Audeze interviews mixing and mastering engineer Stefano Pizzaia

August 08, 2023

Stefano Pizzaia is a mixing and mastering engineer with 4x Latin Grammy awards, 11x Latin Grammy Nominations and 2x Grammy Nominations.

Stefano Pizzaia in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones

 "I have used many headphones over the years but none like the Audezes... I use them in 100% of my mixes or masters. - Stefano Pizzaia
Here's our chat with Stefano:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

In recent years I have worked more and more on headphones, the last four exclusively on the Audeze LCD-X in conjunction with my passive speaker system. In 2022 I mixed an album called "Donde Machi" by Dawer x Damper that was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as number 6 of the 50 Best Spanish-language Albums of the year. I worked a lot on the album on the LCD-X's, especially looking for the right tone and frequency balance. The precision I needed was given to me by the headphones. I also mixed several tracks by different artists who were nominated and others who won the Latin Grammy in 2022, always with the support of Audeze technology.

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

After many years of experience as a recording engineer, lately I work almost exclusively in mixing and mastering. Also a lot with Atmos last year.

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

My mom gave me my first classical guitar at the age of 9. From that moment I began to study. Later I got to know the electric guitar and played for many years in different bands with which we recorded albums and toured in a couple countries. My love for technology was just as great as the one I felt for music, that's why I decided to be a sound engineer. I grew up listening to a lot of Italian music, great voices and great performers that I still remember with great respect today. I also listened to a lot of flamenco, jazz, metal, rap and rock in general.

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

A cousin who is an incredible composer of film music and whom I greatly admire brought me closer to music and the recording industry in a very sincere way. My most important heroes have been friends with whom I have been able to share and learn throughout life; for example my brother with whom we have always shared a great passion for art, technology and food. Octavio Grajales was also one of my most important references, a friend and a teacher. To the list I could add Nino Rota, Roberto Benigni, Paco de Lucia, Michael Akerfeldt and Joao Gilberto among many others.

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?

Trying to make a speaker translate well is a very difficult task, especially in the low frequencies. It took me a long time to build a system that worked for me the way I wanted it to.

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

Audeze LCD-X, Cranesong Avocet IIA, Amphion Loudspeakers. In the digital domain mostly UAD stuff, Fab Filter, Plugin Alliance, Waves and DMG.

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

Each path is different, I believe that everyone should experiment to find their personal perspective. Have patience and know how to differentiate between those who want to teach you and those who only do marketing.

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

I have always been a lover of headphones, but for mixing or mastering, only in recent years. I like to switch between speakers and headphones, to rest and to have another perspective. I know what I want to hear on the speakers and what I want to hear on the headphones, each shows different landscapes. The most important thing in either case is the coupling with the amplifier. It makes a very big difference. Not all "expensive" amps work well with all headphones.

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

In the last few years I tried to look for more simplicity: in the processes, in the hardware and in the concept. Knowing how to use the things that are necessary very well, without distractions, is my goal.

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

I have used many headphones over the years but none like the Audezes. It's something I fell in love with right away but took me years to fully appreciate and optimize for my workflow. Now I couldn't be happier. I feel like I have found a long term relationship with these headphones. I use them in 100% of my mixes or masters.

Stefano Pizzaia's Audeze LCD-X headphones