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.

Meet an Engineer: Eddie Torres

Welcome to a new series I’ve been wanting to get rolling now for awhile. “Meet an Engineer” is coming from a desire of mine to meet other people doing what I do. Live, studio, touring, etc; I just want to meet and learn, which is the whole premise of this blog. I haven’t done much work with Eddie but he has been quite busy recently producing and scoring music for the film industry and is now working on a collaboration with a recent contestant from American Idol. I picked out 10 questions for him to answer and below are his answers. He does great work both personally and professionally and I hope you enjoy!

1. Who are you? Where are you from? Where or who do you mix for? 
Film Composer/Music Producer/Musician for over 20 years. A career musician and also a member of the Grammys in a voting capacity in 4 categories including engineering. Born In North side of Chicago (Wrigleyville), currently residing in North Aurora, IL. I mix at my production recording studio in North Aurora. Mostly mix projects I produce but have other industry mixing engineers who mix my projects as well.

2. What type of music do you listen to the most? 
Though I have as film composer and music producer I have a broad list of different types of music and genres I’ve enjoyed, I’ve always had a special enjoyment of contemporary jazz music such as Spyro Gyra, Yellow Jackets Keiko Matsui to mention a few.

3. Do you specialize in live sound (FOH, monitors, etc) or studio sound (broadcast, recording, etc)? Do you like the other? 
Studio is my specialty. Though as a musician and previous music director roles I’ve also had my hands on FOH, I still enjoy studio sound better.

4. How did you get into the audio industry? What/who inspired you? Play any instruments?
My dad gave me a $26 guitar when I was nine and by 11 I was performing with bass being my current lead instrument. As a musician I was inspired by other musicians I learn from at 9-10 years old from church.

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 would say I do consider myself an audiophile because in order to get that right tone, the right sound and levels are super important. Especially in my career. I have a full blown recording studio in which I had professionally and acoustically built. Took a few months to build it and do it right. I work with multiple Apple systems such as a Pro Tools HD 3 system for live recording to my composing system also running latest Pro Tools. I also have my mobile rig when on the road. I also run Cubase software though this is a more recent add. My sound library is pretty intense with several terabytes of industry libraries. Outboard gear I have several Mic preamps such as API, Neve, UA, Maag, Avalon and others. I’m a fan of the API lunchbox 500 series gear. One of my goto mics is Manley Gold Reference but also enjoy the AKG 414 all around great industry mic along with many others. Lately I’ve been listening via streaming services such as Apple music and spotify but can also enjoy a good CD.

6. Favorite console of all time and why? 
Trident Series 80 analog board. I don’t have it anymore unfortunately but which I kept it. The mic pre’s were amazing but the EQs!! Wow they were sweet. Just a natural sweetness to them whether dial in some lows or bumping up some air on the highs.

7. Most memorable show for you (one you either attended, played for, or mixed)?
I would say a show I played bass on at the Chicago UIC pavillion where ten thousand kids attended. Chicago bears Hall of Fame Mike Singletary was the host and Tom Lister (Deebo) from the movie “Friday” was the co-host.

8. Favorite or most used audio tool? (no rules here, anything goes)
My go to audio I would say is my API lunchbox racked with several mic preamps/compressors. The old saying is always about getting the “best signal to tape”. The fact that I can pull out and add any outboard gear to it so conveniently makes it a favorite. But then I role into my Plugin Alliance plugins such as the Console SSL 4000 E or G or even the Focusrite Console SC. Add these to my sessions and you’ve got game. As a bass player i love the Ampeg plugin also by Plugin Alliance in which they featured me on their site with one of the Ampeg plugins. Love it!  The team at Plugin Alliance really know how to engineer amazing plugins for your audio work. 

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)
One trick I learned a long time ago when mixing is shelving the low end up to 125 hrtz @ -6 as a starting point to instruments with low end to them to help clear some mud. You can tweak from there

10. If possible, where can we listen to your work (online web stream, published music, etc)?
For some of my work, and links as well as demo reel are available on my website www.eddietorresmusic.com

Thanks Eddie for taking the time to answer a few questions. He didn’t mention this but here is his Instagram profile that you can see pictures of people he has worked with and his studio. Be sure to check it out! Every now and then I’ll mix these in so we can all see what others are doing and maybe make a new connection if you find someone who is working near you. As always if you have any questions drop a not below or on Facebook or email us at engineers@studiostagelive.com. Next week we will start a new waves plugin series talking about some of my most used plugins. It’ll be a few weeks of practical waves advice that you can use immediately. If you want to be notified when those go live just follow this link and subscribe to the blog. See you next week!