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Andy’s Fiver Friday #224 – The importance of kindness, Dr.Dre’s Kobe tribute and the latest from Denzil Lacey!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 06:43

Weeks are surely starting to rush by again! Let’s take a moment to get into this weeks findings, found some cool stuff for you guys! 


We’ve been using the new Waves Ovox plugin a lot lately! Here’s a cool video on how to get em Kanye vibezz


Sports History in the making – Sports Imaging reloaded or Meet Elisabeth Hart

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 02/19/2020 - 06:00

I was stunned by Elisabeth’s Kobe tribute on soundlcoud and reached out. We chatted for a while and thought I needed to share her learnings, findings and awesome way of marrying plug and play to songs with you. Enter Elisabeth!

1. Can you give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements.. I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but  it puts a lot of the below in context I assume.

Well, my name is Elisabeth Hart, and I graduated from the Radio Broadcasting program at Fanshawe College too many years ago. (Not THAT many years ago…) I started my full time radio career at 1240 CJCS in Stratford, Ontario, and a few years and the launch of 1 new station (107.7 Mix FM) later, I moved onto what at the time was CHUM Peterborough (Country 105/1420 CKPT). 9 years, 2 management changes and 1 station flip later (1420 became Energy 99.7), I moved on up to Rogers Radio Toronto. I was hired as a Commercial Producer for 98.1 CHFI, KiSS 92.5, Sportsnet 590 the FAN and 680 News. During my time there, my role has evolved, and I am currently the Imaging Producer for Sportsnet 590 the FAN. I still do some Commercial Production, as well as assisting with Imaging for the Country stations that Rogers has across Canada, and I’ve done Imaging for the News, AC and CHR stations as well. I also do a lot of voiceover work for commercials and various other projects within Rogers, so all of that keeps me hopping!

2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio and sports brands in Canada? How do the task differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats?

It’s great to get to work with some of the best brands in Canada – but they don’t get to BE the best brands in Canada without the best people. It really is about having the best team around you to help you and support you. If I need help with something I’m working on, I know that I can go to any of my co-workers and ask for their help, and they’ll offer their advice. It’s then up to me to decide whether that advice works stylistically with what I’m working on or not. We’re not doing heart surgery here where the patient lives or dies by whether we cut the promo the right away – everything is open to interpretation and is subjective. But knowing that you can get different feedback from really talented people is always a help.

As far as changing hats, for me it’s important to focus. As much as I may need to multi-task in the course of a day, if I’m sitting there working on a Sports promo while I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with the Country splitters I need to work on, then there’s a chance that the Sports promo might accidentally end up with a Country feel to it. And for me, that’s not the right move. Plan things out, set aside the time to work on and focus on that one project for that format before you move on. And if an idea comes to me for something different than what I’m working on, I’ll write it down so that I remember it for later, rather than abandoning what I’m in the middle of to see that idea through. There will always be times where fires come up and something needs your immediate attention, but as much as you can, focus on one project at a time.

3. How do your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ?

My days are usually pretty different, which I like. There are, of course, always some projects that need to get completed every day, and I have to balance what commercial projects I’m working on that need my attention as well, but there’s not necessarily a blueprint to each day. I usually meet a couple of times a week with the Assistant Program Director of the FAN to talk about what’s happening that we might need to promote, any shows coming up that need our attention, any new seasons starting, etc. I usually try and get some time in a couple of times a week as well just to scour the internet and see what’s out there that other people are doing that’s cool that I can take inspiration from.

4. What is your baby? Most fun project? 

For me, every year my favourite project is the Season Opener for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball season. I’ve been a Blue Jays fan ever since I was young (wait, does that mean I’m not young anymore? DAMMIT!!), and to this day I still even hold a part time job through the summer working at the Jays games. As a very passionate fan, and someone who listened to the game broadcasts growing up, to be able to produce the big season opener piece that kicks off the season across the network, is just amazing. There’s NHL teams in 7 different markets across Canada, and while the whole country rallied behind the Raptors when they won the NBA Championship title, there’s still nothing quite like the way Canada supports the Blue Jays, no matter HOW good or bad the team is doing. So being able to hype people up for another baseball season all across the country like that is pretty special to me.

