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24 Days of Xmas – Day 11: Imaging UAE Part 2 or Meet Tom Ferguson

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:01

It has been more than 4 years that I had Tom on the blog for the last time. Now Tom and I had a reconnect a while ago and I feel it was time for a round 2. Tom’s personal situation has changed a bit and he is now serving mostly the UAE and the Middle East, but also other parts of the world with his world class imaging. He also joined the benztown custom Imaging crew and we are really proud to have him. Check out his latest work and why he uses 2 DAWs as his go-tos! Enter Tom!

1. Which production system do you use and why?

Pro Tools and Ableton Live are my DAW’s of choice, with Pro Tools doing 90% of the work and Ableton Live stepping in for Music Image Promos. I love the simplicity and flexibility of Ableton when working with multiple varied tempo elements such as instrumentals and acapellas.

However, I ‘ghost’ the voice over channels in ableton, and then bounce the music image promo minus station voices, I then import the bounce to Pro Tools and produce the finished piece including station voices out of Pro Tools.

2. What are your favourite plugIns?

My Vox Bus, Master Chain etc… are mainly Waves and FabFilter plugin’s, but for some creative, wild and unique layering and textual effects. I’m really enjoying using Vengeance Sound’s selection of production plugins. Glitch B*tch (despite it’s questionable name) is really hot, with some customization of the pre-sets and tailored automation you can get some incredibly unique and impressive effects out of these plugins.

 

 

3. How do you schedule your work?

I schedule my working week into a way that accommodates recurring / repeat clients (some are weekly / fortnightly and monthly deliverables) and I allocate a certain amount of time from each day to new / urgent turn arounds that arrive.

I ‘Monday’ to manage this across mobile, desktop devices, it’s a fantastic service and highly recommend it for planning your week / months.

4. What do you love about working for various and very different clients now? What is different than before? How has your regular day changed?

It’s extremely exciting. Imaging is where I started in the industry and whilst I had to cut back on the amount of imaging I could do during my program director years of late, it’s truly where my heart lives and was always the plan to come back to, doing my own thing. There are challenges working with different languages for sure, he UAE and MENA region as a whole are so vast and varied in terms of nationalities, makes everyday a school day. I now speak basic Hindi, Arabic and Russian! (laughs)

Working on the US market was always a dream and thanks to yourself Andreas and the awesome Benztown Crew – that’s now something I do weekly!

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I wanted to try avoid the usual ‘create templates, create channel pre-sets’ that are pretty common information provided. Instead I’ve decided to share something with your readers I recently discovered myself.

Pro Tools Memory locations have really improved my workflow

I have setup pretty basic ones within my Imaging Template that allow me to do things like quickly launch an aux bus and the plugins on that strip at the click of a button!

I now have all my busses and their plugins at the click of a command e.g by simply pressing 2.

This launches my delay bus and plugins, allowing me to adjust the plugin settings without scrolling / locating them manually through a busy session.

You can setup many and instantly launch a workspace configuration you want to access.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

Shout out here to the guys at best radio imaging on Soundcloud, I check that page daily to hear the amazing work being shared by awesome imaging guys around the world!

I also spend a lot of time watching music production videos on youtube from places like beat academy, Z3n World, KSHMR etc… You can pickup some awesome insights into how some of the biggest hits dominating radio formats around the world are produced.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?

I was very fortunate enough to shadow and eventually work with some incredible people like Chris Thorpe, Dan Snaith, Paul Armstrong, Alex Jungius who were responsible for the sound of one of the greatest network of radio stations in the world, Galaxy FM, I spent 5 years there as an Imaging producer and they were all the original team of imaging guys who made it so iconic when it came to radio imaging in the world.

Now I’m part of the Benztown Custom Imaging crew I’ve got access to hear the amazing work producers like yourself, Scott and Matt are producing and talent like Ashley, Brad and Mike! The imaging world has come together and it’s inspiring to hear how talent do what they do in their respective markets.

8. What have been the key advices of your dad before you want in the radio business?

My family have been incredibly supportive, despite maybe not really understanding what I was doing all that time in my bedroom alone initially, they quickly understood and supported my decision once I got my first imaging job. My dad still shows a huge interest in what I do when he visits me in Dubai. I owe my love for music and radio production to my dad, he was part of a pretty successful uk band and grew up with a studio in our house and being around musicians all the time!

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An excerpt of Tom’s work

Promo – KRUF

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/KRUF-26-11-18-Music-Promo-3.wav

 

Sweeper – WQPO

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/WQPO-11-19-18-Sweep-Y.wav

 

Also check out his soundcloud:

 

 

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 10: Free Benztown Santa Samples!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 09:36

Another week, another freebie to get your hands on! Get some free benztown santa samples!

Straight to the point, get your free benztown santa samples here!

Also check out the benztown Christmas in a Box library to see what else we’re crafting for christmas every year!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 9: Imaging the SPORTS LEADER or meet Michael Brownsher

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 08:00

I got introduced to Mike a few weeks ago and we have a common partner in crime, Dan Kelly ,former Iron Imager  WPLJ prod genius and awesome superhuman.

Mike was so kind to take the time and answer my questions and shares his experience in Sports Imaging and creating magic for market No1 NYC! Check this awesome interview and dig into the secrets of positioning the sports leader!  

1. Which production system do you use and why? 

I use Pro-Tools. (PT 10.3.5 to be specific). I’ve been on it since around 2001 when my small market station took the leap and bought PT.  I just love it. It’s easy and powerful. 

