Audeze talks with musician, producer and engineer Nikolaos Giannulidis

December 26, 2023

Nikolaos Giannulidis, known professionally as UNIK, is a Germany-based multi-platinum awarded musician, songwriter, record producer and mixing engineer of Greek background.

Nikolaos Giannulidis in the studio with his Audeze MM-500 headphones

"I find that the MM-500's give me a much more natural Stereo Image that makes it easier to judge width."  - Nikolaos Giannulidis
Here's our chat with Nikolaos:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

One of my proudest moments was when I got to collaborate with Rapper "Nelly" who I was a big fan of during my childhood & teenage years. I had the pleasure of producing a Song for B.o.B feat. Nelly on B.o.B's Album "Strange Clouds" called "MJ". The Album received a Platinum award and pretty much opened a lot of doors professionally.

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

Composer / Musician first, Producer second. I am lucky to be surrounded by gifted songwriters & musicians who share the dream of creating timeless music. As much as I love composing and producing Songs for Artists, I recently fell in love with creating music for my own project. Usually, I mix my Songs, too.

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

Growing up in a musical Greek family I was exposed to Greek and international music from a very young age, mostly Mikis Theodorakis / Michael Jackson / Prince. I got my first piano at the age of 4 and taught myself how to play, then later in my teenage years decided to further my knowledge and took jazz piano lessons for a few years.

After listening to early Chris Brown / Christina Aguilera Records, mostly music produced by my favorite producers Teddy Riley and the producer team "The Underdogs," I started dissecting music and getting into music production.

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

Heroes: Teddy Riley, Darkchild, The Underdogs (Damon Thomas & Harvey Mason Jr.)

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 do not recall any moment of frustration when it comes to the creative / musical part. Most setbacks, obstacles and frustrations came when music started becoming a business and business sometimes interfered with the actual creative processes. The business side of entertainment in general can be very draining and demotivating. My advice is to always study the ins and outs of the businesses you want to conquer.

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

My workhorse: Macbook 14" 2021 M1 fully spec'ed, running Cubase 12 M1 natively. There is virtually nothing I can't do with this machine.

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

Listen to music and try dissecting it. Practice instruments and production / mixing.

Don't let "only" marginal skill improvements distract you from the creative journey.

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

Since 2011. I use headphones for everything from writing, editing, production to mastering. Traveling is an essential part my musical journey, so I do enjoy the fact that I can deliver high end music from virtually any place in the world. Being detached from a physical location is my #1 priority in a fast moving world.
However! I love using my trusty Adam / ATC Speakers in my small Studio in Berlin, Germany :)

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

Most professionals tend to argue that headphones do not give a "real" representation of the stereo-image, which technically is true. However, I believe finding a pair of headphones you trust and learning their curve, stereo-image, "phantom mono" and transient behaviour will always trump an acoustically mediocre room with solid speakers. By eliminating the "room" you can focus on details only professional recording studios can provide - on the go, all the time! Listen to a lot of reference songs and compare your headphones to your speakers and learn.

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

I've been working with the MM-500 for a while now and I absolutely love them. They are exactly what I expected after using the LCD-X's. I find that the MM-500's give me a much more natural Stereo Image that makes it easier to judge width. It is the first time ever that I can confidently start producing a record, from sound picking to the final mix, without doubting the overall balance.

Here's some stuff I did mostly on the MM-500's :)
Dhurata Dora - Sonne
Noizy x Elvana Gjata - My All
Christoph Sakwerda - Zu viel

Nikolaos Giannulidis's Audeze MM-500 headphones