5. How important is institutional knowledge for a format like sports?

To be honest, it’s not the most important thing. Again, it comes down to the people you have around you, and also your willingness to research. The guy who was doing Imaging for Sportsnet before me is an incredibly talented producer named Anthony Conte. He’s now imaging 98.1 CHFI, and is the AC Imaging Lead for Rogers Radio. He was doing an amazing job with 590, to the point that I was intimidated when I took over the job – I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up his standard! But he isn’t a big sports guy. He was able to do such a great job because he would research – and because the other people – the assistant PD, the writer, the jocks, the show producers, etc. would all help out too. Even with myself, I’m not a huge basketball fan. So when it came to producing that Kobe Bryant tribute that you heard, I had to do a lot of research. I knew of Kobe Bryant in the same way everyone did, but not in the same way a basketball fan knew him. So I Google’d him, I watched Youtube videos, I asked my Assistant PD what the *most* important thing for Kobe was, and we had people pulling audio clips from different sources and sharing them with me. While it may have been a piece that “I” produced, there were a bunch of different people involved in it. Can you do great Imaging without having an incredible knowledge of sports? 100%. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort to research what you don’t know.

6. What DAW do you use?

ProTools 12 for PC.

7. What are your favorite plugins?

Well, I was recently introduced to a plug-in called RX7, and I’m really excited about it. It’s an audio repair plug-in that can create near-studio quality instrumentals and acapellas from just about any song. It’s way better than the Vocal Remove feature in Adobe, or any other commonly-used attempt to create instrumentals. Previously, I was always limited to using songs where I could find a really good quality instrumental version, so I’m excited to get to play around with this plug-in, and expand my horizons!

8. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

An idea I’m working on right now is the Season Opener piece for the 2020 Blue Jays season, but it’s actually an idea I’ve been working on since October. I heard a song that I liked and thought would be cool to use in something, so I found an instrumental version, threw it into ProTools, started putting some play by play with it, and thought hey – this could really work to kick off next season! So I’ve been working on it as I have time, and even though it’s almost done, I still go back to it from time to time just to listen to it with fresh ears, and make sure it all still works. I get my inspiration a lot from commercial music – even if it’s not using that exact track in my material, because you can’t use artist songs in EVERYTHING – it’s how can I get that same emotion? I’ll go on Youtube and search for fan videos – there’s no end of hype videos that fans have made for their favourite sports teams, and they’ve often used great hype music in the background. It not only gives me ideas of what music to use, but also helps me connect with what sort of emotions those fans have tied to their favourite teams.

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

The tool I’ve been using quite a bit is actually nothing related to ProTools or production at all – it’s actually an app on my iPhone. I’ve found Shazam has been extremely helpful. If I’m watching those hype videos on Youtube and I don’t recognize the song, I can just Shazam it. I’ve even been sitting at home watching TV and heard a commercial with a song that had a cool beat to it that I didn’t know, so I just Shazam it. A few months ago, I was watching a hockey game and just before puck drop, they were playing a piece of music in the arena that I wanted to use in something. I wasn’t able to Shazam it at the time, and it took me about three days to FINALLY find out what the song was (I’d gone through Spotify playlists, Youtube, all looking for songs played at hockey games and come up empty.) Finally, I was able to find a broadcast of that game, find where that play happened, and there was enough of the song coming through that Shazam was able to pick it up. (It was Tsunami by DVBBS, but where it kicks in at 1:17, in case you’re wondering!)

10. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

My favourite piece ever is probably a piece that Chris Pottage, my boss, produced in 2015 back when the Blue Jays were doing really well and made it into the post season.He managed to weave together Eminem’s “One Shot” with the Beatles “Come Together” WITH the Ok Blue Jays theme song, along with play by play calls in an absolutely incredible way that really captured the excitement of the Blue Jays run, and hearing that piece takes me right back to those sold out crowds and the energy in the stadium. It was electric, and his promo was just as electric.

But if you mean my favourite piece of MY Production – that’d probably be the 2019 Season Opener for the Blue Jays – that season was all about the team re-setting, and all of these young prospects finally coming up to the big leagues, and I just love how I was able to find a song that not only captured that theme, but worked so well with the play by play, and I was super happy with how it turned out. The opener for the 2020 season may actually be even better, but it won’t air until the end of March, so I can’t share it just yet. And if you’re wondering if I’m biased that all of my favorite projects are based around the Blue Jays – absolutely I am. I still try and connect to the emotions for other sports for the listeners, but they don’t connect emotionally the same way for ME. There’s a difference between “Hey, that’s a really cool piece of Production”, and “Oh, I love the memories and feelings that that piece of Production connects me to.”

