TRANSCRIPT

ATS S0_E2: “MASTERING ENGINEER REUBEN COHEN”

After The Session. A podcast for recording engineers, music producers, recording studio enthusiasts, artists and musicians alike.

 

Note: AFTER THE SESSION has been produced as a podcast, and thus, is intended to be heard and not read. This transcript is a supplement to the original podcast, and as such, doesn’t necessarily reflect the original content or context, so we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio if possible.

After The Session: Season 0 Episode 2
Introduction

CHRISTIAN: Hey everyone, you’re listening to After The Session. This is Episode 2 from Season 0. My name’s Christian Cummings, and the guest on this episode is mastering engineer Reuben Cohen.

Reuben is just a phenomenal mastering engineer. I’ve been working with him on and off since I think the first thing he mastered for me in 2007, and of course, Lurssen Mastering, where he is employed. He and Gavin both are very talented mastering engineers, very well-known and very talented mastering engineers. They’ve done tons of work with tons of different people.

Some of the more impressive stuff, in my opinion, from Reuben’s discography would be his work with Pharrell on “Happy.” I think that was for a movie soundtrack. He did Slumdog Millionaire. I don’t know if he worked with Gavin on that; I’m guessing yes, because I think they work on a lot of stuff together. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros was a cool one we actually talk about in the podcast.

And actually, in the podcast we talk about that; we talk about his mastering Sonic Highways for the Foo Fighters and the HBO documentary; we talk about his mastering philosophies, his process and his approach. Right now I’m sitting here with my buddy Pat. You did something with Reuben, right?

PAT: I did the first Tiny Telephones record with Reuben.

CHRISTIAN: What year was that?

PAT: 2013.

CHRISTIAN: Were you happy?

PAT: I was extremely happy. I think the extra special thing was I’d never been into a mastering lab quite like that before, so I really wanted to go in and check out what exactly –

CHRISTIAN: You learned a lot?

PAT: Well, I wanted to see what goes into it. When I pulled up in my car, they had the “Reserved for Mr. Heaney.”

CHRISTIAN: [laughs] Ooh.

PAT: I was like, “Yeah, this is worth it right away.”

CHRISTIAN: Were you like, “This is a perfect place for my Toyota Corolla”? [laughs]

PAT: And then you walk in, you get to see the Hannah Montana platinum records hanging on the wall.

CHRISTIAN: They really have done just about everything, haven’t they, at Lurssen? They’re insane up there. They’ve done – God, I don’t even know. Everything.

PAT: A rack of Grammys.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah. Gavin Lurssen, who is the namesake, was with Doug Sax, The Mastering Lab, before Lurssen Mastering. Then – we talk about this in the podcast – Reuben came over with him from The Mastering Lab when they started Lurssen Mastering, and they’ve been incredibly successful and very forward-thinking in terms of the industry and where their place is in it, and where it’s going in the future and where their place will be in it in the future.

They give back a ton to the community, Gavin and Reuben both. Lurssen Mastering gives a lot back to mastering engineers that want to learn and musicians that want to learn.

So you sat in on a session with Reuben?

PAT: Yeah. I was watching Reuben while he’s sitting there, mastering. He’s just kind of staring off into space and he’s moving the ins and outs, these two giant knobs. I assume it’s the input and output. During certain parts of the songs, they’re very dynamic – he’s just pushing it, and it’s just all about feel and not looking into anything.

CHRISTIAN: Was this something you sang on? Was it a song you sang on at all?

PAT: No, no, no. Nobody wants to hear my fat, nasally voice. [laughs]

CHRISTIAN: “Welcome to After The Session with the two most nasal voices you’ve ever heard. My name’s Christian and this is Pat.” Just two noses.

PAT: Oh man. [laughs] I’m sure they don’t get terribly stoked on having the client there, always, but it is worth going up there and checking out. If you are going to get it mastered, it’s very interesting to watch these professionals work.

It’s something that they’ve been doing for so long. People always ask, being an engineer, “Can you master my record too?” You’re like, that’s a whole other beast.

CHRISTIAN: Absolutely. You experienced a professional mastering engineer like Reuben and how active he actually was in the process of doing it, like the lights turned way down, listening to the music and actually writing gains and writing EQs, and doing this really organic thing to your music. It’s not just slapping a limiter or plugin on the end. There’s a lot to it. And it’s years and it’s time and decades of practicing.

PAT: That’s the crazy thing, that he can know exactly what frequencies should be where and how to get it to sound really round and full. When it came back, it was just so wide open and pretty.

CHRISTIAN: Sounds like a finished record.

PAT: Yeah, definitely.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, so you should go. If Reuben’s mastering your stuff, definitely go. Bring a bunch of bubblegum, sit right by his right ear. Or some bubble wrap is good to bring, popping bubble wrap.

PAT: Stop putting the L3 on your master fader and go get it mastered for real. [laughs]

CHRISTIAN: And with that, couple things I’d like to say real quick. The podcast is obviously free; this is just a passion project of mine, but I’d appreciate it if you guys would subscribe in iTunes if that’s how you’re listening here. If you’re listening to this on the web and you want to try to find it, just get yourself into iTunes on your phone, on your iPad, on your computer, and do a search for “After The Session” and click subscribe.

If you need to get in touch with me, you can do that on Twitter; @EARSCummings is my Twitter handle. You can reach me at afterthesession@gmail.com. Also, you can catch the podcasts at christiancummings.com, which is my website.

So with that, enjoy After The Session- Season 0, Episode 2, with mastering engineer Reuben Cohen.

Interview

CHRISTIAN: Reuben Cohen.

REUBEN: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: Thank you for being on the podcast. We’re at Lurssen Mastering right now. Fredo is with us again; he was helping me with Mark Needham yesterday, and you’re hanging over here without a mic. But if you want to say something, just yell really loud.

FREDO: Sure will.

CHRISTIAN: [laughs] I’ll turn up the gain in that spot or something. So Reuben, thank you for having us, thanks for being on the podcast. How long have you been mastering for?

REUBEN: Coming on about 10 years now.

CHRISTIAN: Ten years?

REUBEN: Yeah, 10 years. I started really young.

CHRISTIAN: I guess so, because you seem like a pretty young dude.

REUBEN: I started as a teenager.

CHRISTIAN: Really? Are you from the Los Angeles area?

REUBEN: No, Santa Barbara. But I moved to Hollywood when I was 18.

CHRISTIAN: To do music?

REUBEN: Yeah, to either become a producer, work on records, play – just wanted to be in music.

