time gave me goosebumps. That song goes beyond a good mix. It takes the music to a whole new level. The initial drums had to be HUGE. It set the tone for the entire album. There's a reason it earned DIAMOND status. That's what we're going for here.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Collaborate with the artist first... I first get to know about the project itself, than I want to know about the artist. E.g. what are your goals with the project, what are your goals beyond, etc. What is the sound you are looking for and get some mix examples of your favorite mixes. Then I will review the recording and a reference mix. Then it's off to work. Client sends the stems, I run a first draft mix and once I feel comfortable I will send back to the artist for review and feedback. At that point, it's a matter of polishing and making adjustments and corrections based on the artist's feedback. Ultimately, it's about getting something that everyone is happy with.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Kane Churko is my favorite dude in the world of mixing rock albums. I love the sound he achieves, especially with the use of synth and his guitar mixing. Look him up, he's fantastic. He's worked on Ozzy, Skillet, Disturbed, HELLYEAH, Papa Roach and so on. Really great mixes.