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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 44

Legendary mixing engineer Manny Marroquin

In this episode:

Our headphone guy Jeff got the rare opportunity to chat with Grammy award-winning mixing engineer Manny Marroquin. A veteran of the music industry for over 30 years, Manny has worked with the best artists in the business, including Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna, and Kendrick Lamar. Check out his full Spotify playlist here.

Marroquin Studio

Jeff talks with him about his history in the business, his studio (shown above), his groundbreaking restaurant and live venue, and his recent work with Audeze designing the Audeze MM-500 open-back planar magnetic studio headphones.

Eric and Audeze MM-500

Before, after, and at spots in between the interview, J.R., Eric, and Jeff provide the "Crutchfield take" on Manny's philosophy and work. Before all is said and done, J.R. breaks out the new Audeze MM-500 headphones for Eric and J.R. to try out for themselves!

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Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome everybody to Crutchfield the podcast. This is a pretty special episode. Something a little different. We are, we've got I've actually got two people here in my office slash podcast studio today. One of them, you know, and love, he's been on many of the show. He's basically the podcast co host. It's eric welcome eric. Thank you. Thank you. I'm almost a fixture like a moveable fixture. I did an episode without you a few times ago I had a different eric but and I tried to do this one with just our guest and me, but you sort of counseling for that. So thank you for bringing that up again. I had to order another microphone so that we could do this. You gotta cables run everywhere. But all of that is so that we could bring in our special guest, Jeff miller. Welcome Jeff to the podcast. Hello, honored to be here with both of you guys. Oh yeah, so Jeff is here because Jeff has had, man, he's had a string of really home run interviews in the last year or so. He didn't get the memo. We're supposed to do the interviews. I thought, well anyway, go ahead. Yeah, you're doing, you're doing well. So last season Jeff interviewed dan gauger from Bose, the guy who helped create noise, canceling headphones and we totally stole his interview and repurposed it for our podcast. I learned a lot from that one. That was really cool with Jeff's blessing. And uh and then Jeff got to, what was it at? Where you at Acciona. Is that where you got to interview chris is it? Andrew jones actually ran into him Andrew jones the moment they announced that he had joined Mo Fi, we were there, Andrew jones would choose, you know Speaker Designer, extraordinaire celebrity guy now with mo Fi and Jeff got the scoop in person. So yeah, we um, Jeff is really doing a nice job of getting some big, big names. I don't know, I don't know if we should be promoting that, he's doing such a good job. Well, well he's now part of our, we're gonna, we're gonna bring his success into the fold of the podcast so that it shines shines on all of us. Yes, but Jeff, I think this is probably the coolest interview you've done, you scored, is it manny marking? Is that right? Yeah, marry Quinn if you're american cars the way you said it, I can't quite, I can, I can do like the one Madame Queen. Uh so many, if you don't, if you know who he is, you might be excited right now that we have gotten a chance to talk to him, Jeff did, if you don't know who he is, let's start there for the listening folks at home. Who is manny mary Quinn. Well uh if you don't know him, you would certainly know his work? He's a legendary mixing engineer, who's worked on some of the biggest hits of the last 30 years, the, certainly the biggest artist, if I listed the names, I would leave off, like, you know, a roster full of hall of famers and superstars and that's what we're going to do for the rest of the podcast is list all of the names of all of the artists and each song that he has worked on. Um yeah, you know, Rihanna Taylor Swift, Elton, john Bruno mars, Carlos, and you heard of these people? Carlos, Santana, that brings a bell. Um so yeah, so uh over the, over this career, he's won won 11 Grammys, he's been nominated for multiple Grammys. Um but uh just a variety of names just this year, he's mixed albums from lizzo, post Malone push A. T. Um and then the big one is the Kendrick Lamar, mr morale and the Big Steppers album um that came out earlier in the summer, I found out recently I'm a Kendrick Lamar fan, uh he was the musical guest on the opening episode of saturday Night Live this season, and uh I usually watch a few seconds of most of the musical guests and find out that this really isn't my Cup of Tea and I fast forward to weekend update. I watched every second of Kendrick Lamar, not thinking that I was going to want to, I mean, I was just blown away by the visuals, simplicity, sort of simplistic sort of set and just his ability to, gosh, he said, a lot of words in a short amount of time, uh and it was, it was really impressive and I was moved by it like I really was. So I went to Spotify and looked up a playlist called mixed by Manny Mary Quinn. Guess how many songs are on this playlist? Oh my goodness. I don't even know, can I guess? Yes, Yes. 2152. Oh, you're so close. Gosh, great. Guess if only you had Spotify in front of you could guess the number of candy corn. Yeah. Wait, there was a banner in the way they didn't let me go down far enough. 2198. There you go, nicely done. If you were to play this pot, this, this playlist from start To finish, it would take almost 129 hours. That's how many songs, that's how long it would take a listen to every song. Mixed by many American. Yeah. And if you go to his like discography discography, there's like so many more that are uncredited or accredited under different names or he did, he did different work earlier on his career. I mean after um sort of early 90s, it was all mixing, but before that, you know, he he's been around forever and he's kind of the go to guy for for Yeah, I would imagine anybody he wants to work with is probably on a list, somewhere of people waiting to work with him. Uh and what I found as I was and I think eric you can speak to this as well. Uh once, once I found this playlist this morning in preparation for talking to you about this Jeff, I just sort of went through and just, you know, shuffled through, played song after song by artist. I've never heard of some bigger names I have heard of. There isn't a bad song in the bunch, that entire playlist, you can just hit shuffle and let it go for several days and be very happy listening to music. Eric, what'd you find? Yeah, so confession time. Um I don't make time to listen to new music very often. I kind of feel like my music cup is kind of full at this point in my life, kind of turned into an old guy. Um and it was exciting for me to have a reason to go and listen to some new music and find that, you know what, my cup isn't full, maybe maybe I have a little bit more room in there after all. And it was really exciting some of the songs I had already heard actually, my kids were big fans of, which definitely makes me feel old. Um you know, my wife is fan of some of the music that uh you know, he gets credit for and uh oh my goodness, the list, it was really interesting just going through and playing next, random song, throwing it on shuffle and out of that over 2000 songs. Uh never finding a dud in there, always finding something that gripped me. It was really, really good and crosses like all the genres, I mean everything from broadway show tunes to hardcore hip hop, to acoustic country America kind of stuff, to hard rock and everything else in between. It's not just pop stuff you've heard in top 40 it's just a ton of stuff. Music soundtracks, actual broadway songs. He did, he mixed Bad Cinderella, which is the title song from the newest Andrew Lloyd Webber, broadway musical. I mean he's what can't this guy do? Uh So Jeff, next time you get an opportunity like this, you do need to loop us in so we can actually be involved. Because what we're going to hear in a few minutes is Jeff talking to Manny now, where was he when you were recording? Well, it's funny and just take taking a step back. He was he was in his home in, in in Los Angeles which is near his, his home base is studios have been Larrabee studios in North Hollywood. Kind of a legendary, not kind of, it is a legendary studio um where Fleetwood. Mac um steely dan, you know, ridiculous amount of acts recorded back in the day and then for the last 15 years he's been there with his own room mixing but I called him up, I caught him by zoom at his at his house. So I said I was right place right time. But a lot of that is because um at crutchfield, you know we are we have buyers and people who are really sharp at what they do. And one of the companies we bought in pretty early on was odyssey a headphone high end headphone company who worked on audiophile headphones. And they use this very special type of driver technology that's a little bit different than the normal dynamic driver. It's called planar magnetic headphones. Um And we've been with them for over a decade um and have a very good relationship with them. Well they just started there for, well I don't know, backing up a little bit and again uh they they have a a certain headphone model called the L. C. D. X. They have a very spacious sound um precise impulse control, all the things that studio people love. So even though they were designed for audiophile listening um lot of lot of mixing, a lot of studio pros use them for the mixing and mastering process. And many talks about, he was one of them the sound just sort of gripped him so much that he decided he wanted to help them design their own uh headphone designed specifically for um pro audio use for using in the studio for for mixing five years later the odyssey mm 500 appears. I have to write about it and I learned about man american and I I see the name an american. I looked him up and he's worked on some of those seminal records of my childhood youth adulthood, everything else. And I'm like, man, wouldn't it be cool if we could talk to this guy? So I reach out to our friends at odyssey and they're like, we happen to have his email address, would you, would you like that? And I'm like, sure. And they make the sort of handshake with him and his um pr people and they give me an hour. Um so I dive in and um I was a big fan of that Kendrick Lamar album that came out, like the hugest fans, his first album in five years and probably his