Mari Hutten (ig @mari_hutten) is a producer, mixing, and mastering engineer with a wide range of experience in several genres. Hutten has worked with world renowned producers and projects in jazz, hip hop, classical and pop music, some credits include engineering for Richard King, Eddie Kramer, and Howard Billerman.
Mari is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and has worked on several projects in different cities (Los Angeles, Banff, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Sao Paulo).
When working with Mari you may notice a special ability of making mixes sound wide and with a great deal of depth. When mastering, she is known for being respectful of the mixing engineer's vision as well as providing space for dynamics.
Mari is also experienced in a wide range of genres, from hip hop and indie rock, to jazz and classical. Many techniques and tricks used in classical are applied to pop mixes and many pop techniques are applied to classical mixes!
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Interview with Mariana Hutten
Q: Analog or digital and why?
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will listen to you and that I will try my best to make you sound as good as possible.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Manipulating electricity to move speakers in a way that moves people.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What's your rate? - Listed Here I'm kind of broke right now, how can I pay for this? - I offer payment plans/payments in installments, graded monthly payments, etc.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The misconception is that I only know how to operate equipment. I was a musician for years before getting into audio production, so I'm a musician first, engineer and technical person second.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Apollo Twin X SPL PassEQ Neve 1073 Pres Neumann U67 Mic LA2A compressor I think I could do most things with these
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been recording myself and friends bands since I was 19. Soon started noticing I was spending more time recording and mixing myself and studying about production than writing songs, so decided to follow that path. Went to University for Music Production and Music Composition (Concordia University in Montreal). I then started off apprenticing and interning at different studios then started working as a freelancer and then as recording engineer at different studios in Toronto. I currently do both work as staff and freelancer engineer. I have worked in a wide variety of projects projects in different cities as tracking, mixing and mastering engineer. I have mixed for livestreams, for video/film, done orchestral recordings as well as mixing hip hop productions.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Balanced (frequency balance) any dynamic
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Anderson Paak, Travis Scott, Jacob Collier, Daniel Caesar, Billy Eilish.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't mix too loud or too softly. During mixing check how everything is perceived at all volumes, from dim to super loud. Listen to the music and listen to the musician/artist/composer.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Great frequency balance and dynamics. An honest perspective Interesting and unique sounds that you can't find on sound banks.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Mixing: 1) Ask artist what sound he's going for; references, influences. 2) Organize session (Pro Tools or Logic): Rename, colour code, Buses, Master tracks, etc 3) Listen to each instrument and treat frequency and dynamics of each of them separately. Then do the same in context with other instruments. 4) Add spacing effects, reverb, delays, and other effects. 5) Add bus compressors when needed. 6) Make bounces with different approaches (louder bass, more drums, more vocals, etc) 7) Ask artist for opinion and revise as needed. -- Mastering: 1) Ask artist what sound he's going for; references, influences. 2) Organize session (Sequoia): Organize in track order, add markers. 3) Listen and address frequency and dynamic imbalances. 4) Add metadata 5) Verify metering for correlation and loudness (LUFS) 6) Make exports for different formats
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I do my mixing in one studio and mastering in another one. Mixing setup: Barefoot Audio Footprint 1, Focal Speakers (twins), SSL XL, Empirical Labs Distressors, Neve 1073, Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Compressor, UAD Plugins, Brainworx Plugins, Sound Toys Plugins, Eventide Plugins Mastering setup: I operate my mastering in the Graves studio of Lacquer Channel Mastering. It has the following: Dangerous Music Master & Liason, Muth Audio Engineering Custom Bax EQ, Neve 2087 Mastering EQ, Sontec Mes 430-B Mastering EQ,GML 9500 Mastering EQ, SPL PassEQ, Sonic Farm Creamliner Tube Line Amp, Manley Tube Vari-Mu Mastering Compressor, Dave Hill Titan Mastering Compressor, High Voltage EQ6 Mastering EQ, Maselec MPL-2 Peak & HF Limiter, Manley Enhanced Pultec EQ (x2), Langevin Mini Massive CONVERSION dCS 905 AD / 954 DA dCS 992 Master Clock Crookwood DA PLUGINS Weiss DS-1 MKIII Mastering Compressor, UAD Plug-ins, FabFilter Plug-ins, Nugen Plug-ins, Leapwing Audio Plugins, Kranis Custom Designed Speakers
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, pop, r&b, hip hop and electronic.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing music from several genres (specially rock, jazz, pop and hip hop) Mastering and consulting on mixes
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: My favourite mixing engineers are Mick Guzauski, Leslie Braithwaite, Manny Marroquin. My favourite mastering engineers are Bob Ludwig, Mike Bozzi, Randy Merril and Greg Calbi (anybody that works in Sterling, basically). My favourite album (in terms of production) of the last 10 years is Random Access Memories
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Critical listening.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What they intend to do/go with the project. Their influences, how they want to sound. What the song is about, some of their personal history and where they come from. I find all of these things have a big impact on how the project turns out.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Finishing an instrumental for a singer (client outside of Soundbetter)
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: " The Drab" by Pretty Odd. They're a small band from Ontario but this almost is very mature and complex. Very deep questions and emotional distress is in this album. A very very strong debut album. I am so proud of being part of the recording. Me and two other engineers worked on it together. We all lived in a house faraway from the city and just recorded everyday for a month and a half, just like the good old days. I recorded, edited, and mastered the album.