Audeze catches up with audio engineer Roman Urazov

April 09, 2024

Roman Urazov is a recording, mixing and mastering engineer for artists and films, working in both stereo and surround formats. He has worked with artists such as Tesla Boy, Rob Thomas, Ruen Brothers, Manizha, Tim Aminov, Brazzaville, Angus & Julia Stone, Needtobreathe, Kito Jempere, Shortparis and others. Roman has been blessed to learn the craft from the best engineers and producers like Ryan Hewitt, Michael Brauer, Tom Elmhirst and Alan Meyerson. He also has worked on some projects for Rick Rubin, Matt Serletic and Chad Copelin. Being a part of Copelin’s team for All Sons and Daughters album he was nominated for Grammy Awards.

Roman wearing Audeze MM-500 headphones in the studio
"I literally started getting less requests for revisions right after I got my MM-500. What else to wish for a mix engineer?" - Roman Urazov
Here's our chat with Roman:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I’m really proud of my work with Tesla Boy, Anton - the main producer and the artist is an incredible talent and a just a joy to work with - just love this track and a mix to this day  - this track has some very interesting textures as well as amazing music video:

Tesla Boy - Compromise 

Tesla Boy - Circles

Also, some recent work with Tim Aminov stood out for me. It has a lot of grit, distortion and dark vibes. Also, it’s the lowest low end I've ever had to mix. Really interesting record: Tim Aminov - Topic

Shortparis would be my third choice - a very interesting band that tours all around Europe, a very artistic group of people from working class families in the middle of nowhere in Russia that represent everyday people’s problems through deep poetry, experimental sound and music videos which they direct themselves. They also project really strong political statements in a really brave way.

Kito Jempere is my long-time good friend and extraordinary talent when it comes to combining the right people that create great vibes and unique music - this track has been popular within BBC Radio DJ’s recently.

Also, I've been a part of comic book movie franchise “Major Grom”, one of the movies went #1 worldwide for like 10 days on Netflix, which is kinda cool. So if you’re into that kind of movies...

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

These days I'm mostly mixing and mastering, rarely recording, but still do recording sessions when a different perspective on the material or instruments is needed. I like to mess things up with distortion or record something in unorthodox ways so you give the record a direction right from the start, it’s also easier later on in production and mixing stages - you don’t have to guess which way to go. Also, I'm deeply in love with Dolby Atmos - I think some music could benefit from this format even more than stereo. It just becomes a totally different physical experience!

How did you get started in music?

My uncle gave me the love and passion for music, he played guitar and listened to some great music so i had to follow. I was playing guitar in a band and was studying sound engineering, and later on, when we were about to record an album - my mentor told me, I'll record drums for you, because it’s hard, but everything else you can do yourself. I’m really thankful to him for this gesture, it pushed me forward a lot.

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

I’ve been blessed with great mentors and people along the way, but the most important moments are connected to Los Angeles. At some point in my life I decided that I need to move where it all has started and is happening. I moved to LA knowing nobody, had enough money to sustain for a month and was knocking on studio doors - one of the studios was Sound Factory and one of the first artists I saw was Lenny Kilminster from Motorhead. And later, I met with Ryan Hewitt, who just fired his assistant and needed a new one. And this one event took me on a trip that includes many memorable experiences, including working for Rick Rubin, Matt Serletic and other great producers and engineers.

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?

Well, I learned how to say no in a hard way… When more people want to work with you when you’re starting out it’s very easy to get too excited and say Yes to all the people who want to work with you. Downsides of that could be different, you might be overbooked and when a project you dreamed of comes up and you have no time for it, or you get burned out by the amount of work you have to do and lose track a little and stop enjoying what you do. So, I guess, what Quincy Jones means by saying "You've got to leave space for God to walk through the room." also could be applied to your schedule and plans - always leave room for the unexpected to happen.

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 do think that now you can do most of the work inside the computer, but for me as a mixer my monitoring is the most crucial part of the process. Gotta have the room, speakers and headphones I trust. Then, if the project is calling for it - I love to use my Neve VR mixing board, it just has something magical in it. Sometimes I would use it as a summing and sometimes I just go full on analog mixing - the ability to move fast and touch faders and EQ’s makes the process really intuitive and fun. 

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

If you have true passion for mixing/mastering/recording/arranging - there’s nothing that can stop you. Be careful along the way and protect your passion, this path could be cruel at times, but we live for those moments of magic and brilliance, so stay true to yourself.

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

Yes, I have been working on headphones for a long time, but even more lately, because I'm on a move a lot, and I'm at different studios at times so I need something to make sure what speakers are telling me is correct, but my headphones, I think are a little old school. Modern music requires more definition in low end and overall picture, so I had to use certain frequency correction plugins and I wasn’t really happy with what I was getting… and that led me to trying Audeze headphones which turned out to be amazing!

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

Well, there have been a lot of revelations, to say the least… from listening to my fav tracks and going - Wow, I never knew certain elements were there… to just be more confident with my mixes once I'm happy with them on speakers and that’s confirmed on headphones. Or it could be the other way around, I started doing certain mixes straight on headphones, because I knew it needs precise decisions right from the get go and then move onto speakers. I literally started getting less requests for revisions right after I got my MM-500. What else to wish for a mix engineer? The other thing that turned out to be crucial for me - is the ability to control binaural re-renders from Atmos on headphones with next level of precision. With labels and artists requirements of binaural mixes to have identical balances to stereo masters - my Audeze help me to keep that in constant check. So yeah, I am very happy. My headphones are very comfortable and really good looking as well, so any time I’m doing a podcast they just give me extra 10% of professional look, haha. Huge thanks to Audeze and mighty Manny Marroquin for creating such beauty!

Recent work I’ve been using them for Kito Jempere - Green Monster LP - both stereo and Atmos.

Dipiphany - Loners In Love LP (mixed 5 out of 9 tracks) 

Synecdoche Montauk - Acume LP 

Audeze MM-500 headphones on mixing table