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RSR161 – Ian Shepherd – How To Keep Your Mixes Out Of The LOUDNESS Penalty Box.

Ian talked about getting the loudness of your mixes just right for online streaming, and why louder is not necessarily better when you are mixing or mastering.

My guest today is Ian Shepherd, mastering engineer and owner of Mastering Media Ltd. Some of Ian’s credits include: Keane, Tricky, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Deep Purple, The Orb, Culture Club, New Order, and King Crimson amongst many others. Ian also has a blog called where teaches you how to master your own music with plugins in your DAW.

You may be aware that the loudness wars have caused music to get louder and louder since digital music was introduced in the 1980s, but you might not know that music streaming sites have finally taken us out of the loudness wars by automatically adjusting levels of all songs on playback to hit a matched listening level.

This means that louder songs today can actually get turned down by sites like Spotify and Youtube. So really you want to get your levels just right so that they hit the sweet spot and sound right when streaming.

Today we will talk about Ian's newest free website tool called that lets you check you actual loudness for each music streaming site to make sure that it will playback at the correct levels and keep you out of the LOUDNESS penalty box!

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And check your mixes today!

RSR160 – Ryan Earnhardt- 4 Ways To Think Creatively In The Studio from Creative Sound Lab TV

Ryan talked about ways to think creatively in the studio by changing your method, adding more air to your recordings, finding sympathetic vibrations, and scaling the time in your DAW. Plus lots more super cool bonus material!

My guest today is Ryan Earnhardt, a video creator and studio owner who produces a YouTube show called Creative Sound Lab. It covers recording-focused topics and out-of-the-box topics such as DIY effects. He recently built a Pooper Time Cube (A delay made from 4 inch drainage pipe) and created a reverb out of a garden hose.

Creative Sound Lab stresses fundamental recording techniques and capturing real sounds such as using re-amping during mixing or using echo chambers for vocals - even if that chamber is your living room! Ryan has also partnered in teaching with Brian McTear of Weathervane Music and author Eric Sarafin aka “Mixerman”.

Ryan started Creative Sound Lab in 2013 because he saw a need for something different than computer screen videos that mostly covered mixing topics. He currently has over 37,000 subscribers and hosts over a dozen online courses at Creative Sound

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RSR159 – Brad Dollar – Music Catalyzer And Entrepreneur

Brad talked about recording Bob Weir, killer drums and vocals in the studio, and how to be a music entrepreneur in a world of content creation.

My guest today is Brad Dollar an empowering Grammy nominated producer & engineer who has been a part of over 1000 released titles. He has worked with major artists like G-Eazy, Bob Weir, & Slightly Stoopid as well as rising talent like Madame Gandhi, Dovydas, & Catch Prichard. And has ultimately been a part of over 1000 released titles.

Brad also started Zoo Labs in Oakland CA, a non profit that accelerates music career development. Zoo Labs’ mission is too empower artists to create music on a self directed and successful career path among other things.

So I am looking forward to learning more about some of the cool records that Brad has made and also to better understand the ways that we can create our own music and get it out to the world. As musical entrepreneurs we want to know what we can do to make our music sustainable, thriving, and fun.

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Full Credits list:

● important website links

● social media links @bradkdollar

RSR158 – Paul Niehaus IV – Producing Soul & Blues In St Louis MO

Paul talked about recording super groovy soul & blues music in St Louis MO, how to get the analog tape sound in your DAW, and great ways to mic your drums, harmonica, horns, and strings.​​

My guest today is Paul Niehaus IV, a musician, engineer, and producer born and raised in St Louis MO. Paul is the operator of Blue Lotus Studio, an audiophile-oriented recording studio in his basement in Saint Louis. He loves natural and hi-fidelity tones in the studio, and strives to cultivate an environment in which artists can get creative and be themselves.

Paul has served on the Board of Directors for the Saint Louis Blues Society since 2014, and has produced three celebrated compilation albums for the group. He has also co-produced two permanent blues-oriented museum exhibits, one for the National Blues Museum (in STL) and one for the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience (Meridian, MS).