CHRISTIAN: Are you a musician?

REUBEN: Yeah, guitar player.

CHRISTIAN: So that’s kind of the genesis of you getting to here.

REUBEN: It was, yeah. I was recording in Santa Barbara, just my own stuff and friends and things like that. Not professionally; just for free, just because I love to do it. Then I just found my way into mastering fairly quickly, within a year of moving here, I’d say. Yeah, at The Mastering Lab on Hollywood Boulevard at the time. That’s where the first gig was.

CHRISTIAN: Right on. Doug Sax.

REUBEN: That’s right.

CHRISTIAN: He just passed away.

REUBEN: Yes, sadly.

CHRISTIAN: So you got an assistant gig there quickly, and then Gavin was there, right?

REUBEN: That’s right. That’s where I met Gavin. At the time I wasn’t even assisting, really. I was picking up sandwiches and making sure the bathroom looked good and making sure clients had coffee. But yeah, we were there for a little over a year and then we started this place, Lurssen Mastering.

CHRISTIAN: The rest is history.

REUBEN: That’s right.

CHRISTIAN: Right out of the gate, I have to ask you about two things. Foo Fighters, because I’m a fan – I grew up in the ’90s and I’m a drummer, so it’s kind of hard to not at least respect Dave Grohl, and of course the other guys too. So you recently worked on Sonic Highways?

REUBEN: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: What was your role on that project?

REUBEN: Gavin and I tag-team a lot of projects, so we worked on that one together. It was four days straight, quick in-and-out. They had a deadline. Dave was in town for the whole thing. Actually, the whole band showed up, and we worked long hours because we were picking which mixes to use and things like that. James Brown was mixing some of the songs as we were mastering it, so there was a little bit of back and forth.

CHRISTIAN: Oh wow, so he’s up at the other studio – where did he mix at?

REUBEN: I think it was on the East Coast, actually.

CHRISTIAN: Okay, so he’d mix, boom, fly it over to you guys.

REUBEN: That’s right. All FTP. It’s quick. So yeah, that’s basically how it went down.

CHRISTIAN: That scares me as a mixing engineer, in that role of having to send off to mastering as I’m wrapping mixes and not getting to live with them or anything. Just being like “out the door.”

REUBEN: Yeah. I think we were just going off what felt right, and Dave really knows what he wants. He really does. He’s really zoned in. He’s one of the most focused artists I’ve ever come across, actually. He’s just this force. He has tons of energy, but it’s super focused energy when he’s working.

But he also lets the people around him do what they do best, and he trusts his professionals that he has around him. He’d come in almost like a quarterback, tell us the game plan for each song, and then he’d be out until we had something for him to listen to.

CHRISTIAN: Do you find that having someone that really knows what they want is helpful, most of the time?

REUBEN: Yeah, absolutely.

CHRISTIAN: Versus someone who’s like “I don’t really know what I want. Here are some things. I like The Beatles and I like Metallica. Can you make it sound like both of those?” [laughs]

REUBEN: A big part of mastering is getting into an artist’s or a producer’s head and figuring out what they’re actually saying. Sometimes what they’re actually verbally saying couldn’t be farther from what they actually do want. It’s such a completely misunderstood process to most that they don’t even know what to ask for. So usually you have to develop a sixth sense to get into somebody’s head and figure out what is really going to make them happy.

For the most part, the mix really does more talking than anything else. Even if a mixing engineer brings a project in and they try to describe the mix, they can describe it all day long; you’re going to have an idea of what it’s going to be like and what it needs to take it to the finish line, but once you actually hear it, that does all the speaking for you, really. Or for them. And then from there you work from that place.

CHRISTIAN: As you probably know, I do a little mixing myself.

REUBEN: Sure, of course.

CHRISTIAN: And engineering and producing. I never really know what to say to a mastering engineer about my project when I deliver it. I’m usually like, I want to tell them about all the problems I already know about – but then at the same time I think to myself, I don’t want to tell them about any of my preconceived notions. I just want to give it to them and have them just listen and go. Because ultimately, their first instinct is probably better left unpolluted by my thoughts.

REUBEN: Yeah. You know what I like? I like when some people email me the notes or something that they’re concerned about. Then I have that there, and then I’ll do something, I’ll have it up on the board – maybe I’ll even make a print – and then I’ll look at the notes after that to see if maybe I addressed everything that they already said.

CHRISTIAN: That’s interesting.

REUBEN: It’s a cool way to do it. And then I’ll listen through their ears after reading their email, and then maybe I’ll make another adjustment or print another version as an option or something like that.

CHRISTIAN: I bet you find that a lot of times when you do that, you’ve already addressed a bunch of their problems.

REUBEN: Usually, yeah. For the most part, balanced audio is balanced audio, and if there’s a disconnect – thankfully it’s a great thing that we all agree most of the time on things. “The snare is fighting with the vocal.” We’re all going to feel that. That just will happen naturally, something like that.

CHRISTIAN: Is that a common one you run into, snare fighting with the vocal? Obviously bottom end is going to be a big one.

REUBEN: Yeah, bottom end is probably the biggest one that I run into just because people are mixing in less preferred environments more and more. They’re mixing at home. They’re making decisions based off what they’re hearing, but sometimes what they’re hearing is steering them wrong. Standing wave issues, that’s a big thing that we run into.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, because you’ve got dudes that are mixing at home and they’ve got a big 200 hertz null or bump, and they don’t know it.

REUBEN: Exactly.

CHRISTIAN: And all of a sudden you’re getting…

REUBEN: Yeah, it happens. It doesn’t happen that often, but it does happen.

CHRISTIAN: Would you say that the quality of the mixes you receive is all over the board, or do you feel like it’s in a certain ballpark?

REUBEN: Not one project is the same. Every project has its own signature thumbprint. You’ll never come across a song that’s in the same place or an album that’s in the same place. What it comes down to is how do you really define what’s good? Do you connect with the music or not?

CHRISTIAN: How do you define what’s good?

REUBEN: That’s it. Can I connect with it?

CHRISTIAN: Just do you connect with the music or not?

REUBEN: Exactly. Does the artist speak? Does it have some type of emotional connection? Because that’s really what it is, right? If that’s done right, there’s nothing in between that connection. We do every genre, so if you’re talking about working on something that’s really highly processed, like a highly processed hip hop album or a pop record or something like that –

CHRISTIAN: EDM track.

