AES Student Blog

 

AES 134 - Meet the Winners #4: Benedikt Schöller

Meet Benedikt Schöller from Berlin, Germany, who won the Silver Award in Category 3: Modern Studio Recording

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio? 

I grew up in Munich, Germany. My passion for audio started with a RME Fireface 800 and a cheap condenser mic that my dad bought for me when I was 15 years old. I just began to record my band and took it from there. My first professional steps were my training as music producer and manager after I finished high school. Having studied musicology for one year, I moved to Berlin to study Tonmeister at HFF Potsdam, where I'm currently finishing my bachelor thesis.

Additionally, I work as a freelancing mixer, producer and songwriter of popular, jazz and film music and am currently signed to BMG Rights Management.

 

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

Yes, I'm a classically trained piano player. In my bands however I usually play the guitar and sing.

 

Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it?

The song is called “Wir Laufen” by Benito & Kestin, my main project as a musician at the moment. It's a pop, hip- hop song with an acoustic vibe and part of the album “Tausend Farben” which will be released later this year. As I also wrote, produced and mixed the album it's hard to tell, but from the writing process to the final mixes it took about three onths for the whole record I guess.

 

What were your most significant, funny or inspiring experiences as an audio engineer?

Oh, there are many. First of all, music is what inspires me most! Then it's probably the great masters of our craft. Even though I met only a few personally so far, I've read and watched many interviews and I’m inspired by their attitude towards music and mixing. 

 

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

Mistakes happen, but I learn from them and get better. From time to time I lose sight of the big picture and get stuck into details, I have to work on that.

 

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

Just go out there and work as much as possible, ask bands if they want to work with you and do what you love. It will eventually lead to success. Also, stay curious, be honest and respect the work of other engineers.

And the most important thing: Train your ears and take care of them!

 

Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment?

It changes all the time. At the moment, it might be Metric Halo ChannelStrip's EQ, also Valhalla Room, which I use a lot (thanks to Jonathan Feurich who told me about it). Outboard, probably the Tubetech CL-1B and I really do like theColes 4038, Neumann U47 and Gefell M 1030.

 

What is your favourite recording or production?

That's a tough one. Ryan Lewis did a great production of Macklemore's record (The Heist), as did Steffen Wilmking onCasper's XOXO. I also love the sound of OK Kid's self-titled debut record, produced and mixed by Sven Ludwig, and the more experimental approach of Earl Sweatshirt's, Jay-Z's and Kanye's new albums (Doris, Magna Carta Holy Grail and Yeezus, respectively) - especially the mixes by Jaycen Joshua on those.  

 

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

I like the AES conventions a lot! They give me the chance to get to know people, like Simon Franglen and George Massenburg. Their experience helps and inspires me to become a better audio engineer. 

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

Rome was great, I got to meet lots of interesting people! My favourite experiences were Simon Franglen's tutorial on music production for film, and getting honest feedback from the judges on my mix.

  

What is your favourite frequency?

If I had to choose: 60Hz, 4 and 5kHz!

 

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

That rarely happens!

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still working as a producer/mixer, for me it just doesn't feel like a job!

 

Could you provide us with some closing comments?

Thanks a lot for the interview and I hope I can make it to New York in October!

 

Benedikt's submission is going to be released as part of an album later this year and therefore cannot be presented publicly just yet. However, you can download the current single "Immer Weiter" of the same album by Benito & Kestin on iTunes and watch the official music video here

If you want to get in touch with Benedikt, just visit his website or send him an e-mail.


Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #3: Milos Ivanic

Meet Milos Ivanic from Belgrade, Serbia, who won the Bronze Award in Category 3: Modern Studio Recording. 

 

 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio? 

I was born in Vrbas – a small town in Serbia. Growing up I was just kid with a passion for sound. My life pretty much is sound actually… I spend most my money on studio gear and cables.

I’m currently studying in Belgrade at the Advanced School of Electrical Engineering and Computing, in the Department of Audio and Video Technology. I’m a mixing engineer and started working in the field of audio when I was 16 years old.

 

Do you play any instruments yourself?

