I am an international award winning mixing and mastering engineer and Emmy® award winning film composer. I know what it takes to not only create music, but also to make music sound its best (3rd place AES NYC 2019 student recording competition). My passion is to make your music sound its best!
I am an indie pop, pop, electronic, hip hop, and classical mixing and mastering engineer from Cleveland, OH. I studied audio engineering/recording at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) under Bruce Egre and Alan Bise (both Grammy® award winning engineers) for three years. My audio experience is very broad, from mixing in the box and composing music for films (Emmy® award winner), to live sound engineering and classical producing and recording (solo, string quartet, chamber ensembles, and orchestra). Please contact me if you have any questions!
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
18 ReviewsEndorse John Konopka
John is a rock-star producer. He has an amazing ear and an exquisit taste. He was always able to bring my songs to life. One of the best things about working with John is how professional but personable he is, and also he always delivers on all his promises. I will definitely recommend him to other musicians.
I have worked with John on numerous occasions for solo recordings and I am always in awe of not only his expertise, but his dedication to the project. He has consistently gone above and beyond, striving to achieve the highest quality of recording, while at the same time always making sure I felt at ease in each session. It is always a pleasure to work with John, and I hope to keep collaborating with him in years in to come!
John is a pleasure to work with and his expertise, attention to detail, and ear for music are second to none. Additionally, he has quality equipment and software and he knows how to use them to their fullest potential. I can’t recommend John’s services enough!
John and I have worked together to engineer and produce several recordings. He is wonderfully attentive to minute adjustments in microphone placement, and is always able to manage these adjustments with the comfort of the performer. I would highly recommend looking into John for your recording needs.
I've worked with John for violin solo recordings. He is very specific and precise when giving advice. Moreover he makes the performer to be focused on the music itself, and always adjusts perfectly to the type of sound one wants to express. John makes recording sessions very productive and effective. I truly recommend recording with John!
Every recording session I’ve had with John has been such a great experience. In both solo and ensemble settings, John has proven to have the finest attention to detail and always has such thoughtful and useful comments. He is incredibly encouraging and even swooped in at a moment’s notice to help me record when I was in a bind! His mixing is pristine and very timely, and I am so grateful whenever I get the chance to work with him!
I have worked with John on multiple occasions on various projects. He always brings a tasteful flavor to anything he works on and he is able to enhance what he works on in a minimalist way but a way that really brings out elements in the music that might of been buried before. I strongly recommend John to anyone looking for any recording service as well as mixing and mastering!
I’ve worked with John a few times, and I’ve been very pleased with his work on each occasion! He’s easy to work with, flexible, and always does a great job.
John is a consummate professional with an incredible ear for detail. It is always a tremendous privilege and delight to work with John, and he will assuredly be one of the greatest assets of any recording project.
I was always pleased to work with John. He always gave very helpful comments during the recording session. John has an excellent sensitivity to the sound and he works with a great musicianship. I hope to work with him again in the future.
I have had the pleasure of recording a few times with John and I remember them as some of my favorite times in the studio! John is an incredible musician and can easily create and identify a quality sound. He is an excellent person to form ideas with because he is thoughtful, encouraging and good-natured. I would highly recommend John to anyone!
John composed and recorded a sensitive and compelling soundtrack for my 2019 production of Ohio EPA’s “Comeback of the Cuyahoga River”. He understands cinematic moods and is open to direction regarding mood and edit points. Talented guy and easy to work with!
It is always such a privilege to work with John. His attention to detail is incredible, and he puts you at ease during your recording session!
John is amazing at what he does, and made me feel very comfortable when I was nervous about recording!
I can’t speak highly enough of John-as both an excellent musician, hardworking and talented recording engineer, and as an extremely kind and humble individual. Working with him has been a privilege, and I know that he will continue to succeed in whatever way he chooses to focus his many talents.
John Konopka is a masterful and creative technician when it comes to music production. His decorated background as a composer and audio engineer are what give him the professional experience to handle any form of mixing and producing. Working with John was truly a rewarding experience, as he proved to have an incredible ear for creating the best product needed. Also a very kind man.
My recordings made with John are the best quality recordings I have! John is professional, has an excellent ear, and is a joy to collaborate with!
