VOIMAGEBLOG | benztown.com


Fiver Friday #201 – Temper, The greatest Player of all times and new Jingles for France!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:56

Boom, Friday!!! What a WEEK! The weekend is close and here is my latest  findings. Cheers!


Another free plugin, as you guys love the plugin section


Andy’s Fiver Friday #200 – Happy Birthday Fiver Friday, Producer Talk, Mid 90s And Another Free Plugin

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 08:25

200 ! Wow, I cant believe it. So happy you still like reading this so much. As my goal always is to create better and more suitable content for you, let me know, which category do you actually like the most! Go vote!

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://blog.benztown.com/imaging/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));


And now: Let’s get right into this weeks findings!


Audio Damage FuzzPlus3 – Interesting free Distortion Plugin – check out the video below!


The legendary Mike Dean at Pensado’s Place – definitely worth a watch!


Happy Birthday 5er Friday! This is for you!


Fun TB to my youth – check it out on amazon prime!


Great work from Dan!


Andy’s Fiver Friday #199 – Radio Days Asia, End Of Summer Sales And Scott Phillips for Ambush!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 07:40

What a week. You gotta love KL. First ever Radio Days Asia 2019 was a great success and I really liked the energy and the vibe of the entire convention. It was a blast and fun to see how radio is killing it over here!


Check out XLN Audio’s End Of Summer Sale, lot’s of bang for the buck!

XLN Audio


Awesome channel with lots of tips, tricks and knowledge – high quality content for free!


My favorite 2018 playlist!


Check out Radio Days Asia On Facebook.

Also here are some impressions! Had a great time!



Awesome new stuff from Scott Phillips for Ambush


Andy’s Fiver Friday #198 – RDA and Hello from KL!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/23/2019 - 05:36

First of all, thanks to Matt, Kev and BT, who where an awesome “Team Takeover”. I am back and on the road again. Hello from KL and Radio Days Asia. I am thrilled to be here and already love the city, the energy. If you are here, too, I would be so happy to touch base at the convention next week.

1. Plugin

The Sonsig Rev-A reverb by Relab honestly looks and sounds awesome! You can get your free trial by simply entering this code into your iLok Account: 9162-6163-5011-3601-6813-6970-5732-75

Also check out this quick review:


Awesome podcast by Matt D’Avella on Health, Business and Lifestyle! Also available on Spotify and Apple Music


Andy’s Fiver Friday #197 – Brendan Tacey TAKEOVER: C3PO Hack, Grabs, Mentors And The Unknown Aussies!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 07:24

We’ve got another TAKEOVER! This time from no other but reigning Iron Imager Champion Brendan Tacey! Check out his findings for the week


Behind the Mic: Saint John

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 13:45

St. John has been the voice of the San Francisco Bay Area (and beyond) for the last 2 decades.

“I got into radio because I love music and I love the art of communication. Early in life I had the good fortune to be able to listen to some of the best in the business… some of the greatest radio stations and biggest personalities of all time. And of course , I fell in love with the theatre of the mind … not just of the on air talent but of the ever present “phantom personality” … the imaging announcer. The voiceover artist conveys more about your station in 3 seconds than many personalities do in an hour. As a station voice, I love working with program directors in helping to create something unique … something that no one else can duplicate. My style can be over the top … it can be intimate … and it is always engaging. And with station imaging that’s the whole point.”

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I began in radio as weekend on air talent and at WZOU/Boston (now WJMN) I was also assigned the task of dubbing music and spots … and then voicing the occasional 60 second commercial. My first station. Imaging voice experience was at Boston’s KISS108 … I was asked to fill in for the station’s creative director for a few weeks and fell in love with both the creative process and hearing my work on the air defining the station. Haven’t looked back since!

What radio VO work have you done in the past?

I’ve been the voice of some pretty exciting stations over the past 2 decades including

  • WXRK New York
  • KBIG Los Angeles
  • KYLD San Francisco
  • CKBE Montreal
  • HOT957 Houston
  • WPOW Miami
  • Z90 San Diego
  • KXJM Portland
  • KIKI Honolulu
  • B97 New Orleans
  • WLOL Minneapolis
  • B95 Fresno
What are you up to presently? I am currently hosting Afternoon Drive and am the station imaging voice for KMVQ FM (997NOW) San Francisco. My voiceover roster also includes:
  • iHeart Radio DANCE NATION 90s
  • KDON Salinas Santa Cruz Monterey
  • DaJam983 Maui
  • 91.4 Studio1FM Dhahran Saudi Arabia
  • 105.7NOWfm Spokane
  • Q97 Fresno
 Additionally, I do weekend fill in on Philadelphia’s TALKRADIO 1210 WPHT and am currently working on creating YouTube channels to compliment my San Francisco and Philadelphia radio shows.


Check out Saint’s demo:



What do you love about your job?

I love entertaining and making real connections with people through radio. With 997NOW, having a 2 decade relationship with people in San Francisco is incredibly rare and allows me to have a real place in people’s daily lives. Bonneville encourages our personalities to make a difference in our communities which is incredibly rewarding. On my shows on WPHT I love giving a different perspective and challenging our listeners. Engagement is really what gets me excited. And that’s what I also go for in the voiceover booth. It drives everything I do.

St. John has been on-air at 997Now for twenty years!

What was your on-air first gig?
First radio experience was during high school. I had a free period … and had access to the radio station at the college next door (Virginia Wesleyan College). From there its was Z104/Norfolk … WHTT … WZOU … then KISS108 Boston

What was your first voiceover gig?

First official station voice gig was B97 New Orleans.
First client station B95 Fresno.

Any memorable ones since then?

