VOIMAGEBLOG | benztown.com


Andy’s Fiver Friday #104 – The best PlugIn for 10 $, free Eventide EQ and

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 07:04

This week is all PlugINs, so happy to share 2 really awesome deals with you!

1. Plugin

The best plugIN you can get for 10 $ – times 2!
Love both and use them all the time.

Little Alter Boy – I highly recommend automization of some parameters, especially formant will give you a great effect.

Echo Boy – One of the industry standards considering DELAYs (also according to my good friend and imaging icon Forrest Martin).

2. Inspiration

Does not everybody want to be happy?

9 Timeless Habits You’ll Find in the Happiest People 3. Music

Do they sound the same? Casper track and Taylor – who was first? (listen to Casper’s song at 1:17min, and Taylor’s at 1:10min)

4. Web/Social/Whatever

Check this EQ by Eventide, reminds me of FF Pro-Q2 This one’s free until October 31st! (reg. $99)

5. Imaging

My Friend Thomas from Vienna, also know for his german radio website
radioszene.de did a great job on this power intros!



El Chango, Imaging in Mexico and why 8 year olds are inspiring! Meet Francisco Rivera.

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:40

Francisco, nicknamed “EL CHANGO”, is a very well established Imaging Director from Mexico who I got introduced to lately. I have been to Mexico a few times and I just love this country. I grabbed the opportunity to speak with Francisco about Imaging in general, the Mexican market, and learned how an 8 year old can influence your next Promo. Enter Francisco.

1. Which production system do you use  and why?

At Multimedios, the company in which I work we have 3 different tools to produce. Protools, Sony Vegas and Adobe Audition. My favorite is Sony Vegas. Why? It is a very friendly software to produce. I have used it since 2004 and it so cool and it is as pro as any other software for audio and video. Believe it or not it has everything that other software has. There is a standard around the world to produce? Yes, which is what? Protools, but the other software products aren’t less than protools. For years other producer friends of mine told me, you need to change and stay in protools. Why? That’s the tool for the pros…by the way I don’t mean I don’t like it or I don’t know it (protools). But I fell in love with Sony Vegas, it has all that anyone needs to work at a professional broadcast company. By the way I am not selling Sony Vegas on this blog lol. Let me tell you a funny story that happened a couple of years ago with some of my radio production friends. We did a test with Protools and Sony Vegas…how was this test? I produced a promo with both software products, then I played it on the air and guess what? No one could recognize the difference between the promos. I have always thought, “it is not the equipment or the software, it is the hand that works on it that makes the difference.”

 2. What are your favorite plugIns? What is the perfect VO chain?

My favorite plugins are:

Waves – Super Tap, Waves – Metaflanger, Waves – Tune, Waves – True Verb, Waves – One Knob Filter, Izotope Nectar Elements, Fab Filter Timeless, Echo boy From Sound Toys. 

I think the best VO chain depends on every one. In my case the chain I have used is this: A Great Eq and a great compression of the voice at the beginning, it makes a big difference. After that you can have hours of fun manipulating voiceovers with all the plugIns you have. I insist, that’s my case.

Vegas Session – ID – Classic 106.9

Vegas Session – ID – Classic 106.9

3.  How do you schedule your work?

As soon as Monday starts I plan the whole week, what has to be done daily, etc. When I finish a promo I don’t stop to have a break, I go to the next production, and the next one, and so on. Why? This will buy me time to do production that might come unexpectedly. Believe it or not every week something unexpected comes and becomes a priority. I am not a fortune teller, I know this because with more than 40 radio stations to produce with different formats (News, CHR, Sports, Talk radio), there’s always someone on these formats that forgot to do a job and what could have been planned now becomes a mega priority and the full responsibility falls on us (the production team). I’ve always thought that because this production is in a rush, it has to be produced in a rush. If by Thursday I have finished my production work, now I have time to create new ideas and 2 full days to make them real and guess what? I have time for something unexpected that I didn’t see coming. Lol.

I don’t waste time on Facebook when I’m at work, at home, or in my spare time. My free time is for my family and my activities are with them. I’m only on Facebook if I need to contact people, friends or relatives who are not close to me and I can find them there.

I rarely post anything on Facebook. I’m not a social media lover, I’m not on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media platforms, and I won’t be part of them. I really enjoy my personal time, I love my privacy, and I don’t understand why I would have to waste time in my life to watch somebody else’s life while I am at work or on vacations, at a BBQ, at business meetings, or at the mall while I’m having an ice cream with my wife and kids.

Anyways, back at work what really helps me finish my job every day is to stay away from my phone and social chatting while I produce. I only take calls from the bosses when I’m producing or from my wife. After I finish my production I answer emails and take phone calls.