2. What are your favourite plugIns? 

Im pretty basic with my plug-in usage. We’re a sports station so there’s no need to get too crazy.  I have a template set up (Thanks Dan Kelly@WPLJ). Basically Compressing all my vocal tracks with the C1 Compressor.  I like a little slap-delay just for some color and the EQ3 1 band on a Hi Pass. I’ll throw the L1 +Ultramaximizer on the master.  That’s pretty much it. 

3. How do you schedule your work/priorities? 

Because we’re a sports station, the news of the day will always dictate priorities. On top of that, we do a lot of contesting here. So it’s basically the combo of the news of the day and then contest promos and just general big sports story news/game promos. We do a bit more with the New York Jets, New York Knicks and New York Rangers as we’re broadcast partners with those teams as well. That’s a broad look at how my day/priorities break down.

4. What do you love about doing imaging for the Sports format?

What do you love about imaging ESPN? The drama of sports is great. The stories are always changing. One season the Jets might be an abysmal football team(currently), but on the off chance they’re good. Everything changes, the mood, the music, what you’re writing. Essentially the ups and downs of sports franchises and how you tell those stories is really what’s interesting to me about doing Sports.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I wish i could impart some wisdom here. Im sure everyone who is reading this has better tricks than i do. 

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?  

A lot of times i feel like my best shit comes from listening to music. Sometimes i’ll just go through libraries and listen to music and many times i’ll get inspired if the right piece of music hits me. If the music makes me feel something….then hopefully the promo with that music might get the listener to stop and pay attention.  I also get inspired from stuff I see on ESPN TV. But I’m always on the lookout for things that move me. 

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer recently? 

I started my radio career in market #145 in Springfield Missouri.  There was a guy there named Steve-O. He was a strong writer and he understood beats and production and someone who was just really good for me to connect with early in my career. Along the way Dan Kelly@ WPLJ is an absolute stud and was so kind to me when i got to NYC. Our stations were in the same building. He taught me a ton about big time radio.  Tim Thomas@ESPN Radio in Bristol has been very influential for me. He was doing really great stuff in the early years of the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN and still continues to kill it there.

8. What have been the key advices in your career till now? 

A couple of mantras i follow are “just be like-able.” No one wants to work with an asshole. You’ll always get the benefit of the doubt if people like you.  and #2 Stand your ground. People will take advantage of you in this business if you’re talented. Know your worth and stand your ground.

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An excerpt of Mike’s work:

NBA Draft Lottery Promo

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NBA-DRAFT-LOTTERY-PROMO-2.mp3

Yankees Twins Wildcard Promo

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/YANKEES-TWINS-WILDCARD-PROMO.mp3

JETS 2018 OPEN

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/JETS-2018-OPEN.mp3

Caller Ray Promo

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CALLER-RAY-PROMO-2.mp3
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 8: KIIS 2018 Mash or Chris Davis is back!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sat, 12/08/2018 - 08:00

Chris, our HotAc and Turbulence Prod God from New Zealand  was so nice to share his Megamixx for KIIS for 2018 with us. He added some nice images from the session.  check out this epic piece, which took him around 5 hours to make.

KIIS 2018 MASH by Chris Davis

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/MASHUP-2018-BENZTOWN-BLOG.mp3

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http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/20181206_213730.mp4

 

 

 

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Check out his soundcloud for more fresh stuff!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 7: Andy’s Fiver Friday #163 – Track Spacer, Christmas Vibes and R.I.P George H.W. Bush

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 09:19

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 7 and another fiver friday! Time travels really fast towards christmas and everyone in the office is currently really busy. Check out this week’s Fiver Friday with an awesome plugin, Sweet Christmas music and an awesome piece of imaging! Let’s go!

1.PlugIn

Waves Track Spacer – award nominated plugin that creates space in a mix similar to a sidechain compressor plugin but in real time. Check it out and get your free trial now!

2.Inspiration

Awesome channel with great content – if you want to shape your mindset and move forward you gotta check their videos!

3.Music

In spite of the christmas spirit that’s already in the office, some John Legend Christmas music for this week!

4.Web/Social/Whatever 

Can you actually do this?

How to configure your iPhone to work for you. 

5.Imaging

Scott Phillips, Format captain for Ambush and Horsepower created that emotional piece for the passing of George H.W. Bush.

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/P-George-H.W-Bush-Tribute.wav
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 6 – Get the best BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! PlugIN Holiday Sales Summary!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 08:55

Day 6 of our 24 Days Of Xmas and as the year comes to and end a lot of software manufacturers are putting up another holiday sale. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday this seems to be the big thing right now! Here are some of the best possibilities to save some money on amazing plugins and software. Check out our favorites!

1. iZotope: We use Ozone as our standard mastering tool in almost any session!

iZotope Holiday Sale 

2. Soundtoys: Legendary manufacturer of the best Delay PlugIns in the world. Can’t get enough of Echo Boy, Crystallizer and co. Love them! Don’t forget to get your hand on the Effect Rack, the most powerful tool in their arsenal.

Soundtoys Holiday Sale 

3. Universal Audio: UAD builds the best emulations of Vintage gear. The sound is awesome and it just looks beautiful. See various shootouts with the original stuff. I highly recommend the LA2A and the 1176.