All (ok MOST) clients are memorable in that their individual situations are unique. That said … any time I have non English language vo … it’s challenging and fun (especially since I’m not fluent in Mandarin Portuguese or Spanish).

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

IDOL … Hands down it has to be the late Chuck Riley. First worked with his VO at X100/San Francisco and was blown away.

MENTORS … Almost everyone else doing voiceover. I’ve learned so much (stolen so many ideas…lol) from so many other incredibly talented vo people. I can’t name a single voice artist that hasn’t made me hear things in a different way than I normally would.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
If I weren’t in radio or voiceover, I’d be producing electronic dance music full time (which I do in my spare time) and performing at festivals and clubs. And if not in music or entertainment, I’ve always had a fascination with flying.

How do you continue to stay motivated throughout your long career?

I am blessed and grateful to have relationships with people who challenge, motivate and encourage me daily. From my radio fam from 997NOW (Michael Martin and Jazzy Jim) and Greg Lawley at Lawman Promotions to people like Chachi and the Benztown crew, I get perspective and opportunity to brainstorm with some of the absolute best in the business. Working around fresh talent is a also a huuuuuuge benefit and keeps me from getting myopic. And while I don’t really actively think about how to stay motivated, my friend and mentor (Michael Martin) believes that a key for creatives is having other creative outlets … so it IS that music production and doing talk radio that is a pressure valve. Also taking vacations and enjoying the food, fashion, music and theatre scene in San Francisco is energizing.

Building great relationships is key in the radio biz!

How has new technology changed the way you work?

As a voiceover talent, digital technology has been a game changer. Editing is so simple and cleaning up tracks couldn’t be easier. Uploading and emailing has made turnaround time almost instantaneous. And going on vacation is infinitely easier. I used to travel with a full rack kit and now the Neve gear comes with me on a laptop in plug in form.

What gear do you use In your studio? On the road?

The mic for most of my clients voiceover is a Sennheiser 8060 (a little more present for me than a 416 and its smaller so it travels better). Processing in the booth at home is Neve 1073spx pre/eq and Neve 2254R compressor into Sound Devices USBPre2 interface and of course Wheatstone Voxpro. On the road its the Sennheiser into a UAD Arrow (Neve 1073 and 33609 plugins) into Ableton live 10 to record and Wheatstone Voxpro to edit and clean up.

Which production system do you use and why?

For voiceover it’s Wheatstone Voxpro. It’s idiot proof (lol) and since I use it on air every single day I’m lightning fast and it’s second nature. For the very infrequent full promo that I might produce Ableton Live 10 is fantastic … easy … and is incredibly stable. I use it with Waves and UAD plugins (although the stock plug ins it comes with are decent). Of course I can rock with ProTools (started on a system from Pacific Recorders called ADX then on to ProTools) but for me Ableton has made it obsolete.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I’ve just started to work with Marice Tobias and find it valuable. Working with a coach is probably not for everyone but I personally believe that being challenged and encouraged to see things from a different perspective can give you a different edge and a serious advantage.

What is the best voice processing trick everyone should know?

Actually not really a trick but audition EVERY MIC until you find the one (or ones) that works for YOU. Don’t just look at what everybody else uses and assume it’s best for you. Some people sound better on a $100 handheld Shure mic than on a $3500 Neumann U87. DON’T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT.

As for processing … EQ sparingly to sound natural to slightly bright … compress with slow attack time and relatively quick release … then a bit of peak limiting

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

1. FIRST and FOREMOST … MAKE SURE THAT YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH THE PROCESS. Don’t be in love with the idea of being a voiceover artist… love the work. If the satisfaction solely comes from getting the gig and the check … you’ll be disappointed far more than delighted. If the work itself isn’t the turn on you’re doing the wrong thing.
2. Like everything in life … don’t overthink it. Especially in a creative field DO NOT SECOND GUESS. When you’re first starting out, don’t be afraid if you’re not perfect. YOU HAVE TO SHIP! It’s easy to get paralyzed because your early work isn’t all the way there. Do your best … ship your best … and always work toward perfection (if there is such a thing).
3. LISTEN TO EVERYONE ELSE’S WORK and get a feel for why you think it works. Incorporate that essence of what makes their work resonate where it makes sense but DO NOT IMITATE. Make friends … network … and talk to other voiceover artists about THEIR points of view and possibly think about voice work from a different perspective than when you began.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

I think the 70s were incredible … media and music were exciting and vital. Between Top 40 and rock radio were so dominant. And some of the best (and IMHO most important) albums of all time were recorded in the 70s.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

I could easily give you a hundred … historic, political, spiritual, music or media people … hard to narrow down to just one…but at this moment I’d love to sit down with Gary Vee. He’s always thought provoking, inspirational and challenging…and cuts through all the BS.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni and Jalapeños … I’m pretty basic… lol.



Andy’s Fiver Friday #196 – Kevin Horton TAKEOVER: Endless Scrolling, Studio Tutorials And Bob Schmidt!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/09/2019 - 06:58

As Andy is still on vacation, we got another Fiver Friday takeover for you guys! Today we’re featuring our very own Kevin Horton, giving you his findings for the week – Enjoy!


One of the OG’s H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer. I remember endlessly scrolling the wheel on this piece of outboard gear in the Star 98.7 production studio. The plug-in version is a great re-creation!


Stumbled onto this breakdown of the recording and mixing of the DFA 1979 song “Nomad”. This song is so gritty and heavy, great tips and Eric Valentine has a series of studio tutorials, but they are looooong.


Tarantino always has great music in his films… and now they are all in one place!


