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Andy’s Fiver Friday #167- Waves Sibilance De-Esser, Excessive Thinking and the Language of Music

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:53

What’s up guys? Another week, another friday aand another blog-post! You’re ready? 


Waves announces Sibilance De-Esser Plug-In 

Powered by Waves’ innovative Organic ReSynthesis technology, this transparent vocal de-esser removes harsh vocal ‘s’ sounds faster than ever before, with exceptional quality – allowing you to make your vocals brighter without harshness. 


About 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy. This kind of compulsive thinking is actually an addiction. Wan’t know more about it? Check out this short clip:


With that being said, lay back and calm your thoughts with this new relaxing beat from Sam Smith:


If you have some free time this weekend, take a glance at ,,Trailer City- Tom Dowd and the Language of Music”.

A documentary about Tom Dowd, who was an innovative recording engineer and producer of noted albums with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and many others.


Sidey is back with some awesome Rock imaging Mashup Insanity!!


Behind the Mic: Jules Riley

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 13:17

Jules has been on air and programmed stations across the U.S. including 103.3 KLOU and The Arch in St. Louis, T95 in Wichita, BEN in Philly and The Peak in Phoenix. She has worked in multiple formats including: Adult Hits, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country and Hot AC.  She is currently Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartmedia St. Louis. With a radio programming and improv theatre background, Jules knows how important your station voice is to executing your brand vision. She can be heard across the U.S and Canada on radio and television commercials and on stations like 680 News Toronto, WSOC Charlotte, WBAP Dallas, KCKC Kansas City, KLOU St. Louis, WBBB Raleigh and KOLA Riverside-San Bernadino Represented by Nate Zeitz /CESD Talent Agency.

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

Current: 570 News Kitchner, 660 News Calgary, 680 News Toronto, News 1130 Vancouver, 1310 News Ottawa, KBVB Fargo, KCKC Kansas City, KKTX Tyler, KLOU St. Louis, KOLA Riverside/San Bernadino, KPRF Amarillo, KQSR Yuma, KVDU New Orleans, KYMK Lafayette, News 95-7 Halifax, WBAP Dallas, WBBB Raleigh, WERK Muncie, KSD St. Louis, WSOC Charlotte, The City Fargo
Former:  WARH St. Louis, WFMS Indianapolis, WLWK Milwaukee, CHLG Vancouver KVRV Santa Rosa

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)

Senior Vice President of Programming iHeartmedia St. Louis, VO for above stations, commercial voice work for regional and national platforms.

What do you love about your job?  

That listening to music is a big part of my day!  Also, like the variety of stations I get to voice.  Always fun to move from a News Talk to a snarky adult hits.

How did you get started as a VO actor? 

I was working as a consultant with Folger Media and we developed a format.  We needed to put a demo together so potential clients could get a feel for the brand.  I voiced the demo, the first client that bought the format wanted to use me on the station.  Thanks Popster and Ingstad Broadcasting!

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

The first long term one was the on hold voice for a pizza place in Wilkes Barre.  It’s pretty annoying hearing your own voice thanking your for your patients while “we are helping other customers”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Ann DeWig, She was on a few of the stations I programmed over the years.  When I moved to Phoenix, we met and became great friends. She was instrumental in getting me established as a VO talent.

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

Programming radio stations ☺

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

It definitely makes you stop for a second…then it’s like…is that me…I think it is.  No maybe not, oh yea, I remember that read.


How has new technology changed the way you work?

It has allowed me to build a solid studio at home, so I don’t have to head in to the station if I get copy late at night!  Also makes it so much easier to record on the road.

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

Rode NTG 3 Shotgun Mic, Sound Devices USB Pre2, a small Mackie board, computer, phone line

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

I use Adobe Audition.  Pro-Tools gives me the sweats, too many choices!  Since I rarely produce, I just need a simple platform to record with.

Skills & Helpful Tips

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

I work before and after my day job!  I like to turn copy within 24 hours (usually less time).  I’m on both sides of the equation, so I know how awesome it is to get your new production on the air quickly.  I get auditions from my agent, but I’m not doing blind auditions from websites or cattle calls much anymore.

How do you market your services to potential clients?  

CESD, website, bothering friends, word of mouth., Benztown!

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

A trick I learned from Ann DeWig, have a set of you doing #’s (500-1) on hand with your different reads (Rock, AC, News, etc.) that way when the end of the year hits and everyone is doing countdowns, you already have all the #’s recorded.

If you do a lot of work for one company and they tend to use the same keywords, contest pieces, etc.  Once your record for your first station, send to other stations in that group, then they have what they need without event asking!

If a major event happens in a format you do a lot of work in (Artist passes, unexpected single drops out of the blue) record some generic lines about the event and send to your brands that may be able to use them.  Be out in front to help the PD and Imaging Directors get breaking events on air quicker than their competitor.

