AES 2016 SPARS Speed Mentoring Sessions


SPARS Speed Counseling with Experts
Mentoring Answers for Your Career

Location – Los Angeles Convention Center
Saturday, October 1, 2016
10:45 am — 12:45 pm
Room 515AB
Registration Required
Walk up OK if you are at the show…


SPARS once again is hosting speed mentoring sessions at the 141st AES Convention being held in Los Angeles, September 29-October 2, 2016.  The Ask SPARS mentoring sessions will take place on Saturday, October 1, 2016. These mentoring sessions feature recognized industry professionals in the fields of Studio Production, Post ProductionGamingLive Sound/Live Recording, Mixing and Studio Business. The mentors will meet with participants face to face in small groups to offer advice, share their experiences and answer questions about the industry and careers.

The Ask SPARS sessions is made possible with the support of AES and the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG), as well as the cooperation of our talented line up of mentors.


Who should attend:
Current students, recent graduates and recording professionals who are seeking answers to questions, guidance in their careers and networking opportunities with established industry professionals. Mentoring is a life long process. SPARS believes members of the recording community should seek mentoring opportunities at every stage of their career.

This year’s categories will be:

* Studio Production

* Post Production

* Gaming

* Live Sound / Live Recording

* Mixing

* Recording Business


As of today, the following well established industry professionals are registered to attend as mentors:

Studio Production:

Dave Amlen

David Amlen started as a freelance musician before founding his first studio, Sound On Sound Recording. SOS grew into one of the top recording facilities in New York within ten years, catering to rock, jazz, pop, and hip hop artists including David Bowie, Roger Daltrey, Branford Marsalis, Dave Grusin, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Puff Daddy, and Jay-Z. Between the studio and David, as both engineer and producer, the facility garnered more than 65 gold and platinum album awards resulting in sales of over 75 million units worldwide. SOS merged with competitor

Right Track Recording (home to many stars including Elton John, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Whitney Houston, and producer Phil Ramone) in 2005 to create Legacy Studios. Building on the previous successes of both facilities, Legacy also catered to Broadway, Hollywood, and classical music projects including Wicked, The Producers, South Pacific, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Wynton Marsalis and Michael Brecker.

David’s most recent facility, MSR Studios was the result of David buying out his partners in 2009. David and MSR continued to cater to top names and recent projects including If/Then, Kinky Boots, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Renee Fleming, Yoyo Ma, D’Angelo, J Cole, Frank Ocean, and Barbra Streisand. The combined histories of the facilities have yielded over 150 gold and platinum albums and worldwide sales over more than one hundred fifty million units. David is currently finalizing plans to open a new modern facility in NYC catering to larger ensemble recording and music mixing for record, theater, film and television.

Niko Bolas

Niko Bolas is an American music producer, sound engineer, and consultant and business developer in the fields of virtual reality and Internet radio. In 1989, Bolas founded Fakespace Music with Mark Bolas, Ian McDowall and Christian Greuel, which, in 1995, developed the Soundsculpt Toolkit, a software interface that allows music to communicate with the graphical elements of virtual reality.

In 1999, he became the CEO of Sonicbox, Inc., the Internet radio company he founded with Mark Bolas and Ian McDowall. Sonicbox developed and marketed the first internet radio device, which became available in consumer stores in year through a licensing agreement with Philips Consumer Electronics. For the first time, the iM Band(TM) was alongside AM and FM on the radio dial, allowing consumers to listen to Internet radio from around the world.

He assisted the start-up company LibSyn in creating the first podcast network in 2005. He also works with the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media Division of the School for Cinematic Arts, as well as consulting for USC’s Institute for Creative Technology, the Mixed Reality lab. His current music enterprise is McNeeks Production in Blackbird Studio.

Among his most notable production works are Neil Young‘s This Note’s for You, Freedom and Living with War, Warren Zevon‘s Sentimental Hygiene and Melissa Etheridge debut self-titled album. Bolas’ trademark technique is clear and loud recording of vocals. The same can be said of his talent at recording other musical instruments – in the early 1980s, Bolas collaborated with legendary American hard rock band KISS, on their album Creatures of the Night, recording Eric Carr‘s drums.

Jim Griffith

Jim Griffith has over thirty years of experience as a Hollywood recording engineer, producer and studio owner.  Jim has recorded and produced thousands of tracks for records, commercials, television and film.  As a consultant for major audio manufacturers, he has participated in the development of microphones, digital and analog outboard gear, ProTools software, plugins, and interface technology. He is equally comfortable discussing the the technology and application of tube and ribbon microphones as he is with word-clock, bit-depth and noise shaped dither.