11. What would be your career advice for a youngster your twenty year old self trying to enter the radio biz?

It’s not too late for law school.
But if you really MUST try to enter the radio biz – then stay passionate. Even if you find yourself working with a format that you don’t really like, find a way to discover passion within it. You spend so much of your life working, there’s no sense in spending all that time doing something you don’t enjoy, so always find a way to find the fun within a job. And when you DO get stressed out, always remember…we’re not dealing with life-or-death situations here. We get to PLAY Radio for a living. And that’s a pretty fun thing to do!

Check out Elisabeth’s soundcloud for more of her work:


Andy’s Fiver Friday #223 – Iron Imager 9, Genesis Pro And Crazy Synth Guy

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 08:23

Busy week, busy friday! Let’s quickly get into this week’s findings:


Ummet Ozcan is going to release a new synthesizer Genesis Pro around march – you can get it for $1 which is seriously awesome! Looking foward to this one


Andy’s Fiver Friday #223 – Iron Imager 9, Genesis Pro and Crazy Synth Guy!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 02:21

Busy week, busy friday! Let’s quickly get into this week’s findings:


Ummet Ozcan is going to release a new synthesizer Genesis Pro around march – you can get it for $1 which is seriously awesome! Looking foward to this one


Andy’s Fiver Friday #222 – Free Equalizer, Don’t Waste Another Year and the latest from Lucio Scarpa!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 08:48

Antother week another fiver friday! Let’s quickly get into this weeks findings:


We’ve got a cool free and simple EQ for you this week, Luftikus – Also check out the video below and see if you spot differences!


Not much to add to this one, just listen and draw your conclusions – great speech!


This is the soundtrack to my favorite Netflix series – Hip Hop Evolution!!! 


Cool video on how ads work and follow you around when you’re browsing the web. 


Check out Lucio Scarpa’s February 2020 Beat Mix, who was also featured in one of our interviews last year!



Andy’s Fiver Friday #221 – The Heist, YellowTec And Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 07:58

Another week, another fiver friday! Seriously sad about the passing of Kobe Bryant as the world lost a great sportsman and human being.. Let’s get into this week’s findings: 


Audio Damage just released an update to their free compressor plugin Rough Rider! Version 3 offers new sidechain functions and an updated GUI. Get it here for free


Canadian Connection reLOADED – Enter Derek Welsman

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 01/29/2020 - 05:12

I am thrilled to introduce a man I have been following on socials for a while and thankfully my boy Ketch set us up. Learn about what has sticked after nearly 30 years in Radio, of course what plugiNs Derek is using and how all of this works being legally blind.

Enter Derek.

1. Can you give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements and roles at different stations? I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but it puts a lot of the below in context I assume.

 I’m in my 30th year in broadcasting and this is my career path so far: 

1990 – 2002:  Started in Barrie Ontario as an Announcer and Producer.

2002 – 2007:  Commercial Producer Corus Radio Toronto.

2007 – 2010: Imaging Producer Astral Media (MIX 999 Newstalk 1010)

2010 – 2013: Morning Show Producer / Imaging Producer “The Dean Blundell Show” Corus Radio Toronto.

2014 – Present: Imaging Producer Stingray Radio Toronto (Boom 973 , The Breeze Vancouver/Edmonton/Halifax).

I have had the pleasure of working with some of the greats in our industry and have been recognized for my contributions to the industry in the form of Crystals and OAB awards. Apart from that, I am legally blind.

2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio brands in the country? How do the tasks differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats?

When I first started with Stingray (which was Newcap) I was imaging boom and FLOW. It was a huge shift in gears to go back and forth between hip hop / CHR to Classic Gold. I enjoyed the challenge at the time but I was happy to pass the FLOWtorch. The style of imaging I do for boom is more about the message. Boom’s brand often centres around humour and general lightheartedness whereas FLOW’s hip hop brand takes itself VERY seriously. I tend to not take myself very seriously, so I tend to gravitate to that lighter style. 

3. How do your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ?

I have a number of predictable daily tasks I perform but very often I am like a firefighter. The day starts off calm and seemingly predictable and then BAM!  A last minute contest is announced, a core artist passes away or one of the stations I oversee decides they’re going all Christmas tomorrow  You have to be ready and somewhat flexible with your time when stuff like that happens. George Michael passed away on Christmas Day 2016 and I had to drop my turkey bone in Oakville and quickly get to the studio downtown to put together a tribute piece. I was pretty done with family by that point, so I didn’t mind! 

