RSR015 – Ronan Chris Murphy – Recording Boot Camp - Recording Studio Rockstars

RSR015 – Ronan Chris Murphy – Recording Boot Camp

Ronan Chris Murphy
RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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RSR015 - Ronan Chris Murphy - Recording Boot Camp

My guest today is Ronan Chris Murphy, a producer, mixer, and recording artist. Ronan has spent the past 25 years playing and recording music. He started out playing in punk bands in Washington DC touring and sharing stages with Dinosaur Jr, The Flaming Lips, the Henry Rollins Band, and Gwar (In fact he may still be covered in fake blood as we speak).

Ronan then moved into production and mixing in a multitude of music genres. Jazz, Rock, Progressive, folk, pop, classical, and world music are all part of Ronan’s discography. Recording has taken him to three continents with artists from Dozens of different countries where he has helped some of the greatest artists in the world push the envelope and take their music visions to the next level. His productions have received wide critical acclaim, been featured in films and television, won awards, and hit the top ten around the world.

As a producer, engineer and/or mixer, Ronan Chris Murphy has worked with the likes of King Crimson, Steve Morse, Terry Bozzio, Steve Stevens, Tony Levin, and Nels Cline to name a few, as well as various projects featuring members of Tool, Ministry, Weezer, Dishwalla, and Yes.

He continues to collaborate with artists as a songwriter and musician and perform his own music with Lives of the Saints and will soon release his first solo album featuring Tony Levin, Terry Bozzio, Pat Mastelotto and Mike Keneally.

Ronan is a member of the Music Producers Guild of the Americas, the Recording Academy, writes for multiple publications, and is a speaker and panelist at various recording and music events. Ronan also has a cool podcast called Ronan’s Recording Show.

And one of the coolest things Ronan has for you, Rockstars, is a series of international recording workshops called Home Recording Boot Camp. This is an opportunity for you to get inside the studio for a powerful face to face classroom session. Ronan takes you through an intense journey of the studio and all its components from the gear, to recording, to mixing. Class is in session a few times a year, and you can click through below to learn more.

Drum Recording Boot Camp

Drum Recording Boot Camp
Ronan Chris Murphy shares everything he has learned recording and mixing some of the greatest drummers in the world.


What was an important failure for you?

I was working at a studio and that relationship ended because I didn’t want to actively support their religious agenda. That was a bummer. I was living in Boston at the time walking around saw a guy in the subway playing guitar. I missed my train to hang out with him. Turns out it was Steve Ball, it turned out he was a part of Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists. Turns out we got to be great friends and collaborated on a bunch of things. The web of connections from Ball and expansion of my career happened because I got dumped from this studio. 

Cool stuff Lij & Ronan mentioned on the show:

What are you excited about right now?

I'm working on Kathleen Blackwell's new album. We’re making a record that fuses world music with pop music, creating beats and bringing in different worldly music elements. We’ve been recording in Turkey, Mexico, Italy, Texas; really harvesting sources in the studio or out in the street.

The “Jam Session” Q&A:

Q: What was holding you back at the beginning?

A: I think it was not going for stuff all the way. Why didn’t I just pick up the phone and call? Why wasn’t I proactive? I didn’t have the courage to get up and go for stuff that I wanted.

Q: Some of the best advice you received early on?

A: Tony Levin taught me to, “Show up on time.” One of the most professional musicians schooled me, saying I’ll be here and I’ll be ready to work. It humbled me. Ever since then, I try hard to never be late. You never want to be that person in a project that keeps it from moving forward.

"Awesome doesn’t need to be meticulous. Just put forth your best!" @RonanCMurphy

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Q: Recording tip, hack or secret sauce?

A: When you are recording to 24 bit or greater digital DO NOT RECORD WITH HOT LEVELS. There are so many downsides. Keep it at -10dBFS max for the loudest peaks.

Q: Favorite hardware tool?

A: I’m nuts about the A Designs Pacifica mic pre. Empirical Labs Distressors allow me to push things farther than a lot of other hardware will let me do.

Q: Favorite software tool?

A: Izotope RX (sound restorator) I got a free copy, but I went and bought it anyways. I love that it removes a lot of limitations and barriers of my creativity. 

"I would love to see the day where Spotify combined with All Music Guide" @RonanCMurphy

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Q: A good resource for the business?

A: Use social media smartly in terms of how you want to be presented and the people you want to attract. Be relatable and a good resource, people are looking for people they trust. I have a bookkeeper that does mine, but if you can, build a team of people to help you.

Q: Single most important thing a listener can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio?

A: Listen. One - developing craft. Really listen not only to the music but go in and study records you love academically. How bright or dark are the reverbs? Where is the kick drum sitting, how bright? Go component by component.

Two - At the end of the day this is a people business. Find ways to get out and really connect with people and make friends! Online communities are a start too. At the end of the day we work with people we like and trust being with.

Q: If you moved to a new place, what simple set up would you bring?

A: We take Macbook Pro, Apogee Duet 2, Shure SM7B, Shure KSM 32, Shure SM 57, Triton Audio Fethead, couple headphones and splitter. That covers almost all settings we run into.

How can listeners find you?

Ronan’s Recording Show

Studio -

Twitter- @RonanCmurphy

Facebook - recording bootcamp

If you have any or questions about recording you would like me to answer on the show or suggestions for the show please email me:

If you dig the show and find it helpful I would be honored if you would subscribe, and leave a rating, & review in iTunes.

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy
RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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Credits: Thanks so much to Merissa Marx and Hunter Hansen for assisting with editing audio and show notes. You guys totally rock!