In 2016 Paul founded the Blue Lotus record label, specializing in Soul, Blues, Folk, and Americana. it was his production of super groovy soul records with artists like Gene Jackson, and Ms Zeno The Mojo Queen that really caught my attention. Plus I am a big fan of anything cool happening in my home away from home St Louis MO.

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On Instagram: @bluelotusrecordings, @paulniehausiv

On Facebook:

Here is a link to Paul's discography:

RSR157 – Hayley McLean – Guitar Voice And Ableton Live From Studio To Stage

Hayley talked about growing up on a sailboat, rocking out on the guitar, moving to Nashville, building Live loops, and taking it all to the stage, plus lots more...

My guest today is Hayley McLean, a Vancouver born producer, writer, and instrumentalist. Her musical vision, Texada, is a mix of original styles that infuse elements of transient pop, smooth hypnotizing vocals and her fantastic soulful guitar playing.

Hayley embraces the ability to produce pop songs with a computer using programmed drums, and capturing synths and shimmering otherworldly guitars rather than traditional rock and roll.

Following her Texada ‘Blue’ release in February of 2016 release, the track “All My Life” made it’s way onto both Canadian and US Spotify viral charts earning it over 2.8 million streams. And her self made video for a remix cover of Walking on the Moon was a video shot and edited using just an iPhone.

Over the past year Hayley has been building and performing with a custom live rig that allows her to bring the Texada project to life through a system of looping, keyboards, acoustic drums, and guitar virtuosity to create an engaging and diverse musical spectacle.

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RSR156 – Anthony Gravino – Creating The Illusions In The Moment Of Inception

Anthony talked about his hybrid recording studio in Chicago, classic mics that you need to know, and some of the best ways to record jazz and bands among many other things. 

My guest today is Anthony Gravino, an independent record producer, engineer and musician based in Chicago, IL. He works primarily out of his private studio affectionately known as The Drake.

Anthony’s work includes an eclectic variety of styles across many genres including rock, jazz, blues, folk, pop, classical, metal, R&B, hip hop and a lot of stuff in between. Artists he has worked with include Davy Knowles, Hood Smoke, Matt Ulery, The Claudettes, Marquis Hill, Bunny Patootie, Stu Mindeman, Noah Harris and many more.

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RSR155 – Kyle Andrews – Producing Bedroom Pop Songs For Shampoo, Oscar Meyer, Holiday Inn, And You

Kyle talked about producing music for major ad campaigns from his bedroom studio, songwriting for prompts, vocally shedding your shell, and keeping the fun in making music.

My guest today is Kyle Andrews, a prolific songwriter and producer with an awesome story of producing pop from his bedroom studio that ultimately reached millions and millions of listens and views worldwide.

Kyle has been producing great pop songs from his bedroom using the simplest studio setups, writing songs like “You Always Make Me Smile” with millions of view on Youtube, as well as releasing his own records Real Blasty on his own label Elephant Lady, which includes the hit single “Sushi”, and more recently his new EP “Big Hearts Exploding”.

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Miktek Audio

Roswell Pro Audio - Roswell Pro Audio is a boutique microphone company based in the wine country of Northern California. These hand crafted microphones provide a distinctive sound, and a level of performance normally associated with far more expensive devices. Now you can get the rich quality of a big studio mic vintage sound on home studio budget. Make your best record ever with Roswell. 

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RSR154 – Dan Shike – Tone And Volume Mastering In Nashville TN

Dan talked about DIY room treatments, speaker placement, the importance of client communication, and gave us a peek inside the mastering process for many genres of music from rock to hip hop to modern country.

My guest today is Dan Shike, a multi Grammy nominated mastering engineer, and owner of Tone and Volume Mastering here in Nashville, TN.

Over the past 18 years he's mastered for artists such as Jonny Lang, ASG, Third Eye Blind, Cody Jinks, Shannon Sanders, Big Daddy Weave, Marvin Sapp, Secondhand Serenade and Chris Janson and has worked on most every genre of music.

