Do know what the difference is between a good show and a great show? The sound. It's always the sound. When it's bad, you certainly know it. On the other hand, when it's a great mix, you might not even notice, unless you're a particularly astute listener. You might just think your favorite band is really on point that night. And while that may very well be true, the fact that the band sounds as good as it does definitely isn't by chance. What you're hearing is the hard -- and often thankless -- work of a great sound engineer. We're compiling a list of the best sound engineers in town, and here is the second batch of in our series. Continue on to see eight more of the best sound engineers in Denver, presented in no particular order, and look for another installment next week.
Age: 34 Venues: Larimer Lounge, Marquis Theater, Hi-Dive and Mighty Fine Productions Years mixing in Denver: 9 Gig pet peeves: Drummers that set up on stage! Favorite gear: Fatso, Empirical Labs
Age: 48 Venues: I've worked for the Fox Theater in Boulder, the Gothic, the Bluebird, the Ogden, and Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom. I've mixed the Motet for the past fifteen years, and they are still my top priority. Years mixing in Denver/Boulder: 20 years. Years in the business: 25-plus years Gig Pet Peeves: They are numerous, but at the top of the list are DJs who don't even know what "DJ" means. They are usually the ones we sound guys affectionately call "Space Bar Cowboys," as they jump up and down behind their gear as if they single-handedly invented music. My favorite piece(s) of gear: Right now, the DigiDesign Profile and SC48 consoles, but my very favorite piece of gear are my microphones. The right mic properly placed on a good sounding source takes care of 70 percent of the mix. Yes, I "know what all those buttons do," but I shouldn't have to touch all of them.
Age: 40 Venues: Cervantes, Summit, Ogden, Mercury, Bluebird, Oriental, Gothic, and anywhere else that will let me throw up two speakers and a mixing board! Years mixing in Denver: Call it eight, plus the years of mixing my drums -- from behind the drums...ah, memories. Call it ten. Years in the Biz: 20+ Gig Pet Peeves: Don't get me started! I keep doing it for two main reasons -- working with legendary musicians, and having my world rocked by those who may or may not some day be legendary themselves. Favorite Piece of Gear: In today's increasingly networked and iPad-driven audio world, give me a good, honest (mostly) analog signal path any day. (Thank you Bluebird and Cervantes!) Otherwise, the one item that makes me happiest is a great song in the hands of a group of capable musicians. Oh yeah, and my Line 6 Echo Pro. Dub in a green box. Love it.
Age: 34 Venues: Cervantes (production manager and engineer) and other various venues through freelance work. Years Mixing in Denver: 10 Years in the Biz: 12 Gig Pet Peeves: Bad sounding pickups on acoustic instruments. Favorite Piece of Live Gear: Avid Consoles
Ben Romsdahl Age: 30 Venues: Mostly the Ogden, Gothic, Bluebird, Ogden these days, but plenty of others in the past. I also do a lot of freelance studio work at UI Sound, working with mostly metal bands. I love many genres of music, but heavy music is my joint for sure. Years Mixing in Denver: 3 Years in the Biz: 5 Gig Pet Peeves:1) Busted gear. 2) Anyone who tries to tell me how to do my job that isn't paying me. 3) "White-gloved" engineers. Favorite Piece of Live Gear: Avid Venue consoles and my UAD Apollo Quad because, although I love and own analog equipment, digital gear is exponentially more reliable and flexible.
Age: 59 Venues: Oskar Blues (Longmont/Lyons) and various other shows around the region. Years Mixing in Denver: 13 Years in the Biz: 40 Gig Pet Peeves: Unnecessary loudness on stage. Favorite Piece of Live Gear: Audix OM5 and Sennheiser 835 mics
Age: 32 Venues: Herman's Hideaway, Mighty Fine Productions, Hodi's Halfnote, Aggie Theatre Years Mixing in Denver: 5 Years in the Biz: 10 Gig Pet Peeves: Poor vocal mic technique. Singers, learn about and understand the tool of your trade. Stop making engineers everywhere look bad because you don't know how to hold or sing into a microphone. Favorite Piece of Live Gear: My modified Drawmer DL441 Quad-comp with THAT 2180A VCA's, Linear Tech op-amps, PSU upgrade and switchable side-chain hi-pass.
Age:49 Venues: Boulder Theater, Fox Theater, e-Town Hall, Road Monitor Engineer Years mixing in Denver: 3 years Years in the Biz: 30 Gig Pet Peeves: Young, inexperienced engineers who think they know it all, but could not solder a XLR cable to save there life. Favorite Piece of Live Gear: Avid Venue Profile/SC48 digital consoles -- not because they are the best digital console out there, or sound better than good analog consoles, but because I feel more like an engineer than a computer programmer when mixing a show on them.
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