Jim is currently working as a Senior Systems Designer for ELB Global, where he has designed and integrated audio and video systems for international clients such as Google, Facebook and NASA/JPL.

Chris Mara

Chris Mara is a producer and engineer and owner of Welcome to 1979. Chris moved from Northern Wisconsin to Nashville when he was 19 years old to intern at a recording studio called “The Recording Club”. After his internship the studio hired him as the house assistant engineer, and over the next 5 years Mara moved up through the ranks in the “traditional” manner. After several years of being a freelance engineer/producer Mara decided to buck the trends and open a retro, all analog studio in Nashville aptly named “Welcome To 1979”. Mara also restores and sells MCI analog tape machines through his company called “No Brainer Audio”, and hosts “Tape Camps” and other events at Welcome To 1979, each catering to the analog recording enthusiasts’ curiosities of analog recording and sense of community. Chris also writes his own biographies for these types of things, and humbly asks for your apology after reading this short and disjointed bio. Some recent milestones:

2013- Welcome To 1979 adds a vinyl mastering room equipped with a Neumann VMS 70 lacquer cutting lathe in order to serve its growing vinyl needs.  A whopping 3,000 vinyl projects are completed in the next two years.

2014- Mara Machines becomes the world’s largest tape machine restoration company, restoring & selling 50 machines in a single year.

2015- Chris Mara, Yoli Mara & Lori Hines form Welcome To 1979 Industries and lease an additional 3,800 square feet in the same building.  The new company is formed to serve the vinyl industry via their new, state of the art electroforming plant.  This new company adds vinyl manufacturing to the company’s arsenal of services.

Anthony Schultz

Anthony Schultz is owner of  Big T Productions and is AES VP of the Eastern Region, US/Canada. Anthony Schultz has been an audio engineer, music producer and composer for over twenty-five years as owner/operator of Big T Productions (est. in 1989). He served three consecutive two-year terms as the Chair of the Boston Section of the Audio Engineering Society and was elected as AES VP of the Eastern Region of the US/Canada in the summer of 2014.

He is an Assistant Professor at The New England Institute, where he has taught since 1997, specializing in MIDI and Audio Technology.

Originally from the Chicago area, Tony attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Production & Engineering in 1988. He received a Masters Degree in Music Technology in 2007 through an online program from the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia.

He has presented at a number of colleges including Berklee College of Music, Harvard University and the Royal College of Music in London. Past clients include; RCA Records, Mercury Records, Virgin Records, WFNX, Filene’s, Home Inc., EF Education, Schneider & Associates, Softskull Press Inc., Brand X Filmworks, Dudnyk Healthcare, Teatro de Marionettas de Venezuela and NAHB Production Group.

Tony is also founder of Tonedog Publishing (ASCAP) and is writing a book about his journey in the music industry. He is also a member of SPARS and NARAS.

Erik Zobler

Erik Zobler was passionate about sound and music from an early age and seemed destined to carve out a career surrounded by other passionate music makers. As a studio engineer and producer, Erik’s long list of credits includes assisting Bruce Swedien on Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album, as engineer on albums by Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Stanley Clarke, Ramsey Lewis and mixing for the Footloose movie soundtrack.

Erik’s long association and friendship with George Duke resulted in some of the jazzman’s greatest work including the albums Dream On, Snapshot and In a Mellow Tone. Erik’s knowledge of the process of music making has clearly played a role in assisting performers to do just that.


Post Production:

Eric Johnson

Heading up Sound and Engagement at Trailblazer Studios, Eric has the perfect combination of enthusiasm and passion to make magic happen when it comes to both people and projects.

Since joining Trailblazer in 2003, Eric has helped the Sound department evolve from a small shop with a local focus to a major player in the business. He hopes to use the medium of film, television and video to educate, inspire and address some of our world’s most challenging issues.

An early interest in architecture couldn’t keep Eric from pursuing his true passion: music. In 1986, he started his own business, Johnsound Productions, producing albums for up-and-coming recording artists, as well as composing, writing, and recording jingles. Later he branched out into music for advertising, soundtracks for nonbroadcast corporate video, and projects for clients such as IBM, Caterpillar, Golden Corral, Nortel, McDonald’s and Hardee’s.

In January of 2003, Eric joined Trailblazer Studios and helped launch the sound division (formerly Blazing Music + Sound) as Executive Producer.

Eric is a thought leader in the music and sound industry on a national level. He is a recent past-President of the Society for Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS), a national organization made up of recording studios and engineers, educational programs, and recording equipment manufacturers. Eric also serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern Documentary Fund.

Trailblazer has worked on projects that have screened at a number of festivals including Sundance, Full Frame, and the American Black Film Festival and aired on PBS, HBO, Discovery Channel, Netflix, and HGTV/DIY among others.