4. What is your baby? Most fun project? 

Good question. I enjoy pretty much everything I do. I do a lot of character voices for boom… They seem to find excuses to get me to do voices…  I enjoy when those pieces work out and I am entertaining listeners. I am a performer at heart, even though I’m okay with being in the background. I love to contribute as a Producer but my role as the uncredited voice talent brings me a lot of joy.

5. How important is politics, if you work in an organization that size?

If I can stay out of the politics of an organization, I will. Stingray Toronto is a nice place to work. It’s the closest thing to the charm and dow-to-earth-ness of a small market environment as you can get, despite being a viable large market operation. I have been in environments where politics was the centre of everything and I found it to be unenjoyable and at times, toxic.

6. What DAW do you use?

ProTools 11 on a PC.

7. What are your favorite plugins?

I have my favourites for sure. Pitch N Time Pro has proven itself the most valuable for what I do for warping audio and key matching. Melodyne has also allowed me to do some wonderful musical creations. 


I find when you work at a Classic Hits station, a lot of projects involve dumbing down audio in order to match the audio quality of historic clips or whatever. Very often I am required to insert new audio into existing clips.. Kind of like what they did in Forest Gump… I often use Izotope Vinyl when I audio match – I just remove the vinyl clicking and popping. That and my Q10 seem to do the trick.


8. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

I have a need to always keep learning. It’s easy to dwell on the 10% of ProTools that I end up using everyday to achieve my work goals but I am aware that there is another 90% sitting there waiting to be discovered and learned. 

There are so many great and talented guys and gals in this industry who are making great radio and I am inspired every time I hear their work. I want to know how they did this and that and I try to incorporate aspects of their production styles when I can.

9. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I think the next phase of my life is going to focus on MIDI. I haven’t had the space at home to set up a keyboard and play around with sound. We’re doing some renovations to our house this year – part of that will be true production space where I hope to be able to enhance my life with midi and create my own music beds and effects and stuff.

10. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

I have a lot of favourites that represent different phases of my career. I really enjoyed the work I did at Newstalk 1010. I felt what I was doing there counted for something. I love current events and I really loved the immediacy of Newstalk format.. AND I loved that at no point did any of their promos feature a woman screaming “OH MY GAWWWD!” Very refreshing.

11. What would be your career advice for a youngster or your twenty year old self?

Don’t spend too much time imitating the work of others. Focus on creating your own style and way of creating good content.

Build relationships and a reputation with people who are working where you would like to be someday. Who you know in the industry IS a big deal and cultivating those relationships is never a waste of time.

If you start to feel stuck in your job, don’t bother waiting for management to suddenly give you that 20 percent pay raise, cuz brother… it will never happen. 

Sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone and make stuff happen yourself.

Radio is an amazing industry! Stick with it.

Here’s an excerpt of Derek’s work: 

BOOM – Mothers Day Promo



Toronto Raptors Kawhi Promo



Edge Ultimate Ugly Contest (Love this one!)



Non Stop XMAS Promo



Top Of Hour – May



Also check out Derek’s soundcloud for more of his productions:





Andy’s Fiver Friday #220 – Greetings from France, Miss Americana and Benztown CHR!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 07:42

Greetings to everyone from Salon De Radio in Paris – Always great connecting with all of you and really looking forward to our last day tomorrow


Andy’s Fiver Friday #219 – Native Instruments Gifts, Beat Breakdown and the latest from Sam Wickens!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/17/2020 - 06:44

There’s a lot going on right now in the office as all of us are back on our normal schedules. So let’s quickly get into this week’s findings and have a great weekend!


My good friend Sakis made me aware of this new waves plugin OVox Vocal ReSynthesis which looks really promising!

Take a look at this video to see it in use: 


Cool breakdown of Dua Lipa’s hit single Don’t Start Now – really insightful with some cool tips and tricks, worth a watch!


Really cool vibey album by Mick Jenkins, especially digging “Carefree”!


Top Dawg’s annual holiday event with performances of their roster and loads of fun, toys and charity – good stuff!


Sam Wickens does it again! Seriously amazing work, he keeps getting better and better. 



Recordings on a portable CASSETTE Player, Lego Commercials and Imaging New Zealand: Meet Andrew Biggs

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:25

Our benztown KiWi Chris Davis put me in Andrew’s direction and after listening to Andrew’s stuff on Soundcloud I wanted to get him on. Check out my wide ranging conversation with one of New Zealands most talented and creative Imagers, from PlugIns to writing to CASSETTES.. Enter Andrew!