UAD 12 Days Of Christmas 

4. Waves: Another great deal from Waves :)…I still use tons of it in every session.

Waves Plugin Giveaways

5. Exponential Audio: Our very own Chris is a huge fan of the PhoenixVerb!

Exponential Audio Holiday Sale

6. KORG: Synths anyone ? Oli still loves his Korg Triton Pro!

KORG Music Holiday Sale

7. Eventide: Another legendary Company – I love the H3000 Band Delays.

Eventide Holiday Sale

8. Loopmasters: Need new workparts? Check their Minimal Techno Revolution Pack which is 75% off!

Loopmasters Sale

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 5: The Top 10 Interviews of all time !

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 06:56

Day 5 of 24 days to XMAS and this is concentrated wisdom at its best. These interviews are your all time favorites (in no particular order). Enjoy diving in again and checking Imaging from all over the world, from the US to Oz, Russia to Malaysia, Canada to the UAE and of course from Germany and the UK.  BOOM!

KIIS – Imaging in OZ

Imaging OZ in 2018, Chris Davis, Mike Santos and the KIIS Imaging crew show you how to rock down under and the Imaging world!

Imaging Malaysia – Yuhashan

Imaging Malaysia, Creating Music, and… Who is Skinny D?

KiSS 92.5 – Albert To

Imaging KiSS 92.5 and why Research is Key – Meet Beatmixing Wizard Albert To

Iron Imager – Sam Wickens

Iron Imager VII: Meet the CONTENDER – Enter Sam Wickens!

89.0 RTL and REVOLUTION – Benni Wellmann

How to image RTL in Halle and REVOLUTION in MIAMI – Meet Imaging Producer and longtime friend Benni Wellmann!

Europa Plus – Sergey Zelentsov

Catching Up With Sergey Zelentsov From Europa Plus – Building A New Team, Taking Opportunities, Work To Be Proud Of And More…

Hot 97 – Dom Nero

Imaging NYC: Dom Nero from Hot 97

Brand Capital – Audio Production Team

Meet the Audio Production Team for Brand Capital: Capital FM, Capital XTRA and Capital TV

Imaging the United Arab Emirates – Vish B

Imaging in the UAE and PlugIN Insanity – Meet Vish B!

Imaging Canada – John Masecar

The Noisemaker John Masecar or the Canadian Connection Reloaded!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 4: Free Xmas Sound Effects and SFX Effects

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 07:19
  What’s poppin? Since Christmas is just around the corner, we have something festive for our Blog-Comunity! After Max is gone, Jan and Chris took over our sound-effect zone. Together their manufactured some fresh christmas special effects. And guess what? They are now available as a free download! Get your hands on them!

Here is the behind the scenes of our christmas magic and how we did it:     We recorded all the stuff with 3 microphones: a stereo pair of Rode NT5 and a Rode NTG3B. We used a AB Stereo setup with the NT5’s and the NTG3B to get a more spacious sound.              During the post production, we brought into action the stereo signal of the NT5’s and mixed it to the mono signal of the NTG3B. Lastly we applied a EQ and a bit of compression, such as an limiter at the tip.                         We recorded a sleigh bell in different tempo and variations, simulated unwrapping a present with paper, mimic footsteps in the snow with cornstarch, recorded some cymbal rolls and captured a real fire!!     Have fun with them guys! Here is the link to all 10 of them:   FREE XMAS SFX   Don’t we all love early christmas gifts? Stay save and see you next time.    
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 3: Fab Filter Pro-Q 3 my favorite EQ!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:43

Wow, seems to be like Christmas begins earlier this year. A new version of Fab Filter’s Pro Q means a new version of my favorite EQ is OUT, loaded with awesome new features and to be honest the sound and new possibilities exceeded my expectations by far. The automatic resonance visualization might be my favorite, but there is a so many more great new features. The Brickwall LP and HO is also worth checking out and maybe we can even do a shootout with other EQs such as Filter Bank in the upcoming week. Check all the facts for Pro Q3 as summery below!

 

Most important new features: 

  • Detect Resonances automatically and visually in ProQ3 –> great for Voice Over EQing f.e.
  • Optional dynamic EQ for all bands 
  • Brickwall LP and HP Filters
  • Single Band M/S EQ or L/R
  • Improved Filter Shapes
  • Display the spectrum of other instances of ProQ3  all in one instance
  • Improved match EQ with another ProQ 3 or external signal

Nice to have: 

  • Full surround support (up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2) with intelligent speaker selection
  • Flat Tilt filter shape covering the whole audible frequency spectrum

System Requirements:

  • Windows
    • 64-bit: Windows 10, 8, 7 or Vista
    • 32-bit: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP
    • VST 2/3 host or Pro Tools

    Mac OS X

    • OS X 10.8 or higher
    • AU or VST 2/3 host or Pro Tools
    • Intel processor
  • Price: 149,00€

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Additionally here is the official introduction video by FabFilter, covering all new and improved features: 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 2: From KIIS Boston to Benztown – Imaging NT, developing world class custom imaging and how you can love cars and imaging? Meet Matt Anderson!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 08:00

Matt has been working with us for a year now and I am really excited and proud to share some of his thoughts about imaging, his experiences and learnings. Please check out how Matt is growing the benztown’s NT footprint as NT format director and how overcoming obstacles made him a better Imaging producer. Keep Hustling! Enter Matt!

1. Which production system do you use and why?

I started on Adobe Audition, I was DJ’ing house parties in College and wanted to produce some cool drops, thats where it all started. Now I use Pro Tools, the switch in systems was tough, but I know it has made me a better producer. Plus being the industry standard the ability ask questions of my co-workers and the internet makes it easy to advance quickly!

