Audeze chats with engineer and mixer Ross Newbauer

Ross Newbauer is a Los Angeles based mixer/producer. He loves sunset drives, lox sandwiches, distorting things and compressing big drum room mics. He’s worked with artists such as Christina Perri, AJR, OneRepublic, Quarters of Change, and more.

 Ross Newbauer mixing with his Audeze LCD-X headphones

"The LCD-X’s have provided me with a consistent perspective and reliable, comfortable low-end in headphones!" - Ross Newbauer
Here's our chat with Ross:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Man, I’m really a fan of characteristics of productions that I got to mix that just worked really well. My low end on stuff like We Came to Move (The Pocket Queen) came out wonderfully, the soft articulation of One Degree (penelope Q) or when a young rock band hits the absolute mark with a song like Jaded (Quarters of Change).

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

I’m a hired-gun mixer and an enjoyable personality to work with. I often love opportunities to be less-than-subtle with my contributions to songs, and where applicable, once some mixes have worked between us, I like to produce artists I gel with.

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

The moments that influenced my career were the lessons that I absorbed and learned from. And slowly learning more and more about "how the sausage gets made." Call it an undying yearning and curiosity- I started trying to make records at age 13 with Adobe Audition and some terrible computer microphones and put it on iTunes. Refining what I knew and growing has been the name of the game since day 1.

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 can recall many times I haven’t been sure where to go with a mix. What I remind myself is to slow down and use perspective to your benefit. Often with mixing, it can be easy to get lost in the sauce. Reference, reference, reference. Use the rough mix, use other popular tracks out there. And don’t try to be anyone but yourself.

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

Dude, it’s totally the DBX 157. It’s a noise reduction box from 1974. Sounds absolutely amazing when you push it as a crush box. No controls, just hit it hard. I’m all about the esoteric hardware from the 70s. Master Room XL-305 reverb is another one. A+.

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

In my first few years as an assistant engineer assisting mixer Joe Zook, I kept the patio around the pool tidy of leaves and debris. I was so eager to do a great job every day. All that mattered while I raked up leaves were those leaves that I was raking. Begin with that mentality. Be as if nobody owes you anything, and respect is to be earned.

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

Headphones have always been in my rotation; they’re another perspective. More often these days I’m looking for a reliable “constant” regardless of the room I’m working in.

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?

Find what makes your heart really soar, and what you feel you could do every day. Then reduce yourself to a sponge and go out and absorb absorb absorb. Be excited about each step!

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

The LCD-X’s have provided me with a consistent perspective and reliable, comfortable low-end in headphones! And most impressively is the stereo imaging— it’s wonderful to feel almost like I’m working on speakers.
They’ve helped me get mixes done very quickly, some of which for the forthcoming Quarters of Change album.

Ross Newbauer's Audeze LCD-X headphones