Audeze chats with mix engineer Kenny Fan

April 25, 2023

Kenny Fan is an award-winning mix engineer. He has many decades of experience and is well-known in the Taiwan music industry.

Kenny Fan in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones

"After using the MM-500 for a while, I found it very revealing, particularly in the midrange area. It reminds me of a pair of very good monitors."  - Kenny Fan
Here's our chat with Kenny:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

To me, mixing is like a journey. We give our heart to the song. We built emotions for that particular moment. If I had to pick out any highlights from my work, It would be that pure joy I have when immersed in the music I'm mixing.

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

As a mix engineer. My main role is to sculpt the sonic emotion and bring the artist's and producer's vision to life.

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

My dad likes western classical music, and my mom loves Chinese opera, so I grew up in a family filled with music and western-eastern cultural conflict. That forced me to learn to embrace different music cultures at a very young age.
During my high school years in US, I started playing music with friends and discovered my passion for the technical side of things, like sequencing, sampling, and recording. That opened a door for me and slowly paved the way for my music career.

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

When I was young, my uncle introduced me to the world of audio technology by demonstrating the difference between stereo and mono audio. That changed the way I listen to music. I started to pay attention to the small details in songs, trying to locate the different placements for each instrument. With the graphic EQ on an old radio, I started to play with frequency and balance. Those experiences were influential when I made decisions on my future career.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

I get frustrated when I can't make the track sound like I wanted it to. I used to spend hours on instruments to get them to perfection. As I got more experienced, I focused more on the song's feelings. How does it feel? Does it move me? It took me many years to realize that not every song needs to sound perfect. Sometimes perfection is built from imperfections.

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

Amphion two18 with BaseOne plus Audeze LCD-5, MM-500 and LCD-4z.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Never stop learning, be humble, and be true to yourself.

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

I’ve been working with headphones since the early 90s. I use them as a second reference when I’m mixing or tracking.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

After using the LCD-5 and MM-500 for a while, I found they're very revealing, particularly in the midrange area. They remind me of a pair of very good monitors.

When mixing, I can quickly make decisions on the instrument placement and it’s super responsive when I’m EQing and doing automation. It’s also a great tool to check the binaural fold down when working in Dolby Atmos.