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

Yes, but really a different approach for different formats and brands too.  All want to convey a feeling, you’ve got to find what is going to best sell the brand you are currently reading for.  I probably do more research auditioning for a radio station/audio platform, then a commercial.

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

  1. Find your style/your brand and look for potential clients in that wheelhouse.  Very few people are good at EVERY type of read.
  2. You may need to take some free or low paying jobs at first.   You have to be heard what you can do.
  3. Audition as much as you can.  The more you do, the more comfortable you will get.

For Fun

Favorite 2 Pizza Toppings?

Pepperoni and Mushroom (though jalapeños are moving up)

Keep up to date with Jules at her website julesrileymedia.com


Andy’s Fiver Friday #166- New Classic Rock Composite, UA Vocoder and Procastination

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 07:01

What’s up? Wow, the first full work week of the new year is over! I hope you’re just as excited about 2019 as I am. This Friday we dive into topics like procrastination, the new UA plug-in and much more. Let’s go!


Universal Audio releases Softube Vocoder plug-in 

Vocoders have been used to stunning effect, transforming human voices into various forms of robot speak on hits by Herbie Hancock, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Afrika Bambaataa, and countless modern producers. Now we can get a taste of it ourselves!


Ever had a problem with procrastination? Well you’re not the only one. Check out this funny TED Talk about that issue. This guy is truly amazing!


Check out this chill mix. A perfect tune for the weekend:


Live Nation and the House of Blues’ Music Forward Foundation have teamed up to offer three $10,000 scholarships to college juniors and seniors pursuing careers in the music industry!

The Live Nation scholarships were established to help support a new generation of music industry professionals.

Music Forward Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019 Live Nation US Concerts Scholarship Program. Click yourself through  hobmusicforward.org for more informations!


Take a listen at the new composite from James for Classic Rock!


Behind the Mic: Rob Reed

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 10:09

Rob Reed is the David Puddy (think Seinfeld/Rules of Engagement) of radio imaging. He’s the Mr. Big of v/o. Radio is in his DNA; radio owns him and he owns radio (we’re not kidding). Rob’s entire career has been devoted to our media and branding voiceover work is his final frontier. The Right Honorable Mr. Reed is killing it for his affiliates and he will for you too. His voice has an 80 inch chest and 25 inch biceps, all natural, steroid free!

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

Currently voicing:

  • WWLY Wild Willie 100.1 in Panama City Beach, Fl.
  • WXUS US 102.3 in Gainesville, Fl.
  • KWBT CBS Sports Radio Central Texas, Waco, Tx.
  • KZXM Real Country, Tyler, Tx.
  • WBBN B95 Hattiesburg, Ms.
  • KLDZ KOOL 103 Medford, Or.
  • KSTV Stephenville, Tx.
  • KCCN Kickin Country 103 San Angelo, Tx.
  • KRVL Rev FM Kerrville, Tx.
  • WLQM Real Country 101.7 Franklin, Va.
  • WVNO HD3, 97.3 The Spur Mansfield, Oh.
  • WMKC Big Country 102.9 Indian River, Mi.
  • KSNY AM & FM, & KLYD FM, The Lid Snyder, Tx.
  • KKAJ 95.7 Ardmore, Ok.
  • KFLP Flip FM Lubbock, Tx.
  • And serve as the voice of Benztown’s Horsepower Library

What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?

I retired as a Market Manager for Bicoastal Media in radio in December of 2017, and currently, work full-time from my home studio.  So, I’ve gone from talking to myself on the air, to just talking to myself inside my 4×4 vocal booth, on the edge of the earth in far, northwest California.  The radio imaging work, that I’m able to do, allows me to stay closely tied, though to a career that lasted 30 years. Right now, my time varies between radio imaging, narration, and commercial work, which includes regular casino/resort spots, automotive spots and a handful of law firms around the country.

Additional things about you

What do you love about your job?

Well, it doesn’t really ever seem like a job.  It’s an adventure every day. I meant that as a joke, but honestly, it’s very true.  I love the fact, that even though, I get the chance to be many people during the day, as a voice actor, I still get to be me.  So, whether it’s a promo for Classic Country’s Wild Willie or I’m playing the voice of a block of wood, that will soon be a piece of furniture, or narrating a documentary…  it’s all, really just me. And the other really cool part of it, is…I can do it anywhere, really.

How did you get started as a VO actor?

Getting into VO, for me was kind of a natural progression, now that I think about it.  About 6 or 7 years ago, a friend, that I worked with in radio, Chad Letts called, and said, I should check out some of the ‘Pay 2 Play’ sites on the web.  I did, which led to finding terrific friends, which led to coaching, demos, and low and behold, I’m quite sure that I’m even more passionate about Voiceover, than I was for radio.  And the VO community, is one of the most incredible group of people that I’ve ever been around. So many give back, with knowledge, help and advice – that it just kind of rubs off on you.  I’m very grateful to so many.