Stephen Marsh

A native of New York, Stephen Marsh came west at 19 to take an internship at a Sony Music Studios west coast mastering room working under veteran engineer David Mitson. Upon graduating to assistant engineer, Steohen worked on over 150 classic Blues titles from a who’s who of legends,

Now a first-call engineer for film, television and game composers. His long list of mastered scores includes albums with Alexandre Desplat (Argo), Mychael Danna (The Good Dinosaur, Life of Pi – Oscar® and Golden Globe® winner for Best Original Score), Aaron Zigman (The Notebook, Sex and The City), Christophe Beck (The Hangover films), Rolfe Kent (Sideways), Mark Isham (42), John Powell (Rio), Cliff Martinez (Contagion), Blake Neely (The Mentalist, Blind Spot), John Ottman (X-Men), Brian Reitzell (Hannibal)
Danny Elfman (Mr. Peabody and Sherman) and Jon Brion (ParaNorman).

With over two decades of experience, Stephen has amassed an enviable discography of albums with a genre-diverse cross-section of artists including Los Lobos, Boyz II Men, Ben Harper, Kenny Loggins, Megadeth, The Donnas, Ozomatli, Pharcyde, Incubus, Ginuwine, Keb’ Mo’s 2004 Grammy winner ‘Keep It Simple’ and 2010 Grammy Nominee and Dove award winner ‘The Long Fall Back To Earth’ by Jars Of Clay.

Since his first days working on blues re-issues at Sony, Stephen has had a knack for getting the most out of a set of analog tape masters. As such, the facility is well-known in audiophile circles as a go-to audiophile mastering and authoring facility. Re-issue credits include albums by Bob Dylan, James Taylor, America, Yes, Nat King Cole, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Crosby Stills & Nash, Heart, Bad Company, Dio, Bread, Phil Collins, Janis Joplin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Earth Wind & Fire, Joe Walsh, Sly and the Family Stone and Donny Hathaway.

Stephen is fortunate to have worked with so many of his musical heroes and to count Grammy®, Emmy®, Oscar® and Dove Award® winners, multiple gold and platinum albums and numerous chart successes among the thousands of releases to his credit. With more than half his life now having been spent behind a mastering console, Stephen still approaches his work with an energetic passion to continue learning each and every day.

Chuck Zwicky

Chuck Zwicky is a NY based mixing engineer who has earned several gold and platinum records in his nearly 30 year career, working with artists as diverse as Prince, Jeff Beck, Reggie Watts, Dead Prez, Soul Asylum and the Jonas Brothers.

Visit his sun-soaked mixing HQ, and you’ll see he takes his own unique approach to mixing, evident from the gear he selects and the plugins he personally designs. The results he achieves speak for themselves (and you’ll find plenty of examples below), but its the way this mixmaster goes about his craft that increases the inspiration. Equal parts audio artist and scientist, Zwicky is more than happy to tune you into his techniques.



Michael Csurics

Michael is a voice director, writer, sound artist, and entertainment industry vagabond whose career spans games, film, music, audiobooks and new media. Currently working on Masquerada: Songs and Shadows and Tacoma. Notable past projects include: Bioshock 2, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, N++,Spiderwick Chronicles (audiobooks), and Kidz Bop. Throughout the video game industry Michael is a well-known crusader for pushing the bar in dialogue and voice performance.

He is the founder of the Brightskull Entertainment Group, a for hire production services company providing dialogue and audio solutions exclusively to video game developers. Prior to this Michael was the Dialogue Lead at 2K Marin. Michael contributes extensively to the larger game development community by regularly speaking at industry trade shows, including the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC), and by working on committees for the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) and the Game Voice Actors Coalition (GVAC).

Additionally, Michael is a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood. He, is a recovering musician, a builder and rider of custom motorcycles, and is a loving husband and father of two who makes his home in Los Angeles, keeps his roots in NYC, and is proud to have been born and raised in the Catskills.

Matt Donner

Matt Donner is the Chief Academic and Operating Officer at Pyramind. Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Business Analysis (Penn State) and a Masters in Music Technology (NYU). While developing his Producer and Engineering chops in NYC, he soon found himself working for high-profile studios like Sound on Sound and Greene Street. He went on to perform for various TV studios and John Cale (Velvet Underground) that included 3 feature film scores with John Cale (Velvet Underground). After signing his band to an indy record deal, his cross-country tour brought him to SF where the drummer exploded – how typical.