The Autumn Wind is a Raider… Hard Knocks returned this week to get the anticipation for football season into full swing.


Bob Schmidt does an amazing job with the Fox Sports brand. Super Creative stuff.


Behind the Mic: Alyson Steel

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Wed, 08/07/2019 - 15:25

Alyson Steel is a voice you’ve heard not only the radio waves, but on some of your favorites commericals. She began her career in front of the camera and eventually found her passion behind the mic. 

What radio VO work have you done in the past either in stations or markets?

Tons of Commercials – too numerous to count over the last 20 something years. Including National, Regional and local markets. (and international as well!) Also Imaging around the country in small and mid sized markets as well as Los Angeles.

What are you up to presently?

Tons of TV/Radio Commercials, Infomercials (But wait- there’s more!), Imaging, Promos, telephony, TTS and narrations also keep me busy.

Check out Alyson’s Demos:

http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Alyson-Steel-Imaging-VO-1.mp3 http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Alyson-Steel-Commercial.mp3 http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Alyson-Steel-Promo-Raw.mp3 http://blog.benztown.com/voiceover/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Alyson-Steel-Trailers-.mp3


What do you love about your job?

My clients are very cool. People in this industry understand things like – “I need to go to yoga early in the morning to warm up my voice and that also helps me be a happy VO artist and not a grumpy person if I don’t get to do my practice. As well as understanding things like “Mercury is in retrograde which is why things can get a bit wonky. Clients in VO get those psychological things.


Andy’s Fiver Friday #195 – Matt Anderson TAKEOVER: Micro Shift, KRK Audio Tools and The Irishman

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/02/2019 - 07:10

Hey guys! As Andy is on holiday right now, the Fiver Friday has been taken over! We’re starting off by sharing our very own Matt Anderson’s findings for this week! Enjoy…. 


Soundtoys MicroShift: MY FAVORITE PLUGIN!! 

I put it on a vocal track and BOOM! Super wide VO makes for a really cool sound! 


Totally unrelated, but…I’m REALLY excited. Looks like Goodfellas 2! 


Heard this song on my drive in this morning! I like…like a lot….


I love my KRK’s…No matter what Andy says….. 


WARNING: Shameless plug…check me out on Soundcloud! 


From Community Radio to Head of Production at Fox FM Melbourne – Enter Dom Evans

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 07/31/2019 - 14:15

Feels so good to reconnect with Dom, we had such a great time in LA this fall. He was out with our ruling iron Imager champ BT  and we had a blast. Dom is one of the most lovely and talented people in our business I ever met and when he sent me some audio last week I thought, man I REALLY REALLY have to share this. Check out his latest larger than life secret sound production, learn about his mentors and and and…Enter Dom!

1. Can you give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements, role at the FOX. I am sure a lot of the readers will know you or of you, but  it puts a lot of the below in context I assume.

I started in community radio at age 13. A fantastic student radio station called SYN did a presentation at my school. I fell in love with it immediately and from there on in, it became all about learning the craft of making great radio! I was very fortunate to get a foot in the door here at The Fox at 18 as a Panel Operator. From there, off to Hot 100 in Darwin (the very top of outback Australia), then to hit929 in Perth where I looked after the imaging and production for the breakfast show. After Perth, back to Melbourne, looking after our Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth stations alongside the legendary Konsky and Blacko, before stepping into The Fox role in 2016. I’m part of an incredible team here at The Fox. We have Konsky overseeing the entire network. Mike Santos looks after our breakfast show, Fifi Fev & Byron. Tim Hammond and Chris Marsh look after our two drive shows, Hughesy & Kate and Carrie & Tommy respectively. I produce major station packaging, promotions, song intros etc. We also have Jez based in Brisbane, who primarily looks after hit105, hit107 and hit929, but you’ll hear his work on The Fox too. We’re a very collaborative team.

Cash Promo



Shows Promo




2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio brands in Australia? How has your role evolved in the last couple years?

Working at The Fox was always the dream, I grew up listening to The Fox and the insane work of Matt Nikolic (Blacko), and so it’s a real privilege to work on this brand. It’s my fourth year as Head of Production here at The Fox, I feel like it’s a constantly moving and evolving beast. I’ve started becoming more involved in script writing which I’ve really enjoyed. I think as producers, we can hear a vision and a sound in our heads, it’s awesome to be able to set the foundations with a killer script concept.

3.How are your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ?

If you told me you did this routine a year ago, I’d think you were crazy. So I get up at 5am, my girlfriend and I go to the gym first thing. Back home around 6:30, quick breakfast and on the road by 7am (first stop coffee). I’m here in South Melbourne just after 8, first thing I’ll do is check e-mail and say good morning to Santos in the studio. We have a daily meeting at 8:30 with the jocks and key content staff to set up the day. From there, it changes depending on what’s happening. There are meetings and calls, but I still spend most of my day in the studio producing. I work very closely with our Assistant Content Director, we’d probably talk on the phone 20 times a day discussing what’s required, how it should sound, what it should say etc.

4.What is your baby? Most fun project? I assume the podcast….:)

The podcast has been an awesome experience! I would say my favourite projects are promotions (we call them tactics). I love coming up with ‘a sound’ for something to bring it to life. With The Secret Sound for example, I’ve got an Ariana Grande acapella with a few catchy EDM songs, and some cinematic drums and air horns all in the same key. I’m really happy with how it’s all come together, projects like that, I’m really in my element.

Secret Sound Promo 



Secret Sound Opener



Secret Sound Sweeper



5. What DAW do you use and why?

Pro Tools. It’s the industry standard here in Australia, I couldn’t imagine using anything else.