4. What do you love about being the head of imaging at Grupo Multimedios? What is special about Mexico and the Imaging/Radio community?

Oh great questions! I love to see all the creative work and creative people around my position, the voiceovers, copywriters, producers, and even the naysayers. Lol. Our job is not to impress the owners and managers of the company. Our job is not to impress each other, our job is to impress an audience around the country with our work. Back in the 90s people used to pay attention to the promos when they were on air. Twenty years later listeners don’t give the same attention to the production on air, but when the audience turns the radio up it pays every effort put on the smallest or complex detail of production. Being head of the imaging department in Multimedios is a big responsibility. With 45 radio stations in Mexico, 1 radio station in Madrid, Spain, many formats to produce, and many formats to compete against us…we can´t be the best, we have to be top of the best in this country. Plus we are always in the eye of the hurricane. Why? Because all the promos, sweepers, and production have to make it on air and on time. If a promo it is not delivered on time, everybody notices it and as a consequence, all fingers will be pointed at us. I can’t afford that on my position.

Mexico has been a very competitive country in Imaging since the old days of radio to the latest styles of imaging. This country has had the best producers capable of creating big ideas and competes in big production contests around the world (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey are the cities where you find the best of the best in Radio Imaging).

The radio community is getting smaller in a medium that is getting bigger. Big corporations are heading the industry to do more with less in every aspect and in all areas like sales, production, promotion, etc. On the other hand, the radio community respects each other. You can find some amazing people working at a different company and later they become your friends and the last thing we do at a BBQ is talk about radio. We have fun, we enjoy the moment, and we respect each other. I remember a broadcast I was doing outside the Monterrey Arena before a Jonas Brothers concert when 2 of my DJs fell down from the stage. I was heading to the meet and greet with some listeners and when I arrived to the stage, the guys from other radio station had already called the ambulance to take them to the closest hospital because my DJs fell on their heads and were in big pain!! That’s how the radio community responded and helped us during that horrific moment. By the way they are ok and they are still alive lol.

The production team of Multimedios Radio in Monterrey! From left to right: Ramiro Hernandez, Mario Chapa, Jose Luis Coronado “ La Vaca”, Angel Mario Perez, Juan Salas and me Francisco”El Chango” Rivera

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

I think the best trick everybody needs to know is how to record the voice from the beginning. Why? Because If you have a bad recording from the start, it doesn’t matter which or how many plug-ins you have, everything will be heard even worse than it was originally. If the voiceover was recorded on an Iphone, Ipad or at a studio and it’s a bad recording, it will be very difficult to rescue it and make something cool with that bad audio. The final work won’t be as good as your other productions. It will be noticed by all audio and production lovers. You won’t post that work to Facebook or Soundcloud, lol.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as a source of creativity? What does the term “creative Imaging” mean to you?

Great question too. I get inspired from every situation around me. Let me tell you a fun story. A couple of weeks ago my 8 year old daughter asked me:

“Daddy can you do a promo using “Dangerous” from Michael Jackson?” Obviously I said, “Yeah baby I will do it for you.” It took me 3 days to do and ID for the station Classic 106.9 FM in Monterrey, using “Dangerous” from Michael Jackson in the back and matching some other songs from the 80s and 90s.

When she heard the promo she was speechless she said, “Daddy that was awesome show me all the elements and play it back.” That ID is played every hour on the hour on the station and every time she hears it she says, “My daddy did that promo for me.” The other funny part is that no one can understand what exactly her daddy did, because her friends or other people only hear a lot of songs on the radio. Lol.

Any moment can inspire me to create something. If a go a to a football game, right there at the stadium I get an idea that helps me to produce a promo with that same sensation you feel at the stadium.  

When I go to a concert I get some inspiration for a concert promo, and again I try to put that same sensation on the promo. When I go to church I got some inspiration too. When I produce our Christian radio station I want to reflect the feeling I felt at church on the production. Every situation, bad or good, can inspire me to be creative and makes me do something different, something new, and something better.

The term Creative Imaging to me means, to create something different from what is already done. It is so easy to put any song on and voiceover saying the name of the station and sound fx before and after. That is so easy!!! To be creative is to make it sound different even if you don’t have elements like instrumentals, acapellas or music parts. When your mind works and makes real sound that was in your head, it makes you a real creative imaging producer. It is so funny because when someone that doesn’t work on the radio and don’t know me asks me, “what do you do for a living?” My answer is, “I work with the noises and voices that came out of my head!!!” You should see the faces of people lol. And it gets funnier when you explain to them that in your head was a voice with a big echo coming out of the back all the way to the front moving from left to right and you act the voice, “aaaaAAAAAAAll The hits!!!” Their faces are like oh my god this guy is maybe in some kind of mental treatment lol!

