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AES 136 - Meet the Winners #7: Marius Heuser

Meet Marius Heuser from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, who received a Silver Award in Category 1 of the Student Recording Competition.

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 Marius Heuser, I am from Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 

I have been making music since I was little and so the idea of studying something music related seemed like a good option for me. However, I didn’t really feel fulfilled with my main instrument, the guitar, to make it my profession. Only when I read about the Tonmeister program, I immediately thought that this was perfect for me, although my only experience in audio at the time consisted of toying around with the PA and guitar amplifiers of the band that I played in. Now that I am about to graduate, I can say that I am very happy about my choice. It has been a great time and I feel that I have learned a lot.

Last year I spent two semesters studying at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, which is a great place to study audio engineering as well.


Are you a musician yourself? What instruments do you play and in what musical context?

I studied classical guitar and piano as part of the Tonmeister program. I have also been taking private rudimental drumming lessons for a few years and have played drumset and electric guitar in various rock bands. Last year I started playing the trumpet and joined an amateur brass band.


Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? What was it inspired by? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry? 

The recording I submitted was made as part of a collaboration project between our program and Baltic Youth Philharmonic. A few colleagues and I had the opportunity to work with the orchestra and its conductor Kristjan Järvi at the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen for four days. The first two days were only for rehearsals, which gave us plenty of time to work on the sound and practice live mixing. On day three, we did a live broadcast of the orchestra's concert for Danish Radio.

The submitted recording was done on the last day of our stay in Copenhagen, when three of us students were given the opportunity to record a piece by Wilhelm Stenhammar. For me it was the first recording session with a big orchestra and of course I was very excited.

I had made several mixes before the one I turned in for the AES competition. I edited in Pyramix and mixed in Protools using a lot of phase linear EQ-ing and volume automation. It was my first entry in an AES Convention.


What was your most significant/funny/inspiring experience as an audio engineer? 

Listening to music and enjoying it has always been my greatest inspiration and motivation.        


Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake in a production and what did you do to redeem the situation?

I once accidentally recorded a session on a computer's system drive that had Steadystate on it, a program that resets the system drive to a steady, predefined state (hence the name) each time the computer restarts. So when I restarted the computer afterwards, all the recorded data was gone. After some failed attempts at retrieving the lost files, I begged the musicians to forgive me and we repeated the whole recording session.


What's your advice for engineers who are just starting out?

Don't panic!


Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment, and why?

Time adjustment/delay and phase alignment tools. Sometimes it makes such a huge difference to get all the different tracks in a recording time- and phase aligned.


Can you name one or multiple of your favorite recordings or productions and tell us why you like them/what you like about them?

I recently discovered how good the production on the last double album of Five Finger Death Punch is, from the drum to vocal effects an amazing metal sound, even though I don't like the style of music at all. To me, it's a bit like the Transformers movies, which have some of the most impressive sound design and visual effects but the most ridiculous, silly plots. The fact that a lot of the Pop/Rock music I like is not particularly well recorded and mixed, and that some of the better sounding albums I like have been made by the musicians themselves, sometimes makes me question our profession.


What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful audio engineer? 

AES Conventions are a great opportunity to get to know other students and established engineers. Also, it's the best place to keep up with the latest developments.


Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 136th AES Convention in Berlin!

Hanging out with the students from Paris. Of course, the convention itself has a lot of cool activities but the best part is always meeting students from elsewhere.


What is your favourite frequency?

Once a day. Works wonders in any mix.


What do you do when you’re not in the studio or doing anything music related?

I play football and read.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I don't even know what I will be doing this October after my graduation... By the way, if anyone who reads this has a job or a paid internship in music production, film mixing or sound design for me, please contact me!


Once again, the SDA congratulates you to your excellent achievement. Any closing comments?

Thanks a lot to the SDA for their work, organising this competition and all the other events.


If you want to get in touch with Marius, send him en email. Also, make sure to check out his band's website. 

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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