Audeze talks to mix engineer Fernando Reyes

July 01, 2023

Fernando Reyes is a stereo and Dolby Atmos music mix engineer. He's made a name for himself partnering with Michael Brauer on Atmos mixes and continues his upward trajectory with many well-known and emerging artists.

Fernando Reyes in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones

 "Having upgraded to the MM-500s I couldn't be happier. These are, hands down, the best sounding headphones I've worked with."  - Fernando Reyes
Here's our chat with Fernando:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Bob Dylan - Time Out of Mind (2022 remix) co-mixed in Atmos

Ben Abraham - Friendly Fire co-mixed in Atmos

Isla Rose - No Answers EP mixed in Stereo

Luke Combs - Gettin' Old Engineered for Mix

Idina Menzel - Which Way To The Stage? (Documentary for Disney+) Asst Concert Mixer

YodaWan - One Day at A Time mixed in Stereo

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

I work as a mix engineer both in Stereo and Dolby Atmos.

I also work as a co-mixer in Dolby Atmos projects alongside my mentor, Michael Brauer.

Lastly, I work as an Engineer for Mix in stereo projects mixed by Michael Brauer.

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

I started playing classical guitar when I was around 12 years old. That progressed into picking up electric guitar and getting into heavy metal. I was in different bands playing covers of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica etc. Eventually I got into indie rock and indie pop and was part of an indie band doing original songs. We released an EP. I decided to pursue a degree in music at university in my home country of Perú, and through a friend I met there I was introduced into the world of production, recording and mixing. I was fascinated and decided that's what I wanted to do with my life. In 2013 I moved to the United States to attend Full Sail University in Orlando, FL and got a degree in Recording Arts. In 2015, after graduation, I moved to NYC and started my career at Electric Lady Studios. Through the years my musical taste changed a lot from my teenage years of Heavy Metal to now where I mostly listen to (and work on) pop music.

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

My dad has always been into music and used to play Led Zeppelin and such when I was growing up, but no one in my family played any instruments nor had a career in the arts. The interest was developed on my own and was nurtured by my early guitar teachers and through conversations with friends who were really into music as well. When I went to Full Sail I was lucky enough to become close with a couple of my teachers who became my mentors during that period. Once I moved to NYC and started working at Electric Lady I was able to learn under so many talented engineers until eventually I started working alongside Michael Brauer who became my main mentor. He's really shaped me into the engineer I am today.

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?

There's been moments in my career when things got hard either creatively, financially, work-load wise etc. which used to make me feel frustrated or insecure. As I've been in this industry longer and I've gained more experience I've learned to give it my all when I'm working on a project but to not let work-related situations, especially those out of my control, affect my personal life outside of the studio.

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

I work 100% In The Box so my tools are Pro Tools and the great plugins I use. There are way too many to name, but without the incredible software manufacturers always pushing technology to its limits and creating incredible sounding products I wouldn't be able to work as efficiently and comfortably as I do.

The only gear I use are my ATC 25 monitors, my headphones, my Antelope Orion converter, my UAD satellite cards and my Avid faders.

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

This is a passion career. When you do something you love for a living it is easy to give yourself fully to your craft and your work. My biggest advice is don't let this damage your personal relationships. Always make time, no matter how busy you are or what cool project you are involved with, for your family and friends, and for yourself. Put your well-being above anything else. Also, when your hobby becomes your career it stops being a hobby. Find a new hobby. It's important to have something that fulfills us outside of what we make money from.

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

I've been working with headphones for a very long time. Great monitors are super important but a trusty pair of headphones are even more important, in my opinion. You are not always working in great sounding rooms, or rooms that you are familiar with so being able to corroborate that what I'm hearing out of any speakers is accurate (or not) by quickly checking on my headphones is priceless. Also, I much prefer headphones over speakers when having to work on very precise aspects of a mix, especially when trying to hear things like clicks/pops, distortion or any unmusical issues in a song.

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

I'm lucky enough to be married to my best friend, who also happens to be my mastering engineer! (and the best in the game) Shout-out to my wife, Idania, mastering engineer at Sterling Sound.
We are in a unique situation where the insight I've gained from her mastering perspective has helped my work in mixing tremendously, and vice-versa, my input as a mixing engineer sending mixes off to mastering and what I expect of the process has also been beneficial for her. We have been building our careers together from Day 1 and are each other's biggest supporters.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? 

I've always relied on different playback systems to make sure my mixes will translate everywhere. I'm constantly jumping between my monitors and headphones during the mix process, and then, before wrapping up, I check on my radio, iPhone speakers and airPods. Besides my monitors, my headphones are my main monitoring system so I need to be able to rely on them completely. Having upgraded to the MM-500s I couldn't be happier. These are, hands down, the best sounding headphones I've worked with. I can hear and trust the full frequency spectrum, I can feel the low end and they've helped me make accurate decisions. They are also very comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time. 

Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I've just mixed a fantastic new song for London-based Italian artist Lucrezia in Stereo and Dolby Atmos, out in Mid-July.
I've co-mixed in Dolby Atmos the new song "Designer" by band Balu Brigada out now via Atlantic Records
Currently mixing the band Arizona's new album in Dolby Atmos
And I've co-mixed a really iconic album in Dolby Atmos for a legendary band. Can't say more than that right now, but looking forward to it being released in the near future. It's gonna be my biggest release to date.

Fernando Reyes' Audeze MM-500 headphones