Envisage Audio Production


I think all audio engineers are bad at updating blogs

Thursday, November 12, 2015

After all, if someone who calls themselves an audio engineer is constantly blogging about it, then they probably aren't in the studio as often as they want you to think they are, huh? Haha... Well anyway, I think I'm going to make this news blog thing a bit less formal and press-releasy going forward. I've finally updated the site's music player with 5 of the coolest projects I've worked on in the last year, and there are a couple more yet that I'll add soon. Check them out and enjoy! If you want to explore any of the bands further, here are some links you can follow to support them and stay in touch:

Into The Flood
The Home Team
Ghost Ship Octavius
Beltfed Weapon

This last year and a half has been a hugely busy and productive one here for me at Envisage in several ways. Of course the audio has been flowing (see above), but also the audio buffer has been overflowing (nerd joke), and even bigger news yet is that is that I was able to design and construct a brand new control room to move into, complete with a tracking room (mostly intended for guitars and vocals), and a lounge I haven't even had time to finish yet. I spent probably four times more on the entire build than my ignorant self originally expected to, but the moral of the story is that if you want to get better at mixing and become varying degrees of embarrassed by most of your recordings that you previously felt great about, DEFINITELY blow a ton of money to correctly design and build yourself a room designed explicitly for the purpose of accurately listening to sound. It has been a humbling experience to say the least, but thankfully one that has also really been fun and inspiring, and opened my mind and ears to details and fullness in my productions that I previously hadn't unlocked. Another moral of the story is that I now fully realize just how useless it is to audition studio monitors in a Guitar Center showroom. Trust me on this—you really truly have to hear speakers in the room you will actually be working in, and then when you later move into a better room, you will either realize that you really truly hate that old room because it made your speakers sound awful, or that you really actually just hate the speakers you thought you liked. I found myself in the first camp, and I have fallen deeply in love with my Event Opals after previously harboring nuanced doubts about them as a whole. It is still hard to believe there is no sub in my control room, and the low frequency clarity and separation is a beautiful thing to behold.

I think that's about it for now. I don't know if I will ever blog about the entire build in great detail, even though I surely could write a small book about it (well, at least the thickest and most inconveniently sized pamphlet you've ever seen), but I do plan to eventually overhaul the whole website with plenty of updated photos of the finished build, as well as some construction photos that are fun to look at, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I will have ceased blogging and playing the role of bumbling webmaster in order to resume the conquering of audio, such that the next time I write an update I will have yet more cool recordings and artists to share with you! I commend you for reading this entire post. Until next time \m/


Numbers' debut full length "THREE" released

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's always rewarding when a project I worked on finally hits the street, but in the case of Numbers and their new album "THREE" (available now via multiple digital outlets, and physical CDs direct from the band), it's extra sweet. After having worked with these guys in 2012, mixing and mastering their self-produced and largely self-engineered debut EP, I'd felt a lasting itch to actually be there every step of the way through the recording process with them to help take everything up a notch, and I made my feelings known to them. When the time came, the guys hadn't forgotten, and we spent several months working sometimes insane hours to perfect and maximize every aspect their creation. On top of that, I was asked in advance to perform all the rhythm guitars on the release, as they hadn't been able to fill the guitarist role but were otherwise completely prepped to go with preproduction recordings (mostly programmed using MIDI in Reason). Although it was time consuming to be recording no less than four tracks of sometimes difficult rhythm guitar parts, and basically learning them in the studio and tweaking some of them section by section, it was also extremely rewarding to contribute in such a fundamental way, and just plain fun getting my own creative fingerprints all over the material in many spots (ideas which the band nearly always approved of). This was easily the most intensive and under-the-microscope project I've worked on since churning out my own baby throughout 2011 (7 Horns 7 Eyes' debut full length "Throes of Absolution"), and I think the results speak for themselves. Numbers has always had huge potential, and not only do they now have an excellent debut record to share with the world, but one that sonically does justice to their vision and to their interesting arrangements of metal, electronica, pop, and even jazz.