What was your first gig?

Any memorable ones since then?  HA, my first paying gig, was a Chicago gangster, for Al’s Italian Beef.  I get called on often, to sound pretty big and tough – or even sarcastic.  This last year, one of my favorite gigs, was as a narrator for a cigar company based in Atlanta, called the Good Cigar Co., and we basically went through the basics of how to smoke a cigar – some great stuff, and that video ended up living on their website.  I also end up narrating a lot of tool-related products, like Edwards Iron Workers, Olympia Tools and outdoors-related media, like a film series for Tackle Direct on the east coast, and their film series called “Saltwater Underground”.

Who are your VO idols/mentors?

Idols for me, have to include some radio imaging legends.  Think the first voice that I remember hearing, and thinking…”that’s what I want to do” was the late, Brian James.  Of course Don Lafontaine, and Earl Mann, too. As far, as mentors go, I mentioned Chad Letts, who is based in Vegas.  Chad continues to hold me accountable – often. Melissa Moats is another part of the Las Vegas VO community that I consider a mentor, as well as Tom Pinto, who I’ve recently worked with and Nancy Wolfson was also a big influence on, helping me change my delivery from an on-air jock to a working voice actor.

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

Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. For as long, as I can remember – it was in a media related field.  As a little kid, all I wanted to do was be on the radio. In the beginning was a sports-caster. But all of the things I ever wanted to do, involved a microphone.

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

I was hooked.  I was 12 years old. My mother owned a fabric store, and she advertised on the local radio station in town, which I would later work for for many years.  And doing her commercials, I just knew, that’s what I wanted to do.


How has new technology changed the way you work?  

Well, technology is really amazing – think we take it for granted how fast things move and change, compared to the way things were done when I landed my first job in radio in 1987.  Not to mention, how Source Connect has become an intricate part of what I do and where I live. ISDN is not an option for me, as I mentioned ….I truly live on the edge of the earth. So, with just a little bit of bandwidth, I’m still able to connect to studios for directed sessions with no problems.

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

On the road, and in my studio at home, I use a Sennheiser 416.  I own several other mics, but the 416 is my go-to for just about everything that I do.  From time to time, depending on the gig, I have a Neumann TLM 49 that I also use. On the road, it’s pretty basic – I carry a Focusrite 2i2 with me, as well as a handy little ShureX2u as a back-up.  At home, from my booth, I use a John Hardy M1 preamp, or an Avalon M5, and a Focurite 2i2.

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

I use Adobe Audition, because that’s what I started editing on when computers became the way we work.  In the beginning it was Cool Edit Pro, and then moving on to the upgraded version of Audition. It’s just simple for me, and I know it well.  Plugins, I use a variety of Izotope products. Nectar, Alloy, Neutron and the Rx line is a life-saver for me.

Skills and Helpful Tips

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

I’ve had a VO coach from Day1, and yes I recommend it. In fact, almost on a daily basis.  I’m asked pretty frequently on social media, how to get started in the industry by others, mostly from a radio background.  The first thing I tell them, is to work with a coach. I still do, on a regular basis. And I soak up other knowledge in podcasts and social media that I can read, watch or listen to.

How do you schedule/prioritize your work?

How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?  Well, that’s quite honestly the toughest part of my day, is prioritizing. I have started working out of a calendar, to keep myself organized instead of a To Do List – for me, it just keeps me, more on-task.  Auditioning, is a little different. I probably spend anywhere from 2-6 hours a day, auditioning for new work. Prioritizing – that’s really the key, right? I guess, being a manager in radio, I learned early on…how to make sure what is on fire, and which fire needs to be put out first.  I do my best, now that it’s just me – to be as proactive as possible. Seriously though, the calendar thing, helps me a lot.

How do you market your services to potential clients?

I use a variety of different ways to reach out to prospects.  I use social media a lot. But, I also do some grass roots, prospecting and email and phone calls.  It’s really just basic relationships though. The people that I work with, or really I call them partners, and not clients… learn that what I do, is solve problems for them, so “they” can worry about their business.

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

You know what, if you have a great answer for this question, email me info@robreedvo.com and help me, because I truly suck at time management!

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

You know, for what I do – it doesn’t require a lot of production. I do a lot of straight VO reads, that producers don’t want a bunch of compression and bells and whistles with.  They want clean, raw audio they can alter however they need it. I hired George Whittam to create a plugin rack for me, to use in Audition. He created one for each of my microphones.  So, I record at the proper levels, slap it through that basic rack, and send off my work.

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

I think each piece of copy has it’s own approach, so yeah. For me, a lot of the radio imaging copy that I do is “big” and announcery (one of my least favorite buzz words, but it’s true, I guess)  And much of my TV/Radio and Narration, Documentary and other, is more drawn back, from a volume aspect… I try to picture who were directing the message to… how old are they, men or women, or both?  What do they do for a living, and so on, so that I can do my best to connect to the copy – I think that’s the real key, is connecting. And being believable.

