RIAA certified audio engineer providing world-class production services.
Head engineer Zach Kornhauser received two bachelor’s degrees in music performance and audio production from Columbia College Chicago. This completed education led Zach to become an assistant audio engineer for Grammy-Award winning engineer, Ernie Wells. At the age of 22, Zach would go on to record many world class acts such as Kurt Carr and Kathy Taylor. Alongside this position, he brought his audio experiences to Sugarhill Recording Studios while working alongside Grammy-Award winning engineer and studio owner, Dan Workman.
Zach’s post-college experiences eventually led him to move to New York City, where he received a master’s degree in music business from New York University. During his continued education, Zach made his way into Atlantic Records where he currently is a mastering & audio engineer for their New York City studio facility.
With a strong focus on audio fidelity, Zach’s philosophy aims to create high resolution recordings that fully represents the musicians’ artistic intent. He has had the privilege of working with artists including Jason Mraz, Rob Thomas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sia, Portugal. The Man, Stretch & Bobbito, Matt Maeson, Christina Perri & more.
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Interview with Kornhauser Sound
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: At Home With The Kids compilation from Atlantic Records. This record gave majority of its sales for charity which I found to be fantastic. I mastered the record and it was the first time I got to master music from major label artists. Definitely a memorable time.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Just finished mastering a great record from this progressive rock band called Rather Ordinary Dudes. Check them out!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: None at the moment
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. At this point in technology, everything can get the job done well. It just depends on the source material and what you are trying to achieve.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To bring their music to life while preserving the elements they already love about their music.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Getting to work on a vast array of music from great musicians around the world.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "My track sound weak compared to so and so artist, why?" First thing I will tell them is if they compared at a level matched volume. This will always accurately reveal the answer they are looking for.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Mastering isn't only about making things loud. It allows for an overall objective perspective that can either ruin or bring life to a great mix.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Other than what they require of me, I always ask about their production history and how they came to their production end.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be open to learn about the work process and keep your ears open and fresh. Sometimes it just takes a little understanding to change your perspective.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Myth Brooklyn DAC+, Maselec MEA-2, any ATC speaker and Vertigo VSM-2
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Started in audio school during college then worked in a few studios. Then I received my masters and NYU in Music Business and started engineering for Atlantic Records.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It always changes which is the thing. I'm always increasing knowledge and expertise.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Dream Theater. Their sound is just so massive and unique.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Whenever you are making adjustments or referencing your track to another, always listen at matched levels. Anything that has more volume will naturally sound "better" to your ears. This can be misleading. Level match to make accurate decisions.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Other than mastering, I would say it is education the client and understanding their needs. I offer a service after all. The client needs a world-class product.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Ideally whatever the client either wants or didn't know they needed a specific element. I always aim to leave the client with a sense of euphoria for when their track is complete.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Typically I will listen to the track and make an objective analysis to judge what the song is either lacking or needs removal of certain qualities. From there I will use assortment of tools to reach what I believe is a proper balance of sonic fidelity and musical taste.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work back and forth from my home and Atlantic Records. In most situations, I have access to world-class equipment including ATC, Focal and PMC speakers. Outboard gear ranges from Shadow Hills, Manley and more. For headphone monitoring I have a pair of Audeze MX-4 and a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Chris Gehringer, Randy Merrill, Ted Jenson
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Primarily mastering but occasionally I am hired for mixing.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: On a normal day, typically pop-rock or singer-songwriter.