  1. Andrew, can you give me a bit of background on yourself, your career, achievements, role at the station. I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but  it puts a lot of the below in context, I assume.

I’ve had a fascination of radio from around about 10 years old. I used to record myself on a little portable cassette player, write my own music on the piano for my “playlist” and make up my own commercials for LEGO and Transformers or whatever else I was playing with at the time. My poor parents had to listen to these over and over again. Years later I wound up doing free work at a radio station, just making coffees and generally being a nuisance but I just loved the environment, the creativity and the technology. After college (secondary school) I was accepted into the New Zealand Broadcasting School, where I completed my qualification learning about all facets of radio, specializing in creative writing and announcing, of all things. From there I was offered an internship at a radio station in Queenstown, Resort Radio, which was the absolute time of my life. I did everything. It was a small station but because of the tourism aspect to Queenstown, we always had these huge events and lots of personalities on station all the time. My role was “do everything except for sales” essentially and I worked 12 hour days and loved every bit of it. I ended up having to teach myself production on this absolutely awful software called “Prosonix” and there were only 3 of us in the country at the time using it! I would spend hours making Imaging for the station after many months of trying to prove to the program director I was good enough to do it! After that, I was lucky enough to bump into a hero and mentor of mine, Grant Brodie, at a production conference. He was Imaging some of the country’s biggest radio stations and he spent some time doing training with me and teaching me ProTools. From there I was invited to come and work and learn from him in Auckland, eventually taking over from him for 3 months while he did some travelling overseas. I’ve never been thrown in a deeper end before in my life and I’ve no idea how I survived. Nevertheless I was offered a job across the road at MoreFM in Auckland afterwards. From there, I was put in charge of rebranding all the local stations from their individual names to the “MoreFM” brand, which was around 20+ stations across the country at the time. It was all brand new Imaging and the first time it had ever been done in New Zealand. I won two New Zealand Radio Awards for my Imaging during this time and my first New York International Silver Radio Award for my Imaging for MoreFM. After working for five years for MediaWorks, I left for an opportunity to work for Austereo in Perth doing breakfast Imaging and Production. It was completely different to the Imaging work I had been doing, but I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of that style in Australia and it taught me a lot. After nine months there, I was offered a position to work for DMG Radio in Melbourne, doing Imaging for what is now Smooth FM in Sydney and Melbourne. I was doing Imaging for both markets and local production for Melbourne. I loved working with the team there, met some incredible people and it was five years of some of the best work I’ve done in radio. I won another New York International Radio Award during this time as well. From there, I was offered a position to move to Dubai and work with a wonderful Programme Director, Steve Pulley. He ran the English Virgin Radio and Dubai 92 brands and they wanted a modern take on production. I was also given the opportunity to head the Production team over there as well, looking after Hindi, Filipino, English and Arabic radio station Imaging and managing all the different production and creative talents. Along with winning 2 more New York Radio Awards, I learned a lot from the different production styles and skills of the team, and we had such a great, creative working environment over there under Steve Pulley and later, Ross Flahive. I won Gold at the New York Radio Awards for my Dubai 92 Imaging and shortly after I finished up in Dubai after 5 years working and travelling in the amazing middle-east, around ten years of living abroad! I was ready to come back to New Zealand. I set up my own Radio Production company, eyesound, and have been given the amazing opportunity to work for NZME nationwide, looking after Imaging for their Coast and MIX brands, along with providing an additional production resource for their ZM and HITS brands. I also do a lot of their iHeartRadio online Imaging and just about anything they send me on any given week is exciting and fresh. I’m honoured to work for a bit of a radio legend in David Brice and the entire Coast team. Lorna Subritzky was my tutor in Broadcasting School, and Jason Reeves, who I worked with when I first got my opportunity in Auckland doing Imaging, has brought me almost full-circle! I’ve recently won another Silver in the New York Radio Awards for my Coast Imaging and it’s an incredibly fun station to be a part of, pushing the boundaries of a ‘modern’ take on the superstar music of the 70’s and 80’s.

  1. How do the tasks differ between the different stations / brands? What are the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats ,if you do?

