Audeze speaks with engineer Pierpaolo Demarchi

December 23, 2023

Pierpaolo Demarchi is an up and coming engineer who in 5 years went from knowing nothing about engineering to working on the Atmos Mix for the #1 Stormzy album “This is what I mean.” 

Pierpaolo Demarchi in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones

"Thanks to my Audeze I can now go into any studio and feel confident with the decisions I make, whether it’s a microphone placement during a recording session, or a balance decision in a mixing session."  - Pierpaolo Demarchi
Here's our chat with Pierpaolo:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of? 

Definitely the latest Stormzy Album who went number 1 “This is what I mean”. 

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

Mixing Engineer is my main role but at the same time I still take jobs as producer, recording engineer, mastering engineer, simply because I like my days to be varied and I do believe that in music production/producing/recording/mixing/mastering are much more connected than we think, so building skills in all areas can help achieving better results.

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

When I was about 10 years old my grandfather used to bring me with his folk band to play serenades to the brides the day before weddings which was quite an experience every time! And during those years is when I decided that music was gonna be a big part of my life, so I started studying classical guitar. To be honest Queen was the only band I would listen to over and over until I started studying sound engineering which brought me into listening to every type of music.

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

I never had a role model or heroes but I can confidently say that I got where I am for two main reasons: 1 - my passion for music; 2 - the people I met throughout the years. I met some of the best people I could have ever met which fully supported, inspired me, and made me understand more about me and my life goals. 

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 used to complete mixes approved by clients but not be happy with myself because the mixes weren’t great and I didn’t know how to improve them. Now every time I complete a mix I send them to people I trust in order to get their opinion and tweak them after. The results are waaaaay better. 

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

If I have to choose a desert island tool I would definitely choose the FabFilter Pro Q3. Is the perfect EQ everyone should have because of its interface and functionality (I mainly use for subtractive EQ). I never stick with specific gear/plugin because I love always working with different tools/reaching different sounds but can’t choose another EQ simply because in my opinion the Pro Q3 it’s the BEST!

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

Practice as much as possible because if you want to break in the industry you HAVE TO BE good and fast, and network as much as possible too otherwise no one knows about you. When I say “network” I mean make friends, go out with people in the industry for dinner, lunch or whatever, the more time you spend with them the higher the chances that they are going to remember you.

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 I started sound engineering simply because I didn’t have a good sounding room. Now I use them every day and I can get at least 70 to 80% of the mix on headphones before moving onto speakers.

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

This works for me but not necessarily for everyone. I never use templates or “instrument/vocal chain”, I prefer to understand the artist and their music and working accordingly. So my clients don’t come to me because I have a “sound” but because I enhance what they already have, their sound.

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

Thanks to my Audeze I can now go into any studio and feel confident with the decisions I make, whether it’s a microphone placement during a recording session, or a balance decision in a mixing session. I can finally commit processing during the recording process such as EQ/Compression, which wasn’t easy in the past because I was always scared of ruining a recording. Audeze gives me all the confidence I need.

My Audeze have been crucial to reference and adjust the binaural mix of Stormzy’s album “This Is What I Mean” in which I’ve been part of creating the Dolby Atmos mixes.

Pierpaolo Demarchi's Audeze LCD-X headphones