REUBEN: EDM track, something that’s really got in there – not like acoustic guitar and vocal. I’m talking about something that’s really processed. The processing helps deliver that emotional content. It doesn’t mean that you have to not do a whole lot to get that across. Some people say purist methods will deliver it in the best way, but it’s whatever you’re working on, regardless of genre.

CHRISTIAN: Right. What is the purist approach? I’ve got a feeling you’re not the purist approach; you’re more of the “does this need nothing or does it need a bunch, and I’ll do whichever kind it needs.” You know what I’m saying?

REUBEN: I’m everything. I’ve had the honor and blessing of standing on the shoulders of giants, because everything that Doug passed to Gavin that Gavin passed to me – Gavin, when I was young, he always used to tell people that he was a blend of old school and new school. He was new school, he was of the modern times – still to today, he’s a cutting edge mastering engineer. But he was able to pull upon all of the tried and true methods of Doug, who had been working as a mastering engineer when mastering was a completely different thing.

CHRISTIAN: Should we take a second and just talk about Doug Sax?

REUBEN: Sure.

CHRISTIAN: I never met him, I never worked with him. Did you ever get a chance to chat with him or get to know him at all?

REUBEN: Very little, actually. Most of what I know about Doug is through Gavin. He had built the studio in Ojai, and by the time I was at the lab in the Hollywood location, he was pretty much at the Ojai location every day. And Gavin had pretty much taken over the day-to-day at the Hollywood location. [Doug] would drop in now and again and crack some jokes.

CHRISTIAN: Make sure the machine was running correctly.

REUBEN: Exactly.

CHRISTIAN: It’s cool that everybody has such fond memories of the guy.

REUBEN: Yeah.

CHRISTIAN: And obviously he had such a massive impact on your industry.

REUBEN: Absolutely. We wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for him, there’s no question.

CHRISTIAN: Back to the Foos. The Foos were cool, you did the Sonic Highways thing.

REUBEN: Today we’re working on the Foo Fighters.

CHRISTIAN: Oh, really? Cool.

REUBEN: Yeah. We’re remastering four albums, the four albums before Sonic Highways, all from the original analog tapes to 192, all high-res. So they’re fresh high-res releases. Today we’re working on In Your Honor.

CHRISTIAN: Oh, that’s great, man. I’m a huge fan. I ran into those guys – I was doing stage work back in the day, and right during The Colour and The Shape, when I was like a wee, wee lad, I ended up drum teching that for them at a show. It was just the coolest experience.

REUBEN: Nice. That’s awesome.

CHRISTIAN: I was blown away, a little kid just being like “Oh my God!” And they were so nice.

REUBEN: Yeah, they’re all so great. Great energy.

CHRISTIAN: What did you do for Sonic Highways? Are they still really into that analog processing, or were they like “whatever it needs”?

REUBEN: It’s whatever it needs. It’s whatever the song and the album needs. Each song was different. That was an interesting record because every song was recorded in a different city, in a different studio. James Brown, who mixed it, he had to anticipate it all living together as one thing also, but each song being its own thing at the same time, too. So we had to take all of that into account when mastering it and then find a place for it all to live so it can be one thing.

CHRISTIAN: Right. They’re at Albini’s place – I mean, I watched the whole series – they were at Albini’s place on tape, and then whatever, weeks later they were probably on Pro Tools, doing it that way. That’s cool. Yeah, that was a cool record, man. Sounded great.

REUBEN: Yeah, it was really fun.

CHRISTIAN: Sounded really great. So we’re sitting here at Lurssen Mastering in – what studio is this?

REUBEN: We don’t even have a Studio A and Studio B. We just call it “this room” or “that room.” Because we don’t want to say one’s the preferred room, necessarily.

CHRISTIAN: Right. Do you have pretty much the same gear in both rooms?

REUBEN: We have two cloned consoles.

CHRISTIAN: So this is exactly the same.

REUBEN: Exactly the same.

CHRISTIAN: I see a lot of really cool toys in here, man. Certainly lots and lots of analog stuff.

REUBEN: We process all analog. We do a little bit of brick wall limiting post the conversion back to digital just due to the fact that we like that so we don’t have to hit the converter on the backend as hard. It creates a nice cushion. And depending on what you’re working on, we’ll configure the gain structure accordingly. But all the EQ, all the compression, all the shaping of the actual audio is done analog.

CHRISTIAN: Right. Do you do any MS, or do you guys get into that kind of stuff? Or do you a little bit of everything?

REUBEN: We do it all. MS is something, in my opinion – and I speak for all of us here, probably, at the studio – it’s kind of something that generally is done when something’s wrong with the mix. It will sound kind of processed. The best thing that we can do is sound like we weren’t in there fixing it.

CHRISTIAN: Doing anything, right.

REUBEN: Or over-processing anything in the wrong way. Sometimes processing is good because it actually sounds less processed once you process.

CHRISTIAN: [laughs] Yeah, right. Wow, that was very Inception-esque. It’s a dream within a dream within a dream.

REUBEN: That’s right. How deep can you go? We could get pretty esoteric here if you want. [laughs]

CHRISTIAN: “We like to go into digital so it sounds extra analog. Wait, what? So confusing.”

REUBEN: [laughs] We’re there and back again. I’d say the majority of stuff that comes in is digital, although we still work on a whole lot of analog stuff, analog tape, like today. Most of the stuff we do is digital.

CHRISTIAN: I would imagine so, because most of the stuff that exists in the world that people are doing is digital.

REUBEN: That’s right.

CHRISTIAN: How many people do analog – I mean, I love doing analog when I can, but it’s just not an option very much.

REUBEN: Yeah. Because of that, a lot of people look to us to take away the digital feel of something and maintain everything else. We have techniques of using high frequency limiting to take off some digital edge, but then opening something up with 2 BQ as we’re doing that. It’s always all one process. So there’s different ways to make it almost feel like it came off analog tape through just running through our chain, depending on how we have it configured and the gain structure and all that.

CHRISTIAN: Do you move your chain around a lot, or does it generally stay in a certain order?

REUBEN: There are formulas based off how the mix feels and the balance of the mix, and the elements within the mix and how far away they are or how close they are together, the arrangement itself. If I’m working on hip hop or EDM or pop, I might do something where I’m not hearing as much movement and compression. It depends on how hard things are hitting in the transients. But if I’m working on a more Americana type of arrangement, sometimes getting some movement adds to the feel and it seems right for the track or the album.

CHRISTIAN: Right. Are there any pieces of gear here that are like desert island gear?

REUBEN: People ask me that kind of thing, like “What’s your favorite piece of gear?”