6. What are your favorite plugins?

Pitch N Time Pro, H Delay, Sans Amp, WavesTune, Morphoder, Izotope Nectar.

7. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations?

I love a clean sound. I think over time I’ve learnt that less is more. A few key elements working together is all you really need to make something pop out of the speakers. It’s very easy to overcook it, and it becomes too much. I’m also a big believer that you never ever stop learning, so I’m quite often picking up the phone to Jez and Konsky and asking “how did you do that!?”.

8. Any new tools you discovered lately?

 I’ve known about this for a long time, but I’ve started recently grouping regions together for tags on promos, really nice and easy to move around on the grid.

9. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?

 This is such a tough question. I have heard some incredible production! The first one that comes to mind is a stellar promo from Blacko back in around 2007, it was a huge epic beatmixed concert promo, it has stuck in my head ever since.

10. Radio in 5 years? What will be different, new, more of, less?

There is a lot of talk about what radio will look like in 5 years. My view is that people will always need to be entertained. Audio on demand is without doubt a growth market, but I think linear radio has an opportunity to rise to the challenge and keep itself in the game. Certainly in Australia, radio is alive and kicking, the companies that operate here invest significantly. As for us radio people, it might be clever to reframe that to content people. Content isn’t going anywhere, storytelling isn’t going anywhere, entertainment isn’t going anywhere, audio isn’t going anywhere.


More of Dom’s work:




Andy’s Fiver Friday #194 – Work OFF, Vacay ON, 5er Friday Take Overs and California here I come

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 05:16

So, last 5er Friday for me, at least for a few weeks. I will be OFF a few days and this means you will get some nice Andy’s Fiver Friday’s take overs by Matt, Kev and a special guest. Enjoy this weeks findings and HELLO CALIFORNIA, HELLO LA!


Vengeance Sound celebrates their 10th anniversary with a 50% discount! Just enter ANNI10 on checkout. This also includes the infamous VPS Avenger Synth!


Kinda old, but still really cool to get an insight on Hip Hop Production – Free Waves Masterclass with Focus!


Incredible Cinematography and banging track!


Loving the VOX Earworm series, always well deducted and visualised. 


Some nice new stuff from STAXX


From Imaging the biggest Drive Time Show in Oz to creating his own podcast company – Enter Darcy Milne

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 07/24/2019 - 01:29

I am thrilled to have Darcy from Nova in Australia on today and I can tell you: His story is mind blowing. Darcy is a really impressive young man, who creates awesome work hitting the airwaves daily in Australia and is one of the most talented imaging producers I know, while in the same time he was able to create an individual side business where he creates audio design for some of the biggest companies in the world, which are starting in the world of podcasting.

It is really impressive. Learn more about Darcy, how he schedules his massive amount of work and how he enjoys breaking rules and expanding audio frontiers for his clients. Thanks mate for this lovely guest post! Cheers !!!!

Every day I get to shape the sound of the #1 drive show in Australia, Nova’s Kate, Tim and Marty.

It’s a fast-paced, high-pressure environment that requires absolute attention to detail, focus and passion for creating production that ensures our audience is both entertained and excited by the production they hear. This love of creating production started early for me. At 14 years old, I convinced my school to let me go into my local radio station once a week so I could learn the craft. At 17 David Konsky gave me the call up for my first full-time gig and I went from looking up to my heroes which included Konsky, Brendan Tacey and Sidey to working with them and winning awards for it!








After crafting Breakfast radio shows around the country I then got the call up from the legendary Matt Dower to become Nova’s National Drive Producer to ensure the success of Kate, Tim and Marty and it’s here that, at the same time, I took on a whole new challenge – The world of podcasting.

With the vision to bring the same high standard, creative level of production to the podcast space I took a chance and started my own business on the side — Pro Podcast Production which is a complete production solution for brands and individuals looking to make a professional podcast. I quickly learned about the incredible opportunity that awaits all of us in the podcast space and the differences and similarities between creating radio imaging vs crafting podcast production. Radio is this wonderfully fast-paced environment which has a very structured approach to creating content, which is important when multiple teams and people are involved in the process. Technology has also changed how we make radio reaching our audiences in new ways by streaming live segments, delivering content directly to their phones and never before have we been able to so easily capture and craft incredible audio in the way we do today.

The exciting opportunity for podcasting is that the ability to capture and present audio to an audience is no longer reserved for radio stations and now anyone can utilise the same hardware and software used by stations to share stories and ideas with people all over the world, in a completely unrestricted medium. It’s a blank canvas to create and now there are over 750,000 podcasts! This also means it’s an open invite for all of us to utilise the skills radio provides and apply this to a whole new medium. I’ve learned first hand how this can give you new skills and the chance to challenge your production style. There’s still that same sense of pressure and hard work that radio requires each day, but what I love about creating podcast production is each project is different. Some projects require production that is fun or silly, others have a more corporate tone and feel. There’s still the same technical knowledge required, I’m using Pro Tools for both my radio and podcast production, but the difference in style each project requires creates a wonderful creative challenge. I saw this when I worked with IKEA to create their first-ever podcast. They wanted a quirky, relaxing podcast that helps people get to sleep which is the complete opposite of CHR Imaging. The result though resonated with people and it was a wonderful experience to not only see it talked about on TV and across all forms of media but to see the podcast I made from my little studio in Sydney, Australia reach people all over the world including wonderful places like Brazil, India, Mexico, and Japan!

