Still do creative mix and song remix, but these days I prefer to take your creative production and mix through the polishing process to being internationally, commercially competitive. I start as a mastering engineer and move backwards up the chain to stem mixing, fine mixing. I'm a tweaker - a details expert. I'm fussy so you don't have to be.
You'll want to know: Karl Mohr is classically trained to the university level (BMus) in music composition and piano performance; Mohr has worked as an audio postproduction pro and sound designer on many brands and formats including designing the sound for IMAX FILMS for 23 years. He also has had a rich history working with many significant recording artists and producers including: Johnny Hollow, Hawksley Workman, Matt Dematteo, Tegan & Sarah, Brian Asha, and so many more. See www.multibeat.com for an extensive client list.
From the SoundBetter perspective, Mohr and his Multibeat Creative team are here to polish your masters for international commercial competitiveness (this means so much more that simply making them loud). He will help you tighten your stems, and will provide "fine mixing" - taking your mix, and doing the necessary adjustments to the *technical* on the mix to take your ideas to the world with confidence.
Mohr also provides world-class music- and sound-editing, and will also run vocal coaching sessions to help you get the best take to 'tape'.
It's his cut-throat dedication to fine-mix and mastering that you're really after though. He really does put top talent to shame.
References and demos available upon request, towards whatever the running quote is about.
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Interview with Karl Mohr
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I just completed a song remix for Elizabeth Leslie - see the sound example on this page - the results didn't strictly fall into any genre I know about - that made me excited. The parameter space for new expression feels like it's dwindling and this gave me some hope.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Sound support to the sound team lead on CBC Heartland. Music remix, stem mastering, final mastering on Elizabeth Leslie. music production/performance, mixing and mastering on Brian Asha. Re-mastering a 2009 master of Landscape Body Machine. Full-mixing/mastering a song by animation composer Stephen Skratt. (Finalizing my 13th album on Tape Life Records.)
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Yoad Nevo is solid.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Very, very much content dependent - boy or boy is this ever true. It's one of the most difficult decisions in my job. Using digital to de-analog a program can be a thing, and using analog to de-digital a program can be a thing. I like it when I can do both, and am sometimes a little grumpy when a job is made easier by not needing both. Mastering is usually about minimizing the necessary stages to get a satisfactory result.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Garbage in, jewels out.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Delivery day. I love pulling those final exports, wrapping up the DDP, uploading the final zips.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: People always want to know how much and how soon. I usually undercharge and take infinitely longer than my competitors. I compete with quality, so whereas you can sit down in a mastering suite with an engineer and have a "session" for an hour - I'll sometimes nudge bits on a song for 14 days. My career has been slowed by this obsessive nature, but my skills, as a result, are astronomical. Another question, which is a conversation that is inevitable is "how loud" - to which the object, these days, is typically answered with: -9 LUFS/LKFS. Music will get quieter soon, whether people want it or not, streaming services are starting to impose the same technical specs as television broadcast - this is really good news for people who care about fidelity.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: LANDR. The idea that a computer can master an album is deliriously misguided. Mastering is a relationship between artist and mastering engineer via an album. It requires undoubtedly the human touch. Even a 15-second commercial needs a human being - and your life, whoever you are - is already being negatively impacted by automatic-mastering processes (yes, including compression and limiting).
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: My favourite question is asking them about references and influences. I ask for influences that they listen to whether they have anything to do with the production or not. I ask for influences that directly affected the production. I ask for vibe/mood/creative mix references. I ask for sonic references, for mix curve and flavour and final mastering curve too of course. Some people love reveling in finding some/all of these. Other people specifically don't care and would rather have me take care of it. I do have my own technically-bulletproof references and my career wouldn't be the same without them.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Like any contractor, do your diligent research. Get comparison quotes. Talk to your colleagues. Ask for references so you can pick up the phone and have conversations. You aren't looking for a quick fix. You're looking to build a life-long relationship. A mixer/mastering engineer is like choosing a therapist - it often really needs to be a good fit to make any headway.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: This type of illogical, Dad-style, Gearslutz nonsense is egregious, no? There is no desert island. There is no gear. And there certainly is no electricity. There is only your mind, your memory and your impulses. Apply it to everything you touch.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My current CV will always be posted at: http://multibeat.com/cv/post/current/karl_mohr_resume_cv.pdf I was born in 1971, was obsessed with the knobs of stereos as a baby, and began learning piano around 1980. My technical journey in 1985 started with Dolby B noise reduction experiments and my first synthesizer, a Yamaha DX100.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: This only applies to my production and creative mix/remix work - which would be described as leading-edge/searching/new. My specific aim in fine-mix and mastering is to focus on YOUR style - which is what we very much intend to preserve as we work towards technical perfection of delivering that work to the world. Mastering is sometimes thought of as a creative pursuit - for me only 5% of the mastering process gives credence to "what a song wants" and 95% simply more effectively evoking what has already been encoded into the song - it is a technical discipline, and a diplomatic relations exercise. The goal is to find the best means to reaching the greatest number of people reliably across all the available platforms.