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

1- Hire a coach, but do your research. There are a lot of coaches offering their services and insight.  But you need to make sure that their style matches you and your personality, and what you are trying to accomplish in your VO career.

2- Surround yourself with people that will push you to be better, not just as a voice talent, but also as a person. I have a group of friends that I feel like are another level, beyond my talent level and pay-grade.  Another group of friends that I feel like are equal to where I am in my career, and then another group of friends that are just getting started, and I’m able to give back with tips and advice from people that gave me that same help.  Pay it forward!

And 3- Be patient. Let it come to you. There are very few people who start hitting it out of the park immediately after starting.

For Fun

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

From a radio stand-point, I think the 40s would have been a great place for me. Just the connection people had with radio at the time, was amazing.

Favorite 2 pizza toppings?

Pepperoni & Mushrooms

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

Teddy Roosevelt. Think his stories of experiences would be fascinating.


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 24: MERRY CHRISTMAS or Start the New Year with a BANG – Free New Years Fireworks FX

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:20

Merry Christmas from us to you!!! Thanks for all your help, your love, support and your dedication to what we all love the most : Radio IMAGING. Here is some FREE New Years SFX for you. ALL recorded by our one and only Max Kotzur.

Straight to the point, get your free NYE fireworks FX here!

Also check out the Benztown libraries for more New Years content!!!!!!


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 23 : My Imagers of 2018

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 08:05

I’d love to point out some inspirations of mine this year. Beside all the guys I work with daily and their incredible talent, which helps me to get better day in and day out. HERE IS THE IMAGERS of 2018! Of course there is so many more guys I stalk on soundcloud :)…and some who should upload more stuff on Soundcloud…

The Capital Imaging Team and Ashley’s Producer Monthly…

Our former Iron Imager and highly talented Brad Leask…Love his layering the build ups 

One of the funniest writers  out there, who flipped the style of Z100 around + just a great guy! STAXX

A unique and crazy style for EVERYTHING!!!! Sidey I love you!!

Fantastic Sound from the Netherlands – Steph Jansen

We cant miss the KIWI – Chris Davis



24 Days Of Xmas – Day 21: Andys Fiver Friday – XMAS Edition

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 08:00

Wow, it is that time of the year agin. Thank you so much for all your support and love in 2018. I am taking off for Christmas and hope you and your families have a fantastic time and enjoy the days of great food, presents and quality time. Here is this years FIVER FRIDAY XMAS Edition.


Universal Audio “FATSO” – Chris recommendation, a modern classic compressor/saturator which is incredibly useful for bass, guitars and smashing stuff together! – Check it out!


The best Christmas movies ever:)…My Favs.

1. Die Hard
2. Home Alone
3. Bad Santa
4. Trading Places

3. Music

Like every year my favorite Christmas Song!

4. Web/Social/Whatever 

Best ad by far this year! Still love the movie!

5. Imaging

Christmas Jingles for France from yours truly Oli


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 20: Office Christmas Party

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 16:17

It’s almost Christmas Time! Like every year we’re having our christmas party today! So let’s keep it short, here are some expressions from our party, we’re wishing you a good one aswell!


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 19: Remix MANIA or How to step up your productions with remixes!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 10:34

It’s REMIX time! Here at benztown we’ve been using remixes for our productions for some time now, as you often like a song but need a more uptempo/downtempo version of it. Our very own Konrad put together a sweet collection of remixes suitable for production (and for enjoyment of course). Here are some of Konrad’s recommendations and an outlook on 2019! Enjoy!

Martin Garrix feat. Khalid – Ocean (Banx & Ranx Remix)    Cool uptempo remix of an almost ballad:) Watch out for Banx & Ranx in 2019! Besides the great original song they also did cool versions of Woman Like Me and Let Me Live.   Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer, Tory Lanez – Miss You (Akira Akira & Hikeii Remix)   Jersey Club influenced, busy and fresh remixes from a very young, but professionally approved (Diplo, Skrillex, Marshmello) artist.   Why Don’t We – 8 Letters (Party Pupils Remix)   The Party Pupils still keep if funky but evolved their signature sound and can turn every (lame) song into a party jam:D   David Guetta & Sia – Flames (Aazar Remix)   Wham meets David Guetta? No, Aazar from Paris just seems to be a very creative and versatile producer who keeps making noise f.e. together with The Chainsmokers   Instant Classic – Sicko Mode (Skrillex Remix)   Last but not least – Skrillex take on one of the biggest songs 2018! Maybe a hint for more stuff to come from him in 2019!      