Matt quickly found himself in high demand in the studio scene and became an award- winning Regional Technical Director for Guitar Center, and the Pro Tools Support Lead for the Cutting Edge Audio Group where he served as studio designer, installer and trainer for the likes of Joe Satriani, Metallica, Benny Reitveld (Santana and the SF Jazz Fest) as well as many private studios including Wally World (Walter A., N’Sync, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion). A crowning achievement during this period was to install, troubleshoot, deliver and support 50 Pro Tools workstations for the legendary Skywalker Sound during production of Star Wars Episode 1. He claims no responsibility for Jar Jar Binks.

In January 2000, he and Greg Gordon began working together exclusively at Pyramind where they began running the hybrid Production/ Training businesses successfully. Matt has served the company as Chief Engineer, Senior Producer/ Composer, Chief Technical Officer, Vice- President and now as CAO and COO. He helped grow the Pyramind Training program from a single 24 hour class to the highly-touted 900 hour 12-month Complete Producer. He has trained thousands of students, mixed/ mastered dozens of records and has published several magazine articles. Matt has also written two texts on Pro Tools (Thomson Press) as well as the Pyramind Training three-book series published (Alfred Publishing).

Matt currently lives in San Francisco and Davis, CA with his wife Kimberly and his two children, Marcus and Madison. He has been training in Mixed Martial Arts and Bak Mei Kung Fu for 10 years and on good days, surfs the Pacific at Ocean Beach on his Al Merrick 6’ 2” fish. The pacific usually wins.

Jason Hayes

A multiple award-winning composer, Jason Hayes is well known for his long-standing relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, contributing music to their games set in the popular worlds of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. He was the lead composer of the original release of World of Warcraft, the most successful online game in the world.

Jason’s music has been performed by symphony orchestras all over the world in various concerts including the show “Video Games Live”, which debuted at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic, and continues to tour internationally. He’s also been a featured speaker for UCLA, USC, the Film Music Network, ASCAP, the Society of Composers and Lyricists, the Game Developers Conference, and the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.

Jason was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a young adult he discovered his passion for music composition while studying piano with the renowned concert pianist, Dr.William Chapman-Nyaho. After spending a year traveling around the country as a touring musician, Jason studied music composition at the University of North Texas. Soon after, he moved to California and began his career as a staff composer at Sierra On-Line, which eventually led to him joining the award-winning development team at Blizzard Entertainment. Currently he lives in Orange County, CA, and is working on various projects at Blizzard.

Stephan Schütze

Stephan Schütze has worked in the game industry for nearly 18 years and been a musician for closer to 30. He composed the first fully orchestral Australian game score, recorded by Melbourne Symphony. He has worked on nearly every game platform available for the last 15 years across a broad range of genres and styles.

In 2008 Stephan co-founded his own company, Sound Librarian, with his wife Anna. Sound Librarian produces commercial sound effects libraries for the game industry, Sound Librarian libraries can be found in every EA and Activision studio worldwide. They also produce education and training material for the games industry as well as continuing to work in game audio production for game projects.


Live Sound / Live Recording:

David Bowles

David v.R Bowles formed Swineshead Productions, LLC as a classical recordingproduction company in 1995. His recordings have been GRAMMY-nominated(Classical – Best Orchestral Performance) and won the “Classical Orchestral Album”prize (Just Plain Folks Awards). Other Bowles-produced and engineered releases havetwice been named “Record of the Month – Editor’s Choice” from GramophoneMagazine, MusicWeb International and Opera News; “Record of the Year” from theNew York Times (three times), the New Yorker, American Record Guide, Miami Clásicaand Classical Candour. Several of these are available as high-resolution paid downloadsfrom Naxos.

In collaboration with New York University’s Music Technology programme atSteinhardt School of Music, Mr. Bowles is pursuing research in height channelrecording. He has given a paper on his “Bowles array”(a height channel microphonetechnique) at AES conventions in New York and São Paulo, both followed by 9.1channel playbacks.

As an educator, Mr. Bowles is a guest lecturer for Tonmeister programmes at New YorkUniversity (Steinhardt School of Music), the Royal Danish Academy of Music, thePeabody Recording Arts and Sciences (John Hopkins University) and the Banff Centre.He was Visiting Professor of Recording Arts at Indiana University’s Jacobs School.

Mr. Bowles is a member of the AES (Audio Engineering Society), was on the Board of Governors, served on convention committees, and the committee of the San Francisco AES section. He is a member of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts &Sciences) Producers & Engineers Wing and SPARS (Society of Professional Audio Recording Services).

Guy Charbonneau

Guy Chrbonneau is President of Le Mobile, one of the premier live recording companies in the world. For more than 40 years Guy Charbonneau has recorded and mixed projects for an exceptionally wide range of talent within the music, television and motion-picture industries. His passion for recording live music remains unparalleled and fuels his drive for capturing a clear, pristine, authentic sound every time. And it is this approach, or attention to detail that has really allowed him to remain as one of pro-audio’s foremost sound engineers on the scene today.