2. What are your favourite plugins?

Shoutout to SoundToys! EchoBoy, MicroShift, and Filter Freak I use in almost every piece I produce. I’ll throw EchoBoy on the last beat of a music bed for a nice trail off. MicroShift for a nice change in VO effect. FilterFreak to thin out the swell of a music bed.

3. How do you schedule your work ?

I am a morning person, I work best when I just sit down and get to it. Sometimes it almost feels like a blackout, I’ll have pages of imaging to finish, look up and 6 hours have passed. If I feel uninspired or I’m dragging that day, knocking back a strong coffee usually does the trick.

4. What do you love about being able to deliver imaging for so many different stations and formats?

I am a fan of all sorts of music, my first concert was Iron Maiden, now I’m a CHR producer and I dabble in literally everything in between. So it’s fun to be able to switch between formats, its never boring thats for sure!

4.1 What do you love about doing imaging for the NT format?

Honestly, I was skeptical when I took on the News/Talk Library. I had never worked in the News Format, nor had I been really interested in it. Along the way I realized that it was something I could make my own, writing and producing for news the way I wanted, what I would want to hear on a News/Talk Station, once I realized that I started having a lot of fun with it. Plus Trump drops are always gold.

4.2 Whats different about your imaging style since you joined benztown?

Since I’ve joined Benztown I have really focused on making my imaging more musical. Pro Tools grid mode has made that super easy, and also lining up my VO with the tempo of the music beds. Like a rapper, I try and hone in on the flow with the VO and bed lined up as one.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

Tempo out your sessions! Start with your music bed, find the BPM and set everything along those lines, it will sound better, and it will make it easier to work! Your echos will follow that tempo, and everything will exist as one musical piece!

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

The team that I am on at Benztown is amazing. Hearing what other people are doing on their respective libraries and Imaging assignments inspires me everyday. I’ll hear something that will give me goosebumps and I will immediately want to do it.

Before Benztown I was dying to be involved in an Imaging community, I was blowing people up on Soundcloud just trying to connect. My biggest inspirations are the people and the music.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer recently?

I have to start out with Rob Anthony OM iHeartMedia in Providence, RI. I was an intern for him in Springfield, MA at Mix 93.1 on the Zito and Karen Morning show. One of my fondest memories is going down a water slide at Six Flags New England in my high school wrestling singlet for them. He gave me my first full time radio job in Providence, RI as a Production/Programming Assistant at Coast 93.3, I will forever be in debt to him for that (also for letting me crash on his couch a few times!). Thats where I met Doug Palmieri.

Doug Palmieri saw that I was itching to do imaging. He truly took me in as a friend and worked with me day and night teaching me how to produce. He worked in Boston, MA for many years as a Creative Services Director at Greater Media, he was truly my Sensai. Everyone needs a Doug, a true mentor inside and outside of work.

And now, I gotta give props to our very own Scott “Justin Case” Mayton. Scott pushed me off the Pro Tools ledge so to speak. Every question and frustration, he’s listened to and guided me through. The speed and quality of his work is unbelievable, one day I hope to grow up and be as good as him!

8. What have been the key advices in your career till now?

I lost a lot of confidence when I switched to Pro Tools, I was so frustrated I called Doug one night just to vent. He told me that these are all just tools. The theories, knowledge and experience that I have had in my career is not lost because of a switch in systems. I thought that was a really interesting point. Its like my dad always says, everything Im doing now is shaping me for tomorrow. Everything wasn’t lost, I wasn’t starting from scratch, I was just building on what I already knew. I continue to build on that foundation every day!

9. Why do you love cars ?

Oh man, where do I start. I sit in front of a computer all day, so for me it’s so different from my work life that its a nice change. Im weird, but I truly find it relaxing to go outside and clean my car after a long day! I get a high off modifying my car, I always have. I had two 6th Gen Honda Civic’s in high school, one I crashed, the other one got stolen. I think with Fast and Furious, and Need For Speed on PS2, the car thing was a staple of my childhood! Now I have a 2017 GTI with a some work done, pushing 300hp in a Hatch is no joke! I love it, I think I will always own a GTI. Im currently trying to get my girlfriend to buy a Tiqua as I want to have a VW fleet!  Just like imaging, the car scene is a community, its a great way to meet people, and just talk about common interests!

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Some excerpt of Matt’s work 

Composite CHR/Rhythmic

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CHR-Rhytmic-Composite-09-06-18.mp3

 

Composite N/T

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NT-Library-Composite-07-17-18.mp3

 

Composite PLR

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/PLR-Station-Composite-2018_1-1.mp3

 

Promo “Kissmas”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/11-27-18-Kissmas-Promo-Version-1.mp3

 

Promo “Gas And Groceries”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/11-26-18-Gas-and-Groceries-Promo-B.mp3

 

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Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 1: Imaging the legendary WBLS or meet Chris “In The Mix” Mercado

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sat, 12/01/2018 - 08:00
This is our day 1 of 24 days to XMAS, which will give you a new blog article every day, you guessed it, till Christmas. To jump right into day 1. Chris Mercado and I go way back. This time we had the time to connect on some questions I had considering his production style, his experience and of course the plugINs he is using on a daily basis. Chris is a legend in the Urban imaging world, imaging the biggest Urban AC station in the country – WBLS. Check his bio, learn about his way into radio and what he is up to at the moment!   Enter Chris!