24 Days Of Xmas – Day 18 : BENZTOWN MEGA MIX 2018

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 11:46

Today is the day, my favorite day of the year – IT IS TIME for the Benztown Mega Mix. Jan and Alex outdid themselves – again! 40 Songs in 4 minutes!!!! I am so proud of these guys…Check out my favorite Imaging piece of the year!! NOW!

MEGAMIX 2018 – jan brückner x alex kusnezov



Jan was so kind to share a screencap and a screenshot of the whole session – Enjoy!




24 Days Of Xmas – Day 17 : Imaging KFI – Why writing is important and what does John Frost have to do with it? Meet John Considine!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 09:03

I am so happy Staxx introduced me to John a few weeks back. John has been with iHeart since 2003, mostly spent working out of a small market in Northern California, and got connected to some good people who eventually led him to LA and KFI.  I totally understand those good people, as I was just blown away when I heard John’s Soundcloud and his creative, unique approach to image KFI. Why John does what he does and how he gives KFI a unique Voice in the NT world…Learn more here! Enter John!

1. Which production system do you use and why?

I learned on Adobe Audition, and it’s the DAW I used for fifteen years, but when I came to LA, absolutely everyone in the building was using ProTools. I spent a few days eating, sleeping, and breathing ProTools, and that was enough to get me to the point I could produce things with it, and it’s only gotten more and more comfortable in the ensuing two years. I know this is a common response, but: the best DAW for you is the one you’re comfortable using. I would add that “the one everyone around you is using” is also a particularly good DAW, as that opens the door for easier opportunities to pick up tips from your contemporaries and swap sessions around. As someone who was pretty isolated in a smaller market for a long time, let me tell you: the best imaging you’ll ever do is the stuff you do after talking with other people who do it.

2. What are your favorite plugIns?

I’m going to disappoint a lot of audiophile producers here, so let me say up front that I have 100% heard the difference a really great effects chain can make in your production. I am not that producer though, and my job calls for different talents, I think. KFI is an AM station, and more than that, it’s a talk station, and both call for an emphasis on the message. With an AM stick in particular, all you have is your message, so you’re working with a different set of tools. As a News/Talk station, we are, more than other formats, typically serving a purpose other than just entertainment, so getting the message right is crucial. 

3. How do you schedule your work?

Honestly, it always feels like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I tend to schedule it on a priority system, so regularly updated things take a backseat when there’s something that needs to be addressed. Working in News/Talk is a little different, because you are also at the mercy of the news cycle. If something major happens, especially if it affects your listening area, you may need to respond to it. During the recent wildfires, the whole team at KFI went into serious do-work mode, and really prioritized getting information out to the people that needed it. I played a small part in that by creating imaging that assured listeners of the types of information they could find by listening, or visiting our website, etc. It also necessitated going into what I think of as “Stealth Mode,” in which any of my usually snarky and (hopefully) funny imaging gets pulled off the air, and we focus on information delivery. Stealth mode meaning the imaging and personality of the station takes a backseat to our ability to instantly deliver information when it’s needed.

4. What do you love about doing imaging for the News/Talk format? What do you love about imaging KFI?

Imaging News/Talk plays to my strengths. I think I’m a pretty solid writer, and as I said before, I think your message is the single most important thing you can get right with a talk format. KFI is different from any other talk station I’ve worked with or heard of. We try very hard not to take sides (as a station) in a political climate that is basically 100% focused on taking sides: everything this guy does is great because he plays for your team, but everything that guy does is terrible because he’s on the other team. We don’t find this productive. Our hosts have opinions, of course, but our news product is just as important as our talk product, if not sometimes moreso (see: wildfires). KFI also has a very specific attitude that was really interesting to try to crystallize into something I could integrate into my writing. It’s wry and snarky, without being alienating. Like a friend who gives you a hard time, but is just as likely to be self-deprecating, and completely reliable when the chips are down.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I’m going to go with production trick: come up with a ritualized, organized system for keeping all your audio where you can find it. I’ll share a system a good friend and super positive influence suggested: save all your stuff in the following format: CALLS-YYMMDD-Name of Project. So if I was going to do a promo about not kicking anyone in the face on January 14th of next year, it’d be like KFI-180114-No Facekicking. Since I switched to this system, it’s made it so much easier to keep track of my sessions, and I go back to stuff all the time!

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

My inspiration and creative recharge is just talking to people that I like, about normal stuff. I can’t tell you how many times a joke from a conversation I had with a friend has made its way into a rejoin, or a sharp insight from a phone call with my dad has tied a promo together. I also don’t limit myself, and love to explore what seems like totally ridiculous ideas that almost certainly will never see the light of day. You never know when a goofy for-fun project will provide the answer to something else you’ve been working on, and the effect on your creativity that comes with working on something you are enjoying is invaluable.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a  producer recently?