most personal and kind of a unique sound. His voice is front and center, but there's all this interesting stuff happening around him. But instead of this um over, you know, I called it instead of like his painting a landscape is more of a personal portrait. Um very intimate, very intimate. And uh come to find out Maybe appropriately. He used those mm five man American used those mm 500 headphones to mix um many of the tracks on that album. So he kind of maybe maybe it was just timing again, you know, that he, that's what he had, wanted to try them out. Maybe it was, hey, this is a really intimate album. I need to use these headphones to mix it. But um but had an hour um and decided, you know, kind of let's focus in on that album, which he had just, which had just been released. And also uh you know, some of the headphone stuff and some of the other recent projects he's been in, um well I've now listened to your interview with Manny, I can tell you you made good use of that. Our uh eric one big takeaway from the interview we are about to hear without giving away too much. But what are you looking forward to people hearing from this interview? Just learning about him? Really? I mean we're here to talk about the headphones, you know, the headphones are a tool that he's going to use and he helped to develop as an artist. It's almost like someone trying to, you know, that that's an artist developing a paintbrush just for them and they're a painter and these are a tool for him and he gets to share them with everybody that wants to pair. So, um but getting to know him is what was the coolest part to me. So I'm excited for our listeners to be able to, to do that. Me too. Uh and I think we're gonna probably uh interject a few times throughout this interview uh to add a little bit of spice and flavor to uh to the interview. Just to add some more context to provide some helpful information. So without further ado we're gonna get right into Jeff's interview with many american, we'll be back in a few minutes. Doing good, how are you? Good, good. I know you so you have your own studio and forgive me a lot of this is like uh you know ignorance of the whole process and but I was thinking about you because today post Malone was on Howard Stern and he was talking about like he was at the studio until I mean they were at the studio until it was time to do the interview. So they were still there with all those guys and I was like is that a life you had to live at some point? I still have to live or you know it's it's it's it's funny because I don't have to live that anymore because I uh you know when you record when you're with the artist that you know you're you're there till you know they want to go home and that's 35 in the morning, that's that's them. But since I'm mixing the records, I have the luxury of me getting the files and not having to worry about them coming in or you know like post he lives in a different state. So I just sent him all the files, I never have to uh stay up all night with him and so you've got enough going on with the restaurant and everything right. Oh my gosh I feel like I have three different careers, you know like full careers. Yeah, I know we are here to talk about the headphones, but with the restaurant in particular um you're heard what you're describing, the like noise cancelation set up on the, on the tables themselves so that you can't hear the glasses clinking and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, you know it's a Meyer constellation system and it's really amazing what they've done. I wish I had the patent on that because I probably try to sell it to every restaurant in the, in the world. I have a man, it's so crazy how we uh you know, I had to sort of like almost dream like man, wouldn't it be cool if we have this, if I built a studio and and it's big enough to put a restaurant in it, you know, and then wouldn't it be cool that people kind of come in, eat drink and there's someone playing and and we're actually capturing their performance at a, at a really high level, what would that take? It would take insulating the room, you know, controlling every sort of sound in there. Um and that and I told Helen over at Meyer Sound Meyer labs and they were like, oh you know what, I think we have three different technologies that may actually, we may be able to achieve that and when she said that I was like, oh snap, so check this out, I thought it would be 20% of what it is, So to say that it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. You know actually spoke to one of the original engineers who worked on Bose noise cancelation. He's still there. So all the wild stories at that time. But I know he told me that I guess and I kind of knew this but They have to make a noise as loud at least that's you know out of phase um to cancel out the noise. That is that sort of how it works. Just like speakers all around the table or yeah. Yeah, so there's 60, I believe 64 speakers around the restaurant and they're all hidden beams and they're on the laterals. Uh there's 16 microphones that are picking up energy. So the table next to you basically we're hearing the whole restaurant coming out of the speakers that are aimed towards that table or that area. We're hearing them as much as we're hearing the person next to us. And that's why it's uh that's why it becomes muffled. You can't hear the the the table next to you because they're being face canceled. But yet we're hearing the natural sound of the whole room and not just them um which is crazy. You have to, you have to experience it because when you when you talk about, I said this many many times and I still hard to describe it, but as soon as you hear you're like, oh wow, this is so weird but yet amazing. You know, so you still have sort of when you're like, don't like recording the musicians, you still get some of the ambiance, but you don't get the actual like, oh my gosh, it's the cleanest recordings that I well, I mean, we'll have 100 and 30 people and they're like as clean as anything. Like it's it just blows my mind to be able to to be able to do that. It's like, it's just a dream come true because now now we have clean recordings, you know, we're recording a jazz album there, I believe, two weeks and it's gonna be one of the best jazz albums recorded in a venue. I mean, I don't and we, you know, we're so young. We're like, we're only 11 months now, months. Although we opened pre Covid, but that was really didn't, that didn't count. There was like three months and then we got shut down and then we went through 16 months of uncertainty, man, it was weird. And now that we reopened 11 months ago, it's finally clicking and people are connecting with it. And so so again, we're so, so, so new. So young and we don't do any like, professional pr like a big firm, so it's all word of mouth, so people are discovering it on their own, which is great because, you know, we don't have to, you know, it's all word of mouth and it's more, you know, if you can do that is more effective than than hiring the big firms, you know. Sure. Well I mean I look, I was looking at the instagram and I mean just like the doesn't seem like the coolest place on the planet, like the place you want to be and I guess that's where you want to be with a restaurant, right? And you know, it's it's actually, I mean it's a cool spot. It's uh it just feels sexy. It sounds good even if we have background music which I do all the playlist that we, you know every playlist I create. Uh and it just feels, I mean this has got this emotional connection with the physical space, which it's so hard to do when you walk into, you know in the psychology of restaurants, you know when you go eat somewhere, um you know when we go out it's like we want our space. So a lot of restaurants are designed to be almost like closed off in sections. You know, even if big room, you have partitions or plants or stuff that psychologically makes you think that you're in your own space? Well we have none of that. It's a big open room. So so for restaurant that's really interesting, the psychology of you going into this big place and like, oh we're like right in the middle of the room and to be quite honest with you, I don't know how that was going to fly, you know, people are gonna like it or feel like they're just not and it's been the best thing that we did. I remember when a restaurant friend of restaurant to a friend of mine came in on the soft opening the very first time we opened and he was the first thing he's like, man, look the food you're gonna get, don't worry about that, that's gonna come with. But man, you need some, you know, I can see the person in the corner table from where I'm sitting and all the way to the other side. I'm like yeah that's kind of the point, you know, he's like, no, no it feels weird and he even was like really thrown off by it and I was like man, he might have a point, but this is like, you know, this my gut was just like go with the open floor plan so that you feel like you're in the living room a big living and not so much, you know, because there's a lot of restaurants that will give you that feeling of being You're the only person in the, in the restaurant right? Or not only, but not 135 people. So it's uh it's an interesting concept of of like trying things that you may think will not work and just being may be dumb enough to try. Yeah well I mean uh in some ways I guess because we all did go out to eat for um you know, two years a year and a half. Um so that's kind of the fun of it all. I know your, your time is precious. Um and I want, so I did want to talk about the, the, the odyssey headphones and I was just really, the mixing process in general is just fascinating to me. It's sort of, I don't, and I don't want to like, you know, exposed the alchemy of it all, but I just was curious where headphones are in the mix versus monitors and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. You know, so I always think that always have thought of headphones as a tool, an essential tool in the studio. Uh obviously when you're recording, so that's the obvious one, but in mixing, you know, when we, when you're, when you have speakers in front of you, uh it's really hard to tell like the width, right? And, and sometimes it's really hard to hear some of the delayed trails that you worked on or the rivers and the connection between when the negative space of a song that pretty much a lot of songs have, uh it's hard to hear on main monitors, right? So I feel like you go into the studios and you see like some people have 345 different sets of monitors, right? And it's the same concept of like, okay, I use my big monitors to make sure