 

1. Which production system do you use and why?

Currently we’re using The Pro Tools HDX system running Pro Tools 12 but will be upgrading to Pro Tools 2018 and the brand new Mac mini’s by end of year. We love Pro Tools for what we do. It’s solid, powerful, predictable (in a good way) and has tons of support. The stock plug-ins are also great.

2. What are your favorite plug-Ins ?

We are plug-in junkies at the station. I choose the correct plug-in for whichever project I’m working on. I do have some favorites though. The Waves H-Delay is great. There ton of options to choose from plus controlling it in sync with tempo or tap helps keep everything nice and tight.

I also love the Waves C4 Compressor. I usually have that on my mix buss if not I’ll use the Avid Pro-Compressor. It’s a lot more aggressive but when you’re working with music that’s super low end heavy, you have to control and EQ it well. If not, you’ll have mud and conflicting frequencies fighting for the same space.

3. How do you schedule your work/priorities?

Even though it’s important in all market sizes, money, money, and money. What’s going on air first? Is it sponsored? Is it a partnership? Let’s get it on air and make it sound huge. After that, I usually work on the biggest most time consuming projects first then move on from there. I usually do mix show production like sweepers and drops last since they can be done so fast. I also do a ton of script writing.

4. What do you love about being the head of production for a legendary station like WBLS?

It’s truly an honor and I really mean that. This position didn’t really officially exist until our former General Manager created it. I work with a talented team of very experienced producers that are excellent at what they do. I have the responsibility of keeping the department together plus upholding the legacy of WBLS, HOT 97 and WLIB. We have a combined listenership of roughly 5 million every week. It’s a big gig. When artists come by which is all the time, there’s a genuine respect for the call letters and frequency.

5. What is the best pro tools or production trick anybody should know?

I want to keep the tricks in my super special production magician’s hat but I will share a few tips. Know as many short cuts as you can because when you’re in live sessions with artists and clients, you have to move fast and they’re going to expect a level of professionalism. Also, don’t be nervous to try different combinations of plug-ins to get the sound you’re looking for. It took me about a week to create settings to use on our station voice talent but once it was done, it was hot.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

I rarely listen to other stations. I monitor to know what’s going on of course but I don’t fixate on it. I monitor stations outside of the market and believe it or not get most inspired by visuals. Movie trailers have to tell a vivid story in seconds like radio so I try to recreate that energy and writing when I’m coming up with ideas. I also listen back to older promos to see where I was skill wise then and where I’m at now then try to top that.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?

My first major market influence was definitely my former supervisor and Production Director Jay “Mixin’” Dixon at the former 98.7 Kiss FM in New York. Back then the major promos were all done on an Otari MX-5050 and a Yamaha SPX90 for reverb and effects. I have to also include Mitch Faulkner, Rick Allen, Ricky Roo, Dom Nero, and Bryan Apple. I’ve been really blessed to have worked or at least met most of these amazing producers.

8. What have been the key advices of your dad before you want in the radio business?

Wow, both of my parents trusted my judgment when I was offered an entry-level production position almost 30 years ago. They stressed finishing up college, having a back up plan and knowing when it’s time to get out. It was great advice and to this day I’ve never let them down.

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An excerpt of Chris’ work: 

Sweeper “Good Luck”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Sweeper-Good-Luck.mp3

 

Sweeper Rejoiner “So Long”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/So-Long-Sweeper-Rejoiner.mp3

 

Sweeper “Grinding At The Job”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Sweeper-Grinding-at-the-job.mp3

 

Sweeper “#1 For R&B”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/1-for-RB-4.mp3

 

Promo “Eras Of Music”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Eras-of-Music-Promo.mp3

 

Promo “Pay Raise”

http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Pay-Raise-Promo.mp3

 

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Chris “In The Mix” Mercado Bio

Recording engineer and producer, Chris “In The Mix” Mercado has been recognized as a thought leader, contributing to the development of Urban radio’s sound for more than 28 years. Currently serving as Creative Services Director for 107.5 WBLS, HOT 97 and 1190 WLIB’s New York operations, Mercado steers all audio production reaching 5M+ weekly listeners across the tri-state region. Honing his craft under the influence of powerhouses such as WBLS’s Steve Harvey, HOT 97’s Funkmaster Flex and WLIB’s Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Erica Campbell, and Pastor Donnie McClurkin has afforded him a wealth of life lessons directly from trusted cultural leaders. It was here his passion was not only ignited but also nurtured, driving him to reinvest his skills and talent in those who follow, while continuously striving for new heights. As part of the Programming team, his skills also include in depth training in diversity, focus groups, and the role of African-American and Latino inclusion plus the value of the Millenial mind.

Chris is no stranger to hard work, having worked his way up through increasingly responsible positions, including programming and production internships at the legendary 98.7 Kiss FM in New York City, 1989 to various audio production positions at sister station HOT 97 as well as Sirius Satellite Radio and Inner City Broadcasting/YMF Media. While acting as HOT 97’s Commercial Production Director and Remixer, Mercado was instrumental in advancing the station to its record highest level of broadcast quality. The cross-functional leader led station commercial production garnering up to $40M in revenue annually. He navigated all of this while overseeing show production for industry giants, including DJ Funkmaster Flex, DJ Clue, DJ Kay Slay, Mister Cee, and DJ Enuff. This coupled with Chris’ exceptional copywriting and music editing skills have been an integral driving force behind HOT 97’s signature sound. Chris Mercado is the mastermind producer behind the famed “Go Flex” and “Flex’s Bomb” sound bites, being recognized globally for nearly two decades. His hard work and innovation has helped propel HOT 97’s distinctive sound and solid production reputation to become the very standard against which most other Urban stations measure themselves.