KFI’s imaging voice is actually this super talented young man whose work continues to blow me away and inspire me to be better and funnier and more morally bankrupt. You should look up John Frost, if you have the chance, he has a future in this stuff for sure. Smaller market guys taught me most of what I know about imaging, and I was very lucky to be able to work with incredibly talented people in the market where I got started. My mentors Dave Mazzy and Matt Hobley taught me so much, and I’ll be grateful forever. More recently, people like Jon Manuel at KBIG, Miles at KIIS, Staxx at Z100, and Roger Keeler at KTCL have all given me both excellent examples of wonderful work, and actionable advice and influence. That list is far from exhaustive, and it’s really a credit to the awesome community of imaging producers that it was so difficult to choose just a few.

8. What have been the key advices in your career till now?

The best piece of advice I maybe ever got was to keep my individual voice. I was assured early on that the best work I would do was the stuff that felt truest to myself, and it has made all the difference.  


An excerpt of John’s work: 

KFI Local News



KFI Unity Thanksgiving



KFI Independence Dad Cluster



KFI Ween Zombs






KFI Vets



Also check out John’s soundcloud for more awesomeness!:




24 Days Of Xmas – Day 16 – The best TOOLS to manipulate Music

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 08:00

Music and movement in music is essential to our craft especially, if you build longer pieces and especially for young target demographic – CHR, Rhythmic, Urban and so on.

A question I often get is:
What can we use to make a boring beat move the needle and make the musical background more interesting?

Of course there is a ton more, but those are my favorites:

One Knob Filter. Automate the Filter and play with resonance.
(Side Note: You can also use any other Filter PlugIn or a EQ like Filter Bank and automate High and low pass filter, works just as well)

Glitch Bitch. A bit more tricky to use, I like using it with MIDI to gain total control or automate various things. Tom Ferguson  is a heavy user of this, too.

Effectrix. A good starting point, love it especially for all Urban and Rhythmic projects.

Pitch and Time. Great for all types of beatmatching and tempo manipulations

Filter Gate. This was overlooked for a long time by me, but it can do some tremendous things. You will often hear this on Imaging from Capital FM!

What are you using the most? Would love to hear your answers!


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 15: Foley Footsteps Plugin Showcase

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sat, 12/15/2018 - 08:00

Ever wondered how to recreate footstep or foley sounds without even recording anything? For an answer to that question check out day 15 of our 24 Days Of Xmas! Enter Edward Foleyart!

Today we showcase a great sound design plugin called “Edward Foleyart Instrument” by Tovusound.  It’s an NKS instrument which works inside the free Kontakt 5 Player. It comes along with 6 different types of shoes and loads of undergrounds, the footsteps can be triggered via MIDI. It also features a pitch control, a reverb, a simple EQ and attack and sustain control, so you can definitely dig deep and create exactly the sounds you need! Combine this with different types of footsteps (slow, fast, creep, walk etc) and you’re good to go! Simple to use and good results – what else do you want?

For a deep analyzation of the plugin check out the review from Pro Tools Expert: 

For a quick preview of what you can get out of the plugin check out the Tovusound soundcloud page:

If you want to learn more about sound design, recording and foley art check out our interview with SFX Master Rick Allen!



24 Days Of Xmas Day 14: Andy’s Fiver Friday#164 – Dave Aude and What Top Producers do in the studio!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:01

Christmas is near, only one week to go. Boy, this year was crazy. Lets jump right into this weeks findings!


Waves Introduces the Dave Audé Producer Pack:

Waves Audio, the world’s leading developer of professional audio signal processing technologies and leading maker of audio plugins for mixing, music production, mastering, sound design, broadcast, post-production and live sound, introduces the Dave Audé Producer Pack, eight plugins hand-picked by GRAMMY®-winning music producer Dave Audé (Sting, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga), featuring a versatile selection of virtual instruments, effects and mixing tools for your music production needs.

With more number-one dance club hits than any other producer on the Billboard charts, Dave Audé is one of the music industry’s most in-demand producers. He’s put together a diverse collection of premium instruments, plus vocal and drum mixing essentials, to give your tracks that industry sheen and polish. 



Get insights and a new perspective on music production. This documentary includes clips of producers before they were famous and after success. Where they talk about their inspiration and what drives them in the studio.



One of my favorite Road Trip Playlists..JUST Awesome Music!


k3 posted that this week on Facebook. Really good read and good background info on Mics!



Check out Ryan’s interview with the Capital Imaging Crew.

Ash, Iron Imager Sam ,Jonathan Young, Ed Rummins, Dan Hill, Luke Prior, Chris Longman!

Thanks Ryan for all you do for the Imaging community!!! YOU ROCK!


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 13: Early Christmas Gifts Or Happy Holidays from NATIVE INSTRUMENTS

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 08:52

For the last few years Native Instruments has been giving out free plugins, vouchers and more during the holiday season. The boys have done it again this year, so check it out!

Get your free version of the TRK-01 PLAY here! An extraction of their powerful TRK-01 kick and bass engine for great low end. All you need is the latest version of Reaktor 6 or the free Reaktor 6 Player. Available for MAC and windows. 