I know this sounds like a total puff piece, but take it as a reflection of my excitement over a hard-earned job finally coming fully to life \m/

Still Remains—"Ceasing to Breathe"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The comeback release from Michigan's own Still Remains is officially out today! It was a pleasure doing the mix and master for these guys, and I can honestly say that even after taking several years off and focusing on life away from making music together, the guys have come back strong and have cooked up a batch of material that doesn't slouch. It was an honor working with a band I listened to as a teenager, and as a band that legitimately got their start with Roadrunner Records in the metalcore heyday of the early 2000s. My favorite cut from the album, "Beacon", is in my music player above. Check it out!

New songs

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A couple new updates to the audio player—a track from Shaded Enmity's latest full length (out now!), and a cut from Into The Flood's latest full length (also out now!). Both of these projects were a lot of fun to work on, and I'm really happy that both albums are finally within fans' grasp.

Drum tracking - Breath of Nibiru

Friday, March 29, 2013

Today I had the pleasure of finally meeting Gianluca Ferro, an awesome guitarist and all around great guy from Italy. He flew out to Seattle for this weekend's sessions with my friend and drummer Nick Pierce (Unearth), who is also immensely talented, and is playing with Gianluca on his Breath Of Nibiru project (a full length release!). Nick was a beast today in the studio, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with his drumming. I'm looking forward to hearing the material all come together in the coming weeks. In the mean time, you can check out an older version of one of the songs that will be on the release by clicking here.

New song from Shaded Enmity!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This recording took shape pretty quick since it was just a one-song project, intended as a teaser to hold fans over until we begin tracking on a full length next year. Great material from Joe and Simon, and it was a pleasure working with them. Check out the mix here!

Devils of Loudun tracking

Wednesday, December 7, 2012

Yesterday I began guitar tracking with Vashon Island, WA-based tech-death band Devils of Loudun. Great guys and really tight guitar tracks so far! They've got an interesting thing going on stylistically, a lot of MIDI orchestration with kind of an old-timey horror flick kind of feel to it, so it's going to be cool to hear it all take shape. Keep an eye out for the mixes, coming later this month.

Welcome to the new site!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's been a long time coming, but I'm proud to unveil the new online home of Envisage Audio! I'm starting out small with just the bare necessities at the moment, but you can expect the site to grow over time with new music, photos, and other various content. Also, I've decided to call this section the "Blog" instead of "News", that way I can still keep you updated with news items, but I can also feel free to speak my mind about various audio-related topics as I feel inspired (and as time allows, of course!). If there's something you'd like to hear me write about, feel free to make suggestions via the contact form below!

Speaking of actual news though, I've just recently wrapped up the mixes for Into The Flood's debut full length (an effort I also engineered and produced), due out next year via Century Media Records. I've been involved with these guys quite a bit over the last few years, really from the inception of the band, so it's been pretty cool to see them grow and bloom into a signed artist. It's been a pleasure working with them, and I'm excited to show off the recordings we've created together, so keep an eye out for that.

Next up on the docket includes a new demo and then later a full length for Seattle's Shaded Enmity, which is the melodic-death brainchild of Joe Nurre, friend and touring guitarist of Jeff Loomis. I've mixed some of their stuff in the past, but it'll be a totally different ballgame this time around since I'll be engineering as well!

Aaron at the console


It's clear that we are living in an era unlike any before it—an era in which technology is evolving at an accelerated pace, filled with things that hadn't even been conceivable to the generations who have closely preceded us. For the savvy musician, this means it has become possible to create impressively good sounding recordings at home, with minimal hassle encumbering the process. Without question, this should be embraced, especially as a means of exploring and pushing one's creative boundaries, but it also begs the question: What does it really take to create a truly outstanding recording, one that radiates emotion, energy and timeless character?

As incredible as modern recording technology is, the truth is that no amount of technical advancement will ever adequately compensate for a song that has been poorly written, arranged, or performed. Furthermore, even a cleverly structured song will suffer if not enough care is given to the less-than-obvious subtleties addressed throughout the engineering, editing, mixing, and mastering processes. What does it take to create an outstanding recording? It demands a delicate balance of artistic creativity, technical cognizance, and a physical understanding of sound. Above all, it demands an engineer with patience, diligence, as wells as the foresight to envisage what a recording should ultimately be before it has even begun, and the aptitude and tools needed to bring it into reality.