CHRISTIAN: Now I’m that guy too. [laughs]

REUBEN: “If there was a fire, what would you run out with?”

CHRISTIAN: Just the whole console, pick it up on your shoulders. Or one of these ATCs. Are those ATCs?

REUBEN: They are. Yeah, these are the 50s in this room. Probably the speakers, actually, because that’s the most important thing.

CHRISTIAN: ATCs at Mark’s place yesterday.

REUBEN: But I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s one thing, really, because I would say it’s everything. The way we work, it’s almost like one big piece of gear. We have all these individual pieces of gear that make up one process.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, you’re like “See our console here? This is one big channel strip.”

REUBEN: Yeah, it’s exactly that. It’s a designed unit.

CHRISTIAN: I see a lot of the standard pieces, the normal weapons of choice, and a couple of things like this EAR EQ.

REUBEN: I love that EAR EQ. You can play that like an instrument. You can ride it. It’s not detented. It’s a very musical EQ in the way that the bands are set; it’s very flexible. You can do all kinds of things. But it feels really nice and analog due to the fact that when you work on it, you can develop this technique with your fingers to ride things on each channel. For instance, if you want to crack open a chorus, you can do it fluidly.

CHRISTIAN: That is so cool, man.

REUBEN: Yeah, it’s like playing guitar.

CHRISTIAN: So you’re actually occasionally maybe doing rides on an EQ?

REUBEN: Always.

CHRISTIAN: Really?

REUBEN: Oh yeah.

CHRISTIAN: I had no idea.

REUBEN: Yeah, yeah. My hands are always on the board. It’s the way I was trained. Gavin does the same thing. It’s the way we work. It’s not that we’re always needing to change things, but our hands are always on the board whether we’re making adjustments or not.

It’s like, you know when you’re playing – I play guitar. If you ever just have your hands on the guitar neck, it connects the brain in a certain way. It’s like all of a sudden you’re zoned into the instrument. It’s kind of the same thing. We use our hands to feel into the music that way.

But you’re right there; as soon as something happens, you react. If the chorus happens and all of a sudden maybe a buildup is happening and the compression is starting to fold in a little bit, or you know it’s going to, you might crack it open with the EQ to compensate for that. So it’s compressing it, opening it at the same time, and creating this huge, massive build.

CHRISTIAN: Wow. That’s cool, man. I love the concept of being connected to what you’re doing, that tactile connection with your fingers of just really looping back into the music. It’s like you’re playing an instrument, exactly.

REUBEN: You’re in the zone. You’re connected to it. You’re in the audio bubble, I like to say.

CHRISTIAN: That’s an important concept, man. Really important concept. I’m a fan of minimizing Pro Tools sometimes. I have a control surface in front of me, but just trying not to look at stuff and get too sucked into the visuals when I’m working, or really even trying to shut my eyes and just pay attention to what I’m hearing.

REUBEN: Yeah. Anybody that’s been to our spot, they’ll know that we work pretty much in the dark. [laughs] We literally turn the lights down almost so that you can’t even see the knobs. You can see it because your eyes adjust, but any darker and you might not. It allows your ears to open up in a different way, and also it decreases the stimulus of what’s coming in through the eyes, so your ears are more alert.

CHRISTIAN: That’s cool. That’s an interesting concept.

REUBEN: I mean, I think that’s how it works. That’s my own personal experience.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, chilling out the external stimulus and just really letting the ears take over.

REUBEN: You know when you’re driving and you’re looking for the address, and you turn down the radio because you’re trying to focus? It’s like the opposite of that.

CHRISTIAN: Man, that’s a pretty cool thought. I’m looking at the console and trying to think if I have any more gear questions. I’m guessing these big knobs here in the center of this cool console are volume control?

REUBEN: Well, there’s left and right attenuators. It’s part of the gain structure, but it’s also used to – actually, it has so many purposes. One is so we can add some resistance in certain places in the chain or in one particular place in the chain. We might push a little more gain into something like a tube EQ, saturate it with more tube saturation and attenuate post it, so you get a little pocket of tube saturation.

CHRISTIAN: Warmth.

REUBEN: Yeah, analog love. The big one to the right of that is the volume control.

CHRISTIAN: Gotcha.

REUBEN: But it’s good to have attenuators in the chain. If you’re lining up something, lining up a tape machine and you’re using the meters, you’re putting up a tone, you can add attenuation to line it up and see where you are, get more gain and stuff, all relative level and all that.

CHRISTIAN: Are the VUs in operation currently?

REUBEN: Sure, absolutely.

CHRISTIAN: This is such a beautiful console here, beautiful desk. The monitors are insane. Those things are nuts, man. I have no idea how much those things cost. Not cheap.

REUBEN: Pretty big investment, but we know them. These are the 50s. We have the 150s in the other room. It just tells us what to do. And I think if you know any speaker, you can work on anything; it just tells you what to do.

CHRISTIAN: Do you guys run a sub?

REUBEN: Yeah. We run a sub.

CHRISTIAN: Fredo over here, you’re kind of a gear guy. You work at Desk Doctor. Do you have any gear thoughts, questions?

FREDO: I’m interested in the XLR Patchbay, actually. I was looking at that a second ago. I’ve read before that the XLR Patchbays actually sound better than the TRS ones. Is that something you guys found?

REUBEN: That goes back way before me, and we’ve always done it. Actually, I don’t want to… [laughs] There’s some things that probably should be left unspoken about. But it’s kind of part of the way we’ve always done things. It’s passed down through how Gavin was – it’s an evolution. This console has evolved from everything that has been passed down over years and years and years.

CHRISTIAN: Leave it to Fredo to get the question out that goes “eh, let’s talk about something else.” [laughs] Back to the artists. You also worked with Pharrell, right? What did you do there?

REUBEN: We did a couple singles.

CHRISTIAN: I mean, you’ve done a lot of things, obviously. I’m just cherry-picking a couple here.

REUBEN: We did “Blurred Lines” single here that Tony Maserati mixed. We did “Happy.” What else have we done…

CHRISTIAN: Isn’t there a lot of dynamic range in “Happy”?

REUBEN: Yeah. It was originally mastered to live with score music for the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. It has dynamic range due to the fact that it feels good that way, too, just due to the arrangement. And it’s not slammed with level just because it wanted to be light on its feet and not feeling pushed and hard. It needs to just jump and feel… happy. [chuckles]

CHRISTIAN: Right. Not terribly aggressive.

REUBEN: Yeah. You just want to jump out of your chair and start dancing. That’s the whole idea.