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Miktek Audio

Roswell Pro Audio - Roswell Pro Audio is a boutique microphone company based in the wine country of Northern California. These hand crafted microphones provide a distinctive sound, and a level of performance normally associated with far more expensive devices. Now you can get the rich quality of a big studio mic vintage sound on home studio budget. Make your best record ever with Roswell. 

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Company Facebook:

Personal Facebook -

Insta - @DanShike

Twitter - @DanShike

RSR153 – Maor Appelbaum – Mastering Metal, Rock, And Everything Else

Maor talked about mastering for international clients, getting the tones and levels just right, and working with Sylvia Massey, William Shatner, Billy Sherwood, Mike Clink, and Ben Grosse.

My guest today is Maor Appelbaum a mastering engineer and musician for major international acts such as: Faith No More, Yes, Walter Trout, Eric Gales, Meatloaf, William Shatner, Sepultura , Rob Halford and more. He has mastered the works of well-known music producers such as: Matt Wallace, Mike Clink, Mike Plotnikoff, Bob Horn, Ben Grosse, Roy Z, Sylvia Massy and more.

Miktek Audio

Roswell Pro Audio - Roswell Pro Audio is a boutique microphone company based in the wine country of Northern California. These hand crafted microphones provide a distinctive sound, and a level of performance normally associated with far more expensive devices. Now you can get the rich quality of a big studio mic vintage sound on home studio budget. Make your best record ever with Roswell. 

To Maor, being a mastering engineer is the best way possible to combine his love and passion for music, with his various skills- objectivity, subjectivity, and technical & artistic prowess. He finds pleasure in his job, more than anything, thanks to the variety of music and sounds he gets to master from all over the world. 
It is a profession he takes pride in, and masters.

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Mark Rubel

RSR017 – Mark Rubel – Blackbird Academy & Pogo Studio

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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

RSR017 - Mark Rubel - Blackbird Academy

My guest is Mark Rubel, the Co-Director of Education and Instructor at The Blackbird Academy, which is an intensive recording school at famed Blackbird Studios in Nashville, TN. Since 1980, Mark has made about a zillion recordings at his Pogo Studio in Champaign IL (currently reopening in Nashville), including such artists as Alison Krauss, Jay Bennett, Ludacris, Hum, Adrian Belew, Melanie, Fall Out Boy, Duke Special, and many others.

Mark has taught audio, music business and other subjects at the college level since 1985, and presents audio panels and workshops for various schools and professional organizations around North America. He writes occasionally for recording magazines, including his Tape Op interviews with Les Paul and Terry Manning. Mark also works as an audio consultant and legal expert witness. His band Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets has been rocking East Central Illinois and beyond for 35 years and counting. Mark continues to cultivate students, cats, songs and friendships in The New Center of the Universe (Nashville), along with his saintly wife Nancy and their intrepid guinea pig, Huckleberry.

We conducted the interview in the truly unique Blackbird Studio C designed by George Massenburg. With walls made of infinitely random lengths of wooden sticks it makes for an ideal space for an interview. All sound is perfectly diffuse.  

RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

Mark also told us about some really cool recordings that were recorded or mixed in Blackbird Studio C:

A video of Dawn (daughter of Anne Murray) recording live in C, a great example of what it was made to do:

Mixed in C, a record that I use to check monitor systems and rooms, produced by Alison Krauss, recorded with an A-team and mixed by Gary Paczosa:

“I want to support musicians and what they do because I think it makes the world a better place…” - Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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“Recording is as much of an art as poetry or painting and i think that great recordings will be something that will nourish people in the future” - Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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Jim Dickinson -(quoted by Mark Rubel)

The unretainable nature of the present creates in Man a desire to capture the moment. Our fears of extinction compel us to record to recreate the ritual ceremony. From the first hand-print cave painting to the most modern computer art, it is the human condition to seek immortality. Life is fleeting. Art is long. A record is a totem, a document of an unique, unrepeatable event worthy of preservation and able to sustain historic life. The essence of the event is its soul. Record production is a subtle, covert activity. The producer is an invisible man. His role remains a mystery. During the recording process there is an energy field present in the studio to manipulate and to maximize that presence to focus on the peculiar "harmony of the moment" is the job of the producer. Music has a spirit beyond the notes and rhythm. To foster that spirit and to cause it to flourish to capture it at its peak is the producer's task.