If that’s not enough, Chris maintains strong partnerships with WBLS and WLIB, producing national commercials for various high-value clienteles, including Def Jam Records, Comcast, HBO, and Essence Magazine. He delivers voice over services for national ads in conjunction with top artists such as 2 Chainz, Jennifer Hudson, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, and Bishop Hezekiah Walker. He has lent his production expertise to mix show imaging for Clinton Sparks, DJ Self, and DJ Enuff. Mercado operates as Audio Producer for the rapidly expanding, syndicated show, “Café Mocha” featuring Hip-Hop icon YoYo, Angelique, and comedienne Lonnie Love. He has been Executive Producer for the iconic “Classic Flavors” show, featuring Hip-Hop legend Chubb Rock and Bent Roc and produced the internationally syndicated show, “The Coast 2 Coast Hip-Hop Countdown”, which ran across multiple markets worldwide and on Sirius Satellite Radio for four years, boasting a listenership of 14M+.

When not working on industry initiatives, Chris contributes to the community as an instructor and mentor, having taught at The New School University. He holds a Black Belt in the art of Ninjutsu, was 12 of 35 participants graduating from a mind-body conditioning boot camp taught by Navy SEALs, is a fourth-degree member of The Knights of Columbus, and a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. Mercado has been selected as a guest lecturer and panel member at New York, Howard, Hofstra, and Northern Illinois Universities as well as SUNY Albany. He has judged both the Essence/Pepsi Youth Awards and the Guitar Center International DJ Spin-off.

If you ask Chris Mercado, he will adamantly tell you that the key to his continued success has been his unwavering commitment to maintaining a positive and focused attitude. “I have a strong love of music, I understand the business and I am my market,” he says. “I remain humble and learn from the best every day.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #162 – 24 Days of Xmas, Sugarbytes Effectrix And Old School Hip Hop

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 08:36

I am home sick and this gave me some extra time to think about you, the Fiver Friday and if there is something nice I can create till Christmas. So, the 24 days of XMAS are coming, starting on the 1st, meaning by tomorrow! A new POST every single day till XMAS. Interviews, Tips, Ideas, Reviews, Videos – you name it, Ill do it! Check out the first episode tomorrow with a legendary Imaging guy, who has never been on before…AND NOW : Lets jump right into this weeks Fiver Friday!!! ENJOY!

1. Plugin

Recently Sugarbytes‘ Effectrix has found its way into our sessions again, a professional multi effects sequenzer offering great results while being easy to use! DJ STYLE…Check it out!

2.Inspiration

Another great motivational speech from well known Gary Vaynerchuk. This guy breathes Motivation!

3.Music

We recently got our hands on some smooth old school hip hop accapella samples, triggering the feeling of back in the days! Therefore let’s get back to some of the best old school hip hop this week! LOVE IT!

OLD SCHOOL HIP HOP

4.Web/Social/Whatever

For all of us history heads out there, Peter Jackson put together a stunning documentary utilizing restoration and colorization of real film footage captured at the time. This will be special!

5.Imaging

Dom is a great guy and I love listening to his podcast and also to his prod work. Check below!

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #161- Free Waves PlugIn, Lies of Sound Design and Europa Plus Demo

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 07:04

It´s Friday, Baby! Here’s to another day of amazing impulses from the broadcasting world! Click yourself right into the thought stream of today’s Fiver Friday!

1.PlugIn

Waves releases FREE Sibilance plugin, a special for Black Friday! The only thing you have to do is submit your e-mail address!

Check their website for more deals! 

2. Inspiration

From gunshots in a canyon to underwater submarine engines, this audio-rich talk explores the role of sound design in modern storytelling.
Most of you probably know those things, nevertheless worth watching!

3. Music

Chill-vibes for the weekend from A$AP Rocky’s new released single. Take a Listen!

4. Web/Social/Whatever

Just when everyone thought the Rocky movies were done, 2015’s Creed brought the boxing franchise back! Expertly intertwining the origin story of boxing newcomer Adonis Johnson (played by Michael B. Jordan) with the legacy of icon Rocky Balboa (a returning Sylvester Stallone).

Release date: November 21, 2018 (US)

5. Imaging

Check out our new Demo for Europa Plus!

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Benztown Cyber Monday Week- Mics Speakers and Outboards

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 07:14

Hang in there guys, tomorrow is Friday! Hope your week has been good so far. Let’s see what deals we can snatch on today, in Mics Speakers and Outboards!

Mics, Speakers and Outboards:

Up to 80% Off

Check out Sweetwater! They are offering a product range of the most known brands for a bargain price!

15% Sale 

Reverb.com is an online marketplace made for musicians! On their platform you can not only buy, but also sell instruments and accessories. Try it, to find out about new, used, handcrafted and vintage equipment!

Up to 20% Sale

Europe’s biggest music store! Find a huge range of instruments as well as studio-, light- and sound technology. They have the most popular brands, low-priced alternatives, and many free extras for musicians!

Up to 65% Sale 

One of the biggest players in the world of sound. AKG provides the highest quality and ongoing innovation in the world of music. 

Save Up to 75% 

High-quality headphones, microphones, and conference systems made in Germany. Whether for at home or on the go, for professional DJs, or studio recording – they have the right product for every need.

