Audeze talks to producer and engineer Ben Greenberg

October 28, 2023

Ben Greenberg is a Producer/Engineer/Mixer from Brooklyn, based out of Circular Ruin Studio. Born and raised in NYC, Ben has 20+ years of studio experience here in the city and all over the world, and a lengthy discography full of challenging releases that span a wide swath of genre, style, and idea. When he isn't working on albums and scores for film and television, Ben tours and releases records with the band UNIFORM.

Ben Greenberg in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones

 "I've never heard a pair of headphones that sound this close to how my mixes feel in the room."  - Ben Greenberg
Here's our chat with Ben:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of? 

Danny Elfman - Happy

Junglepussy - JP5000

Christeene - Beaucoup Morocco

Amber Arcades - Just Like Me

Johann Johansson - Mandy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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

My work is pretty evenly split between Producing and Mixing, but no matter which hat I have on I'm always pushing- pushing the artist, pushing the sound, seeing how far things can go. It's the only way to make something new!

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

I've been studying, performing, and recording since I was a kid in the 90s. Being from NYC, most of my earliest musical loves were local, KISS, Beastie Boys, White Zombie, those are probably the big three that got me excited about playing music, writing music, and ultimately making records. As a teenager I started branching out more and more, punk, hardcore, free jazz, new music, breakbeat, electro, and early IDM were all around me. I'm very grateful I got to grow up in such a fertile place, pre-internet.

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

I got to play with Wynton Marsalis in high school. He put his hand on my shoulder in front of the whole school and said some very nice things about my playing, that was a really encouraging early moment. Around the same time I started working at the studio Systems Two in Brooklyn. Mike Marciano taught me so much! Mic placement, gain staging, tape machine maintenance and tape editing. I learned pro tools on the job there, they had just installed an early control surface in their B room when I started. Years later, at a different studio, Henry Hirsch showed me how to nail a Bonham drum sound on a Helios desk with an Ampex MM1000, an original Fairchild, and 3 mics.

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?

For a long time I didn't have my own studio, so that would sometimes create moments of doubt in the mix process. I was always in different rooms, different sounding rooms, different speakers, etc. It was awesome in a way, I learned a ton about a lot of different gear and I learned how to work fast in a new environment. Once we opened Circular Ruin back in 2020, though, I was immediately happier with my work. A consistent listening environment is really everything!

The first time I heard a pair of Audeze headphones was here at Circular I had a mix up and I started listening on the headphones. Then I turned the speakers on and took the headphones off and it sounded EXACTLY the same. That kind of consistency is an absolute game changer for any workflow.

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'm a deep devotee of all things Eventide. We've got an H3000 and a DSP 4000 and I still find myself patching in my Pitch Factor when I just need more of that sound. They really nailed something sonically sentimental over there.

I am also a recent convert to Fab Filter's Pro-Q thanks to Brian McOmber. I seriously have no idea how I got by without it before!

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

When in doubt, LISTEN! Whether we're writing, tracking, editing, mixing, or mastering, ultimately we are listening. Listening is the most important thing, it's where we find the answers to all of our questions.

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

I grew up with a Discman and a Portastudio, headphones have always been a part of my listening experience and my work. It has to sound good in the room AND in the cans, or it ain't right!

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

Audeze headphones have freed up my workflow immensely, if I can work in a wider variety of situations, then I can be more flexible for clients. A reliable reference is everything when you're mixing, and I've never heard a pair of headphones that sound this close to how my mixes feel in the room. Recently I mixed the score for the Julio Torres film "Problemistas" for A24 and it was an immense amount of detailed mix work. The Audeze headphones were a lifesaver, they gave me the flexibility to work in different spaces reliably, without them it would have taken way longer to get everything done!