Audeze learns how to work through frustration with mixing and mastering engineer Klaus Hill

March 12, 2024

 Having been involved in electronic music since the 90s, Klaus Hill is the go-to mix and mastering engineer for some of the very best electronic music producers and labels. Based out of Sydney, Australia, before moving into mixing and mastering he released music on labels like TCR, Ministry Of Sound, Bedrock and Botchit and Scarper.

Klaus wearing Audeze LCD-X headphones

"Audeze have given me a system I'm fully confident in no matter where I am - working in someone else's studio, at home on the weekend or travelling the world with a mobile rig." - Klaus Hill
Here's our chat with Klaus:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

So many great records over the years, but some of my favourites from the last couple of years are:

Masked Wolf - Astrounatut In The Ocene 

DJ Zinc and Chris Lorenzo - Gammy Elbow 

Interupt - Power 

Ryan Riback - Kinda Eyes 

Snakehips x Armand Van Helden - Freedom 

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

A second set of ears, someone who you can trust to give you no bulls**t advice on making sure your music is the very best it can be. A shoulder to lean on when the artist is just not sure. Most of my clients have been with me for a long time and I have a relationship with them, so I can be honest and truthful about their art. I'm not a "bang it out in 5 mins" engineer, every record is treated with the utmost love on my end and all my clients know and appreciate that.

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, music was always on in the house, my dad had it blasting all weekend while pottering around the house. My first piece of vinyl was PiL - The Road. That song changed my life. My taste in music has varied all my life. I was obsessed with US thrash and metal, bands like Anthrax etc and the UK stuff like Acid Reign, Sabbat as well as all the early Subpop stuff like Green River and TAD. I've always been into underground music. I saw Nirvana on their very first UK tour, touring Bleach, and I've always dug deep looking for different stuff when it comes to music. Around 1989/90 pirate radio in the UK started to explode with the Acid House scene and living in south London I was heavily exposed to this new sound, it was all around me. From this point onwards I threw myself into music even more, going to raves all over the UK, working in the industry and eventually producing music and having a pretty successful DJ/producer career throughout the 90s into the early 2000s before moving into mixing and mastering.

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

I have had so many great influences throughout the course of my career. I've been very lucky to have met some of the very best and call them friends. Being involved in an underground music sound in its infancy, and playing a tiny part in taking it around the world shaped and influenced my career massively. The work ethic of everyone in that scene, and the financial outlay needed to put music out back then, before digital. It was a true commitment, and showed me the most important thing about music, doing it for the right reasons - for the love!

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?

As a mix and mastering engineer frustration is a daily/weekly occurrence. You're at the very end of the production chain, everyone else has handed it off by now and it can be hard to get what you need to be done. What I've learnt is just to try and stay calm, be clear in your communication and work through it with the client (if possible). And most of all don't let it get on top of you!

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

I've always been a fan of hardware, my go-to eqs are the Bettermaker Mastering EQ and the Hendyamps Michaelangelo along with great conversion in my Lavry and RME. I don't use much compression, but I do use my hardware compressor selection for tone and vibe, just driving the tubes etc. But plugin tech just keeps getting better and better and I've found that I have been replacing pieces of hardware with plugins, especially during covid lockdowns. Pulse Modular's Abyss compressor and P42 Line Amp, Pulsar Massive EQ, Leapwing DynOne and Masterlab's DynaQ are all used every single day and are essential to my workflow. If needed, I could work 100% "In The Box", with no drama.

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

Try and get in with other people and absorb everything. Do it for the right reasons as it's a challenging career path. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon!

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

I've had headphones as part of my tool-set since I first discovered the Audeze LCD-2 not long after they came out (2011 I think it was?). I used to use them just for vocal work, checking pre-masters, and listening in detail for stuff like clicks and pop, DeEssing etc. Then when I upgraded to LCD-X I found myself doing more and more on them. When covid hit I was in the UK working and could not get back to Australia when the borders closed. Like everyone else, I went into lockdown and continued to work, set up in a spare room and working exclusively on my Audeze. I found everything translated great. I got so used to working on them and love them so much that I now spend more time on them than my mains.

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share? How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

Audeze have given me a system I'm fully confident in no matter where I am - working in someone else's studio, at home on the weekend or travelling the world with a mobile rig. I'm using them every working day. Recent highlights include Westend, Torren Foot, Joel Fletcher and 360, and Snakehips

Audeze LCD-X headphones on RME ADI 2 DAC