Being part of a different medium also allows you to build your skillset beyond learning new production styles. I also had to learn how to promote myself and what I have to offer. Squarespace is a great way to do this, so I built a simple site followed by a post of Facebook letting people know that I was open for business. I then learned how to better network utilising tools like LinkedIn but also sending emails to people I looked up to within the industry. This approach worked and I was able to then welcome a talented executive producer and a graphic designer to the team and saw how others were able to also easily apply their radio skills to podcasts. My typical day also changed. I look after all of the production needs for my clients which includes recording, sound design, editing and creative consulting so my day starts at 7.30am so I can touch base with my clients in America. Then, if I’m not recording a podcast I get straight into editing which takes me up to 9.30 am. This is followed by any sound design projects all the while I’m keeping up with the emails from clients where I’m giving advice, updates or booking in meetings. I jump in the car at 11.30am to arrive at Nova at 12.30am which is where I switch into radio mode creating all the production required for Kate, Tim and Marty which includes writing and making intros, montages, promos as well as editing and developing the strategy to ensure, as a show, we sound the best we possibly can. I finish at 8 pm and then I’m usually home by 9.

The biggest thing I’m learning is that organising your time so you can focus on one thing at a time is key. I like to think of how we feel inside being represented by a bucket. If we don’t take the time to ‘feel our bucket’ with the things that bring joy, fun, or fulfilment, the bucket runs out and our creative self runs on empty. So I use iCal to block out time for family, friends, and downtime and I use Wunderlist (a free, incredible task organiser) to ensure I know what I have to focus on and I don’t start the day feeling overwhelmed. Helping people build new podcasts each week has served as a wonderful reminder that the production we build each day actually reaches real people regardless of the platform. It has the power to evoke emotion or tell a story, be it in a 30-second promo or a 60-minute podcast and ultimately that production is an incredible skill that’s learned by few but experienced by many. Here are some of my favourite pieces that I’ve made recently.

I’m passionate about seeing others build their skills and create magic, so if you need any advice on navigating the wonderful world of radio or podcast production say hi via email – darcy@propodcastproduction.com


Andy’s Fiver Friday #193 – Delay Techniques, Duolingo And My All Time Favorite Series

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 06:17

Here is your weekly dose of my weekly findings, stuff I have read, new things I got introduced to…and guess what…ONE WEEK LEFT before the summer holiday!!!


Instead of another plugin recommendation, here are some great advanced delay techniques to use in your productions:

5 advanced digital delay techniques


Fantastic READ about a green OWL

How Duolingo Built A 700 Million $ Business 


Great album for a relaxed weekend!


My all time favorite series is in there, too..


Here is the latest from Yours truly..Hope you like it!


Andy’s Fiver Friday #192 – Stock Plugin Secrets, Scoring for Stranger Things and A Summer Hit!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:00

It is FRIDAY!!!! Here is the best of last week!


This week instead of sharing a new plugin, i’d like to instruct you to refocus on the use of stock plugins and really getting to know what you can do with them. This video is a great short little example of it!


For all of you Podcast geeks out there, this podcast dedicates itself to providing info on living healthier, wiser and happier! It was selected Best of 2018 by Apple, check it out!


Doesn’t get any more catchy than this Summer Hit!


Awesome break down on the creation of the soundtrack to Stranger Things! Something for you analog guys out there


Behind the Mic: Pete Gustin

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Wed, 07/10/2019 - 13:44

Pete Gustin is a current and 3-time winner of the Benztown Top 50 award and also the current title holder of the SOVAS Voice Arts Award for “Outstanding Movie trailer of the Year.”  Pete is the voice of dozens of radio stations worldwide as well as the exclusive voice of Fox News and has been featured on Fox, ABC, CBS, USA, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, FXX and ESPN.  Pete’s work on movie trailers has grown exponentially in the last couple of years coinciding with his move to San Diego where he actually tries to get out of the booth every once in a while to enjoy his new sport of surfing in the Pacific.


What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?

I’m on in LA, Boston, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Portland and many many points within that geographical circle along with stations in Africa, the south of France, the Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, the British Virgin Islands and … more.

What are you up to presently either freelance or on-staff at a station?

I am full-time freelance VO but still do a little production here and there, including handling all of the imaging needs for WRIF in Detroit. I’m also the sole creator of the Tirade Imaging Library and am presently working on my second novel.

What do you love about your job?

I love competing to “win” gigs.  As kids, we have so many more opportunities to compete in things like youth sports and in school.  Being able to compete on a daily basis with so many other talented VO people around the country and the world for VO jobs adds some excitement to every single day.  After that, I love the opportunity to perform and to bring life to copy.

Pete Gustin received a Voice Arts Award!

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Long story short?  I hit puberty and my voice dropped dramatically.  I used to sound like a little girl. Like … not a young boy … like a little girl. When my big-boy voice came in everyone started telling me I should grow up to be on the radio. I took their advice as soon as possible taking my first internship at WRKO in Boston my freshman year at Boston University.

What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?

My first gig on air was actually as a traffic reporter for WBZ in Boston while I was a freshman at Boston University.  First gig making promos was for WRKO in Boston my sophomore year. Junior year I started my first DJ’ing job on WPXC on Cape Cod.  First Production Director job was for WEEI and WRKO right after I graduated. Like, the day after I graduated. First “station” I ever officially voice was Liquid Metal (then called Hard Attack) on Sirius/XM……..which I’m still the voice of today some 19 years later.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

The first guy I ever wanted to be like was a local Boston celebrity/VO artist by the name of Dana Hersey.  I also got in touch with Don LaFontaine my junior year of college who used to give me acting and VO lessons from the back of his limo on his way home from gigs at the end of his days out in L.A.  It was kind of……..amazing.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I studied advertising and psychology at B.U…..so I’d probably be putting both of these degrees to good use in creating ads at some agency somewhere.  VO’s was actually kind of always just the “dream plan”. I thought working in advertising was actually much more likely….but I’m REALLY glad it’s worked out the way it has.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?