Scrolling down you will find your a free 25€ voucher with the code HOLIDAYS2018 – you can redeem it on the Native Instruments website. 

All the way down you can participate in the the Holiday Giveaway and win a Komplete 12 ULTIMATE Collector’s Edition, Komplete Control S49 a MASCHINE Mikro or the new Traktor KONTROL S4. Definitely worth a try!


24 Days of Xmas – Day 12: The Three PlugIN YOU NEED TO BUY NOW!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:52

Questions about mastering, plugIn settings, mixing techniques – I get them very often and yes those things are important.

There is no great craftsman in the world creating remarkable work without good tools, but those three PlugiN are my go-tos and I would recommend to everyone to check them out!

1. Work Ethic
Nothing beats a good 4:1 ratio and a -13 db Threshold on the work ethic front. Feel free to set the attack to 5ms to get a straight forward result.

2. Dedication
An important one I use in almost every mix to make it pop and stand out. Use it best in an Aux-Track. Put the mix to 100% and blend it nicely with the volume fader of the Aux-Track.

3. Respect
The key for long term success. You can always use this on all tracks as Insert or even as Audiosuite.
Works with every Audio File – promise.


24 Days of Xmas – Day 11: Imaging UAE Part 2 or Meet Tom Ferguson

Benztown Imaging Blog - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:01

It has been more than 4 years that I had Tom on the blog for the last time. Now Tom and I had a reconnect a while ago and I feel it was time for a round 2. Tom’s personal situation has changed a bit and he is now serving mostly the UAE and the Middle East, but also other parts of the world with his world class imaging. He also joined the benztown custom Imaging crew and we are really proud to have him. Check out his latest work and why he uses 2 DAWs as his go-tos! Enter Tom!

1. Which production system do you use and why?

Pro Tools and Ableton Live are my DAW’s of choice, with Pro Tools doing 90% of the work and Ableton Live stepping in for Music Image Promos. I love the simplicity and flexibility of Ableton when working with multiple varied tempo elements such as instrumentals and acapellas.

However, I ‘ghost’ the voice over channels in ableton, and then bounce the music image promo minus station voices, I then import the bounce to Pro Tools and produce the finished piece including station voices out of Pro Tools.

2. What are your favourite plugIns?

My Vox Bus, Master Chain etc… are mainly Waves and FabFilter plugin’s, but for some creative, wild and unique layering and textual effects. I’m really enjoying using Vengeance Sound’s selection of production plugins. Glitch B*tch (despite it’s questionable name) is really hot, with some customization of the pre-sets and tailored automation you can get some incredibly unique and impressive effects out of these plugins.



3. How do you schedule your work?

I schedule my working week into a way that accommodates recurring / repeat clients (some are weekly / fortnightly and monthly deliverables) and I allocate a certain amount of time from each day to new / urgent turn arounds that arrive.

I ‘Monday’ to manage this across mobile, desktop devices, it’s a fantastic service and highly recommend it for planning your week / months.

4. What do you love about working for various and very different clients now? What is different than before? How has your regular day changed?

It’s extremely exciting. Imaging is where I started in the industry and whilst I had to cut back on the amount of imaging I could do during my program director years of late, it’s truly where my heart lives and was always the plan to come back to, doing my own thing. There are challenges working with different languages for sure, he UAE and MENA region as a whole are so vast and varied in terms of nationalities, makes everyday a school day. I now speak basic Hindi, Arabic and Russian! (laughs)

Working on the US market was always a dream and thanks to yourself Andreas and the awesome Benztown Crew – that’s now something I do weekly!

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I wanted to try avoid the usual ‘create templates, create channel pre-sets’ that are pretty common information provided. Instead I’ve decided to share something with your readers I recently discovered myself.

Pro Tools Memory locations have really improved my workflow

I have setup pretty basic ones within my Imaging Template that allow me to do things like quickly launch an aux bus and the plugins on that strip at the click of a button!

I now have all my busses and their plugins at the click of a command e.g by simply pressing 2.

This launches my delay bus and plugins, allowing me to adjust the plugin settings without scrolling / locating them manually through a busy session.

You can setup many and instantly launch a workspace configuration you want to access.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

Shout out here to the guys at best radio imaging on Soundcloud, I check that page daily to hear the amazing work being shared by awesome imaging guys around the world!

I also spend a lot of time watching music production videos on youtube from places like beat academy, Z3n World, KSHMR etc… You can pickup some awesome insights into how some of the biggest hits dominating radio formats around the world are produced.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?

I was very fortunate enough to shadow and eventually work with some incredible people like Chris Thorpe, Dan Snaith, Paul Armstrong, Alex Jungius who were responsible for the sound of one of the greatest network of radio stations in the world, Galaxy FM, I spent 5 years there as an Imaging producer and they were all the original team of imaging guys who made it so iconic when it came to radio imaging in the world.