my base is like really tight and punchy and it hits you. I have these understands to work on mitts. I have the appointments to work on high five, you know what people listen to or how people listen to. I have the little care case because that's kind of like the mimics the laptop speakers and, and I did, you know, you have all these different references, right? I mean, how do most people listen to music nowadays? Headphones? It's kind of like the obvious like the like, so, so it's not to replace anything in your room, but it's just to add to the arsenal and you've got to have those headphones that sound good that are true to what your intentions are very different from say the Sony headphones back in the day where every studio had them. This is more of a tool. This is like when you feel insecure about man, let me see what the width because I do play with with a lot as an emotional tool tool to grab emotion uh, in a song. So I need to see what my, with my depth and all that stuff and it's much easier. A million times easier to just put on the headphones and work on it and stuff like that. Now. Now imagine having a headphone where I can actually eat Q eight oh eights and kicks and snares and all that. I thought I would never be able to do that. I mean there's no other headphone that I can think. I mean obviously there is but I don't know any other phone that I can be confident and be creative with it. You know if you think about it, headphones have always been, it's a it's a post creative tool right? Um um you know the album is out and you this is what you used to hopefully um enjoy the final product. We haven't really talked about how it's a great creative reference as well and I feel like confident that this you know first of all obviously makes great products, I mean great products well since it's how you're talking about and the width and everything that I mean they don't get better than odyssey for that. Oh my gosh! I mean the first time I heard him was maybe five years ago um Marcone came in and I think it was the L. C. D. Axis I heard them and I was working on actually imagine dragons at the time and it was their second album. Um and I remember it was like one of the first or second song on the album and I remember just being so blown away that I just kind of kept him you know he left the you know he left them there and I just stayed on them because I was so blown away and I just next thing you know mixed the whole song on headphones, I'm like what the hell I would have never done that. You know, it's like the first half one that I felt comfortable. Like confident confidence is a, it's a big word in our industry because you can hear a confident mixer a mile away and vice versa. Right? So it gave me a lot of confidence to seek, you, be free, be like not be constraint, you know, restore. Uh so I feel like at that point I called him the next day, I'm like, man, this is honestly the best headphone that I have ever heard in my entire life. Listen, if you ever wanted to, because at the time it was an audiophile headphone and I told him, I go, look, if you ever ever wanted to do something for creators, I want to help, I really would love to because I need, you know, because there's a few things I would change, but if you ever wanted to do that and he's like, oh, you got to meet the owners ceo, I think he would love to hear that. And, and we, we did, we met and, and then it took years for them to, I gotta give them credit because to give someone as crazy as me, like, you know, an opportunity to like mess with their babies and they were so open minded to it. They're like, yeah, let's, you know, look, that's, it's not, you know, created entering the pro market for headphones is not necessarily, uh, an enticing thing for a company, right margins may not be their return and it's not a not a mass market for, you know, so commerce wise it's not the best business move but they believed in it, they believed in me and they're like, you know what, let's do it. And you know, we worked on the design. The design was probably one of the most important things for me because uh the L. C. D. X. Is and especially the fives. I mean those are like, man, those are amazing but they're big, they're heavy, they're speakers, they're not necessarily sexy. You know like I wouldn't have Oman with an artist in front of me. That's just not sex. You know what the L. C. D. Five is like if you want to have a single mold, whatever whatever it is and you put them on the dark side of the moon, right? That's like an experience that everybody should do that. And uh but you know, it's not, you know, it's not sexy. It's not it's not a sexy headphone for me at least. So we worked on the design, worked on making it a lot lighter for me having a reference. Imagine having speakers that you can travel with, you can put in your bag. I mean who wouldn't want that if I had a bag big enough to put my in the stands with my hand. I'd be like I have a studio on wheels, legit studio. So I always wanted that, you know, the ability to have an extra set of speakers because that's that's what they are now, you can travel with them. Um and now now I can pretty much work from wherever because I got my laptop and my amazing set of speakers and you know, and it gives me again, going back to, gives me confidence to really make choices based on something I really, really know, so many got his hands on the odyssey, L. C D X. As you mentioned at the top of the show, Jeff. Uh and these are audiophile headphones, which means they're they're big, they're heavy, right? They're not made for when you go working out or running or anything like that. They are made for when you're going to sit and listen to music, right? And he loved him, he loved the sound of him, he said several times, they weren't quite sexy enough. And so he's that's what he did right, for those five years working with odyssey to come uh to a to a headphone that actually sounds just as good but sort of meets the requirements of a studio mixing engineer, like many americans. So uh so that's the process there. But on the way he described those L. C. D. X. Headphones as the type of headphones you might wear if you were sitting down having a single malt listening to dark side of the moon and I thought eric you might have something to say about that is it seems like he's talking to you because of the single malt part I'm assuming because if you're I've seen the bar you have at your house, I figured maybe you might have some single malt in there. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. Any of which I probably would miss say now thanks for putting me on the spot there. Like glenfiddich or probably saying that wrong. Um I always say Glenmorangie but I think it's more angie. I don't know. But yes, all the glens um yeah single malt and some pink. Sure yeah that's that's where I'd be. So I mean I haven't had the single malt side of things but I've definitely had the experience of sitting and listening to dark side of the moon on a big set of headphones and that can be a magical experience all by itself, add some alcohol to that and maybe it's even better, it can be a nice parent for sure. But I think what we're talking about is getting intimate with your music and doing that the way you like, which for some people might be with a single mold. There you go. And so Jeff L. C. D. X. Headphones, we've had those for a while now. What do you think of those in general? Like how do you like those headphones um I mean those are I mean there's a reason why so many pros love them. They just they uh have that again very linear tuning tuning it's um just everything sort of sounds right? Uh There's an incredible sense of space because they're so large. But also just because of the plan are the nature of the planet's magnetic head drivers. Um You get this really, really why it's sense of space. Um I'm holding my hands way out and and uh and then um but then just like pinpoint imaging so very precise details you can pick out where left and right where things are coming from. So um so you know, that's that's uh that's what the L. C. D. X. In a nutshell, that's odyssey headphones in a nutshell. And kind of the reverse of that. I don't know if this is the time or place to get into this, but He, you know, he uses the mm 500 as a tool for creating music. I use them for sort of that dark side of the moon enjoying music and found them to be, you know, because they're so comfortable because they're lighter than most most of the older odyssey headphones. And because they have that um you know very detailed, very wide soundstage and Justin incredible sense of space. Um I found them to be just as enjoyable for listening music as they are for I imagine for for making music. Yeah and they're an open back style headphone, right? So these are the types of headphones where if you're wearing them and you've got the volume cranked others around, you might be able to very clearly hear what you're listening to. But that's okay. I mean they're not gonna hear them so loud that they can't do whatever they want to do what you get out of it as the listener uh is that big. It's like you're listening to a set of humongous floor, standing speakers aimed right at your head right? And you accept it's just sitting there right literally on your head. So uh so to streamline those a little bit to make them a little lighter, a little bit more comfortable. We're going to hear. Now manny talk about the mm five hundred's which is kind of his version of the L. C. D. X. Is refined and made sexier for me when we were done, done with with the head songs, I was in the Bahamas uh at a wedding and I was working on a song with Nipsey hustle and DJ College and you know I had the greatest view was beautiful and I was in my hotel room and colleges like oh we gotta turn this in today, we gonna like did a bunch of stuff that you know and I remember finishing it on the headphones in my hotel room. Uh and then when I got back home I listened to it in my room and it sounds exactly what I would have, what I would have done to it and I'm like I call shankar shankar and I was like, man, it's done. Did you go directly from the head headphones directly into your computer? No, like no, no, I have nothing no, directly into like Yeah, I know, I know, I mean look, ideally you may want to bring your aunt, but I think if I were in majorca on vacation I had to do a mix. I'm pretty confident I can get it to 95%, you know, and the 5% is all about confidence in your studio that I've been in for 20 plus years. So um, I mean, I don't know, listen a laptop and headphones, I mean that's, that's crazy for someone like me because I'm still in the console, you know, that I