In recognition of his long and prestigious career in live remote recordings, production and mixing, numerous industry awards have followed. Among these are: Mix magazine’s highly coveted TEC/Technical Excellence & Creativity Award in the category of Outstanding Institutional Achievement for Remote Location Recording Engineer, an Emmy® at the 52nd Annual Creative Arts Awards, and close to 50 gold and platinum records, to name just a few. But what also makes Charbonneau unique is his perspective which spans more than four decades.

Alex Kosiorek

Alex Kosiorek is Manager and Executive Producer, central sound at Arizona PBS. He is a published engineer, producer and manager with 25 years of experience. His projects and initiatives promote excellence utilizing advanced production techniques. He has a wide-ranging supervisory and leadership history, including complete oversight of live recordings, end-to-end management of production facilities construction, coordination of design teams and personnel, and close affiliation with dozens of internationally recognized arts institutions.

Alex is a conservatory-trained musician and an adherent of close teamwork. He brings an intimate knowledge of creation to the table, enabling the visioning and completion of projects in sound engineering under budget and exceeding expectations.

His supervisory and management experience includes:

 Large budget oversight
 Facility planning and operation
 High performance team development
 Negotiating and securing audio equipment sponsorships
 Contracting and supervision of production personnel
 International remote planning, recording and production
 Artist development
 Intellectual property management
 Guest instructor / lecturer / speaker

Danny Leake

Danny Leake is a 30 year veteran Studio, Live, and Mastering Engineer. He’s young enough to be totally versed in the new technology (Analogue & Digital Recording techniques, Digital Editing, Advanced Computerized Mixing techniques, MIDI sequencing, programming, etc.) but old enough to have been trained in the “Classic Recording Techniques” of the “Old Masters.”

He has recorded everything from Hip Hop to Hard Rock, Country to Classical to Gospel and has several Engineering, Gold Record Awards, and Grammy nominations to his credit. Platinum Artists he has worked with include Kanye West, Janet Jackson, Sting, Hank Williams, Jr., Candelbox, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Dennis DeYoung, Ramsey Lewis, and New Edition among others.

Urban Guerrilla Engineers is Danny Leake’s CD Mastering Laboratory. Using both Vintage Analog and Modern Digital outboard processing gear with the SADiE 24/96 Mastering System, UGE promises Power, Clarity, and Commercial Level without destroying the Essence of your Music. UGE handles ALL Music styles. (Rock, Urban/Hip Hop, Gospel, Classical,  Cyber Punk Cowboy…you name it!)

Having been a Studio Engineer for 30 years, Danny also has 20 years experience as an accomplished live sound engineer. He has worked the “Front of the House” on tours like The Stevie Wonder “Natural Wonder” World Tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx” with a 50 Piece Orchestra, The Bobby Brown “Humping Around the World Tour, The Diana Ross World Tour, New Edition and many others. He’s worked most of the major venues of the world. (Europe, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Republic of China, Israel, United Arab Emirates, etc.)

Jeri Palumbo

Jeri has an extensive background in the broadcast sports, entertainment and music industries. Her past and present clients include the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, Super Bowls, BCS Bowls, The Rose Bowl, The Stanley Cup Finals, The Final Four, The Oscars, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.  Her network affiliations include ESPN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOXSPORTS, TURNER and many others. Jeri has a broad comprehension of those environments and their technologies.  She works with people who have risen to the top of their game.

Jeri also has a strong music and music-technology background.  She started playing piano by age 3 and by age 15 she was scoring musical charts.  Jeri attended The Juilliard School of Music in NY as a Composition/Orchestration major and within months she landed studio sessions as an orchestrator/arranger.  Always in search of a “better way” and thirsting for cutting edge technologies, Jeri broadened her scope to include recording sound engineer after exposure to the early Fairlight.

Music production led to television postproduction as a sound designer, editor (Avid), and eventually live broadcast engineer. She has over 20 years experience in live television remote production, including broadcast mixing, field audio, sound design, RF wireless technologies, and communications.  Her role as audio supervisor/mixer/engineer on the PBS bluegrass show “Songs of The Mountains”, which is still in rotation today, earned her a “Telly Award”.