I have two quite distinct roles working with the team at NZME. For Coast, I look after most of the writing and all of the Imaging for the station, along with David Brice. For ZM and HITS I provide an ‘overflow’ resource and I’m assigned work from their incredible Imaging Producer Alistair Cockburn. It’s mostly client-sponsored promotional material and trailers, but the format for both is quite a bit younger than Coast, so it’s a completely different sound. It’s also really important what I’m writing or producing matches the style of those stations and their producer, so I’m matching that ‘flavor’ as best as possible, rather than on Coast or Mix where I pretty much get free reign to do whatever I want, within reason! I have a lot of fun pushing the boundaries on Coast, I can’t recall ever being told I’ve gone too far on something, yet! I really want Coast to be a modern representation of that Classic format, a station you can be 30+ listening to and not feeling like you’re going to a funeral. I’ve worked on easy listening stations in the past and they can sound so dreary and dated in their imaging. I try to make Coast sound fresh, modern and positive. Switching between all these different formats and different approaches to production is reasonably easy. I try to schedule work for a specific brand on a particular day, or part of a day, so I’m not flipping between formats on a regular basis. I also try and ‘reset’ my ears between jobs by listening to classical music.

  1. What do your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine?

I start my day after the kindy run, so around 9.30am. As I work from home it’s pretty flexible, but I try and keep a strict routine. I usually get an email from David the day before with the voicing for the week, then the talent does the voicing in Auckland, they send the files to me at home and I put everything together and send it back, writing any scripts needed in the evenings. Additionally, ZM will send me scripts to write or produce during the week along with work from HITS or one-off pieces of production. I’ve covered work for their talk station Newstalk ZB before, along with other music brands or Imaging packages for one-off online iHeartRadio stations. It’s always something different and no week looks the same! The really great thing about working from home for NZME is it gives them the ability to send me work across the weekend as well, so they’re not always locked into a Friday deadline. I’ll often work on a Saturday or a Sunday so they have an additional production resource, outside of normal hours. I think it gives them a bit of an edge with turnaround as well for client material.

  1. What is your baby? Most fun project? 

At the moment? It’s definitely Coast. I love the brand, the people and the music, which certainly helps and the team really is a who’s who of New Zealand Radio so I’m definitely trying to prove that I deserve to be part of it! They have an annual promotion called “Cash Call” which runs each year and I love reinventing the sound of that project each year. I always use an accapella version of Blondie’s “Call Me” but remix it each time. I have a blast coming up with new ways to make it sound different each year. I’ve been working on a new version for 2020 already and I think it might be the best yet!

  1. Gearhead: your dream studio would have…

Production has changed so much (and the associated costs!) so I’m fortunate to work in a home studio that I’ve built myself, so it’s pretty much my dream set-up! I’m 100% mobile so I can work from anywhere with my custom built Macbook. ProTools has never been more stable and easy to use, although, I really would like to invest in a proper voice booth. I guess my “dream” studio would be a custom built studio as part of a new home or something like that. I haven’t given it too much thought because I believe the best asset I can bring to modern production is the ability to be mobile, work from anywhere and be flexible and not tied to a desk or a specific location.

  1. What DAW do you guys use?

I use a custom built 2018 Macbook Pro, 2.2GHz 6-Core Intel i7 with 16gb Ram running the latest version of ProTools, Waves bundle and a few other little plugins.

  1. What are your favorite plugins?

I chop and change all the time but my favorite one currently is Crystallizer by Soundtoys.

  1. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

I use a lot of film and television trailers as inspiration for my audio work on Coast because the two demographics often intersect. Film work by James Gunn and Television shows like American Idol that will often use those huge hits from the 70s and 80s as inspiration for a modern twist, so I try to apply the same rules and style for Coast, where appropriate. I try and take ideas from the actual music I’m working with on the station as well, so when you hear a particular song you think of it as a “Coast” song first, before another station, for example.

  1. Any new tools you discovered lately?

I’ve been trying out different ways to monitor final mixes of certain Imaging to give them a different feel, using different types of headphones. One thing I’ve been experimenting with is using high-end noise-cancelling headphones to mix sweepers. You get a completely different sound to Imaging with headphones on, so the most recent Imaging package I did for Coast I did entirely by recording the voice and mixing with headphones and not my studio monitors. It ended up producing this really warm, deep sound to all the sweepers. Perhaps a little too much at times, so it was trial and error, but the result on-air is this smooth, thick sounding audio mix when listened to on regular speakers or in the car.