I have worked with John on multiple occasions before and have been met with the utmost professionalism, preparedness, and kindness each and every time. John is an incredibly gifted young man with vast knowledge and a keen ear. His musicianship and maturity go well beyond his years and it is a guarantee that he will put his absolute all into anything and everything he does.
Interview with John Konopka
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring clarity, depth, width, color, and shine!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Film composer for "Celebrating the Comeback of the Burning River" documentary. We won the Emmy® award for Best Topical Documentary in 2019.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm starting a recording company in Cleveland, OH.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Yes! My uncle Dan Konopka (member of the Grammy® Award winning band OK Go). He is an incredibly experienced engineer and session drummer.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. You need analog for certain sounds and you need digital for others.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will give my best effort with each project, because I care about your product and I take pride in my work. Attention to detail.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love being involved in others' musical ambitions and help to serve their goals.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long will it take for this to be mixed? It depends, but I normally need two days minimum for a song. I will work on it for one day for a few hours, and then I will return to it the next day to review it because every project needs that second take.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I'm not going to be able to make ANYTHING sound like an Atlantic Records release--a great mix begins with a great foundation, i.e. well recorded vocals, guitars, drums, bass, synths, and high quality samples. "You can't polish a turd."
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are your intentions for this project? What is your message? What artist do you want this to sound like?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure you give your best effort for every track you make and then allow the engineer to do his job! (you can always give mixing suggestions of course)
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A Mac, Pro Tools, U87, Millennia Mic Pre, and a Lynx A/D D/A interface.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My career path has always been to work in the audio field. The past decade I have been working on audio and music projects. The past 5 years I have been working professionally.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style of mixing is more minimalistic as compared to the average mixer. My style is very flexible as it adjusts to who my client is and what my client wants.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Bon Iver, because I consider him to be one of the most talented song-writers today and in history. His creativity amazes me and has inspired me in my productions of music and of mixes.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: "Keep it simple stupid." I think the greatest misconception in the audio industry is that you need all sort of different plugins on every single track within a mix, like compressors, limiters, reverbs, delays, effects, tone shapers, etc. For me, I mix with my ears--if I need a compressor, I'll use one. If I don't, I won't.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I am asked to do lots of different types of jobs. Film composing is one of those things I am asked a lot to do, since I won an Emmy® award in 2019. I am also asked to do lots of classical recording for musicians at the conservatory in Cleveland, whether it be recording sessions, audition tapes, recitals, concerts, you name it. As far as mixing, I am generally asked to work with indie pop/rock, hip-hop, and electronic tracks.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Bringing out in the sonic landscape what the song wants to say musical and vocally. In other words, there is a mood, a message, an emotion which every song tries to capture--I will try to translate the technical aspects (mixing) of a song into the emotion and musical direction that the artist wants to convey. I have been a musician for almost two decades and so my primary focus is to communicate and translate the creativity of the artist and manifest it in the mix of their tracks. I am not mathematically minded, I am artistically driven.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First, I listen to the track and proceed to organize all the files into a session. Second, I typically start a rough mix of the entire song. Third, I begin to start to treat the most important elements of the session and then mix them together. From there, every song has a different mixing process.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is acoustically treated with carpeted floors, absorption panelling, and diffusers. I own the Apollo 16, Apollo 8p, Apollo Twin, UAD DSP Processor, a maxed out Mac Mini (3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, Ram: 64 GB 2667 MHz DDR4), KRK Rokit 6s, Neumann U87, Neumann KM184 (pair), Schoeps MK2 (pair), UAD plugins, Waves plugins, Altiverb (the best impulse response reverb in the business), iZotope plugins, and FabFilter plugins. Additionally, I have a sub37 Moog, a Juno 108 (vintage synth from 1984), a Bach C Trumpet, and a Yamaha Bflat Trumpet. The DAWs I work in are Pro Tools, Ableton Live Suite, Logic Pro X, and Sequoia.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Almost impossible to answer this in a paragraph--but some of the key inspirations are the Bon Iver, the Avett Brothers, Kanye West, Young Thugg, J. Cole, Jack Antinoff, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Arvo Pärt, just to name a few.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing and Mastering are the most common type of work I do for my clients, as well as overdubbing trumpet parts.