Audeze interviews producer, mixing and mastering engineer Gene Paul

September 07, 2021

Audeze interviews producer, mixing and mastering engineer

Gene Paul

Grammy-winning engineer Gene Paul, son of legendary guitarist and inventor Les Paul, has spent decades in the studio creating some of the most memorable recordings in modern music. From Grammy winners Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack to Maria Schneider and Norah Jones, his ability to capture the artist's intention and translate it into music has made him one of the most sought-after mixing and mastering engineers in the business.


"My Dad told me the most important part of recording is to listen on an accurate monitor. And you have that."  -Gene Paul
Here's our talk with Gene:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Maria Schneider - “The Thompson Fields
Norah Jones - "Feels Like Home"
Roberta Flack - “Killing Me Softly"
Aretha Franklin - “Young, Gifted and Black
The Average White Band - “AWB
The Modern Jazz Quartet - “The Complete Last Concert

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

Mastering Engineer, Mixing Engineer with creative ideas. Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that counts.

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

At home in my Dad's studio.  Classic Pop and Jazz from the 1950’s.  Worked at Atlantic Records from the 1960’s thru 1980’s so R&B, Jazz, Country and Pop was an every day meal.  Now anything goes Classical to Rap.

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

My Dad Les Paul, Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin, Rudy Van Gelder, Aretha Franklin, Muscle Shoals & Motown.

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?

Arif Mardin and I were mixing an Aretha song for days, and just could not get the feel right.  We received a phone call that maintenance wanted to come in and change a light bulb, so let’s take a break… He came in with his ladder and was up there changing the light. When he asked who was that singing, we replied Aretha, and he mentioned he wished he could hear her a little louder. We turned Aretha up and that was the finished mix and a Grammy winner “Young, Gifted and Black.”

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

Sontec MES-432C Equalizer, Pacific Microsonics Model 1 HDCD Converter/Encoder and the Weiss DS-1 MkII De-Esser/Compressor/Limiter.

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

Sometimes an artist's music has a special DNA, ask questions and don’t bend it just because you can.

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

It’s been around 10 years using 'phones.  Although we have a wonderful speaker system, headphones give me the intimate view of the mix that helps with my creative mastering decisions.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

WOW…….. Wonderful experience, a joy to hear the sound without an opinion.  If you want a personality, then put it in when you record. What a concept.
My Dad told me the most important part of recording is to listen on an accurate monitor. And you have that.