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

It is official, here is the Contender! Guys, I am so proud to present one of the best guys out there taking it up against the champ Brad from last year’s Iron Imager. Brad vs. Sam. Aussie vs. Brit. Nova vs. Capital… Two highly talented youngsters from two leading CHR brands (Nova 100 & Capital FM) fighting for the title ‘World’s Best Imager’. They both sure can throw a punch! It will be a massive battle!!!

First off the Contender Basics:

Name: Sam Wickens
Age: 26
From: Hornchurch, Essex (Greater London)
Profession: Audio Production Assistant for Capital FM since January 2017












Check out what Sam has to say about Brad, his strategy to win and his secret advantage.

How do you feel?

I can’t believe that I have the honor of being a finalist at Iron Imager 2018. It’s great to know that I’ll be part of this amazing event. I’m a product of the Capital Imaging team from the very core – I started as an intern in October 2016 and learned the ropes of imaging from the best in the business. The whole team have contributed to me getting to this point; from everything I’ve learned from them on day one to now. I’m grateful.

Have you been to LA / California / the US before? Are you excited to visit?

I’ve never been to LA/California. Like most English people, I’ve been to Disneyland in Orlando, Florida a number of times. I also lived in Milwaukee, WI for a couple of years studying when I was eighteen – so I’ve experienced the heat and the cold that America has to offer. I’m so excited to visit LA and get a taste of the West Coast – I can’t wait to get out there and have the chance to show what I can do.

Of course you know Brad – what’s your strategy against one of the best Imagers out there? How do you want to win this battle?

Yes – I’ve met Brad whilst visiting in Melbourne last year and he was kind enough to give me a tour of Nova. We shared a pint or two and he’s a great guy. It will be interesting going up against him. I know he’s a beast on the buttons and got years of experience.
My strategy would be to stay true to everything I’ve learned in my year and half in radio imaging – produce something to the high standard that Capital have taught me to deliver.

How difficult will it be to work off a portable workstation vs. your fully equipped studio? What’s your setup?

I don’t have a studio at work, as I work in headphones at my desk out in the office – so it’s where I’m most comfortable doing imaging day-to-day. I’m used to plenty of people in the office making noise that might interfere with my mix or celebrity guests walking by to distract me. It’s probably a fitting environment for me to work in if the final of Iron Imager brings similar conditions.
I’m also used to using ProTools on my MacBook as I did it for over two years whilst studying audio production at university. So I’m comfortable with a small screen and more importantly, less ram! All I need is a pair of headphones, my mouse and my iLok. Plus my HD full of sound design, beds, drops etc.

What are your favorite PlugIns right now? New findings? 

Valhalla do some great reverbs that are simple to use but are lovely on the ears – plus they’re quite cheap.

Effectrix is a PlugIn that is sometimes my ‘get out of jail’ card if I’m stuck for inspiration or looking for a new way to make something work. It’s a great PlugIn to create something from nothing and bring a bed to life to give it some personality.

I also love to see what I can do with what I have. I’m a big fan of SoundToys and everything they have. EchoBoy, Little Plate, Phase Mistress and Little Alter Boy are personal favorites. There are some great presets that work as a good platform to build something unique from. A lot of guys on the team have built channels on our template that use SoundToys and they sound incredible.

Little Plate











Filter Gate




What techniques do you use most often these days?

It depends on the project. If I want a stand out moment in a branded intro, then I’ll do some tuning and create an inverted chord so that root note really pokes through the mix. I’m a big fan of keeping it simple and not using a technique or effect too much in one piece of production.

For a promo, I do a lot of work around the bed. It needs to stay interesting for a long amount of time so I use a lot of modulation and harmonic plugins to create tension and build. Which ones? Well, I can’t give out all our secrets…














VO Channels







Sponsor Tag Design











Anything you want to tell Brad?

I can’t wait for a beer and a battle! Hopefully I’ll be bringing the Iron Imager belt back to where it belongs; Britain! 

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