Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?
My name is Winfried, I am from Munich and studied Tonmeister at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna until last may. I’m mainly interested in recording classical music and jazz, as well as studio and concert hall acoustics.
Are you a musician yourself? What instruments do you play and in what musical context?
I play the piano, guitar, accordion (Bavarian!), and I sing.
Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it?
There is a three-week jazz workshop at The Banff Centre in Canada every year, which is very intense for both musicians and engineers. The musicians get to come into the studio for a 4 to 5 hour session, often with newly written songs. The time available for the sound check is limited. Since most instruments are in the same room it is a challenge to handle the microphone leakage to make it sound nice in the final mix. I remixed the session I had recorded during one afternoon, also at The Banff Centre.
What were your most significant, funny or inspiring experiences as an audio engineer?
In one session we had a Yamaha Disklavier (MIDI-controlled upright piano) at hand and fed it the MIDI arrangement of a piece from the Star Wars soundtrack. The piano totally freaked out - it was pretty funny.
Also my whole room at home was full of insulating material on two occasions because I had ordered half a truck load of absorbers for me and other students.
Occasionally I make binaural recordings with two small microphones near my ears to capture concert hall acoustics - I usually put them on in the bathroom. Weird things happen there...
Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake in a production and what did you do to redeem the situation?
I hardly ever make mistakes (…) but once I placed a big tube mic in front of a double bass the wrong way around, because the LED wasn't visible after putting on the clip. I heard it instantly, though… after 15 minutes!
What’s your advice for engineers who are just starting out?
Find an area within the audio that you like particularly and spend as much time learning about it as possible. Check out different places to study and learn, otherwise you won’t experience new things to form your own taste from. Get a reference CD early on to check out different listening environments. Compare gear, speakers and so on when it's possible and you have the time. Pay attention to acoustics, in both the recording and the listening space. I think it is one of the most important aspects after the quality of the recorded instruments, and the monitor speakers.
Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment?
I really like the Schoeps MK21, the Sennheiser MKH50, and the Royer 122 for their versatility.
The Smart C2, the Tracker Compressor, and the Impirical Labs Distressor are great sounding pieces of outboard that I will probably never own...
The UAD EMT reverb emulation sounds great, and is really cheap and easy to use compared to the real deal.
Could you pick one of your favourite productions and tell us what makes it stand out in your opinion?
I just re-listened to some of the Carlos Kleiber opera studio recordings on Deutsche Grammophon. They had the time and budget to make something really great it still stands out. Even the “lighter” works such as the operettas are dramatic and thoroughly produced, almost like an audio drama with sound design and actors for the spoken parts.
What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful audio engineer?
The AES is a great place to meet people from all over the world and make contacts, to remote places such as The Banff Centre. It also enables me to visit different cities in Europe, which is very nice.
Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!
It was funny to see people who were quite obviously audio students standing around randomly at the Piazza del Popolo. ?Also, we tried trading a friend’s camera for beer.
What is your favourite frequency?
30-40 Hz and 80Hz.
What do you do when you’re not in the studio or doing anything music related?
I enjoy hiking and woodworking.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In a mirror. Unless a vampire shows up beforehand...
Could you provide us with some closing comments?
If you want to get in touch with Winfried you can send him an e-mail using the following address: winfried.lachenmayr(AT)gmail.com
Winfried's submission is currently not available online, but you can listen to the following live recordings, which were engineered and mixed by him at The Banff Center:
Photo by: Megan Krauss, TBC
Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013