CHRISTIAN: That song was a huge, huge hit.

REUBEN: Yeah, that music video really went viral.

CHRISTIAN: I have to ask – and I’m sure you’re sick to death of talking about it, but dynamic range. We should talk about it for a split second. You’re not like “ugh, dynamic range”? You don’t have this conversation three times a day?

REUBEN: Not at all, no. It should be talked about.

CHRISTIAN: Of course. Okay, how do you feel about – I even hate saying the term ‘loudness war,’ but how do you feel about the state of dynamic range in your masters these days?

REUBEN: This is the thing: it’s always based off how the mix is mixed and how the album is mixed. It’s never a good idea to try to make it something that it’s not or doesn’t want to be. You can get down to the nitty gritty and start thinking about peak to average ratio of a mix and understand it from that perspective, but you can also understand it from a field perspective.

It’s almost like you want to understand the technical to know it, and then put it in your back pocket and pull it out when you need it – but after that, go off how does it sound. Because like I was saying earlier, every mix is different. Every project is different. There’s not one that’s the same. You can’t master one record the same as the other.

I suppose if you had a formula in place, you could rely on that. If there’s a band that’s playing, maybe The Tonight Show band has something going on where they’re the same musicians, same instruments, miked the same way every day – yeah, you might master it every time the same way, something like that. But other than something like that, everything’s always different. There’s not one project the same.

So you have to size up each one as its own thing and figure out what the proper level is. And even there, there’s a window. You can master it for a little bit, you can hype it more, and that’ll create a certain feel. Then you can bring it back a little bit more and that’ll create a certain feel. If you bring it back too much, it could feel disconnected based off how it’s mixed. Maybe it does need a little bit more glue and hype based off what the genre is, what the intent of the music is. If it’s more aggressive – like a Foo Fighters record – people are going to be driving down the freeway with the windows down, rocking out.

CHRISTIAN: They want it to be aggressive and exciting.

REUBEN: Yeah. Or hopefully, actually if you want to listen properly, not with the windows down. But you know what I’m saying. It’s supposed to rock your socks off.

CHRISTIAN: But hey, man, listening with the windows down and enjoying it and rocking out might be the proper way to listen to something too, because that’s the emotional thing there.

REUBEN: Totally. And that’s the feel of it. It’s Foo Fighters. It’s everything that it needs to be. So you want to hype it because the music calls for it.

Now, if you put it up against something that’s mixed with more compression on the drums, the guitars are maybe mixed in such a way that you can push more level and then it doesn’t feel like it’s compromising the music – and it doesn’t also feel like it’s pushed onto the listener, so you feel like “Oh whoa, this is too much. I’ve got to start turning it down.” Because that’s the worst thing that could ever happen. You don’t want a loud record that people are going to turn down. You want people to turn it up.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, right? It seems to me that there’s been at least a few more releases within the last couple years that have been very successful – very successful – with some dynamic range in them. I find that to be kind of cool. I like that.

I like dynamic range. I’m cool, I like a record slammed every once in a while if it’s appropriate, but on my stuff I tend to like a little more dynamic range, or at least not have it totally crushed when I can get away with that. And I’m starting to feel like I can get away with that again as a mixer or a producer. Like, yeah, I can get away with a couple more dB of RMS than I had a couple years ago.

REUBEN: Well, it’s the song at the end of the day, and it’s the feel of it. Actually, overall level –

CHRISTIAN: There are styles, though, too, that exist. Obviously crushing something is a style as well that has been popular.

REUBEN: Sure. It has a feel. It’s part of it. I was kind of born into the level wars, being 10 years in. I think probably around 2008 or 2009 it was reaching most of its awareness and it was peaking. People were starting to say “Hey, some of these records don’t sound so good” – more than ever before. So a whole lot of awareness was raised. I won’t go into particular projects, but there was a whole bunch of videos that went around and a whole lot of information was spread.

CHRISTIAN: I know what you’re talking about. [laughs]

REUBEN: Exactly. [laughs] It really started with mastering houses competing against one another, because on the immediate listen, louder is better to the unsophisticated ear – or uneducated ear, that’s what I should say. The people that don’t know any better, if you do an A/B – if I were to play for my aunt, in the studio, I said “Listen to this and then listen to this,” she might go “Oh yeah, that sounds better.” But maybe she’d end up turning it down after listening to it for 10 minutes.

CHRISTIAN: Right, or less. Like 3 or 4 minutes. It starts turning into white noise.

REUBEN: Exactly. And maybe she just wouldn’t feel as connected to the music. That’s how we’ve always approached it. That’s the way I was trained. Gavin never bought into the level wars. That being said, he makes aggressive-sounding records all the time.

CHRISTIAN: And then you’re also responsible for delivering what the client wants, right? If the clients want something loud, you can say “Hey, we could do quieter, but if you want it loud, here’s loud.”

REUBEN: We’re able to still achieve a lot of level without going to the place where it feels overly done. There’s a particular place where if you cross it – and we’re talking even a tenth of a dB – at that point, we can narrow into that. You’re over that line, all of a sudden you lose the connectivity.

CHRISTIAN: Really?

REUBEN: Oh yeah. So you take it to that place – if you’re really trying to figure out “where can we get this so it’s hyped?”, you take it to that place. It takes a matter of seconds. You know it as soon as you put it up that loud, and you back it off a little bit. It’s like focusing a magnifying glass. Tilt it this way, tilt this way, all of a sudden you’re right there, right on the point. That’s exactly the way to describe it. You just know. And you develop that sensibility over doing thousands of records.

CHRISTIAN: How many records do you do here a year? You guys. Let’s just say you guys, because you’re a team effort.

REUBEN: It’s hard to say.

CHRISTIAN: If you had to guess.

REUBEN: Considering we’re doing a couple albums a day, every day…

CHRISTIAN: And sometimes you’re doing singles.

REUBEN: And we’re doing singles, and we’re doing EPs, we’re doing soundtracks. So it’s hard to say, but…

CHRISTIAN: Taking all of that into account. [laughs]

REUBEN: To give you an idea, we’re doing about two to three albums a day.

CHRISTIAN: Oh wow.

REUBEN: Yeah. And we’ve got two rooms.

CHRISTIAN: So 700 or 800 albums a year.

REUBEN: Something like that.

CHRISTIAN: Projects, whatever.

REUBEN: On average days we’ll do an album and then we’ll do an EP and then some singles or something like that.

CHRISTIAN: Wow. If people want you guys to master for them, they can just go to your website or call you guys, right?