Jeri organized New Orleans Animal Rescue, a pet rescue organization in Louisiana, after the devastation left by hurricane Katrina.  She lived for 5 months in New Orleans post Katrina carrying out animal rescue while pooling various media resources to campaign for needs, volunteers and supplies.  She wrote and secured Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that aired during strategic prime viewing (during such shows as The Today Show). This media exposure helped raise awareness to the seriousness of the plight in New Orleans.  Also as a result of this horrific tragedy, Jeri became involved with the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS); a Federal Bill that passed October 6, 2006 ensuring families will never again be forced to abandon pets during a disaster.  Jeri also donated her time and expertise promoting The Richie Hayward Benefit Concert (drummer of the band Little Feat, who was fighting cancer). The Los Angeles concert included top name artists such as Steve Lukather, Simon Phillips, Greg Bissonette, Danny Seraphine, Coco Montoya, Albert Lee and Jackson Browne just to name a few.  The benefit raised over $60,000 and was a huge success.

Jeri’s company Jaide Media is in a unique position to provide an umbrella of client services between the networks, advertisers, music producers and content creators.



Ross Hogarth

Multi Platinum and multi Grammy-winning producer / mixer / engineer Ross Hogarth has been working in the music industry for over three decades. Growing up in New York City during the influential punk scene of the 70’s, Ross began his musical career as a multi instrumentalist guitarist/singer/songwriter, playing in the wild downtown New York clubs.

With good fortune paving his way to California, he had the rare opportunity to hook up with both the San Francisco Bay area’s exploding New Wave music scene and Southern Cal’s seminal rock scene. Natural evolution took him from road gigs with Jackson Browne, David Lindley, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat and Fleetwood Mac, doing production and sound, into the respected world-class producer, mixer, and recording engineer he is today.

Ross’ wide varied experience and taste has opened up all creative doors and usual and unusual possibilities. He’s never allowed himself to be pigeonholed or trapped in any one musical genre. His studio work runs the gamut from the heavy metal insanity of Motley Crue’s “Girls,Girls,Girls” to the 1998 Grammy-winning Keb’ Mo’ release Slow Down, winning best Contemporary Blues of that year. Some of his timeless work includes John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Jewel, Ziggy Marley and REM. In 2007 Ross won the Grammy for Best Reggae Record of the Year, for his production, mix and engineering work on Ziggy Marley’s Love Is My Religion.

2012 brought the release of “A Different Kind of Truth”, the new record from Van Halen, first with David Lee Roth since 1984 and the first in 16 years, co-produced, engineered and mixed by Ross.

In 2014, his work on the highly acclaimed release of Keb’ Mo’s Blues Americana, has brought a “Best Engineering” Grammy nomination along with a “Best Americana” Grammy nomination. He followed the Keb’ Mo’ record by his production and mix of Julian Lennon’s single “High Road” with Brent Bourgeois.

In 2014 Ross was also humbled, flattered and honored to win the “Tracking Engineer” of the year award at the first Pensado Awards.

Ross continues to produce, engineer and mix in every style of music and enjoys the challenges being faced by all of us in today’s music business paradigm. He loves the opportunity to work with any artist that is committed to their music, following the muse and making a difference.


Maurizio Sera is IRKO, a multi-platinum award winning audio engineer. He was born and raised in Venice, Italy but has been in the US for about 10 years.

Maurizio stated, “Music literally took me around the World. I have been very fortunate to have gotten to work with big name artists like Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Jay-Z and many more.”

Mark Rubel

Mark Rubel is Co-Director of Education and Instructor at The Blackbird Academy, an intensive mentor-based recording school at famed Blackbird Studios, Nashville, TN. 2016 marks his 31st year of teaching audio and other musical subjects, and 36th as an engineer/producer, including for such artists as Allison Krauss, Jay Bennett, Ludacris, Hum, Adrian Belew, Melanie, Fall Out Boy, Duke Special, and many others. His Pogo Studio (featuring the Fantasy Studio C DeMedio mixing console) will soon reopen in Nashville, having operated in Champaign, IL since 1980.

A bassist since 1970, Mark writes occasional magazine articles, including Tape Op interviews with Les Paul and Terry Manning, with more coming soon. He presents audio panels and workshops for schools and professional organizations, and works as an audio consultant and forensic audio legal expert witness.

He serves as panelist, moderator, lecturer, workshop leader and recording judge at numerous audio conferences, including national and regional Audio Engineering Society Conferences, the Tape Op and Potluck Conferences, SXSW, and many more. He is on the national board of SPARS (the Society of Professional Recording Services) and also belongs to NARAS, AES, ASCAP, MEIEA and EARS.

Barry Rudolph

While in college, Barry Rudolph worked in So. Cal NASA-contracted aerospace and computer companies as an electronics technician from 1967 to 1971. He went freelance as a recording engineer/producer in 1972 after his first #1 hit record went gold and, over the course of his ongoing career, went on to work on over 30 gold and platinum RIAA awards-winning records and three Grammy winners.