was doing the research on it. That's like the coolest thing is that like you were kind of bridge the gap or not even bridge the gap, but just you were in that era where it was all console, correct me if I'm wrong. But you know, and then as, as things evolved in some ways devolved, another, you were able to kind of change the time, but you still sort of have that innate knowledge from back then that helps you with like the queuing and, and and everything you have to do now. I personally, you know, a lot of, you know piers that we came from that era of knowing how to align the machine and uh hitting tape a certain way and biasing the tape machine and transients and console analog transistors, resistors and all that with different mentality on, hey, it's just, it's music, you know, how does it feel type of thing? And then going from that to to the digital era. Um I mean there were, there were a lot of casualties, a lot, a lot of guys that didn't make that, I feel like, you know, you're, you know, you just gotta be open minded to technology to anything, you know, anything and the moment you, you're closed minded, that's when you stop learning and that's what will become a dinosaur. I feel. So having uh, you know, now being in the digital age, um it would be really simple for me to kind of go in the box, but you know, I have this amazing studio that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And, and for me, a mix is almost treat it as like a performance. You know, like I'm performing a mix. A lot of ideas come out of that, you know, and, and the way I hit my stereo bus and the way I punch it and the way I q on the desk, it's very different now. I'm not saying it's better or worse. Um I just know that I can eq in in, in, in two seconds. I can eq five things at the same time, not at the same within five seconds where it would take me maybe a minute to do five things in the box because I can only do one, you know what I'm saying. So I can multitask, I can do this, that boom, like, you know, I can do some karate chops right, without even thinking, just kind of, without even thinking and without opening and closing anything. It's so, so to me, it's a game of inches and I feel like that inch, I'm really used to it and I can perform quicker ideas, uh ideas quicker than then for me to go and open a plug in, close this one, open another one, close this open and then all of a sudden that's a process that I could have done in seconds, you know? Yeah. So when you're doing that, are you, you're in your room, are you alone or is it like a team or? Okay, no, I do it alone. You know, I got a great team, but you know, set up my mix. Um it's the art of assisting nowadays, man, like setting up sessions and stuff. That's a lost art form. We get the way we get files are just oh my gosh, it takes some, sometimes it takes a day for my guys to decide for files. Um so I'm blessed enough to have my team that will decide for everything for me. They'll have a dozen questions and they'll deal with it on their own. I don't even have to think about it, Which is, um, yeah, it's such a blessing. You know, the multi track, you have the kicks and all the multi, multi track that, you know, all the vocals, anything that separated. Um, you know, there's sometimes it goes through a lot of different hands and, and by the time the files get to me, one of those might have missed something. So we gotta catch that, you know, uh, maybe a plug and didn't get printed. Maybe they had a different operating software system. Maybe there's maybe the guy didn't have the plug ins and made decisions based on not hearing the plug in. So, man, it's deciphering, that is, I mean, people go to school, four year school just to learn bring. So, the beauty about that is I don't have to do that, you know? So it's done for me. Which is such a huge, huge blessing for me not to think about anything technical like that. Once it's on the desk. You know, I have sort of the same layout on the desk every time I have my kicks here, my vocals, my sense my effects. Then I start mixing. So all I do is I show up and start pushing feeders, you know, my um, and then when I'm done, when I think I'm done with the mix, then my guys will print stamps immediately. Uh, and, and, and, and, and that's another hour and a half to two hours that I don't have to be there either. So I'm able to get the best out of my time? Um and be more productive creatively as well. So, so I do have a great team. But when I'm mixing, I'm doing it on my own. Like there's so many people that like, I would love to, I would pay you just to what you work. And I always say, look, it sounds so amazing to, oh, I want to watch many work, but you won't, you won't learn anything because I move so fast. Yeah. And it sounds like I'm doing, it does not sound like I'm doing anything. And by the time we're done 348, 10 hours later. And I go, okay, it's done. You're gonna be like, what just happened? It sounds exactly the same eight hours ago. It's like watching paint dry, like not, not fun. Are you, do you like um again, another dumb question. But I just, I don't know you do you get it? And then just like listen to the song one time through or listen to a certain thing one time through or you know, we, we live, we're in the, we live in an era of bluffs, right? Some of them are really bad and some of them are not as bad. Actually. Some of them are pretty good. I think that's the art form and like deciphering what is a good rough and what is a bad rough and why is a good rough, why is not a good rough? So I listen to the rough, I listen to where they're trying to go. I want to see what planet they're on. You know, you know the, and from that I kind of start deciphering it one time through. I'm like, oh this the emotion sonics less than emotion like, oh, hooks jump, oh, it's very moody, it's dark, it's bright. I mean so many words come to mind, right? And I used to, I used to write them down and then repetition and I just kind of storm in my head and then I just start pushing feeders and I really start to do everything super fast so I can get a mix going in like 20 minutes. That kind of nazi symbols the rough, but it's, I'm in that world now my switch happens where now you can, you're in that world now you can start like now I have the ingredients. Now I gotta put the chicken soup, the chicken noodle soup together, you know, pick, you know, and then I start marinating, I start cooking and, and at that point, you know, he kind of takes you on a journey and then you then my styles, I step by step away from it. You know, I go make a call to go to the restaurant, come back uh here break, you know, and then I come back fresh and I listen and I'm like, oh, okay, it's got my it's got this, this and that, and that just continue. And and the way I do it, and I'm sure a lot of guys can, you know, I mean, they got their own way of doing this, but for me, when the mix is done is the first past. Imagine like 1000 little white flags, like, are popping up right? As you uh Yeah, yeah. And my goal is to get rid of flags, you know, Okay, the base, I did this, boom, that flag is gone, gone, gone, gone. And then all of a sudden there's like maybe 34 flags, and then one or two flags. And then, and then when I don't see the flags, and I don't feel the flags and whether it's five in the morning or 10 in the morning, whenever that is, I'm like, oh, okay, it feels great. Flags, It's done. Uh one flag ever you knock one flag down and another one pops up like, yeah, all the time you like, it's almost like that game when you push it on something else. That's kind of how I treat every mix when I just man it just feels, and I get lost in the song, that's what I'm in the right, you know, and hopefully, you know, hopefully clients like it, and, you know, and and and then at that point then, now, now the interaction begins with the client, whether it's a producer strong, right? Or manager artists, we thought maybe there'd be people in the audience that might want to know what is it that man is actually doing. And so mixing is what happens pretty much right after your band is done recording everything, Right? So when, when I say recording everything, you lay down the drums and the bass and the guitar stuff first, right? And your drums, the each drum has a mic or to mix and overhead mix your drums that might have 10 or 15 microphones. Each of those is a channel, your bass guitar is a channel, your lead guitar, your rhythm guitar, your keyboards, then there's the vocals, right? And you might have multiple mics picking up your vocals, right? Every single microphone and instrument is a channel. And when manny says, he's going to go into the studio and he's moving favors, he's adjusting how much of each channel he wants in any given part of the song. So you might want the keyboards to come out and be louder during the bridge of the song. But then to go a little quieter during the chorus of the song. Just as an example, you might want the drums to be front and center and louder than everything else as the opening of the song and then to kind of quiet down and fade into the background for the rest of the song. Things like that. And so Manny's looking for literally every single second of the song. Where is every single level for every single input and there could be 20 to 30 inputs for any given song. Yeah, he mentioned red flags, right? Like he'll go through and he'll flag something that is, you know, you know, maybe the drum came on too too heavy as an example, right? Maybe the drum outweighed the vocalist or something like that, so he needs to go in and adjust that. So, you know, I'm kind of, I'm kind of guessing here, but that seems like, you know what it is that he's do, you're absolutely right, you don't want to take focus from away from what is the most important thing in the song at any given moment and make sure that is that. And then how is the level of everything else behind that? And again, it's for every single second of the song, it's not just one mix, okay, here's where all the favors go for the whole song. It's not like that every single second of the song, you might adjust those failures and like just totally change the emotion of the song. The Yeah. And and there are, there's so much subtlety into some of his recording when I was going through earlier, you know, not knowing what to expect and really having a huge playlist on shuffle and listening to multiple different artists. I was really drawn in to the subtlety. Um and I have to, you know, I would have to attribute some of that to him across the board. There seems to be moments in the song where things get really soft and it pulls you in and then it makes, you know, an