REUBEN: Yeah.

CHRISTIAN: It’s not difficult to do.

REUBEN: Super easy. Nicki, our manager, is amazing.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, she’s awesome.

REUBEN: Everybody just raves about her every time they’re in.

CHRISTIAN: She was super good at corresponding with me about setting this up. She was great. She was on it.

REUBEN: That’s her whole thing. She’s so good at that. She juggles the schedule, she makes sure that everything is – a whole lot of keeping on a heavy workload is making sure that you’re able to do it and not spread yourself too thin. So she’s aware of that, she always makes sure that everybody gets everything on time and on budget, and just makes sure that we’re ready to go every day. No holdups.

CHRISTIAN: Off the top of your head – I’m not going to say favorite projects, but are there some projects that you can think of off the top of your head that have maybe not been popular or other people haven’t heard of, smaller projects or passion projects that you’ve gone through over the years that you can remember, that you might like to share with people to check out? Or just whatever. Obviously there’s the bullet points that I know of in your resume. We were talking about the Foo Fighters, we were talking about Pharrell. But are there any little things that were fun along the way? A lot of my favorite mixes and favorite mix projects are bands nobody’s ever heard of. [laughs]

REUBEN: I know what you mean. In fact, didn’t we once work on something?

CHRISTIAN: We did.

REUBEN: What was that? That was so cool.

CHRISTIAN: That was First Wave Hello, and that was a while ago.

REUBEN: That was 2007 or something like that.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah.

REUBEN: So there’s things like that, and it’s funny because we actually labeled the project your name, because for whatever reason we didn’t even have the band name at that time. Maybe there wasn’t even a band name at the time.

CHRISTIAN: There was, I think. I don’t know why that happened.

REUBEN: That was cool.

CHRISTIAN: That was their third and final recording project, and then they all went on to do some really cool stuff after that, different projects.

REUBEN: There’s a whole lot of records that did get some marketing and people do know about them, but not everybody. One of my favorites that immediately comes to mind is that there’s this album by this artist named Rocco Deluca. The album is called Mercy. It was a Daniel Lanois production. It’s so cool. The arrangement, the vibe. It’s just rad.

CHRISTIAN: I’m going to have to look on Spotify for that.

REUBEN: Really cool. There’s this band called Carney. It’s a four-piece band. Two of the members are brothers: the lead singer, Reeve Carney, and his brother Zane Carney, who’s this amazing virtuoso jazz-fusion guitar player.

CHRISTIAN: How long ago was this?

REUBEN: I want to say probably 2008 or 2009. They were still as Carney. Then Reeve got the gig to be Spiderman on Broadway, so he was that guy.

CHRISTIAN: Poor guy. [laughs]

REUBEN: I know. [chuckles] But the band only put out one release.

CHRISTIAN: Is he alive, by the way? Any broken bones or broken spine?

REUBEN: I know, I know. It was too bad.

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to remember, but there were some injuries with that.

REUBEN: Yeah, somebody fell off swinging from some spider webs and all that, unfortunately.

CHRISTIAN: I shouldn’t laugh at that, because I don’t know what the heck happened there. [laughs] It could be a really sad story. I don’t actually know. Disclaimer.

REUBEN: Killer album. If you put it on, it’s undeniable. It’s really, really cool.

CHRISTIAN: Okay, I’m going to look that one up now too.

REUBEN: Yeah, it’s off the top of my head.

CHRISTIAN: Here’s what’ll happen as soon as we’re done podcasting. In an hour, you’ll be like “Oh, I forgot about this one and I forgot about this one.”

REUBEN: Yeah. This is not an unpopular album, but they have such a niche following. It’s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Not everybody knows about them, but everybody should.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, they’re really cool.

REUBEN: So cool.

CHRISTIAN: I don’t know a lot about them, but I definitely know at least a few of the tunes.

REUBEN: Yeah, everybody knows them – they had a huge single, “Home.” There’s this album called Here, and it’s so off the beaten track but it’s so cool at the same time. It’s very conservative and level. It’s one of the quietest records. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a very quiet record.

CHRISTIAN: Which is a record you guys did, right?

REUBEN: Yes, and we actually remastered it – well, Gavin did originally, 2001 I believe.

CHRISTIAN: And he won…

REUBEN: He was the first mastering engineer to win an Album of the Year Grammy, because that was the year that they began including mastering engineers in the category of Album of the Year. [The album] Here is intentionally backed off and level for the reason of maintaining all the dynamic builds that it has.  It also has a gentle quality to it, too. The only compressor in the mastering chain was a Fairchild 670.

CHRISTIAN: I’ve heard of those.

REUBEN: It’s like swimming in Fairchild. It’s cool. It’s really cool. It has this kind of Fairchild feel.

CHRISTIAN: Do you guys own a Fairchild? Or do you rent one or borrow one?

REUBEN: We’ve had one on almost a regular lease, and for that reason it’s serviced for us. We know it, it’s always here. It can be here within an hour. There’s actually three that we have.

CHRISTIAN: From the same place?

REUBEN: From the same place.

CHRISTIAN: I know where that place is.

REUBEN: Yeah, Design FX. They’re awesome. That’s a Design FX plug. [laughs]

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, Design FX plug. I’ve rented their 251s many times and some Pultecs from them every once in a while.

REUBEN: It’s actually better for us to have it because it’s serviced.

CHRISTIAN: It’s in perfect condition. You basically end up with a Fairchild that’s going to be in as good a condition as you can come across.

REUBEN: That’s right. We don’t use it on everything; we use it on certain projects that call for it. A lot of times we’ll use a Manley Variable Mu, which is also –

CHRISTIAN: Did you just call it a Variable “M-U”?

REUBEN: A vary mu? [laughs] Yeah, I called it that, I guess.

CHRISTIAN: That’s cool. I like it. I’m going to start calling it that.

REUBEN: A Vari Mu. People call it that. I don’t know, I always call it that.

CHRISTIAN: Variable M-U. Yeah, sure, why not?

REUBEN: You’re the first person to point that out. Which is modeled after the 670.

CHRISTIAN: You should call it the Variable Emu. [laughs]

REUBEN: Just call it the Mu. [laughs] Yeah, so we use that as a different type of Fairchild feel, more regularly. We use the Fairchild I’d say maybe on one project every other week or maybe every week or something like that.