The first time I was on air I was a guest on a morning talk show in Boston and I was 10. I was like … “holy crap….I totally sound like a girl!”

How has new technology changed the way you work?

Well…I would not be able to work if it were not for new technology.  I am of course legally blind. I can’t actually “read” anything. Hell…I can’t see much of anything these days.  So, my copy gets red to me via a little computer voice in my left ear and I recite it back in real time as I hear it.  it was hard as all hell to master the skill…but it was completely necessary in order to do what I really wanted to do in life.  Fortunately, the human brain is adaptable and I’m not easily dissuaded by a challenge.

What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?

I pretty much never get to go on the road.  I’m locked in the booth pretty hardcore every day.  I had a soundproof recording studio built by a company called Soundproof San Diego.  The booth is absolutely amazing. It’s soundproof and, well…pretty much bomb proof. I use Pro Tools on a PC with a Prism Lyra 2 fed by a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic along with 2 mice at the same time with 32 different macros for editing.

Pete Gustin’s recording studio … This is where the magic happens!

Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?

I use Pro Tools because it’s whatI learned on.  Well…technically I learned on the DSE 7000FX but they don’t make that beast anymore so….Pro Tools it is.  One handy dandy little plug-in I found is the Black Box. It honestly doesn’t do a heck of a lot to the VO….but it does just enough to make it sparkle and cut through.  Juuuuuuuust enough.

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

Yes.  Oh yes.  Of course.  I’ve worked with Marice Tobias, David Lyerly, Artt Butler and Richard Redfield.  Were it not for them I’d still be growling at a mic thinking my baritone sound was enough to be a voice over guy.  They all worked with me extensively to teach me how to…you know……..act.

How do you schedule or prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?

I try to do work at the moment it comes in.  I think all of my clients would tell you that they are amazed with my turn-around time.  All scripts are usually done in maybe 5 to 10 minutes and I usually handle between 40 to 60 sessions a day.  I will of course have to put some of the bigger and more demanding clients like Fox News and other TV networks at the head of the line even if something else had come in first…but no one ever waits very long.  Some days I do zero auditions. Others I can do up to maybe five or so. I am however always working on new demos and new ways to market and advertise which I think is just as important as auditioning.

Pete hanging out on the beautiful seaside cliffs of California!

How do you market your services to potential clients?

Like a hooker.  I am a total prostitute.  I show off my goods and try to tempt people into sleeping with me … I mean … hiring me to read copy.

When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods or discoveries for saving time and cash?

The big time-saver is the left-hand mouse I use called the Contour Shuttle Pro v2.  I don’t even need the keyboard when I use pro Tools. I play the program like a piano; cutting, copying, pasting, moving and everything else with my fingers floating over the keys like a pianist on his ivories.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

Don’t over-do it.  Seriously…..the old-school big, forced “radio” sound is dead and has been for a long time.  Let your natural sound shine through. I mean….don’t JUST talk like you normally would…but don’t pop a vain in your neck unless you’re the voice of a death metal station.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV or Radio commercial ads?

Yes…completely.  I also have different processing for different jobs.  Radio is a little bit exaggerated. Above I said don’t push your VO…and you shouldn’t…..but a lot of radio copy does call for a bit of an  exaggeration to what you’d normally do as an actor. It’s just the nature of the type of promotion radio does. TV promos are more natural.  Trailers are far more laid back than people think when they talk about them…and commercials are completely natural and will book based solely on your acting skills.

Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?

  1. Take acting classes
  2. Read as much copy as you can as often as you can.  Repetition and practice are your best friends
  3. Wear as little clothing as possible when you read copy.  Clothes can restrict your diaphragm so … underpants only when possible.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

I wanna go back in time to the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans. I know I wouldn’t be able to be a VO guy but I could be like a Town Crier or something and I feel like that time of innovation for thought and technology would be fascinating to see first-hand.

Pete and Superdog!

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Ham……..and pineapple!

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Julias Caesar (and a translator).  I would like to witness first-hand the personality and magnetism that made him who he was.  I’m actually pretty sure he’d be kind of a huge dick and really bossy, but it would still be very interesting to see.  I feel like he’d be kind of like Donald Trump but somehow even MORE arrogant cuz, well…he actually does (or did) rule the world.

Connect with Peter




SWITCHING GEARS – A night owl becomes and early riser. Imaging the biggest morning show brand on the planet. Enter Pat Rice!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 07/10/2019 - 09:56

Chris lately introduced me to his new crew members at KIIS. Pat and Chris. Talented guys, for sure. What really peaked my interest is the very uncommon switch of Pat from producing the night show to creating magic for the biggest morning show on the planet – Kyle and Jackie O. How did Pat’s work life change, what is his new strategies in dealing with such high profile talent and what are his biggest learnings in the first weeks? Enter Pat!

1. How did your work life change? 

My work life changed immensely from being able to take the time to craft my ideas, to now juggling ‘walk-ins’ and tight deadlines.

2. How is it to work with such high profile talent? 

It’s incredibly honouring working with such high profile talent. Days never seem similar or the same, and interviews with big artists and guests allow me to make imaging that listeners are excited to hear. Also having the resources and VO’s that KIIS provide only enhance my production to the next level.

3. How did you feel when presented that opportunity? 

Completely baffled hahaha. Working in show production has always been my preference, and being presented with the role of one of the biggest shows in the world, is without question the biggest highlight of my career.

4.What is different, tougher than you expected? What is better than expected? 