I’m not a musician in the traditional sense. I prefer creating instruments in Max4Live and Native Instruments Reaktor. I enjoy playing around with old analogue synths as well.

 

Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it?

This was the second time I took part in the competition - the first time was a year ago at the convention in Budapest. The composer of the piece is a very good friend of mine. He wrote the composition about 8 years ago and I thought it would be a shame if it went to waste and was never recorded. Believe it or not it only took me a weekend to do.

 

What was your most significant, funny or inspiring experience in your time as as an audio engineer?

I will let you know when I find out.

 

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

I've never really made a big mistake – but I’m terrified by the idea of my hard drive dying.

  

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

Learn from older colleagues, read books and don’t be too lazy to watch tutorials! Youtube has a variety of great videos for beginner producers. What’s most important: Listen, listen, listen – all the time!

 

Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment?

Microphone: AKG C414

Hardware: UAD Apollo

Plugins: PSP Audio Ware Vintage Warmer 2 and UAD Ampex ATR-102 Tape Machine

 

What is your favourite recording or production?

Angel by Massive Attack

 

What do you like about the AES?

What I like about the AES the most is the fact that it gives me the opportunity to be in contact with audio professionals and meet people with the same interests.

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

Having dinner with Barry Marshall, the Universal Audio plugin demonstration, and listening to the pieces of all the competition finalists.

 

What is your favourite frequency?

50 Hz

 

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

I enjoy just going outside with a beer to enjoy nature.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I hope to find myself as a music producer in a big professional studio. Of course that’s only my hope - but I can dream, can’t I?

 

You can download Milos' submission here

If you want to contact Milos you can send him en e-mail or find him on facebook.


Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013

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AES 135 Student Design Competition: Past Projects

All students who enter the Student Design Competition are invited to present at the Student Design Exhibition. Check out these projects from AES 133 and submit your work for AES 135!

 

More Information about the AES Student Design Competition


Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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AES 135 Student Competitions Now Open!

Entries are now being accepted for the AES 135 Student Recording Competition and AES 135 Student Design Competition!

   
   


The uploaders are open and opportunity awaits. Entry deadline is September 21. Type up your report NOW and submit your project!
 

For the AES 135 Recording Competition:

  1. Read the rules here:  http://www.aes.org/students/awards/recording/
  2. Register for the convention here:  https://secure.aes.org/events/135/registration
  3. Then complete the entry form here:   https://secure.aes.org/events/competitions/?ID=12

 

For the AES 135 Design Competition:

  1. Read the rules here:  http://www.aes.org/students/awards/design/
  2. Register for the convention here:  https://secure.aes.org/events/135/registration
  3. Then complete the entry form here:   https://secure.aes.org/events/competitions/?ID=13

 

       

 

More Information on the AES Student Competitions


Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013

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Video: AES 135 Student Design Competition

We want YOU for the Student Design Competition!

 

More information on the Student Design Competition


Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #2: Martin Denda

 

Meet Martin Denda from Graz, Austria, who won the Bronze Award in Category 2: Traditional Studio Recording. 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

Hello, my name is Martin Denda. I am 29 years old and I’m currently studying Electronics - Audio Engineering at the Technical University of Graz. I just finished my master’s thesis, Development of an Active Noise Cancellation Headphone based on a DSP Chip, so this is actually my last semester at university.

I’ve been listening to music all my life. When I was about 14 I became a big fan of rap music. After a while, I developed an interest in making my own beats, starting with Fruity Loops and an old Boss hardware sampler. A friend of mine who was also into rap had a microphone so we started recording our own songs. From that point on my interest in the technical part of music production grew rapidly and I started searching for bands and musicians to work with.

Currently I am a freelance audio-engineer. I like being in the studio as well as engineering live concerts. I also started working as an acoustic engineer for ams AG nearby Graz.

 

Do you play any instruments yourself?

I’m a classically trained clarinet player.

 

Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it?

The song I submitted “Oe Bukura moré” is part of the album “Po Tu Cuntu” of the Sicilian band Vucciria. The band members live in Graz, where the recording and mixing took place. The album consists of 12 songs and we recorded it towards the end of September 2012. I think we spent about 16 days in the studio. I started mixing the album in January 2013 and it took me about a month to finish.