Barry’s discography includes engineering and mixing for artists: Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall and Oates, The Corrs, Pat Benatar, BB Mak, Enrique Iglesias, Waylon Jennings, Mick Jagger, Robbie Nevil, Selena, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Williams, Keith Moon, Wall Of Voodoo, Natalie Cole, The Beach Boys and more.

Barry has worked with producers: Tom Dowd, Steve Cropper, Jerry Fuller, Oliver Leiber, David Gamson, Neil Giraldo, Rick Rubin, Stanley Clarke, Josquin Des Pres, and Don Cornelius to name a few.

Barry built and maintains his own, state-of-the-art music mixing facility Tones 4 $ Studios where he continues to mix music for clients all over the world. Barry is a lifetime voting member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and also is a contributing editor to MIX Magazine and ‘New Toys’ columnist for L.A.’s Music Connection Magazine. He has designed a vast Web site that functions as a free archive of his magazine articles and a valuable educational reference source devoted to the recording arts.

In 2012, Barry joined as a staff teacher and Instructional Designer at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. He loves teaching recording engineering and often gives private one-on-one lessons at his studio in North Hollywood, CA.

Carl Tatz

Carl Tatz is the award-winning studio designer and principal of Nashville-based Carl Tatz Design LLC. He has thirty plus years of experience as a GRAMMY©-nominated engineer/producer, as an award-winning commercial studio owner (Recording Arts) and as a recipient of the 2013 TEC Award for his proprietary turnkey MixRoom™ design for Vintage King Nashville. Carl continues to share his unique acoustic approach in lectures and on panels at such esteemed venues as Berklee College of Music, SAE, Summer and Winter NAMM, the Art Institute, Mix Nashville, EARS Chicago, Blackbird Academy and various AES events. His design work encompasses commercial, educational, personal recording studios and private screening rooms. He is the creator of the PhantomFocus™ System monitor tuning protocol and PhantomFocus line of Ultra High Definition – Precision Monitoring Instruments.

2013 TEC Award for Studio Design
Eight Time Recipient of Mix Magazine Class Of Issue
Creator of the PhantomFocus™ System monitoring protocol
Creator of the PhantomFocus line of Ultra High Definition – Precision Monitoring Instruments
Co-designer of the Carl Tatz Signature Series™ acoustic modules by Auralex
Co-designer of the Carl Tatz Edition line of workstations by Argosy
Co-designer of the PhantomFocus System eChair™
Co-designer of the PhantomFocus speaker stand by Sound Anchor


Recording Business:

Nick Autry

Nick Autry is the General Manager of Sound Stage Studios, one of Nashville’s premier recording facilities. Nick came to Nashville from North Carolina, like so many, with a guitar and a dream. After leading several bands on the road, the dream took him to Black River Entertainment, where today he works with some of the greatest legends of the recording industry. In addition to his day-to-day management of the compound of studios within the Black River complex, Nick is a respected producer, engineer and songwriter. He recently recorded the number 1 hit Heartbeat off of the Carrie Underwood album Storyteller and Chris Young’s album I’m Coming Over, that also landed two number 1’s. Nick wrote and produced the number 1 album, The Critics give it 5 Stars for Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots this year as well.

Other artists that Nick has worked with include Buddy Guy, Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Cassadee Pope, A Thousand Horses and James Otto to name a few.

Dave Hampton

When Dave Hampton attended California State University, Dominguez Hills in the 1980s, the Los Angeles native, who was building missile guidance systems for Hughes Aircraft, was merely exploring his interest in music and recording.

An audio engineer and designer of studios and touring rigs, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Prince, Herbie Hancock, Chicago, and Marcus Miller, whose 2001 album, “M2” won Hampton a Grammy Award.

After his early training in electronics at Los Angeles Trade Tech College and CSU Dominguez Hills, Hampton worked at Oberheim Electronics, where he acquired his in-depth knowledge of analog synthesizer technology. During this period he began striking out on his own as an independent engineer, technician, and sound editor, and left the company after five years to start his own business, MATK Corporation.

Besides designing, consulting, writing, and lecturing, Hampton is currently working on producing original audio and visual projects with his company. He also sits on the steering committee of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which is the organization that bestows the Grammy Awards. The former technical director of high-profile studios including Paisley Park in Minneapolis and Hancock Music in Los Angeles, Hampton has chronicled experiences in his two books, “So, You’re an Audio Engineer” and “The Business of Audio Engineering.”