CHRISTIAN: I have only had two occasions where I’ve gotten an opportunity to audition a real Fairchild in the process of making a recording, and both times I didn’t end up using it. Not because it’s not a cool piece of gear; I’m not saying that.  It’s just I think in reality, you’ve got to have a good one. How’s that?

REUBEN: There’s that. They all sound a little different. And it’s sometimes the kind of thing where it does something, so you almost have to audition it. I’ll do a shootout on some records – usually when I’m thinking about reaching for it, I’ll do a shootout against a Manley and I’ll switch them out and see how they feel.

CHRISTIAN: I’m guessing it’s kind of a bold flavor, too.

REUBEN: It has a color that we all know. I like to use it on more delicate arrangements, like I love using it on acoustic guitar and vocal albums, or something light, something delicate.

CHRISTIAN: I bet you it’s one of those pieces that you could almost not see the needle moving and you’re just happy with it.

REUBEN: Exactly. It’s just tickling, it’s just running through it. Although that Edward Sharpe record, it’s moving a little more. [chuckles] It’s the only one in there.

CHRISTIAN: Now I have to look that record up.

REUBEN: Yeah, it’s interesting.

CHRISTIAN: The singer in that band, was he in a few other things before that?

REUBEN: Yeah, Alex Ebert. He’s a very cool artist. I was really excited – once we started that record, I looked him up and saw what he was all about.

CHRISTIAN: You became a fan.

REUBEN: Yeah, I definitely did. He was in this band called Ima Robot.

CHRISTIAN: Yes! They were cool, man. I liked that band a lot.

REUBEN: I only realized that I had seen them – I think it was a Warped Tour show years and years back, and then I only put it together later, because then he had long hair and a beard and looked totally different. You wouldn’t be able to recognize him, necessarily.

CHRISTIAN: I’m looking at your credit list here, and I forgot about all the soundtracks you’ve worked on. Slumdog Millionaire. That has to be one of the bigger ones, right? Well, I’m seeing Despicable Me on here and Cars 2 and Across the Universe and Bridesmaids, so amongst others.

REUBEN: Slumdog was so cool because that was – I think it was 2008, maybe, or 2009 – but anyway, Interscope called and they said “Hey, we’ve got this film. It’s this India thing, and it’s just blowing up at the Toronto Film Festival. We have to get the soundtrack out, because it’s going to have a theatrical release tomorrow” or something crazy like that. So we said “Okay, we’ll do it.”

It meant staying up late and waiting for the mixes to trickle in from India. At the time, Facebook was just kind of happening – it was so hard to get a good phone connection with these guys in India, so we didn’t know when it was showing up. I ended up staying up all through the night, waiting for the last mix. [laughs] Finally I went home at like 6 a.m.

CHRISTIAN: Were they coming in via FTP or something like that?

REUBEN: Yeah, and FTP wasn’t even – this was pre-YouSendIt, which is now Hightail. I think we called it swap drive at the time. It would always fail halfway through, and there was no MD5 checksum protocol set up at that point. It was a time where – and it wasn’t even that long ago – but our tape library was filled with hard drives and data DVDs still. Nobody sends in data DVDs anymore.

CHRISTIAN: Data DVDs, yeah. Data CDs.

REUBEN: Anyway, it kind of was like this Slumdog Millionaire actual type story, that it just happened at the very last moment that we got this thing done in time for the deadline, just because they were mixing up until the last point. But then I hadn’t seen the movie as we were working on it.

CHRISTIAN: Have you seen it now?

REUBEN: Yeah. It’s great.

CHRISTIAN: I just had to ask. I didn’t think you were going to say “No, I should do that, actually.” [laughs]

REUBEN: No, I’ve got it on Blu-ray. [laughs]

CHRISTIAN: Wow, you’ve had quite a career in a very short period of time.

REUBEN: Thank you.

CHRISTIAN: You’re a young guy, and you’ve done a lot of really cool stuff. Having said that, what do you think the future of mastering holds? It’s really difficult for anybody to talk about the future, especially in audio and music production, right? Really difficult. Especially right now where it’s such a turning point with technology. But where do you feel like things are heading right now? Do you have any insight into that you might be able to share?

REUBEN: It’s so hard to say. I don’t want to try to pretend that I have that forecasting power, but I know that humanity has always made music. It’s been quite a long time. I don’t see it stopping.

CHRISTIAN: I had a conversation – we did another podcast a couple days ago with a neuroscientist named Dr. Tim Mullen. He’s a musician and he studies a lot of music and the brain. One of the questions I asked him was – coming from a place of no information – how long have we been listening to music? How long has music been part of the human experience? He’s like, “Dude, we don’t know. We think music’s been around forever. We think maybe it’s even slightly possible animals might have their own versions of it” – although he said probably not. But he’s like, “We don’t know.”

REUBEN: Birds do it.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah. They dance.

REUBEN: Yeah, it’s vibrating the atmosphere.

CHRISTIAN: So having said that, it’s hard to say where we’re headed, right? The process of mastering ultimately seems to be a very musical and artistic process, just like mixing or songwriting. I think obviously that still needs to remain part of the process.

REUBEN: Yeah. It’s interesting, I went to a conference maybe in 2009, and this was pre-Spotify, and it was called The Paradigm Shift. It was at the NARAS building. Everybody was trying to figure out what the next thing was going to be, because the way people bought music the most was through iTunes. That’s the way people were purchasing it, if they didn’t steal it illegally. And subscription deals – because Netflix was doing so well at that time; their stock had risen threefold or something like that, so it made sense that some type of subscription thing was going to come through. The unfortunate part is that artists aren’t getting paid for that.

So it’s a tricky time. We do a lot of indie records here. We do tons of indie records, and I’m just encouraged every day by seeing that artists are doing it for the love of doing the music. I think hopefully it’ll recover and people will be able to make money in the industry again.

But when one thing changes, it’s almost that the art is coming – the real reason that people are making music is there’s more of a focus on that than trying to make it into a business. Which is unfortunate in some ways but also kind of beautiful in other ways.

CHRISTIAN: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I could not agree more. At the end of the day, the priority is the art, for sure, and the songwriting and the music. It’d be nice to make a living doing it, for sure, but it can’t be the other way around. It cannot be the other way around. Or you just won’t have good music.

REUBEN: Yeah. And we’re not sitting here getting rich working on mastering records, either, so we’re in it too.

CHRISTIAN: Me, selfishly, I wish artists made more money because if artists made more money, then they’d have bigger production budgets, and then I’d make more money. So selfishly, I wish artists made more money.