  1. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

This is a really stupid one, but I did a commercial a long time ago, written by a very good friend of mine Richard Thorburn. He’s an absolute genius writer and it was for a roofing company. It talked about all the team of people that did really specific jobs in the company and the owner, Phil, turns up at the end with his “Philometer’ to measure everything is done right. I spent, literally, hours creating a very specific sound effect for the ‘Philometer’ and agonising over the placement of it in the 30sec commercial so it played as a comedy beat and timing everything to the music. It’s one of those things that nobody will ever notice but it just made us laugh so much, it was a great line in the script and that’s the kinda stuff I really enjoy where the production gets to add a lot of value to a really simple concept or line to create an idea in someone’s mind that’s bigger than what was on the script.

  1. What would be your career advice for a youngster or your twenty year old self?

If you’re wanting to get into audio production, learn an instrument. Learn lots of them! Especially learn to write and compose music because it really helps in Production. ProTools is just a giant music score, except you’re balancing effects and voice, versus cellos and drums. If you think of Production as a musical score, I think it really helps on the creative side of it.

  1. Who have been mentors of yours and how did they support you?

I mentioned him earlier, but Grant Brodie has been a huge inspiration for me, his work for The Edge in New Zealand is iconic locally. Chris Davis is both an incredibly good friend and a mentor of mine as well, from the way his production sounds to the way he operates from his home studio, he’s an incredibly talented guy and someone I’ll randomly call to work his brain for an idea or run something past him to see what he thinks. There’s a bunch of other people I liberally steal ideas from like Travis Evans, a producer I’ve worked with in Australia, Vinay Rao in Dubai, for Virgin Radio, who just has such a different style and ear for sound that’s very creative for the region.

  1. The best tech purchase under a hundred dollars?

I’m obsessively particular about the mouse I use in my studio, I’ve been using a very old microsoft one for over a decade and I was very attached to it. Way back when I was first starting out in radio, I brought this thing for $99 and it seemed like the biggest expense of my life at the time. It became my “ProTools” mouse and its been to every job, every studio, every country I’ve worked in. Sadly it past its used-by date a couple of years ago so I’ve had to upgrade, but I got a solid 10 years out of the thing!

  1. If you had to pick five plugins….

Never leave home without the Moogerfooger! That’s my baby. Q10 is such an easy equaliser, I’d also pick the L1, Soundtoys Crystallizer and a decent reverb. 


  1. Radio in 5 years? What will be different, new, more of, less?

Radio is going through a bit of a renaissance right now, as far as I can tell. I hear radio stations playing in shops again and people are talking about stuff that is happening on-air. They’ve figured out what a lot of television hasn’t which is that local content and GOOD content trumps everything. Radio always does local well and it’s cost-effective. I think in five years you’ll begin to see an investment back into local regional markets again as television revenue will continue to decline up against streaming content. Radio will take over a lot of that local advertising revenue again, hopefully. I think radio as a business will continue to be light and adaptable and I think the idea that writers or producers have to sit in an office for 8 or 9 hours a day will become less and less and working from home or opportunities for flexible working conditions will become more standard and in my experience, yield vastly better return on both investment and creativity.

  1. Best advice you have ever gotten

A mentor and good friend once told me the key to not getting ‘stuck’ in a creative rut is to always have 3 tricks you can execute quickly and easily to just get the job done. Then the next time, reverse the order of those same 3 tricks, then mix it up again and so on. Using those ‘three tricks’ in different ways gives you plenty of scope to make basic projects sound interesting, without getting bogged down all the time reinventing the wheel. It’s been such great advice that I always pass it along. It’s a great way of getting great audio made consistently, whilst still being able to manage time efficiently in the studio for other more creatively heavy projects.


For an excerpt of Andrew’s work check out his soundcloud!: 


Andy’s Fiver Friday #218 – Free Valhalla Plugin, Jürgen Klopp and Europa Plus 2020!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 07:40

First week back on track, hope all of you had some good time off and are up to a fresh start into 2020! Here are this week’s findings: 


Just stumbled upon this, if you bought any Valhalla plugin, this one comes for free! 

Valhalla SpaceModulator

Check out the possibilities it offers: 


One of the best managers out there at the moment! Jürgen Klopp on Leadership, great watch


Andy’s Fiver Friday #217 – Happy New YEAR!!!! Welcome 2020!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 04:33


First Fiver Friday of 2020. Let’s see, if this year will fly by like the last did :)…I am looking forward to great conversations, productions, conferences, blog posts, making new friend and of course creating the best radio imaging there is!