Bob Katz

Bob Katz (Robert Katz) has been an audio engineer and AES member since 1975. In September, 2016, he became an AES Fellow. Fluent in English, Spanish and French, he’s played the Bb Clarinet since age 10. Author of two books, numerous articles and equipment reviews published in Byte, db magazine, RE/P, Mix, Resolution, AudioMedia, PAR, Stereophile, the AES Journal and at the website, which hosts a comprehensive Audio FAQ. Wikipedia: He has chaired numerous workshops and been facilities and workshops chair at AES Conventions as well as being chairman of the AES New York Section and is currently co-chair of the Central Florida Section. He gives seminars throughout the world in three languages.

Michael Lloyd

Michael Lloyd was Vice President of A&R for MGM Records by the age of 20, and for more than 45 years has been producing hit records and soundtracks, earning more than 105 gold and platinum awards and selling over 150 million records.

Some of the artists he’s worked with include, Barry Manilow, Mike Love and the Beach Boys, Lou Rawls, Sylvie Vartan, Shaun Cassidy, Steve Holy, Belinda Carlisle, The Monkees, The Bellamy Brothers, The Osmonds, Stryper, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bill Medley, The Righteous Brothers, Debby Boone, Kimberley Locke, Air Supply, and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few.

He was the Music Supervisor for the film Dirty Dancing, wrote the Latin dance music to which Patrick and Jennifer danced and produced the Dirty Dancing soundtrack album. Currently, there are several Dirty Dancing, the Musical companies touring all over the world. He he has done the scoring, music supervision, songwriting, song placement, and/or music producing for nearly 200 motion pictures, TV movies, TV specials and television series. (Film IMDb) His chart records span six decades, from the ’60s to the present. (All Music)

Daniel Shores

Three time GRAMMY® Nominee Daniel Shores started his professional career with Sono Luminus, first as an assistant engineer, then engineer, then head of the Sono Luminus record label. Now with changes in company structure, Daniel is back to doing what he loves best exclusively – engineering. Daniel’s focus for years has been his love of sound and aim to create the most pristine recordings of music possible. One of Daniel’s primary focuses has been on surround sound and Immersive audio techniques, Recording and mixing both the first Pure Audio Blu-Ray by an american record label and first Auro 3-D music release by an american label. Though the majority of his work is in the field of classical music, most recently Daniel completed the 5.1 and 9.1 Auro 3-D mixes of EDM icon BT’s album “Electronic Opus.”

When not in the studio, Daniel is an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University where he teaches remote recording and surround sound classes in the school’s music recording and production technology department. Daniel is also a musician himself starting life as a classical /jazz pianist and percussionist, then moving to jazz and rock bass, guitar, mandolin and various other odds and ends.

Ellis Sorkin

Ellis Sorkin is Owner and President of Studio Referral Service. Ellis began his career with the internship program at A&M studios in the early 70’s. He grew quickly from intern to assistant to first engineer. While there he had the honor of working on many major albums including projects with Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Neil Diamond, Joan Baez, Chuck Mangione,Richie Havens and dozens more. He also worked with the highest end producers of the time like Phil Spector, Richard Perry, Lou Adler, Rick Jarrard, Phil Ramone etc.

In 1980 he started Studio Referral Service Inc. which he created to help clients find studios that would be the best fit for the needs. SRS is now in it’s 36th year and handles studio bookings, leases and sales internationally representing more than 700 facilities.

Joel Stoner

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1986, Joel drove straight across the country to Los Angeles and quickly developed a career as a busy, awarding winning freelance engineer working on a huge variety of projects in over 100 studios in the LA area.

In his free time, he started to build a database application to keep track of his clients, invoices, projects, etc., and came to the realization that there was no commercial product available for other engineers and studios to do the same.

In 1997, he founded AlterMedia, and a year later launched Studio Suite, a ‘studio management software’ application. Studio Suite is now used by leading production facilities, Fortune 100 companies, universities, state, federal and military organizations in over 55 countries to manage the business side of media production.

February 2017 will mark 20 (official) years that Joel has been consulting with studios around the world about that crazy thing called “the studio business”.

Sherri Tantleff

Sherri is an experienced, passionate, Entertainment Media Industry Professional. She served as Vice President of Operations for New York City’s premier audio post facility, Sync Sound, for some 16 years. Sherri currently is working with Industry Outreach for Full Sail University’s Career Development Department.

Her role is to foster mutually beneficial relationships with companies in the audio, music, entertainment technology, business, game, film and web development industries. Bringing professionals together to address issues regarding curriculum, employment, technology and promoting employer engagement is Sherri’s passion. She continues to attend and participate in industry conventions and events including AES, NAB, NAMM, GDC, Siggraph, the Grammy Awards, the Country Music Awards, NATPE and South by Southwest conferences. Sherri also serves as a Director of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS).

Sherri is a musician and composer who loves children and has owned a Music Together franchise, teaching family music classes. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Relations.

More Mentors being added…