The early mornings are challenging, and the standard of production very high. The role isn’t only hard on me but my partner too with the hours, and emails late at night. Though working with such an awesome team is so rewarding & exciting which I believe reflects in my work and makes it shine.

5.What have been the biggest learnings so far? 

Communication is key. Letting little things slip can be the biggest problem on a show with such magnitude. Also making things easier for yourself in the long run by doing mix-outs, correctly labelling and filing to make your job easier is such a big thing I’m currently knuckling down to finesse. I believe you should be able to find the SFX or BED (you’ve saved previously) you’re after within 15 seconds, if not you need to up your filing !

6.Guys, can you give me a bit background on yourself, your career, achievements, role at KIIS…       

Radio has been my life from such a young age.. My Mother was a Breakfast Announcer, Aunty was a Breakfast Announcer, Uncle a Content Director and has been an Image Producer, so I never had a chance to do anything else hahaha. My love for Production started at the age of 10 from being asked to do a little read for a Bank Commercial. Watching the “Buttons man” produce my read, and seeing what he could do with my voice amazed me. From 14 years old I sat in and watched before and after school, did my work experience, then worked for free & did some promotional work until I landed my first full time role at NOVA Central Coast (Star Fm). This step helped me grow and learn the skills I needed to land the nights role at KIIS a year later. Now 10 months down the track, and some very long nights, I couldn’t be happier to be part of The Kyle & Jackie O Show!

7.How is it to work for some of the biggest radio brands in the world? 

Challenging. I am always listening to other big networks to see how I can be different and better (I’m competitive). Being apart of the biggest radio brands is a blessing for growth if you allow it to be.

8.How are your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ? 

Yes, I have a daily check list that ill print out. The key tasks stay the same, and other tasks that appear I sprinkle in. Also I actually now have a note pad on my desk specifically for walk-in tasks that ill cross of when completed. Show production is tricky to juggle with random things popping up all the time, so I’ve learnt to ‘Expect the Unexpected’ and have a pen and paper ready at all times.

9.What DAW do you guys use? 

I use ProTools Version 2019.5.0

10.What are your favourite plugins? 

MondoMod is a great one ! Playing around with the Waveform & multiplying the BPM by an even number in grid mode gives a great effect. MetaFlanger, Lo-Fi, Pitch ‘n’ Time Pro are the main plugins ill use daily. I enjoy (when I have the time) not using pre-settings though, and experimenting with my own sound and saving that. I find you learn more and find out how the powerful plugin can really be.

11. What are new learnings? Ideas you work on? Inspirations? 

I get a lot of my big promo sound ideas from movie trailers. I actually enjoy watching and listening to them more than the actual movie itself most of the time. For show promos there’s a lot of my personality. Music I like and listen to, comedic pauses I like to create, stuff like that. I listen to Music/SFX libraries and Soundcloud in the car wherever I go. Voicing my own random on the spot promo to go with the Cinematic EDM Music Bed playing through the speakers..

12. Any new tools you discovered lately? 

Shortcuts, Shortcuts, Shortcuts !! I love stumbling across a good one. Yesterday while ‘Panning’ a Mono track, accidently holding Shift + Control and dragging my Mouse Across and Down the audio file, its ZIG ZAGS ! I might be late to the party on that one but stuff like that I love finding. 

13.Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever? 

My favourite piece of imaging is a Launch Piece Produced by Brad Leask over at NOVA. I think the audio speaks for itself:

14.Who have been mentors of yours and how did they support you? 

I’ve had many mentors that have helped get me to this stage in my career. From my Uncle teaching me what he knows, to Chris Davis & Dan Hunt my fellow imagers at KIIS still telling me I’m putting too much into a promo and I need to let it breathe haha. I couldn’t thank everyone enough, and only hope I can inspire and help other imagers work their way up through the ranks !


Some of Pat’s latest work: 


Andy’s Fiver Friday #191 – MASSIVE X, correcting bad posture and an Iron Imager returns!!!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 07:13

Weekend, NOW! Not much more to say! Let’s go!


Native Instruments just released the long awaited MASSIVE X Synth! Check out their promo video here: 


For all you screen heads….I started with this last week. 


Check out this Remix on the Stranger Things Theme, which is free to download and might be useful for your productions!


Awesome documentary on the creation of Revenge of the Dreamers III featuring various artists surrounding the Dreamville camp!


Great work from former Iron Imaging champ Sam!


Andy’s Fiver Friday #190 – Heat wave, what people ask Alexa the most and a free piano!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:00

So the heat has taken over :)…it is insane here!!! So a quick update before the weekend!


People love free stuff – so here’s more free stuff: Piano One, a decent sounding tweakable piano vst for your productions!

Check it out!


Interesting take on How To Life A Good Life – Freedom in Thought is an awesome channel in general!


Awesome and saddening tribute video for one of the biggest musical talents – gone way too early!


Thanks to Dave “Chachi” Denes for sharing this! If you create content for Smart Speakers, this might come in handy!


Our boy Chris has done it again…Love how he integrated Macklemore!


Behind the Mic: Jude Corbett

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 13:03

2020 will mark Jude Corbett’s 25th anniversary of being behind the mic for Radio and TV. He’s been Creative Director for various stations from St. Louis (KPNT) to Chicago (WLS) to New York (WXRK) all while doing freelance work.

“I’d like to say first, thnk you for having me on “Behind the Mic” and, second, thank you Benztown for including me on “The 50.” It’s an honor to be on the list!”

What radio VO work have you done in the past?

