No. 1

When did you know that you're going to become an Audio Engineer? Tell us a bit about your journey?

Like most other engineers on our Faculty, I also started out as a Musician. At the time, I wanted to record some of our music, but Pune had only 2-3 studios, and the good ones were obviously out of our budget. So I thought, why not try recording our own demos at home? Luckily, one of our band members had a MBox Mini that he had lying around which he had never used. I took this opportunity to figure out how to use it and started experimenting with it. My first demo was recorded on that Mbox as my AD/DA and a set of creative speakers. This process of recording and working with Musicians was so exciting to me that I knew I had to become an Audio Engineer. I started off with a small 100×100 sq ft space in a basement which I turned into a studio with my makeshift acoustics and started recording my other musician friends who couldn’t afford a studio, this was the beginning of my career as an Audio Engineer and a studio owner.

No. 2

How did you get into Mastering?

Honestly, I never planned on or intended to become a Mastering Engineer. At Gray Spark Audio we have different engineers always working on different projects. And every engineer needs a second set of ears to give them a bit of perspective on their mixes. So along with our other engineers we started this double filter process, where if there were some things that the Mix engineer would miss out on, I would step in to offer a fresh perspective or tweak their mixes.

Once the mix was ready, all it needed was some polishing and tweaking to make it release worthy. This is when I started to really take the idea of Mastering seriously. I tried it on a couple of projects and the clients were really happy with the work. That’s when I started taking on more work and grew from there. People still label Mastering as some “mystical” thing that is done to a mix that makes it sound flawless. Honestly, the truth is that it’s just a double filter process and just a finalizer that’s added to the Mixers perspective.
No. 3

What are some of the challenges you face inside a studio environment?

My biggest challenge when I was working as a recording engineer was to get a band to record organically live. There weren’t too many studios in the country where an entire band could show up and the session could be recorded live. At the time there was not a single studio in Pune where one could do this. Everyone had to stick to the method of layering on top of a click track, which was fine but it didn’t work for everyone. Smaller recording spaces also constricted the capacity an engineer has in terms of getting more balanced and natural recordings.
No. 4

What is the once piece of gear you can't live without?

The Patchbay! This is the most underrated piece of gear ever! I would never use any of my outboard gear if I didn’t have this patch bay. Right now the studio is capable of sending up to 16 channels of Audio anywhere you would like it to go. Imagine, manually patching 16 cables for every session.
No. 5

What is going to be your next gear purchase?

We’re looking at purchasing the flagship AK-47 microphone from Telefunken.
No. 6

Advice to Audio Engineers who want to make it in this industry!

Patience. Everyone nowadays wants quick success. It’s not wrong to expect success, but be willing to put in the hard work as well, and give it time. Have patience with yourself, your clients and your work.
No. 7

What are some of the most challenging and rewarding projects you've worked on?

To name a few Celestial Teapot, Easy Wanderlings, Kabir Cafe and A Dog without a Bone were some of the best artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
No. 8

Where do you see the future of Audio Engineering headed?

The future of Audio, as we have seen in the past, solely depends on the advent of technology. The digital revolution has led to tremendous growth of recording studios and just the capability of being able to record and produce music. I believe with the growth in Machine Learning and AI we will see new opportunities and job roles for Audio Engineers/Musicians/Producers.
No. 9

How do you deal with creative differences and communicating this to your clients? Where do you draw the line?

I like to set down my terms and conditions with a client before I start working on any project. Like any other relationship, communication is key. Once the ground rules are set down there is no room for misinterpretation.
No. 10

What are some crazy sessions you've done?

There was a session where Virat Kolhi was supposed to come into the studio for a dub for an Ad. Turns out last minute he couldn’t make it because of delay on the shoot, so we were asked to go to his hotel room to record him. We moved our mobile recording setup to his hotel room and set up a call with the director on Skype. We had to use blankets and beds to block out the sound and reflections in the room. The guy looked so puzzled when he walked into the hotel room.

Get in touch!

If you guys have another other questions you would like to shoot at me, just shoot me a mail at ronak@gray-spark.com.
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