“Let the musicians be in control of the music. Capture it well.” Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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“Fix it before the mix!” Lij Shaw coining a new Rubel’s Law @blackbirdpro

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The Jam Session:

Q: What was holding you back when you started recording?

A :Uncertainty and over thinking things. I tried to be too practical thinking, “Oh I love recording and being in a studio, but I could never do that.” I’m glad I’ve overcome it.

“If you have your eye on the star that you are following you can derive all those other decisions from that point” - Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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Q: What was some of the best advice that you remember receiving?

A: The advice my father gave my sister. My sister is an artist and he was a theoretical mathematician. He said to her, "The important thing about painting, is painting." 

“The important thing about painting is painting…” Mark Rubel on recording music @blackbirdpro

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Q: Share a recording tip, hack, or secret sauce.

A: I can’t believe I’m about to give you a ProTools tip, but this is a fun and hidden trick… When you’re working on a particular place in a song, you can create a moving marker for what you're working on and it is marker number 999. You’re at the place where you’re about to record and you hit period on the numeric keypad, zero, and enter twice. Marker 999 will appear on the marker strip from then on whenever you want to go to the place you’re working now, you hit period, zero, period and it will always take you there.

“Headphones I say are the enemy of music…” Mark Rubel on recording musicians without headphones @blackbirdpro

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Q: Tell us about a favorite hardware tool for the studio.

A: There are so many, but let me mention a few affordable things, Akai made little microphones that go with reel to reel tape decks they start with ADM 9, 11, and 13. They average about $10, they make good drum mics. There's another one I recommend, a remarkable good mic Nady StarPower series, SP5 & SP9 cost me $9.95. They will outdo much more expensive microphones.

“There are some things you can’t do without. Good monitors and a good listening environment” - Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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“If you don’t commit to a sound early on then you’re building the rest of the song on shifting quicksan!” Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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Q: What is a favorite software tool?

A: I like the emulations of the transient designer, the SPL plug-ins. That’s a highly useful thing for getting drums to speak. A transient designer is an interesting device that has two knobs, attack and release and it actually changes the attack and release times of things.

“How do you make a great sounding recording? You make a great sound and you record it well!” Rubel’s Law @blackbirdpro

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Q: What business advice do you have?

A: A guy named Joe Montarello, he has a company called Studio Insurance Program. Something we don’t think about but is a great resource for a studio of any size. His program is excellent and allows for things like new room treatments or backup hard drives if an unfortunate event would occur. He backs up Blackbird and my own personal studio.

“Invest in capability” Mark Rubel on what recording equipment to buy @blackbirdpro

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Q: If you were dropped into a strange land and could only take a simple setup to record. What would you take? How would you find people to record? And how would you make ends meet to start out?

A: As far as equipment, whatever was at hand. I could be very happy with an Apollo and a laptop and a number of reasonably good mics. I would go to where the artists go to congregate, and making ends meet... That’s difficult to say maybe I would teach. If you can edit well, especially drums, and you know how to tune vocals, I think there’s work in that sort of thing.

“You can have all the best equipment in the world, but if you can’t hear what you’re doing then you’re just groping in the dark!” Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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Q: What is the single more important thing to do to become a Rockstar of the recording studio?

A: I would say to be alert and alive, to be engaged and curious, and to always be listening and always paying attention to every kind of art: music, literature, poetry, film. To be completely engaged and passionately devoted to what you do. Always have a quest to learn more.

“Making music is one of the best things that a person can do” - Mark Rubel @blackbirdpro

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Find out more about Mark Rubel and Blackbird below:

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!