Audeze talks to mix engineer Michael Brauer

Michael Brauer has been mixing music for over four decades. He’s won seven Grammys in six different categories and genres of music, and is the co-founder of Mix With the Masters. Michael developed a unique approach to mixing that has become know as Brauerize©, which takes multi-band compression and EQ to new heights.

Check out our video interview series with Michael here.

 Michael Brauer listening to Audeze LCD-5 headphones in his studio (photo by Fab Dupont)

Photo by Fab Dupont

"I trust them... More recently, they are taking a huge role because I’m also mixing in Atmos." - Michael Brauer
Here's our chat with Michael:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Albums from Luther Vandross ”Never too much”, Aretha Franklin “Jump to it”, The Kooks “Inside in inside out”, Coldplay “Parachutes”,”X&Y”, Rolling Stones “Steel wheels”, New Radicals ”You get what you give”, James Bay “Chaos and the Calm”, John Mayer “Continuum.”

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

“Same as it ever was, Same as it ever was” :)

How did you get started in music?

John Sebastian’s (the Lovin’ spoonful) brother, Mark got me playing drums.

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

Sandy Nelson, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Motown. I loved so many different styles of music that when I became a mixer I decided to experience them all first hand, which is why my discography is so eclectic.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life?

I was in a band playing a gig in Columbus, Ohio and during a break the venue was playing Kool and the Gang, “Jungle boogie”. The next day I got the record, had the band learn it and basically turned my band into a funk and soul band.

Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

Hearing Bernard Purdie playing with Aretha... I wanted to play just like him, so I played his records over and over until I could play fatback drums.

Harvey Goldberg and Michael Delugg at MediaSound were my mentors and role models.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles?

There came a point where I couldn’t get the power and emotion in a mix from the traditional way I had been taught. So, I came up with a unique combination of existing mix techniques and developed post compression mixing which eventually became what is now known as “Brauerize.”

Would you approach it differently now?

fuck no!

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project?

I always had my Motown Eqs on drums. My two original Motowns were cloned by Heritage Audio and are called Motorcity. I use those now, they actually sound better.

What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

Isotope RX, Plug-in Alliance, Black box and SSL 9000 are among many of my favorite plugins.

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

Don’t fucking do it, turn around, do not enter. Even your dog will up and leave ya.

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

I generally don’t use headphones, hate-’em ... oh wait, who’s this interview for? When I moved out of the city and set up a studio in my house, I used my Audeze that I trusted until I was confident my ATC 25’s were accurate in the room. More recently, they are taking a huge role because I’m also mixing in Atmos. I didn’t want to invest in the complete monitoring system so I just purchased the Dolby renderer and am mixing on headphones. I then take all the mixes and quickly tweak them in an Atmos room with all its speakers.

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

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s not a comment or a story but if you ignore the advice, you won’t be around long enough to share stories or make comments.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

I trust them.

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

Whatcha say young fella? Speak up! Pretty soon deliverables will be First -The Stereo mix, oh and also give us an Atmos mix... In 7.3? Nah, 42.6 is all the rage.