But we’re touching onto a much larger conversation here; it’s kind of the tip of the iceberg of that conversation. It’s a conversation I like having. I’m not sure we have time for it at this point, but I’ll be talking with Michael Beinhorn on Tuesday, and I’m sure we’ll be talking more about the Spotify / artists not getting paid conversation. So that’ll be interesting. I’m looking forward to it.

Is there anything you’d like to talk about on the podcast before we let you go? We’ve kept you hostage in the room here for close to an hour, I think.

REUBEN: Not at all. I’m happy to talk about any topic, really. I’m not sure if any…

CHRISTIAN: We’ll have to do this again in the future, because this was really good.

REUBEN: Yeah, any time.

CHRISTIAN: This was really enjoyable, wasn’t it, Fredo? Do you have any thoughts, Fredo?

FREDO: I’ve just been blown away looking around at the room and how this whole room, half of it is brick. It’s a mastering studio, and I would never expect to walk into a mastering studio and see half the walls be that reflective. Who designed this room for you?

REUBEN: We did, and we called upon an engineer named Dan Garcia who really helped us treat it. I was a teenager with him, and we built these baffles that you see here. We got 1x2s and a saw outside, and we did it. We made bass traps behind the console, all the baffles, got all the material. Went down to the fashion district, got that absorbent material, folded it up, stapled it. So it’s all custom. We tuned the room until we were happy and we felt like we could make accurate decisions, until we just had that confidence. It works for us.

FREDO: Yeah, I’ve listened to music in here when you guys had the party, and it sounded amazing. Again, I’m just looking around and blown away by how well you made it work with what you had.

REUBEN: Yeah, Gavin has a whole lot of knowledge on making sure that bass travels properly in a room, how to eliminate standing waves, how to position speakers properly. We do it together. When we’re auditioning new speakers, we’ll get in there and we’ll take turns tuning it – because you have to take breaks, maintain your objectivity and all that. You get it sounding right, you leave the room for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, come back in, take another peek. And then enough of that, and all of a sudden it’s right, and you know it’s right.

FREDO: Speaking of taking breaks as well, how often do you find yourself taking a break from a project as a mastering engineer?

REUBEN: That’s a really good question. Part of working on records every day, you know where you’ve reached your edge. Having that sense is really important. Having the sense of where your head’s at as you’re working is really important. Just as much as you’re balancing the audio, you have to make sure you show up every day able to do it. And everything changes it. How much coffee you drink changes how you hear.

FREDO: Oh shit, I’m in trouble.

REUBEN: I love coffee too. I love coffee, but –

FREDO: [laughs] Does it make it better? I don’t know.

REUBEN: Yeah, you’re sensitive to that. If you start feeling like you need a break, you should take it. [chuckles] It’s for everybody’s benefit. But thankfully, these speakers are so smooth that you can be in front of them for a long time and not get fatigue. There’s other speakers where I get in front of them and I can already feel like my ears are getting fatigued. The ATCs, I’ll give them a plug too, because they’re such great speakers. But I don’t feel fatigued when working on them. The 150s I can sit in front of for hours and my ears aren’t fatigued.

FREDO: Cool. I was just interested because with the amount of precision that goes into this art form, I would imagine that you step out fairly often to reset.

REUBEN: Well, there’s advantages to resetting and then also there’s disadvantages. I like to keep my head in the zone when working on an album. Once I’m in it, I like to stay in it if I can, because I’m there.

CHRISTIAN: Would you say that the room here – basically you guys have been in the same rooms now for how long, 10 years?

REUBEN: Yeah.

CHRISTIAN: That has to play a role in it too. Like if you are so used to how things are supposed to sound in here…

REUBEN: Yeah, I think that if we moved, that we’d –

CHRISTIAN: You’d have to spend a little time.

REUBEN: Yeah, but we’d be able to get it pretty quick, because we know what balanced audio sounds like, we know what our speakers sound like, we know what our gear sounds like. There’s already so many constants. Part of mastering is eliminating as many variables as you can, and that’s something else that I like to talk about.

CHRISTIAN: I’m a big fan of that in production, too, actually.

REUBEN: Yeah. And understanding what those variables are. If you can condition yourself to sit in the same part of the room in front of the same speakers, listening at the same level, and the only variable is the music coming in every day, changing, then you’ve got so much else that’s constant that you know the appropriate changes to make.

So when people say “Hey, what speakers should I use and what kind of gear should I use?”, they can get so caught up in all these variables that they’re introducing – which are important to do, but at the same time, there has to be something that’s said about trying to understand what you can keep constant. Really learning speakers means sitting in front of them every day on a routine basis, listening at similar levels on the volume knob, understanding how they react at that level without changing the furniture in the room and all that kind of thing.

CHRISTIAN: In relation, how loud do you listen?

REUBEN: I listen at a couple different spots. I wouldn’t even say in amounts, necessarily, but there’s certain little markings that I put on the volume knob that I know every day because I’ve been listening for years that way.

CHRISTIAN: So do you go to one spot and then another spot, and not in between? Like pick a soft and a loud?

REUBEN: That’s correct. But I like to monitor a little louder, actually, because it allows you to not over-compress. Your ears will naturally compress so you won’t over-compress. That’s something that Gavin taught me.

CHRISTIAN: That’s cool. That’s a cool thought. I listen pretty quietly because I’m already compressed enough. [laughs] Well, thank you for being on the podcast. A real pleasure having you take a little time out of your busy schedule to come hang out with me and my pal here, Fredo. We’ll have to do it again because this was really enjoyable, and you have a ton of knowledge to impart.

REUBEN: Hey, I had a blast. Thank you guys so much for coming out.

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, really, really cool.

REUBEN: It was really exciting and fun.

CHRISTIAN: What’s the website?

REUBEN: That’s Gavin’s motorcycle. [laughs] It’s www.lurssenmastering.com.

CHRISTIAN: So lurssenmastering.com, and then just hit the Contact up if they want to get in touch. What if they want to get in touch with you specifically?

REUBEN: Oh, reuben@lurssenmastering.com. We’re all first name emails here.

CHRISTIAN: Okay. Reuben. How do you spell your name?

REUBEN: R-E-U-B-E-N.

CHRISTIAN: Then how do you spell Lurssen?

REUBEN: L-U-R-S-S-E-N.

CHRISTIAN: Have to say that one, because that one used to get me a little bit. I used to do two Rs, one S.

REUBEN: It happens.

CHRISTIAN: Lurssenmastering.com. Thanks a lot, man.

REUBEN: Pleasure, guys. Thanks so much.

[END OF PODCAST}