And last but not least BestBuy! Check their site, they are offering various products. You can save up to 50% on your gear!

That’s it for today! I hope I could help you, finding some fresh equipment. Cyber Monday can be quiet overwhelming with all the sales that are going on. Until tomorrow, see you at Fiver Friday! 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Benztown Cyber Monday Week- Loops and Production Workparts!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 06:57

I have good news for you guys! We made it half way to Friday and still have money to spend :)…Loops, Samples, Workparts, who does not love those little NOIZY things ? 

Loops and Production Workparts:

Up to 60% Sale

Loopmasters offers flexible sample libraries for producers and musicians who required top quality playing from seasoned professionals to integrate into and inspire their music!

Up to 50% Sale

Prime Loops specialize in providing strictly unique collections of audio samples & more for music producers!

Up to 50%

While many labels and producers stick to one style, W. A. is able to seamlessly make music in the top EDM genres including Big Room, Future House, Tropical House, Progressive, Trap and many more. Check out their deals!

Up to 80% Sale

Big Fish Audio is the largest distributor of sample libraries in the world, creating the most up-to-date loop and virtual instruments libraries!

50% Sale

Vandalism’s sounds have been used by the biggest names in the industry, including Martin Garrix, Armin van buuren, R3hab, Lost Frequencies, Tom Swoon, Dannic, Blasterjaxx, Global Deejays, Tujamo, Jay Hardway, Skytech, and many, many more!

Up to 50% Sale 

Sample Magic is the world’s leading provider of pro-audio loops and samples to music producers across a range of genres, from house and electro through dubstep to disco to chillout and soundtrack!

So many amazing deals to grab. I feel like a child in a candy store. Tune in tomorrow for deals reaching from Mics and Speakers to Pro Studio Outboard Equipment!

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Benztown Cyber Monday Week- PlugIn Mania

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 07:03

Congratulation you survived the Monday! Jumping into the Tuesday, continuing our Cyber Monday Deals. This is for all my PlugIn lovers! 

PlugIn Mania:

Up to 70% Sale 

The entire collection of Eventide’s world-famous, award-winning plugins! You can get now the same sounds used on some of the most legendary recordings of all time, on sale!

50% Sale

Native Instruments is a leading manufacturer of software and hardware for computer-based audio production and DJing. Their PlugIns push technological boundaries and open up new creative horizons for professionals and amateurs alike.

50% Sale

Anyone making EDM or scoring film, tv or adverts will find much to like in Heavyocity’s , Kontakt-based vocal instrument Vocalise!

50% Sale

Fall deeper into gravity with GP01 Natural Forces! Inspired by the earth’s raw organic frequencies.

  • Ensemble:

Ensemble is a game-changing solution for virtual Instruments!

Ensemble Woods Collection

50% Sale

Ensemble Metals Collection

50% Sale

Ethnic Drum Ensembles Collection

50% Sale

Ensemble Drums Collection

50% Sale

  • Aeon:

Breathtaking melodic instruments, cutting-edge tonal loops, advanced arps, and signature AEON Hits.

AEON Melodic

50% Sale

AEON Rhythmic

50% Sale

50% Sale

Audio Damage has been making tools for the creative musician, from experimental plugins for your DAW to top-of-the-line hardware sequencers. Making advanced music technology enjoyable and easy to use.

Experimental plugins for Evolution!

50% Sale

Evolve Mutations Bundle

50% Sale

Evolve Mutations 2

50% Sale

Evolve Mutations

50% Sale

Save $150.00!

It’s the same PUNISH effect that you know and love, as featured in Heavyocity’s award-winning line of virtual instruments, now in VST/AU/AAX plugin format.

-I hope this gave you a brief overlook and helped you deciding if there is anything for you to grab. Until next time, where we are going to list best Deals of Loops and Prod Workparts!

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Benztown Cyber Monday Week- Headphone Mania

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 07:59

Hi guys! Let’s start this fresh week, with the best Cyber Monday Deals! This is the week for all gear heads, plugin lovers and studio maniacs. Cyber Monday is full with specials and massive discounts for us. We try to sum them up of you, so you don’t have to click through various newsletters and search a bazillion websites.

Today:

Headphone Mania:

Up to 50% Sale

Trusted by studio engineers, musicians and DJs, AKG headphones are meticulously built to deliver the most accurate and precise sound.

Up to 50% Sale

Your entry to the professional world at an unbeatably low price!

Up to 50% Sale

High-quality headphones, microphones, and conference systems made in Germany. Whether for at home or on the go, for professional DJs, or studio recording – they have the right product for every need.

13% Sale

World-Class performance and superior comfort from headphones designed to bring you closer to the music you love.

25% Sale

Winner of numerous industry awards, Audio-Technica manufactures products that set quality, durability and price/performance standards for live sound tours, broadcast and recording studios, corporate and government facilities, house-of-worship venues, and more.

  • Sony:

And last but not least the well-known classic Sony.

XB650BT Over-the-Ear Wireless Headphones

38% Sale

WH-CH500 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

37% Sale

Man, I want them all! Hope you could find something for your needs, see you tomorrow for PlugIn-Mania the best deals from the PlugIn-world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #160- Eventide Reverb Plug-In, Couch Wisdom and ,,The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show”

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 07:08

 

Did you hear the good news? It’s Friday! Another productive week behind us. Hope you’re doing well and are ready for this week’s Fiver Friday! With that being said let´s dive in!