It’s a purely acoustic album of classical Sicilian folk music. The song “Oe Bukura moré” is the Harbreshe version of an old traditional Albanian song. The Harbreshe are Albanian people who escaped to the south of Italy in the year 500. There are still some small villages where the old Albanian language is spoken. For inspiration, the band showed me some old recordings of traditional Sicilian folk music, as well as some modern folk music recordings.

 

What was your most significant, funny or inspiring experience in your time as as an audio engineer?

Two years ago, I was on tour with an Austrian Rock/Pop band across Austria and Germany. We played a big open-air concert in our hometown Graz. Everything was going perfectly: a huge stage, nice equipment and a lot of people. After 20 minutes, the bass player decided to stage dive. The crowd was cheering at him, and I am sure they would have caught him, but right when he jumped off the stage, he slipped on an XLR cable on the edge of the stage. He failed to clear the gap between the stage and the crowd and crashed into the solid-steel barrier in front of the crowd. For a second I was really scared and worried about my friend. We actually had to stop the concert.

The next day, I visited him in the hospital. Luckily he had only broken 3 or 4 ribs - nothing too serious. I asked him, “For god’s sake, why did you do that?”, and he answered: “ You know, 10 Minutes before the concert I got a message from my girlfriend that I am going to be a father. I had so much energy in me and I had to release it during the concert.” About a month later he was on stage again. We had bought him a helmet and some fake wings. You know… Precautionary measures.

 

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

I think my biggest mistake happened during an album production, where I might have been overambitious. I was very disappointed as I realised the band members (or the manager, the producer or co-producer; I don’t really know) had changed their minds after about 1 month work and didn’t want my mixes on the album anymore. I learned that honest and direct communication is one of the most important and rare things when working with other people.

  

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

Before I start with a mix or a recording I always ask myself “What is the goal I am trying to reach? What should the result sound like?” I am listening to a lot of different styles of music. It helps me to expand my “imaginary sound-pool”. When I have an idea of the song, I work until it sounds like in my imagination. I think it is important to have a clear goal in mind. Otherwise it is very easy to lose yourself in details and make random decisions.

 

Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment?

As condenser microphones I like the Neumann U87 and the Schoeps MK4. Both are very versatile and always easy to handle in the mix. My favourite dynamic mic is the Shure SM57. I cannot remember a single production not using at least one of them.

In terms of outboard gear I like the Bricasti Design System 1. It’s the best reverb processor I have ever heard. Particularly the small room settings sound very sweet.

On the software side of things I like the hardware-emulation plugins from Universal Audio, in particular the Fatso Jr, the Studer A800, the EMT reverbs and the 1176 compressors. I also use the Brainworx bx_digital V2 equalizer a lot because it has some really handy features like built–in mono summing and M/S processing.

 

What is your favourite recording or production?

I listen to a lot of different styles of music, so I don’t have a single favourite. I love most of Norah Jones’ albums. I think John Mayer’s “Continuum” sounds fantastic. I really like the “Tetra”by C2C. Ah yes, I think the new Daft Punk album sounds very impressive too - Mick Guzauski is killing it!

 

What do you like about the AES?

I like the conventions a lot, because gives students the opportunity to talk and listen to many experienced and outstanding personalities like Georg Massenburg or Jim Kaiser. One can learn a lot from these people.

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

Winning an award in the recording competition, of course! Receiving honest feedback from the judges is invaluable.

 

What is your favourite frequency?

I love them all!

 

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

I spend time with my girlfriend, my friends and my family. I go out. I like running and snowboarding – and just enjoying life.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Behind a big SSL desk in my own studio somewhere in the Caribbean, recording multiple-platinum albums in the morning, going surfing in the afternoon and drinking cocktails with my friends and family in the evening. Anyway, should I not make it there, I hope that I’ll always be able to stay in contact with audio engineering, learning and exploring new techniques every day. I love to be in the studio or at the Front-of-House desk - I think it is the best job in the world!