impactful part of the of the of the track even more impactful, right? So you kind of get pulled in, it's like you're leaning forward and then all of a sudden he can hit you in the face if he wants to or he can just keep you nice and warm and close as well. So, um you know, uh dynamic range is something that we talked about a lot in audio and that's the, you know, the measurement of the quietest part of a track versus the loudest part of the track. And you know, that we we suffer with dynamic range when we start talking about compression and whatnot. So, you know, listening to his music and as high resolution as possible, where you can preserve as much of that dynamic range, it really it it comes to life a lot more. And uh it was a pleasure to listen to the to those songs. I'm gonna, after this podcast, I'm gonna go back and listen to more, Yeah, uh semi related. Uh one of his first jobs before, you know, getting into mixing. You know, one of the first studio jobs is that enterprise studio, which is a big hair band studio back in the late eighties and um he talks about miking the drum kits for the like he had to go in move it a quarter of an inch, probably less just to hear how the different sounds. And just and then and then like that just sort of became innate, like he knows how those adjustments which he now probably does with the Raiders or on the computer um can manipulate the sound. Um And he talks about how that that that training kind of prepared him for for he you know, he swears that now, it helps him with his e queuing and all the other stuff that he does. Um Again just always learning but always going back to the basics as well. He sounds like a full service engineer and I would imagine he has determined his specialty is the mixing part of it, right? But if he had to he probably can go in the studio and place that kick drum mic exactly where it needs to be, but he's probably got people for that now, given where he's at in his in his life at this point, right? Um What I'm curious about is mixing and mastering are technically two different processes, right? The mixing is getting all the levels of all the feeders for all the tracks in each song, every second of each song. Just right, mastering is he and he alluded to this. So I think he masters his stuff as well, that's what you do to the overall sound of the track to make it sound good on certain systems, Right? And you master for differently for vinyl than you do for mp three s, than you do for hi rez than you do for So knows, right? I mean, you master for where is it going to be played? And so if you're if that album is gonna be cut onto vinyl, you've got a Master for that. If it's gonna be available digitally over the internet, you master differently for that. So, that actually it sounds the same in the end, Right? That's what you're going for. But if you just take the Master for vinyl and throw it on the digital version, it's gonna sound wonky. Uh so, you have to factor all of that into it. And I think he does, I think he's doing the mixing and the mastering. Uh it's uh it's sometimes it's done both of those things are done by one person. Sometimes you have to separate specialists that take care of each of those processes. The mixing and the master either way, he seems to be mindful of it, for sure. I noticed that they, in the marketing materials, they said that you mixed at least some of the Kendrick Lamar album on the odyssey headphones. I know that that it's kind of like a mood. Um as you mentioned it, and and and just sonically, uh you know, there's just so much going on. And I wondered um how much of that comes to you. You have all these different producers and sounds and and and and sense of depth when you're like listening, especially like an ATM assist. How do you, how much of that is you getting in there or how much of that is like the producer? Um you know, I always think of it as it's a basketball game, right? Uh everybody plays the roles, if everybody plays their roles to perfection, we win games and hopefully win championships. Right? So our captain is Kendrick, uh and he was very involved and I'm playing a role. I'm just trying to make it sound, make it feel, I'm trying to give it a certain emotion and uh and I think, you know, we had an executive producer, his name is sound wave that was there all the time as well, man, this is the album where they kind of let me do whatever whatever I wanted. And it was very uh man, it was very uh liberating, I guess. I didn't have any constraints of like, hey Stick to the Rough or or do this or that. It was, man, it was one of the best experiences I've ever had with any album. You know, uh and I gotta say Kendrick, I it was my first time working with them. I can see why he is Kendrick, Lamar and I can see why he is one of the best to do it and why he's one of the greatest artists of our generation. I mean, the way he thinks the way he, you know, he's very intuitive, he knows more about you than you think he's a people person. He'll ask you more questions than anybody else. He wants to know your process, he wants to know your thinking, your state of mind and all of that. It's almost like he's a master manipulator, but without manipulating the the sort of negative. Exactly, exactly. Without uh but he uh I gotta say, you know, when we first met, he asked me, he's like, he's like, man, you know, you worked on so many great albums, um I got a question for you, uh name your favorite album you've ever worked on, and I'm like, oh, that's like one of the questions, right? Like man, I thought about it because I wanted to be honest with them, I'm like, let me think, cause there's been so many, I'm like, what comes to mind? I couldn't think of any to be honest, because there's been so many, there's too many albums, you know that I worked on that I'm very proud of to be involved with. And I told him, I said, look, man, Honestly, I just don't, you know, it's like having five kids and asking them who's your favorite kid, and I can say, well on a Sunday this one when I need help with that one, I do this, and I need a hug is that one, they serve different purposes. So I didn't really have an answer. And I remember when the album finally came out and you know when you're in it? Because I ended up mixing I think 17 of 18 songs when I when I'm in it, you're in this bubble, you you almost lose perspective of you know what it is and then and then finally it comes out and you listen to it with a different set of ears and different perspective. And I remember when I first heard it when it came out, I thought, oh man, I like you, I haven't been able to stop listening to it and I worked on it, which is crazy. So uh so I I I hit him up. I'm like, hey man, remember when you asked me? It's like yeah, I go now now I got something to say. Now I got now I got my favorite album I've worked on. So it is that's saying a lot. Yeah man. Yeah, it's not special. I mean it is that it's that good because I feel like it's sort of the Lost Art of the album where you have to like every time I hit I can't like I'm gonna pick one track like I do with you know most music, even good albums. Just sometimes I've always got to like kind of start from the from the beginning almost um when you were getting it, Imagine what were you getting him in order? Or you getting one by one? Okay. No, not at all. I the first song I mix was the last song on the album. Yeah. And I thought, oh, this is a new sound for him. This is like a different sound, you know, different, like he's actually singing a lot and like, so that was like my and the other thing that he did, which is genius is uh the titles are completely different from what I got and I have a feeling that he does that for leaks. So he knows where leaks from, you know, But that was genius. So when I came out, I'm like, I didn't recognize any of the song titles because I was working with a completely set different set of titles. That was pretty clever. So are you gonna do more in the, in the line other than I'm not trying to jump over the mm 500 I wanted to talk a little more, but are you gonna do more in the, because I noticed that there was the whole mm line for the for for odyssey. Did you have something outside of headphones plan or just different headphones or you know, I think with shankar, he's such a great supporter, I think as they come as ideas come up as I find maybe gaps in the, how we can help uh in the industry, we may do a thing or two, but I think that this headphone is an effective tool and it's a must tool for creators. Um so who else, the sky's the limit, you know, it's not, I'm not doing this because I'm bored and I have all the time in the world to do it. So I'm doing, I'm doing this to hopefully help other creators become more efficient because that's what I that's what I try to do every day. I try to how can I be the most efficient but without losing inequality, you know, and that's my goal. That's that is my goal to continue to do that. So we'll see, we'll see what happens, you know what, I guess, what is it specifically about these headphones that that you know, finally kind of get you, get you over the hump with when you're doing those mix kind of mixes and you can listen to those types of things. Yeah. You know, I feel like the hardest thing in any mix, I feel like there's a few But the main things man that a cake and the base, there's a lot of information down there and also the vocals. So so if you can find any speaker, any headphone that you can actually shape because most headphones will not give you that and if they, if you can do that, then it doesn't translate that well, you know, uh makes on any headphones, but again, it doesn't translate to to the way you would want it to translate. So it's very important to whenever you do experiment with mixing on headphones that it translates to the rest of the world, you know and uh and you need to know you need somewhere where whether it could be, your car could be, your matters could be you're so no system at home, whatever it is, you need to have a reference point where you can listen to it and know that it would be like okay that's right or that's not right. Let me try to redo this that we try to do that and blah blah blah. So I think um having, having a tool that is that that you can be creative with and trusted. I think that's that was always the goal with this, you know, do you guys know what an 808 is? The 8:08? Yeah, it's like an area code right? It's always I think it's Hawaii if I'm not mistaken, I'm not sure that I have to look it up now to find out what three digits. I mean there's a chance that I got that right? What is the chances that I guess that's Hawaii right? Uh unfortunately