Now I’m part of the Benztown Custom Imaging crew I’ve got access to hear the amazing work producers like yourself, Scott and Matt are producing and talent like Ashley, Brad and Mike! The imaging world has come together and it’s inspiring to hear how talent do what they do in their respective markets.

8. What have been the key advices of your dad before you want in the radio business?

My family have been incredibly supportive, despite maybe not really understanding what I was doing all that time in my bedroom alone initially, they quickly understood and supported my decision once I got my first imaging job. My dad still shows a huge interest in what I do when he visits me in Dubai. I owe my love for music and radio production to my dad, he was part of a pretty successful uk band and grew up with a studio in our house and being around musicians all the time!


An excerpt of Tom’s work

Promo – KRUF



Sweeper – WQPO



Also check out his soundcloud:





24 Days Of Xmas – Day 10: Free Benztown Santa Samples!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 09:36

Another week, another freebie to get your hands on! Get some free benztown santa samples!

Straight to the point, get your free benztown santa samples here!

Also check out the benztown Christmas in a Box library to see what else we’re crafting for christmas every year!


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 9: Imaging the SPORTS LEADER or meet Michael Brownsher

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sun, 12/09/2018 - 08:00

I got introduced to Mike a few weeks ago and we have a common partner in crime, Dan Kelly ,former Iron Imager  WPLJ prod genius and awesome superhuman.

Mike was so kind to take the time and answer my questions and shares his experience in Sports Imaging and creating magic for market No1 NYC! Check this awesome interview and dig into the secrets of positioning the sports leader!  

1. Which production system do you use and why? 

I use Pro-Tools. (PT 10.3.5 to be specific). I’ve been on it since around 2001 when my small market station took the leap and bought PT.  I just love it. It’s easy and powerful. 

2. What are your favourite plugIns? 

Im pretty basic with my plug-in usage. We’re a sports station so there’s no need to get too crazy.  I have a template set up (Thanks Dan Kelly@WPLJ). Basically Compressing all my vocal tracks with the C1 Compressor.  I like a little slap-delay just for some color and the EQ3 1 band on a Hi Pass. I’ll throw the L1 +Ultramaximizer on the master.  That’s pretty much it. 

3. How do you schedule your work/priorities? 

Because we’re a sports station, the news of the day will always dictate priorities. On top of that, we do a lot of contesting here. So it’s basically the combo of the news of the day and then contest promos and just general big sports story news/game promos. We do a bit more with the New York Jets, New York Knicks and New York Rangers as we’re broadcast partners with those teams as well. That’s a broad look at how my day/priorities break down.

4. What do you love about doing imaging for the Sports format?

What do you love about imaging ESPN? The drama of sports is great. The stories are always changing. One season the Jets might be an abysmal football team(currently), but on the off chance they’re good. Everything changes, the mood, the music, what you’re writing. Essentially the ups and downs of sports franchises and how you tell those stories is really what’s interesting to me about doing Sports.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

I wish i could impart some wisdom here. Im sure everyone who is reading this has better tricks than i do. 

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?  

A lot of times i feel like my best shit comes from listening to music. Sometimes i’ll just go through libraries and listen to music and many times i’ll get inspired if the right piece of music hits me. If the music makes me feel something….then hopefully the promo with that music might get the listener to stop and pay attention.  I also get inspired from stuff I see on ESPN TV. But I’m always on the lookout for things that move me. 

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer recently? 

I started my radio career in market #145 in Springfield Missouri.  There was a guy there named Steve-O. He was a strong writer and he understood beats and production and someone who was just really good for me to connect with early in my career. Along the way Dan Kelly@ WPLJ is an absolute stud and was so kind to me when i got to NYC. Our stations were in the same building. He taught me a ton about big time radio.  Tim Thomas@ESPN Radio in Bristol has been very influential for me. He was doing really great stuff in the early years of the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN and still continues to kill it there.

8. What have been the key advices in your career till now? 

A couple of mantras i follow are “just be like-able.” No one wants to work with an asshole. You’ll always get the benefit of the doubt if people like you.  and #2 Stand your ground. People will take advantage of you in this business if you’re talented. Know your worth and stand your ground.


An excerpt of Mike’s work:

NBA Draft Lottery Promo


Yankees Twins Wildcard Promo




Caller Ray Promo


24 Days Of Xmas – Day 8: KIIS 2018 Mash or Chris Davis is back!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Sat, 12/08/2018 - 08:00

Chris, our HotAc and Turbulence Prod God from New Zealand  was so nice to share his Megamixx for KIIS for 2018 with us. He added some nice images from the session.  check out this epic piece, which took him around 5 hours to make.

KIIS 2018 MASH by Chris Davis








Check out his soundcloud for more fresh stuff!



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