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Sarah Slean. She is able to fill pop music with light and magic from the classical world effectively. I quite adore her musical work.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Yes. Get your shit organized for fuck sakes. 🤠 Just because you're a musician doesn't mean you can't be organized and efficient. Keep an eye to what type of person succeeds in any field.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: This was largely answered in "Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients." Due to my own musical past, I started out doing legitimate mastering for techno/industrial/alternative type artists via the Interdimensional Industries label where we had considerable success. Many mastering engineers will bring silkiness to classical works, or mojo and stability to rock music. I do all these things too, but my deep relationship with electronic dance genres (and I do NOT mean flat-as-a-pancake modern EDM) and synthesizers in particular has really set me up to bring warmth and seriousness to the curves of that music. As it turns out, my processes have led me to be perfectly suitable to mix/master on modern pop music (so much of it is synthesizer-based now). I like a challenge, and so working on new-to-me genres is always a thrill. Finally, it's worth expressing that I like working on projects that HELP the world, that help culture and people. My IMAX work with Thillaye Productions was 20+ sweet years of working on NASA Space films and nature documentaries, spending my work time in the most beautiful sonic spaces in the world. This was so refreshing. Would I rather work on the delicate, delightfully-textures electroacoustic works of Matthew Cangiano? Or be subjected to weeks of hell on some ultra-violent, threatening, empty-vanity trap/drill cancer? The truth is there is judgment in the actual content - you'll have an easier time booking with me if your project isn't feeding off the tit of the apocalypse. This isn't a dealbreaker, just a personal preference.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Pursuing a curve until it is perfect. And pulling miracles out of my ass. This latter might be a Canadian thing.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Reliability, adherence to specs, protecting and fighting for the creative vision. Anyone these days can slop mix a song and ram it through some iZotope nonsense. Fine-technical-mixing and mastering is an art where every single DSP process needs to be approached with love and care. The content can be nuclear war through a rat pedal: that love and care needs to be there in the technical just the same. I do have a passion for fidelity and also for music. We need to keep fighting for structures that allow it to live and breathe - fortunately corporate partners are now joining us in this fight, despite their greed. It means that, on some level, the craft is still seen as valuable.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: 1. in, 2. dev, 3. out via 4. heavy duty organization. You send me your materials and I do a rigorous QC pass on the incoming, and then convert to incoming specs and do all the session prep. I usually run a test mix to make sure nothing got lost in the process. I then have a 1xx, 2xx, 3xx, etc versioning system, everything time-stamped along the way. I run verification mixes, literally demonstrating your production against our chosen references. Accountability is something I learned from the high-profile film world - everyone should always know exactly where they are: to the date/time, to the millisecond across the program, to the versions. Rigorous structure makes for deeply exciting creative flexibility.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I am a Pro Tools guru with all the latest. Pro Tools Ultimate, Logic Pro, Maschine, Reaper and hooks into the other DAWs as well. I always have 3-4 Apple computers chugging away across a 20-year session timeline, keeping everything current. Digital mix control via Euphonix MC controllers and notably a tonne of generic MIDI stuff integrated with Keyboard Maestro - I'm all about workflow. After the software and computers comes the hardware - when analog summing and treatment processes are called for, I have a customized tube EQ, mojo-loaded preamps and customized Ramsa console for summing. I have a fully kitted studio for recording, remote recording, music production and audio post (even surround premix), but I also have a number of agreements with Toronto studios so we can work comfortably and affordably in Toronto and in the nearby countryside depending on what you have in mind. Scope-creep is important to maintain; I try to keep the essential kit lean and mean. I know my gear and how to get results that really don't require a lot of gear. Precision of focus and working with references is the real golden ticket here.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Let's discuss this in person over a nice cocktail please. If your music (film, TV series, game) is doing something new, fresh, interesting, leading edge or intelligent, I'm likely quite interested in the project.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: In 2017, I switched from my primary work being audio postproduction for film/TV and my secondary work being music mix/master on album projects to the exact opposite. My superpower is making a finished song mix sound exquisite and consistent across all playback platforms. More interested in fine-mix and stem-mix nudges in my mastering work now, than working on the full gamut of creative decisions, I'm coming into my own as a tweaker extraordinaire. I was born in 1971 and started my tweak journey in 1986; it really does take a seasoned professional with a track record to deliver good results. Organic warmth on digital techno/etc productions. What? You asked me the most common work I do - I do work on a tonne of electronic genres from ambient electroacoustic works, to tribal house to big room techno, song-based industrial. It's important to note that I have mastered everything from country to jazz to classical to singer/songwriter to much, much weirder things. My niche has become preserving the mojo/intent of an electronic production while giving it humanness and warmth.