I doubt you would have volunteered that unless you had some reason to be certain about it. Yes Honolulu hawaii area code 808 has nothing to do with the 808 that manny is talking about in this interview, I don't know what you're trying to set up there, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't that continue. No, I love this. So Jeff, I have a feeling, you know what an eight oh eight is? Well, I think I do. It's is it like a And you can correct me like a drum machine type of thing? Like a synthesizer. Drum machine? Yes. For an electronic music creating machine that I don't think they make it anymore, right? But now you can do all of the 808 stuff digitally, uh as opposed to using a separate box that you used to have to use. You can get like a plug in for it now. But the 808 was known for some uh you know, heavy bass in beats. That's how you created beats with lots and lots of bass in a lot of big time. Like the way you move outcasts. I know y'all wanted that 808, I can you feel that B A S S base, right? That's an eight oh eight, That's what they're talking about. And Manny specifically called out these headphones as giving him the ability to mix and 808, which will give you very specific 808 sounding bass as well as kicks and actual bass guitars. Right? Some that's hard for headphones to give you that full bodied bass and he's able to do that with these. I think that's remarkable that there's headphones that can do it. Um But yeah, that's what an eight oh eight if you want to know more about the 808, there is a podcast I recommend you listen to. It's called 20,000 Hertz. They did an entire episode all about the 808. So if you want to know more about songs that it was used to create that, it's a part of and its history and all of that, why it's so legendary. Uh that entire episode is fantastic. I've recommended 20,000 Hertz before on this show and this specific episode will bring you up to speed on the 808 if you need it. Eric thanks, I appreciate that. So not the area code, not, it does not come from Honolulu hawaii, I don't think it would be really awesome. Feel free if you, if you're a listener and you want to fact check him and somehow make me writing this. I'd really appreciate it. Many Room Studio two in Larrabee has a lot of that old, classic digital, digital and analog gear. Um He has, and he has like the classic mixing consoles, um stuff that that are, are pro audio guys, you know, Corey knows or off the bat. I um I was listening to him, he's like, oh yeah, that's the da, da da and I'm like, oh yeah, of course, and he's just like hyper calibrated professional monitor speakers, he has Dolby come in and make sure everything sounds correct. Um but uh and forgive me if I'm stepping on the interview, but he, the fact that he can mix in the box, you know on a laptop with um like pro tools or one of those uh is it D. A. W doll? What's the best? Yeah, exactly, yeah, the fact that he can do that, he can get to, you know, to having all this like incredible all the best gear, that's all the best current gear, all the best classic gear working together in the studio and he can get 90 whatever percent of the way there on his laptop and a pair of these headphones is uh you know, yeah and if you go to many american dot com you're going to see pictures of lots of the gear in his studio and yeah it'll make any kind of sort of studio mixing, sound engineering nerds uh totally geek out because there's so many knobs and fader hours and speakers and it is, it's got to be a great sounding room. Yeah, I want I want to spend time there, His uh you know, he has the studio Larrabee studio has a photographer and they um I asked for, they just treated one of their studios as a Dolby Atmos room. This is a tangent, but that's all right, we were going to talk about this. So they sent me um uh they sent me pictures that maybe I can give to lex and see if if it's something you can do with them of the new at most room. And it has like the big giant mouse ball where you can like, you know, point to the object based. Uh so like it's showing, you know, the thing about ATmos is it's not like you're not pointing to one speaker another around you. It's like where do you want the sound to be? I got to experience this first hand, not with Manny, not at that studio, but when I was in L. A. I stayed at an Airbnb where the owner stays there, he doesn't just leave the house while you stay there because he has a studio and he's basically lives in his studio. He brought us in and said, hey, here's some music we're working on. Uh and he brought up on his big projector screen, the at most renderers and you could just watch him move with his mouse, the sound and you could just hear it placed wherever he wanted. The sound of any one instrument in the mix. He had 24 channels that he was working with and could put any microphone, any instrument wherever he wanted. It was just, it was almost disorienting, being able to see it move around because you have the visual to go with it, right? Uh And so Dolby Atmos is uh it's not just, you know, two speakers facing you, there's more than that, you got your center channel, your side, your surrounds and then you've got speakers above you plus your subwoofers. So really with that many speakers in the system they can place any sound anywhere in your room and now you can get like dolby at most mixed tracks for just music. It doesn't have to be a surround sound movie. Yeah I mean in apple music the spatial audio that you might have seen may have seen the commercial for Harry Styles dancing around. That's um most of those tracks are mixed in dolby Atmos. So I sort of the beauty I guess of the most it's also I mean the more speakers you have, the better experience you're gonna get. That's just well sir we've always said feel more and more more more more, what is it? Eric more speakers more better more speakers, bigger speakers more better. Two more speakers bigger, bigger, bigger and then when you got more speakers you need more power. More. Yeah but what's cool about Dolby Atmos is that it can tell what how many speakers or how many drivers you're using and and sort of adjust the sound accordingly and use and in headphones especially use sort of these um you know location based uh sort of technologies and things to to make to mimic some of those. So like a full adobe at most. Mix would have seven surround speakers, four ceiling speakers and two subwoofers. Right? But you don't have to have that many speakers, if you had five surround speakers, one sub and two ceiling speakers you could still get the effect. And I think in those setups, the idea isn't to hear the sound coming from the speakers is to close your eyes and feel like you're in the space in which it was recorded, right? So you're not hearing speakers, you're hearing the sound move and be where it needs to be for that particular track, not just from the speaker locations, but three dimensionally through the space as well. And uh spatial reasoning, spatial, I don't know, you know, super, super cool. But the thing that I think a lot of tracks and like the early demos that we heard and in some cases, you know uh you know movie related and what not, they were kind of gimmicky where you know, you really wanted to uh focus on that effect but when done well you kind of forget that you're sitting in a room with a bunch of speakers and you just feel like you're in that spot and you know that's what he's doing there. So it's not trying to be gimmicky, he's just trying to add more space to it. Yeah, yeah and I love that at most is really uh you know taking on a bigger role for music, not just for movies and I have always noticed that odyssey just kind of in general um you know there's a lot of detail on that sub base and all that, all that region where it's like um you just don't get from other other headphones um The vocals to which I think you're pretty well known for is is you're mixing the vocals. Vocals are hard because again you get a try to um E. Q. Around the focal point. And if it's a vocal then I try to shape things around that that that sort of spectrum. Uh And that's how you find room for stuff. You know like the art of E. Cuing. You know, it's just man, it's it's such a powerful tool in our studio, in the studio. So once you hopefully master that man, the red seeds are just part. Do you um do you do the utmost mixes on like like okay, I was curious about your approach to that most. Yeah. You know my approach is I only try to mix or I only mix things that I mixed the stereo version for. So I don't take on many. Just mix the atmos and not the stereo. I don't do that. I did it once and it was just too, I don't know, just not my thing. So I do it the stereo. I know it very well. I don't know the artist producer, whoever the, you know, whoever has the final okay or the, you know uh I either talk to them so much. I under I understand where they're trying to go with the stereo track. So now for me at most is just an extension of the stereo mix. So I like if I go like this if I stretch it this way and I stretch it that way, that's all I wanna do. I don't wanna have things behind me, I don't want things to be distracting. Um So it's a very simple approach on how do I keep the stereo mix glue and vibe intact and just give it a just maybe a little bit more dimension and within height and it's and it's so it's very uh I don't want to say simple but very, very precise. I think what what gets lost in a lot of people is just how the subtlety of it all is like it's not necessarily that you're gonna hear and part of that because they market it is going to go over your head and above your, you know, and that works with movies obviously, but you're right, you're right. The marketing has been about listen to music, you know, in a different way and listen it is a different way and it's really exciting. It's I think it's the most exciting thing that, you know, we've had in our generation. So I think with any new technology you can also abuse it, you know? So I think we're gonna go through a few years of learning curve and getting it right. I think it's going to take some time. Um But I don't know if it's gonna go anywhere. You know, I don't think it's going away, you know, I hope it doesn't go away because I think powerful. I listen to things that I mix the stereo and I listen to them and that most and I'm like something some songs sound a million times better. Like this is the intention, you know? And then other stones sounds good. You know, maybe glue and it's you know, we've been making records for 90 years in stereo so in evolution of 90 years and how to glue things you know and create a motion blue. Now we're trying to create motion