 

You can listen to Martin's submission here.

If you want to contact Martin, just send him an e-mail


Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013

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AES 135 Student Competitions: Key Dates Announced!

Get ready for the AES 135 Student Recording Competition and Student Design Competition!

 

Key Competition Dates Announced:

Competitions Open: August 22
Submission Deadline: September 21

 

Stay tuned for updates!

Click here for more information on the Student Competitions


Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013

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AES 134 Wrap Up

Thinking about attending AES 135 in New York? Check out these clips from AES 134 in Rome!

AES 134

More Information: AES 135 NYC


Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #1: Nikola Jeremic

Meet Nikola Jeremic from Belgrade, Serbia, who won the Silver Award in Category 4: Sound for Visual Media.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

All my life I have been meddling around with audio, I think my first contact with it was when I was three years old, and I managed to climb my father’s hi-fi system using faders and pots as grips. 

I come from a small industrial town of Shabac in Serbia, but I moved to Belgrade because I wanted to study Audio And Video Technologies at the Advanced School Of Electrical Engineering And Computer Sciences. Since I graduated, I’ve been working as a composer and sound designer for motion picture and games in Belgrade, however I tend to drift from that course into music production from time to time. 

I am obsessed with sound and music for visual media as I spend 18 hours a day working on music or sound design for projects that I’m involved with. Pure boredom inspired my passion for audio while I was at high school back home. I wanted to do something creative and useful in my life. I picked up the guitar as my first instrument of choice and started practising on my own. Then I began playing the piano. I also had a band which didn’t work out as well as I hoped, so I decided to combine my love for music and film and started learning orchestration and film scoring. That’s when I got hooked, and I don’t think I will ever unhook from it for the rest of my life.

 

So you play a number of instruments yourself. Has it helped you in your work as an audio engineer?

I think that it is helpful for every audio engineer to pick up at least one instrument and learn how to play it. You don’t have to be a virtuoso, but it is useful if you want to be a music producer, or a recording or mixing engineer as it can help you understand an instrument and make it sound better. I play guitar, bass, piano, percussion and a bit of cello, but I am not very good at any of those. Getting into composition and sound design has made me look beyond traditional playing styles, so I tend to mess around with instruments and make them sound completely different, applying unusual playing techniques. For my competition entry for example I used an electric guitar with Floyd Rose tremolo and scraped the strings with a screwdriver and a small  metal plate just so as to simulate the sounds of the weapons of spaceships.

 

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

This competition entry is actually my graduation project and I wanted to present it to people other than my professors and my mentor at school. I am always inspired by stunning visuals of video games and their story lines, so I wanted to see how a big budget video game would sound if I worked on it. That’s why I chose a cut scene from one of my favourite games - Mass Effect 3. I created this piece of work to present my skills in musical composition and sound design for games and I would absolutely love to work on similar titles professionally in the future. 

Also, this wasn’t my first entry. I also competed last year in Budapest at the 132nd AES Conference and won the gold award in the same category. I worked on this year’s entry for quite a long time. The previous one I completed within a week, but this one took me a month to finish with all of the field recording and studio session involved, the editing, and finally mixing the whole thing. I have to admit that I was quite sceptical about making it to the finals, but eventually everything worked out just fine. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun working on a project like this.?

 

What were your most significant, funny or inspiring experiences as an audio engineer?

For this competition entry I was allowed to record real military fighter airplanes of the Serbian Airforce, after pulling some strings in the Serbian Armed Forces.  If you ask me, nothing is quite as joyful as having three fighter airplanes at your disposal as an audio engineer. Last year, for my competition entry in Budapest, I recorded monkeys and tigers at Belgrade Zoo to simulate the voices and sounds of aliens. It was quite fun to get into a cage with baby tigers and play with them while recording. It’s a complete other story with the monkeys, since they were throwing some nasty things at me…

 

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

The biggest mistake I ever made was getting into a cage with those monkeys last year. I am not doing that EVER again!! Also forgetting to save a project from time to time is not a thing I’m particularly proud of…

 

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

If you want to be a sound designer or an audio engineer, there are three things I can advise you to do:

First one is: ALWAYS carry a portable recorder with yourself wherever you go. You never know what interesting sounds you will hear around you.

