Meet an Engineer: Ivan Talamantes

1. Who are you? Where are you from? Where or who do you mix for? 
“My name is Ivan Talamantes, I consider myself a happy person who always trys to enjoy life in a deep way through generating unique moments with the people around me. I am from Chihuahua, Mexico right on the border with El Paso, Tx. Currently, I am mixing broadcast audio for Willow Creek Community Church for the weekend services in Chicago, Illinois.”

2. What type of music do you listen to the most? Is there any music that you just don’t like or can’t get onboard with? 
“I listen to anything that is well produced. I think we can learn from any style of music and their own unique characteristics so when the mixing opportunity arrives [to mix that style of music], we are ready.”

3. Do you specialize in live sound (FOH, monitors, etc) or studio sound (broadcast, recording, etc)? What brought you to that area of our profession? 
“For now I am mixing broadcast audio, which I think is the combination of all the [different fields of audio]. In the past I also toured, doing FOH/monitors/systems. I also worked at the great Sonic Ranch studio in Tornillo, TX doing studio work (sonicranch.com).”

4. How did you get into the audio industry in general? What/who inspired you? Play any instruments?
“I started as a musician at the age of 8 years old, from there I fell in love with the audio world. Through mixing audio I find an opportunity to represent the art of many [different kinds of] musicians. I have a huge list of people I respect a lot in the industry including people like Andrew Scheps, Al Schmitt, Michael Stavrou, and my wife! I am also a musician I play drums, bass, guitars and keyboards just for music programming and I think thats helps me a lot to build [great mixes].”

5. Would you consider yourself an audiophile? Have any cool gear at home? How do you listen to music (i.e. cds, records, streaming services, etc)? 
“Yes, I consider myself passionate about audio but also for life, friends, music, art and great tacos! I love my Bower & Wilkins headphones and speakers with my McIntosh amp that I use for my listening sessions or mixing and mastering in my home studio.”

6. Favorite console of all time and why? 
“Hard question, I guess I learn to try my best with any piece of equipment available but I love recording in Neve preamps for their big sound and then mixing on an  SSL 4000 for all the flexibility [through] eqs and dynamics in the board. For live mixing my personal preference now is the Yamaha Rivage Pm-10 because it’s fast, provides easy access to everything, has lots of headroom, the silk on the preamps (texture), and the classic plug-ins needed are there in the board. I am not saying that I am not using external plugins, what I am saying is that I use the most possible resources inside the board then I use external things only as needed.”

7. Most memorable show for you (one you either attended or mixed)?
“In my touring days I have great memories about very crowded events in Latin America doing stadiums in big arenas. Another great memory was to be able to mix a show for the great BB King before he passed away. Something happened to his audio tech and I was in the city and available at that time in El Paso, Tx and I received the call to mix the show from the production company! One of those calls!

8. Favorite or most used audio tool? (no rules here, anything goes, plugins, hardware, etc)
“In hardware I love Manley Mu compressor for the 2 buss or the Bae 10 dc compressor as well. I love the BAE 1073 preamps for recordings in my home studio. For plug ins I like different things from different brands from plug in alliance I love the Lindells Te-100 eq and the console emulations like the Neve and the Ssl, also the purple audio mc77, shadow hills compressor. From waves I use a lot the puigchild compressor for adding lots for texture in vocals and snare but not compression and the puigtec eq boosting 8khz and some 60 hz for pianos. From Steve Slate I use the trigger, drums gate, the verbs suite, their distressor and tape machine emulation as well.”

9. What is something that you do differently than others? Any ideas you think more people should know about? (feel free to describe a few)
“I think the way I use compression is unique. I use compression post-fader the most of the time, using the compressors like color devices and not like dynamics control. I prefer doing the dynamics with my fingers moving the faders, I think the abuse of compression makes mixes sound small with a lot of stress and lacking in low end, so I use the concept more as perception than reality. What I mean is that trying to build a huge mix without being loud or hot in the main dbfs meter through using all the resources we can have like saturation, FX, panning, riding faders etc. I think we need to always remember the concept of mixing not fixing. So many times the best solution is to have a conversation with a musician or move the position of a microphone instead of going wild with an EQ or with a compressor. I guess my suggestion is trying to keep to the basics, they are always available [to tinker with]! Also the customer service value I hold. Sometimes as audio guys we get so deep defending what we think is the best instead of just pausing for a second and asking the person who is using our services if the product we are presenting is accomplishing the goal.”

10. If possible, where can we listen to your work (online web stream, published music, etc)?
“Yes, I have a web page where I have some demos ivantalamantes.com. I can do mixing, mastering, and I am also available to build broadcast templates or for audio coaching.

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