with space. So if you think about it, that's a whole different way of thinking creatively. So so there's gonna be a lot of room for error. A lot of growing pains, a lot of piste off and artists and labels and everyone because they're afraid of change you know? But I think earlier in the conversation I said you know you adapt or you die. You know simple. So I think we're all kind of adapting in a good way. I think with with with apple music getting so on board with it and pushing it so much. It's like like you know I'm sure you were you may even done some 5.1 mix is back in the day like oh yeah. Oh yeah where they but you know there's always a barrier there of like do you need to uh you have to buy the DVD or the S A. C. D. Like this crazy terms that most people don't even know everybody their iphone sees apple music even if they don't subscribe. So I'm just honored and appreciate your time so much. So thank you. Thank you. Did you guys catch that manny sometimes mixes these songs for? So knows, did you hear him say that eric you're a big so knows fan. Did I miss that part? Was I looking at his menu? You might have been, you might have been salivating over the the food at versa verse. Yeah. But uh one of the reasons he has all of those different pairs of speakers in his mixing room and the headphones is to be able to mix for different environments. And he specifically called out people listen to music at home on speakers like so no speakers. He wants that stuff to sound good on those speakers. Uh And of course more people are listening to music on headphones than ever before. So it makes sense to mix on headphones. But I love the fact that he called out specifically so knows which is why so many songs sound so good on like engineers and mixers like this are actually thinking of, you know, they're thinking about what you know, the bulk of people are listening to. Not not everybody has a studio, not everybody has you know premium speakers or or you know $1800 headphones for that matter doesn't mean they don't help in the production but he wants the end user of the people that are listening to this music however they're listening to it to get the best possible results. And I think that's really cool shoutout so knows they need more love. Could you imagine? You know. Right. I mean you I mean what would be the equivalent of that? Like you paint a picture you don't even know how they're going to hang in there or you don't even know if yeah what what kind of light you're going to have in your room? Is it gonna be natural light coming in the windows? Is it gonna be incandescent bulbs or if all your bulbs been replaced by L. C. D. Bulbs now. Right so uh LCD LED LED bulbs not L. C. D. But yeah I mean lighting looks different in every room. So does the does the painter take that into account with the different colors? Mix? Is that he uses? I'm guessing not. I'm guessing that's that's not a medium where you can do that. Whereas music it absolutely can be done that way. You have to think about it. You're forced to think about it man Jeff. I am so jealous. You got to talk to manny for an hour. It sounds like you could have talked to him for two or three or four hours if he had the time to do that. He's got songs to mix though. Oh of course yeah and and just to be to be clear, he was, he even said you want to get into anything more and I was like, oh you have no idea. I could sit here and talk about the Common B album for 2.5 hours. But I knew I wanted to be, I want to be respectful of his time. I knew he has a lot going on. He has um the restaurant, he was heading to the studio to mix some songs. He's got albums from the 1975 Paramour. He's mixing on now that are coming out soon. May be out by the time this podcast comes out. But um anyways, it's kind of interesting being, it sounds like he's always working. He's always working and he kind of alluded to that, right? Mixing songs on his laptop with the mm five hundred's while he's at a wedding in the Bahamas, like in a hotel room. He has his mantra that he's always on vacation. It's sort of an ode to his mother really because when he lived in Guatemala until he was nine years old and they were in the midst of this civil war kind of a proxy war. The Cold war Russia had backed one side us back the other. Um but as the government versus gorillas and his mom had always said, you know, we won't leave Guatemala. Love Guatemala, but at some point it just got too dangerous and to protect her Children she had to pack them up and I had some connections where she could fly into Los Angeles. Um she told them so that they didn't get scared. She told manny at nine years old, hey, we're gonna um packed for, we're going on vacation, we're going to Disneyland. Um and so he landed, he said it was a thursday by monday. He was enrolled in school. He never saw mickey mouse, but he um, you know, he jokes that he's been on vacation ever since. That's a much healthier way of looking at his at your life. It's rather than thinking about, I'm working all the time. I'm working as, I'm also at this wedding in a hotel room. No, that's just where he's vacationing now and he's doing the stuff he loves to do. I love this. I love that part of his story also was that he was a drummer. So that speaks to, you know, my passion just a little bit. So, you know, I mean, we, we probably can't praise his mom enough, right? But you know, as a drummer that uh, your, you need um, patient parents are, are you need anybody that lives in the house with, you needs to understand what they're getting into and if you get to be a drummer as a kid, your parents didn't sign up for that, right? And he said his, it was him and his him, his mom and his sister in a one bedroom apartment and they not only put up with it, they encouraged him to keep drumming. So you can only imagine, I saw a meme on a Facebook cover band Central Facebook group where the there was a guy offering drumming lessons for kids, it was $25 an hour to teach your child the rudiments and rhythms and you know, all of that stuff, or $500 for one hour where I will Belittle him and berate him until he is demoralized and refuses to ever play the drums again. $500 done. Uh And yeah, so um but yeah, so he's a drummer uh he gets gets to L. A. Goes to alexander, Hamilton's high school. Uh So he's speaking to me once again through uh Hamilton's because I'm a huge fan. Eric's a huge fan. We've seen, we've seen Hambleton recently. Uh So so um so he sees a blue boreal right? Which is the junior should be sir able because he plays drums for Sir paul, Sir paul McCartney and many others. Uh And uh he had the same thought when he sees a blue boreal Junior playing drums as I do, I'll never be as good as that guy, I love his drumming style that he's big, he's powerful and he's impressive and when he when he saw that he decided to go a whole different route, which was the mixing in the e queuing and how to make a song that's great sound even better. Yeah he's, I mean, he said he saw his um, one of his, he said immediately, I'm going into production. I think it worked out well for everybody that in the, in the, and his uh um teacher there was was messing around with something and, and showed him how you can like, you know, just vastly manipulate not only like the frequencies but the emotion of a song just by messing around with some knobs. And he was like, I'm all in and from there, you know, um a lot of hard work but it's kind of where to, where we are now. Yeah. You know the Crutchfield, the podcast is not designed to be a commercial for a particular product that we sell right? Like that's not what we're trying to accomplish with this show. Um However, it's kind of hard to separate this experience of many american and what he does with these headphones. The mm 500. So, I mean, if it sounds like a commercial right now, it's because it kinda is really uh and it's as well as it should be, but it's a pretty special product. Hey, we've long, we've long said that there are no perfect headphones. There's not one set of headphones that we sell that are right for every occasion. These are not ones that I'd want on an airplane. They are not ones that I want working out. Not that I work out, but I'm just saying if I did, these are not for that. So yeah, we can talk about that. They are really good at what they do and what that cases, but they might not be for everyone. And you know, if if I tried to wear them right now, it's probably not good for a live recording situation because of their open back sound. It could cause feedback into the mix and such. Um that being said, I wouldn't mind seeing these feeling these touching these, hearing these If only we had a pair in the room. This giant case here it comes in a giant case. Alright, there's gonna be some banging here for a moment that looks like a bomb proof case. Try not to bump that table. Too much presentation is part of that at this level. Certainly. Oh, I don't know if you heard that, but I think angels flew out of it when the case open. Did you hear that? I don't know. Didn't you hear the harp and whatnot? Okay, I'm gonna go ahead. Was the first time I've actually put my hands on these. Okay, first off, is there a technical name for this headband design? Um I don't know that there is, but what I do know, immediately looking at them is that across the top of my head, they would be very, very comfortable. Yeah, it's not just a thick padded thing. It's like, it's got a frame and then below the frame is like uh like a sling almost right? It's the same thing I love about my on my on head that I have, it's like a suspension system. It's got this this like large steel headband and then underneath is like a it's a leather headband. That's exactly right. Yeah, because they're so because even though these are lighter than most odyssey headphones, as you can say, they're still heavy duty set of headphones. So you need the weight to be distributed properly. We learn in our comfort test, it's not so much about how heavy they are, it's really just how secure they fit and how well the weight is distributed so that you're not feeling like your like your head's gonna fall over as you listen to them. Very padded ear cup as well. I love that about them. Um And not as heavy as other magnet planer headphones that I've I've held. So um just from a design standpoint. Yeah, there's a lot here to like, well you know, one reason why these why why odyssey has gotten so good at light heavyweight is not only the frame materials but the magnets themselves that move that very tiny, very thin film actually is a large film, but it's very thin. Um The magnets that they use, they lay them out in a in a magnet array called a flux. Our magnet