The second one is: Gather your best friends and your family and take a picture of them and post it above your work station in your studio. Once you get into this line of work, that is the only time you will be seeing them. True story.

The third, and most important one is: Search for your own signature sound and style -never use presets. I have heard a lot of young composers and sound designers who strive to sound like “the big guys”. Don’t do that, because if a producer wants a John Williams score or a Russell Greg sound mix, they will hire John Williams and Russell Greg - not copies of them. Also don’t try to get into big budged productions right away. Sure thing, it would be awesome to work with James Cameron or Christopher Nolan (I know I would like to…), but instead develop your chops working on low budget stuff and then try to move your way into the “major league”. Get in touch with student film producers and directors. They are the future of film just like you are the future of audio, and together you can work on improving the quality and the art behind our industry. The big guys aren’t going to be here forever you know.

 

Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment?

That’s like choosing just one cookie at the bakery. If I had to pick just one of each, I’d say that my favourite piece of outboard gear is the Lexicon PCM 96 reverb unit mainly because I am so used to the colour Lexicon processors add to my productions.

My microphone of choice is - and always will be – the AKG 414, because it is just a perfect all around microphone for any application. 

As far as plugins are concerned, my current favourite is the Duende SSL Buss Compressor licensed by Solid State Logic.

 

What is your favourite recording or production?

That’s also like choosing a cookie. I am a fan of bold sound design ideas. Recently I was rather amazed by the sound design of the film Oblivion. It is very simple and its dynamics span from very quiet atmospheric sounds with a bit rain and wind, up to the loudest possible action cues with explosions and all that good stuff. As far as music for motion picture goes, I am a huge fan of Trevor Morris’ productions such as his scores for TV series like The Tudors, The Borgias, The Pillars Of The Earth. Films like Immortals and Olympus Has Fallen are just pure perfection in my humble opinion.  Best mixed scores I heard so far. I will sign this statement if needed.

 

What do you like about the AES?

What do I love about AES? Hmmm… The very fact such a society exists! I am extremely proud and happy to be a part of this community. Ever since I joined last year, my exposure to the world of audio has grown and my skills have improved in so many ways. Being a member of such a renowned society and the fact that I was a finalist in the recording competition twice, has a distinct value in this industry and already helped me to get more work. Last year was a milestone year for me thanks to the AES - and I believe that things are about to get even better.

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

Well, my most obvious choice are the recording competition and the education forum, but  I was also very happy to help the SDA officers at the booth, hang out with my dear friends, the student party, and of course hear Simon Franglin talk about the music production of Avatar and The Amazing Spiderman in person.

 

What is your favourite frequency?

The 2kHz of screaming brass section playing an epic theme for a film. At least I make them scream at 2k... And also the 100Hz “boom” of Taiko drums.

 

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

That’s an interesting question because there’s not much time for other things, really. I enjoy going to the movies and playing video games. It helps me to get inspired for my own work. I read a lot and assemble fighter airplane models. I do sleep when I have the time for it.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I am not sure if can actually see myself there, but I am striving to get into Hollywood and AAA game industry, either as a composer or a sound designer.

 

Could you provide us with some closing comments?

Uhuuuum… That’s all from me folks, I guess?

 

Unfortunately it was not possible to post Nikola's entire submission video for copyright reasons. However, here is a piece of music that he composed and produced as part of his award winning project. 

More of Nikola's productions and compositions can be found on his Soundcloud and ReverbNation profile.

You can contact Nikola via Twitter and find him on Facebook. 


Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013

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AES 134 Student Recording and Design Competition - Meet the Winners

We are very happy to announce that we will start posting interviews with the finalists of the Recording and Design Competitions held at the 134th AES Convention in Rome tomorrow.

This means that you will have the opportunity to get to know all the award winners and gain insight into each submission of all the different categories. Be sure to check this blog regularly as we will keep adding lots of interesting content over the coming weeks.  


Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013

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