Just naming a few…

  • Chicago – 890 WLS, 94-7 WLS, 97-9 The Loop, Q101
  • New York – 92.3 WXRK, 92-7 WLIR
  • Philadelphia – WDRE, WPLY Y100, 92.5 WXTU
  • Dallas – 96.3 KSCS, Hot 100
  • Houston – 104 KRBE, 96.5 The Mix KHMX
  • San Jose – 106.5 KEZR
  • Seattle – 107.7 The End KNDD
  • Cincinnati – WKRQ Q102 *20th anniversary this year
  • Boston – WKLB Country 102.5
  • Providence – 95.5 WBRU *was on the station for 19 years
  • St. Louis – Y98 KYKY, 101.1 The River WVRV, 104-1 The Mall WMLL
  • Montreal – CHOM 97-7
  • Toronto – Kiss 92-5 CKIS
  • Vancouver – 102-7 The Peak CKPK
  • Denver – 99-5 The Mountain KQMT, Alice 105.9 KALC
  • Indianapolis – 99.5 WZPL
  • Tampa Bay – 99-5 WQYK,
  • Portland – 105-1 The Buzz KRSK
  • Pittsburgh – 105.9 WXDX
  • Milwaukee – 96.5 WKLH

A few television VO work include: ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, ESPN, VH1, CMT, Weather Channel, TLC, Discovery, FS1, CNN and Nickelodeon.

What are you up to presently?

My first 1099 VO gig was back in 1995 while I was working as Creative Director at The Point in St. Louis.  In 2006 the side work became a full-time option and I decided to go fully independent. Then, a couple years ago, I added a client to my roster and to my surprise, the Creative Director was a fellow, successful VO artist.  It got me thinking about going back to work. Radio is what I went to school for and it is what I love to do. So, about a year and half later, after 13 years at home, last September I accepted the Creative Director role at 94.7 WLS-fm and 8-90 WLS-am… in addition to the free-lance clients I have with Atlas Talent Agency.

Here’s a demo from Jude:



What do you love about your job?

Entertaining people.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

I was asked to impersonate Ronald Reagan in High School for one of our school plays.  My first paid VO radio gig was for WDRE back in ’95.

If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?

I was a volunteer for our local youth organization and I coached a lot of baseball.  I really enjoyed it! Now my two sons are in high school playing ball and I’m enjoying being a fan on the sidelines.  I think I would have liked being a high school teacher and a coach.

What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on either on the radio or TV?

Radio – painful.  TV – nervous! Anybody who says they liked their voice the first time they heard it is probably lying is definitely lying.

Jude’s own FMQB CD from 1997

How has new technology changed the way you work?

From reel-to-reel to DAT to CD to thin air.  MP3s are a hell of a lot cheaper than overnighting a DAT.  I’m definitely more efficient and effective for my clients today.  Can you imagine, “oh I had the date wrong on yesterday’s session, could you just read this one line?  And overnight it on a DAT for me? Thanks!”

Which production system do you use and why?

I produce on Pro-Tools because it’s what I learned on and I think it’s the best and most versatile.  I do my VO client recording on Adobe Audition because I can save files immediately in various formats. Plus, I can manage and send files easier on PC.

This is where the magic happens. Jude’s setup doesn’t look too shabby!

Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?

I have seen coaches and done workshops.  I think it’s good to get honest feedback and learn possible new techniques.

What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?

Use your headphones as little as possible. With headphones you’re constantly judging how you sound and that can be prohibitive. If you’re in a live session with a client, just wear them over one ear.  The one ear approach is also a safety tip when you’re being fed audio by someone else. I have had my eardrums rung a few times by producers who’ve inadvertently had the volume cranked up.  One ear destruction is way better than two ear destruction when doing a session.

Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?

Shifting gears from promo to commercial is tough.  There is an absolute mental adjustment to be made. From format to format, topic to topic, there are different approaches for radio and tv messages but, they’re all on the same “announcer” spectrum, a spectrum that commercial casting directors do not like, typically speaking.  My “trick” in making a distinction between promo and commercial is the amount of air you start with in your lungs. I breathe in to begin promo and I breathe out to begin commercials.

If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?

While I’m fascinated with the Knights Templar, dying and defending by the sword doesn’t sound like very much fun. I think I would love to experience Philadelphia in the 1770s to watch the secret societies, the conflicts and the conspiracies.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Spinach and mushroom.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?

Continuing with the Knights Templar, I would seek the truth from the dude who orchestrated the treasure vault on Oak Island.  It’s mysterious and curious and, if this is true, it just might mean that I’ll have to tune in next week for more shiny things and petrified wood.


Connect with Jude on his website  www.judecorbettvoice.com



Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 04:14

So, this is supposed to be a short one, but I felt the urge to share this with you guys. Since a few days summer is here and this means it is HOT! Really HOT! It hit us really bad!
What doe this have to do with you?

The heat reminded me on two principles we need to use more and force ourselves to do so, other wise yeah thats right – the overwhelm….the feeling of being insanely busy, flooded, cooked, overworked – we all know it.
Due to many reasons our work live changes every minute, every thing is last minute, fast paced and steady evolving. Our schedule gets dictated by bosses, clients, partners etc. For creative work this is not a perfect climate.

As I set the alarm on Monday to 5.30a to beat the heat and be in the office by 7a and started to work on some productions, I encourage you to transfer this principle for things you know they gonna come and will happen.

1. Be Prepared and Beat the HEAT, before stressful times will arise. You mostly know when this will happen – PREPARE!

2. BEAT the Heat by taking actions, be active not REACTIVE
In case it is happening: YOU GET FLOODED with work, last minute launch, weekend gone.. ! IT happens NOW, in this particular moment….adjust, take action or best have a backup plan.





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