For this week’s gear review I had the opportunity to sit with Eyal Levi of Audiohammer Studios and discuss the secret to his success. He has produced and mixed albums for some of the best metal bands out there including Whitechapel, DevilDriver, The Black Dahlia Murder, Battlecross, and many more. Here is how our conversation went.
What is the most important piece of equipment you use to obtain your signature sound?
Levi: I would have to say that my ears and what’s between them are the most important factors in my equation. I know this isn’t the answer most people want to hear, but go with me on this one…
What about it makes it so important to you?
Levi: I travel a lot. I’m always changing control rooms. My environment is fluid. To keep my output up to my standards I have to make sure I’m hearing properly and thinking properly. So I do lots of prep with every project. This involves everything from listening to the material non-stop like an actor learning a Hollywood role, to doing practice runs with gear I have yet to encounter. I take preparation as seriously as the act of recording or mixing.
What are the major pros and cons?
Levi: The pros are that I can go anywhere in the world confidently with nothing but my wallet and a cell phone and know that I will produce the same level of results. I am not bound by fallible and soon to be obsolete technology. The con is that I can never rest on my laurels. But is that really a con? This is the career I chose. So having to work hard at it is fine by me. Bring it on!
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Levi: I was born with my ears and my brain, so my whole life. And yes I would and always do change them. I’m constantly modifying my plan of action to meet the reality of my challenges. If you don’t have flexibility built in to your approach you will fail. This ranges from mixing to romance to tracking to flying planes. It’s a rule of life. I’m always trying to sharpen my skills. Staying on and ahead of the curve is hugely important and requires for me to be constantly updating my knowledge pool. This means that I still watch tutorials, I still take guitar lessons, I still read books, and I still analyze music.
Any final thoughts or comments?
Levi: Your music equipment is as responsible for shaping your results as a set of power tools is responsible for building a house. Know your tools, but always put your vision and skills first.