Audeze chats with engineer and producer Abel Garibaldi

December 19, 2023

Abel Garibaldi is a Los Angeles based Mixer and Vocal Engineer/producer. Growing up in Chicago he spent his early years cutting his teeth in the 90’s alternative music scene. As an assistant engineer and programmer at Warzone Records working on Wax Trax/TVT artists like Die Warzau, Sister Machine Gun, KMFDM, Gravity Kills, other alt rock acts and house music projects learning how to merge live instruments and drum machines. He is currently a Mixer of Hit R&B, Rap and Pop.

Abel Garibaldi in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones

 "The Audeze MM-500 have really changed my workflow. I used to use headphones only for tracking sessions and ruffs but now I'm in a new world. Because of the MM-500 I’m finally able to mix with headphones and It’s exciting new territory for me!" - Abel Garibaldi
Here's our chat with Abel:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I’m proud of the records we were making in the 90’s. There was a lot of experimenting! It was an exercise in distortion!

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

These days mostly I mix and also do some vocal recording and production.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I saw the movie Purple Rain and it was over! In my early teen years I listened to a lot of Prince and WBMX Radio Chicago where they played a lot of current rap R&B and house…think mid 80s…and of course the Top 40 Countdown with Casey Kasem Sunday Mornings!

Mid teen and high school years I listened to a lot of post punk: Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Love and Rockets and synth pop ala Depeche Mode. We spent our weekends at an all ages dance cub called Medusa’s…

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

I’m always influenced but I’ll name a couple:

Van Christie trained me on the art of distortion at Warzone recorders. We would overloading mic pres and different hardware, mic drums in elevators for effect. He would slide mixes into the first versions of protools and start slicing things up! You hear distortion on all type of pop and rap productions now.

I first heard the Audeze LCD-XC at my friend Chef Tones! My mind was blown. The clarity was amazing! I was like “I need this in my life!” There is a big difference between listening to Spotify on earbuds and listening to Tidal hi-fi with the Audeze haha!

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

Fab filter plugs, Spectre Plugin, Burl Hardware, lofi plugin. I’m still mixing on my Focal speakers.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I’ve been working with headphones for 29 years. I would mostly use headphones for tracking sessions and ruffs. I’m looking to integrate them more into my mix workflow. For Spatial mixes I spend about half the mix on headphones.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

The Audeze MM-500 have really changed my workflow. I used to use headphones only for tracking sessions and ruffs but now I'm in a new world. Because of the MM-500 I’m finally able to mix with headphones and It’s exciting new territory for me! Now when doing stereo mixing I’m about 50/50 as far as splitting time on speakers vs headphones. I also find I can extend my listening time and get less fatigued when listening quietly on them.

When I’m doing spatial mixing I’m mostly working on the headphones. It’s important to me that the stereo mix and the spatial mixes sound similar. When monitoring on the MM-500 I can A/B and really hear what’s going on.

Recently I’ve been using them to work on Stereo and Spatial mixes for Jacquees, singles for Cash Money Artists Eighty8, Rublow, Onsight Deeda, as well as Lupe Fiasco, YK Osiris and Contradash.

 Abel Garibaldi's Audeze MM-500 headphones