1.PlugIn

Eventide Announces New SP2016 Reverb Plug-In

Faithfully Recreating Legendary Algorithms from the Ground-breaking Hardware 

Eventide is proud to announce availability of the SP2016 Reverb plug-in — perfectly recreating a classic collection of reverb algorithms from its history-making SP2016, pro audio’s first rack-mount multi-effects processor.

 

2.Inspiration

Couch Wisdom

Red Bull Music Academy has accumulated a vault full of incredible lectures from two decades of workshops and music industry events. Now, they’re sharing them one by one as part of a new podcast called Couch Wisdom. Featuring in-depth conversations covering all sides of the music industry. If you’re a music nerd looking to know more about the ins and outs of the industry, Couch Wisdom is required listening!

 

3.Music

Check out Eminem’s “Fall”, a diss track aimed at anyone who dared question his greatness as a rapper, the musical equivalent of a Monster Energy drink. Great sound to recharge for the weekend!

  4.Web/Social/Whatever

The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show

In the early ’90s, few radio stations embraced hip-hop like “The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show.” Their time on-air started as a college radio hobby for two hip-hop obsessives, but this was New York City’s so-called golden age, and the show quickly became a mecca for young artists looking to cut their teeth live on air.

This documentary’s interviews tell the story: Jay Z, Nas, Raekwon, Busta Rhymes—the list goes on, each artist indelibly changed by their time on-air with Stretch and Bobbito. From interviewing a 16-year-old Christopher Wallace to introducing Nas to the world before Illmatic, rap’s history book owes these two a paragraph or two. This doc is the proof, a long-deserved victory lap for two of music’s unsung heroes.

  5.Imaging

Some new stuff out of the kitchen…my latest work for Benztown CHR.

 
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #159- IZotope Nectar 3, The Power of Now and Christmas in a Box

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 07:21

Wohoo it’s Friday! I hope you’re just as excited about the weekend as I am. This week’s Fiver Friday is not only filled with brand-new refreshing topics around music and imaging, but also about how to stop overthinking and becoming more self aware. Let’s dive in!

1.Plugin

iZotope releases Nectar 3, Music Production Suite 2 and Vocal Chain Bundle.

Announced earlier this fall, Nectar 3 is now available for trial or purchase. Nectar 3 has undergone a complete redesign, adding five new modules as well as improvements across the product for a total of twelve vocal processing modules. Included in Nectar three is Melodyne 4 essential with Celemony’s GRAMMY-award winning time and pitch correction. Nectar 3 will be released with an exclusive preset pack from MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser, with more artist packs to follow.

2. Inspiration

Eckhart Tolle,,The Power of Now”

If you have a problem with overthinking, this is a book for you! You might have heard about this book before, since it´s the bestselling self-help book of it’s generation. Recommended by Oprah, Eckhart Tolle’s book message is simple: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. And while this idea may not seem stunningly original or fresh, Tolle’s clear writing, supportive voice and enthusiasm make this an excellent manual for anyone who’s ever wondered what exactly “living in the now” means. This will definitely shift your mindset! 

3.Music 

Ever wondered how one song would sound performed in 20 different styles? Check out Anthony Vincent´s cover of System Of A Down – ,,Chop Suey”. Pretty impressive right?

4.Web/Social/Whatever

My friend Ron from NRJ posted that on FB – pure awesomeness!

5.Imaging

And last but not least we have a bonus for you guys! Christmas came early for our radio amigos! Benztown’s Christmas in a Box is now available! Subscribe to get over 50 FREE holiday downloads.

Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

Andy’s Fiver Friday #158- LiquidSonics Illusion Fusion-IR, The Millennial Whoop and Online Personas

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 08:51
 

Man, I can’t believe it’s already November! Damn, the time flies by so fast. Hope your candy-hunt was sucessful this Halloween and you didn’t get a sugar overdose. It’s the time of the week, make yourself comfortable and enter this week’s Fiver Friday with some crisp content.

1.Plugin LiquidSonics releases Illusion Fusion-IR | Synthesis Reverb Plug-in 

LiquidSonics has released Illusion, a new reverb plug-in for macOS and Windows that features the new Fusion-IR Synthesis technology.

Illusion simulates natural environments including halls, chambers and rooms, as well as classic nonlinear and plate reverbs with Fusion-IR  Synthesis. It draws on a suite of highly advanced reverberation technologies without the need for a library of sampled impulse responses to create a diverse palette of high quality reverbs.

2.Inspiration

I imagine some of you might heard of the phenomenom called the ,,Millennial Whoop”, for those who don’t, no need to worry! Some interesting thoughts on that subject and the whole topic disscused in a short inspiring TED-Talk below. Check it out!

3.Music

This week’s pick:

A catchy lighthearted song by the well known band ,,Imagine Dragons“. What I personally find even cooler about this track, is the music video made for the new single. Get a feel for it!

4.Web/Social/Whatever

Something you should take a grasp on in November is the Thriller/Mystery  film -“Cam”, that you can watch on Netflix. It’s a modern horror story about the existential fright of getting locked out of your account, and the dread is all too real. Daniel Goldhaber’s “Cam” also touches on a number of other digital crises, but this clever and freaky  movie is at its most effective when tracing the uneasy shadow relationships we share with our online personas. Definetly get’s you thinking about your own relation to social media.

5.Imaging

The Capital Crew has done it again! Click to listen!

 

 
Categories: VOIMAGEBLOG

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