Oli’s favorite plugIn


Andy’s Fiver Friday #216 – Top 10 Free Plugins, German Soccer and The Ride of a Lifetime!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/27/2019 - 08:00

The last installment of Fiver Friday for this decade – thanks to all readers, viewers, commenters for the support along the way


Merry Christmas!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 12/24/2019 - 04:00

Guys, Girls, Imaging family, friends, allies, Benztown clients and blog interviewees, colleagues… you get it!

Merry Christmas and thanks for all your support this year, thanks for everyone who took the time to connect, chat, has written guest posts, created awesome work, got up and made hits station sound awesome..I appreciate all of you and all your input.

This blog would not be without you and it is unbelievable we do this for 10 years here !!!!!

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Benztown and to a great 2020!!!!



Andy’s Fiver Friday #215 – CrushShaper, Star Wars and the latest from Denzil Lacey!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:00

Everyone at the office is busy finishing up the year, it’s been a great ride! Have a look at what i found for you guys this week :)..and if we dont speak!!! MERRY XMAS!


The latest addition to ShaperBox 2, CrushShaper by our friends from Cableguys! Sounds totally awesome!


Jack Antonoff meets Lana Del Rey for producing “Norman Fuckin Rockwell”  – this looks really cool tbh!


Some UK Hip Hop Vibes this week! Hero of GRIME music!!


The last episode of Star Wars has just come to cinemas, enjoy the ride guys!


The latest from Denzil Lacey! Cool stuff, has come a long way since our interview in 2016!


cans4cans – You wear cans, we donate!!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 02:22



If you could help with below we would greatly appreciate it!

This week, Benztown launched the 6th annual #Cans4Cans, a social media-driven food drive to support the Los Angeles Food Bank. The concept is simple – post a photo of yourself wearing headphones to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #cans4cans, and Benztown will donate 1 can of food on your behalf.

We would sincerely appreciate your participation in support of our cause, and if you would ask your friends/followers to participate as well, we’d be so grateful. For more info, please see the attached press release, or click here. Thank you!



Andy’s Fiver Friday #214 – Free Drum Sampler, Holiday FX by Bryan Apple and the BENZTOWN MEGA MIX 2019!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 07:24

1 more week to go until all of us get our well deserved time off! Today is the christmas party here at the office, so let’s quickly get into this week’s findings


Andy’s Fiver Friday #213 – Free Flanger Plugin, The Sound of Dread and Scott Phillips for Radio 1 in the UAE!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 08:00

2 more weeks to go here in the office until all of us get our well deserved time off around christmas! Let’s quickly get into this weeks findings for another edition of Fiver Friday!


Check out this free chorus/flanger plugin by Imaginando: DLYM 


Birthplace of Dreams featuring one of the best defenders in the world, Virgil van Dijk!


Check out your year in music with Spotify Wrapped! Overall listening time, most listened artists, genres and more


Whats on your MIND! A short dive into data driven on-air marketing!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 00:07

Yesterday I read a really great article about data driven marketing and thought about it in terms of how to break this down for what we do:
ON AIR MARKETING (of course with some nice bings and bangs, stutters, vocoders…:)

Here is 5 ideas you should think about when creating magic.
I break them down into 2 steps:


What does your data tell you about how your listeners behavior?

Why do they do that?

2. CONNECT THE DATA to actions

What’s frustrating or annoying about that? Can we name the enemy standing in the way?

How can we help?

What do we name this new reality? How do we tell people about it?

Let me know what you think? 

Cheers, Andy



Andy’s Fiver Friday #212 – Black Friday Special Edition

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 11/29/2019 - 08:00

Since it’s Black (Fiver) Friday, we collected the 5 best plugin sales and offers from all major plugin suppliers for you. We wish you happy shopping and a happy thanksgiving in case you’re from the US!


Soundtoys Black Friday sale is up until 4th of december and features 50% off the whole bundle and up top 80% of single plugins! Since these plugins are top notch, you should definitely look into these offers. 

iZotope gives you up to 60% off, including Ozone 8/9. If you already own an iZotope plugin, login to your account to check for special loyalty offers! Apart from that, you can get Ozone 8 Standard Version on Plugin Boutique for ~ 50$ which is basically a steal!

D16 Group’s Black Friday offers last until 2nd of December and give you 40% off of all plugins with the code BLACK2019 – if you’re looking for an awesome high quality bit crusher, check out Decimort2



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