array, It's a patented thing that they came up with so far. They've they've hacked, they've hacked magnetic flux so they did we have to go back to the future to get this thing the the the alright alright everybody eric has taken off his podcast Headphones and he's just now putting on the mm 500. Yeah that click Sound was me adjusting kind of the size there. That's nice. Right into the mic. That was a solid sound right there. That's that's that's metal on metal staying in place. That's not gonna that's not gonna wear out. That's that's kind of really nice feel to it. All right. Oh yeah so eric does not have any audio plugged into these. He's just literally putting them on his head for to get an idea of how comfortable they are. I could wear these uh a lot technically speaking a lot that's that's the word I came up with. There you go. That's the first podcast. It's the first time I would have made a better face then. Um There we go. There we go. I have no idea now it's just getting awkward. Now I'm gonna start posing. Um Yeah I like these. I'll take them so and you've worn the L. C. D. X. Is these are modeled somewhat after those except lighter and stronger and better. Yeah because they're lighter. Um One of the things in our tests that we've done. You know sometimes the heavier headphones the the you know if you're moving around they would feel like they would shift a little bit just because of the overall weight of them. And because these are just slightly lighter, I'm not getting that sensation as much where I don't feel like, you know, they don't feel like they would uh slip off of, you know, I ideally set them um quite as easily so um which is important when listening to music. But you can imagine when you're working and you're moving favors and moving your head around and looking at this screen and looking at that screen, you really need them to stay in place. That's quite nice. Hey, can I try them? Uh Can you pass them this way? I don't I don't know about that actually. I throw them over here. Alright fine. Alright fine. Here here here you go. Do you want the cord? I want the whole experience back in the box. I'm gonna hook them up and play some music. What happens that fancy cord, braided cable? This cord is legit like they're not messing around here. So alright, I'm gonna plug this thing in so when I put them on, I'm gonna actually, okay, it's not a note. It's not a no tangle cord tangles come for free. Yeah. Now that braid design helps reduce electromagnetic interference if I'm not mistaken. That's what Yeah. Yeah and and it just feels and looks cool. Yeah. Yeah. Most importantly it does it does get the E. M. I. And you know all that stuff. Yeah. All right cord is plugged into headphones, cord is plugged into my Yamaha stereo receiver. I wonder what music he'll choose to play the other way. You got them on backwards. You got the left on the right. Yeah that's a pet peeve of mine with headphones. How easy is it to figure out the left from the right? Well there's a big L. And there's a big, it wasn't hard to find, it's hard to find on. Something bothers me not hard to find on these headphones if I turn this volume up. Do I hear oh yeah I can hear myself in these headphones So and as a bald man because you don't have hair. Um How what do you think bald head approved. So I have also worn the L. C. D. X. These are significantly more secure right? Like as big as heavy as they are and they're not lightweight. They're not insignificant on my head. But they they don't feel like they're going to fall off. I feel like I could listen to Metallica and bang my head accordingly and these are staying put right because I don't that's fantastic. Feel like they're even heavy. I just feel like they're substantial. I don't know if that if that makes sense. But um I don't think I'd get stronger neck muscles by wearing them that way we should. Um Maybe I should point out that odd disease also made um They've made in ear headphones. Like they have been able to shrink these planter magnetic down to, you know, crazy sides. Like who would think that you could have something that's supposed to plan on headphones are supposed to work where there are these super large drivers that move back and forth and that's how they create sound. But they've shrunk because of the efficiency of those magnets. They've shrunk them down into a two earbuds size. So it's, it's insane. And then um, you know, they have gaming headsets that are more traditional sized. Uh they look more like a traditional size headphones, like like you like you would expect from a gaming headset and they actually make some of the best sounding and most popular gaming headsets that we sell. So, um Oddities really branching out. They say that this is only the first in their uh in first product in their line of uh professional gear. They haven't given tipped us off on what is going to be next. But you know, if you're reading the tea leaves and see that they're good at making things smaller, I, you know, who knows? All right, I'm gonna listen to music now and see what happens for and by the way, I have them on now. So I'm listening to our whole podcast recording setup. So when you're talking in the room I can, it's kind of seamless. Like I can't tell if I'm hearing you through the headphones or if I'm just hearing you in the room. That's how, that's how transparent they are, That's how well these things are just making it feel, making it feel spacious as I'm listening. So alright, I'm gonna play a song by my band. We have the rights to play it. I don't know if you'll be able to hear it from the headphones going into my mic, but I just want to get a feel for how the sound here live on the podcast now, who mixed your band? Okay, so I know how my drums are supposed to sound, and this is, I mean they're literally sounding better than they've sounded on any other system. Any other set of headphones, I've heard them on. Uh and I've heard them on quite a few headphones. But yeah, this is great. Can you guys hear what I'm listening to? Is it loud and clear to you? Not loud and clear? But we can hear, we can here we'll have the headphones on that are also playing. So you, so you're hearing the music funny how that works technology uh Jeff, you're not wearing any headphones at the moment, but you can hear it coming out of the sound from these headphones, so definitely, you know, unless you're me and you're worried about headphones, you probably wouldn't wear them in a office. But yeah, no, there's certain Kendrick Lamar songs that many actually alluded to in that interview, that you might not want to play loudly with these headphones only in a situation where you have like coworkers around who might be offended by some language. Uh, so yeah, that's not for that. But if you're critically listening by yourself, play anything you want as loud as you want. Oh my God, This is fantastic. You're letting into it though. You're also playing it pretty loud. I would exclusively use open ear headphones for myself. It's one of the ways we kind of differ as far as our personal preferences, but I'd listen to open ear uh nine times out of 10, uh, in an office and a home environment. Yeah. Not when I'm mowing the lawn obviously. Um, not if I'm, you know, on an airplane, like I mentioned earlier, but you know, in general, I find them less fatiguing from just an ear stress. Just like pounding bass notes and a closed headphone that wears on me for for after a while, it doesn't happen nearly as quickly wearing open back headphones. So I, yeah, I'm a big fan of this technology. I'm a big fan of those headphones. Yeah, as significant as they are on my head. They're also just disappearing into the sound of the room right now. It's fantastic. I love this. Yeah. And I mean you mentioned the volume thing. I don't think you need to play them at crazy volumes to appreciate the sound there. Um, just really sophisticated, you know, kind of across the board no matter what level. However I can tell you, I'm cranking it over here. They are keeping up just fine. And for those listening at home here, if you want to know my setup is a focus, right? Scarlett eight I six interface. Uh and I've got the main output going to a Yamaha, two channel stereo receiver. That's where I'm plugging in these headphones. So uh they're getting their power from the headphone output of a medium lee sort of set priced Yamaha stereo receiver. Uh and I've got lots of volume knobs that I can choose right, my computer volume, the volume on the focus, right the volume on the Yamaha. And uh you know they they do need me to crank it like I if I got these at medium volume, I'm probably not satisfied with how loud they are. Uh so that's okay, just turn it up and that totally got me where I wanted to go and but they sounded great at low volumes. I just like it loud. So I'm gonna keep these on for the rest of the episode. I think we're going to close this thing out now, Jeff for one. Thank you for sharing this interview with us eric, thanks for being here. Uh and uh and trying on these headphones, I know headphones are a passion of yours. Uh Jeff, thank you for the headphones because they're over here on my side of the desk, plugged into my receiver, which means that's where they're going to have to stay. Yeah, I've got the case. So they need to get I don't need the case case is irrelevant to me now because they're staying right here hard to take off. Yeah. Uh so thank you from too many american for spending the time with Jeff and letting us record all this and get this out there. It's been a lot of fun for us. Uh if you want more information on this stuff, looking for the links to these articles and such and the headphones themselves right there in the podcast, show notes. I hope our producer Lex is also putting a link to the appropriate 20,000 Hertz podcast episode, which explains the history of the 808 if you're interested. Um and I'm I'm thinking it might make sense to put links in there. Too many american dot com and maybe his restaurant and stuff too. There's a bunch of fun stuff out there, you can dive into it and of course, Spotify playlists uh for many american mixed music. So we want to make that easy to find and hopefully you enjoy just hitting shuffle on that as much as we are enjoying that, It's pretty easy to find any playlist on Spotify probably has something mixed by ERic. Yeah, but if you want to make sure of it, there is a playlist where every song was mixed by him and it's pure joy. Uh so I'm Jr on behalf of ERic and Jeff and all of Crutchfield. Thank you so much for listening. We'll be back with another episode in a few weeks. We'll see you then.

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