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

I won’t forget when I was 7-8 years old, a cousin of mine who was 10 years older invited me to a radio station because the DJ was his friend. When I was in the booth I said, “woooooowwww when I grow up, I want to work in radio all my life.” Thank God he has blessed me with 26 years of work in the radio business. Well, that wasn’t the question but it was important for me to say it. Lol. When I was doing my promos at home during my teenage days, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñaritu who is now a movie director who has won an Oscar in Hollywood, was a DJ on a radio station in Mexico City. He was doing crazy stuff with ideas and promos with Martin Hernandez and some other producers who influenced me a lot those days.

The band U2 from the 90s inspired me a lot. That tour produced by EBN was awesome. Again, I was asking how do they do it. At the station I was working and at that time we produced with reels and a big 8 track Sony record machine. When I was introduced to computers for production radio, my world changed and I was able to make a jump from Earth to Mars in production terms lol.

MTV from the 80s influenced me a lot. I was always asking myself, “how did they do that? How can they distort the songs or make changes on a voice?” I was a kid with no idea about equipment or tools, not even the smallest clue of how the people on the TV and radio were working. I tried to imitate the sounds with what I had: a phone answering machine to make the speaker voice fx, a turn table (which by the way wasn’t made for scratching), a double cassette player and headphones that were part microphones lol. With that primitive equipment I made my demo which opened a door for me to the radio industry.

The owner of Alfa 91.3 in Mexico City in 1991 heard my cassette with my promos and he asked me, “Do you have equipment at home?” I was like, “What do you mean with equipment?” He took me to the production studio and I thought that it was NASA !!! Haha! I was 18 years old and in high school at the time. Back then Clemente Serna, the owner of the station Alfa 91.3 said, “You can work with me for 3 months, I don’t think you are going to last and maybe it is not going to like you.”

26 years later I love to press the play button (Key) to start a promo!!!


Andy’s Fiver Friday #103 – Why music StartUps Fail so often, Rachel McGrath kicks ass and 60s Soul is the best!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 09:03

How could a week go by so fast? It was a crazy one, but good things on the way, stay tuned for more…

1. Plugin

Stage from PlugIN Alliance. Great Stereo Toolkit. New opportunities. Just check the video here:


2. Inspiration

This girl has no excuses. Love Rachel!

Rachel McGrath Facebook Rachel McGrath Instagram Rachel McGrath Twitter

“What do you do when your clients need you, but you have no internet or cell signal at your house, so your Roomio is worthless? You get your ass in the whip , drive around to find a signal, and work. #noexcuses#nomakeup #work #workinthewhip”

3. Music – 60s / 70s Soul is my SH***t!!!

4. Web/Social/Whatever
This is a great article about streaming, music platforms etc. My partner Chachi shared this one with me.

What music startup founders often get wrong

5. Imaging

Great work from Chris Davis and Alex on the Hot AC library!


Andy’s Fiver Friday #102 – NAB, RAIN summit and how to turn negative into positive

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 00:01

So, this has been a busy week for us here at benztown with RAIN,  NAB and Deutscher Radiopreis.

1. Plugin

This week I messed around with LoFi from Avid again. Still love the digital destruction presets as well as the toy bear. Play around by automating a few parameters, it will give you interesting results!

2. Inspiration

You all, I love listening to your work on Soundcloud, reading your socials, chatting with you – you inspire me. Thank you!

3. Music
Great album…relaxed, funky, soul, electronic, sounds a bit like Maxwell meets Bruno Mars and D’Angelo in a more electronic way.

4. Web/Social/Whatever

How to turn negative into positive, I am always impressed by Sir Richard Branson and this is one of the reasons why. He turns negative in positive all the time.


5. Imaging

So much great stuff new on Soundcloud. This one is from Dan Hill. Great work brother, keep it UP!



Andy’s Fiver Friday #101 – Why Dunkirk is an awesome example for Sound Design, my latest music promo and deep house for deep work

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 07:10

Here we go, another Fiver, that means another week is gone. I hope you you love the findings of this week and of course my latest Music Promo!

1. Plugin

Not an actual Plugin, but a huge orchestral library which is worth to be mentioned: Albion III by Spitfire.  The actual Dunkirk movie remembered me on this one, as it is a bit longer out now. Have a listen to this package:

2. Inspiration

This is how to create infinity, insane technique for an insane movie – highly recommend to check out this one!

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/zh_CN/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

The sound illusion that makes Dunkirk so intense

In Dunkirk, composer Hans Zimmer crafted his soundtrack around one chilling effect — and it's an auditory masterpiece.

Vox 发布于 2017年7月29日

3. Music

I love this deep house playlist on Spotify to do deep and focused work! Helps me to focus on admin, emails or when ever I am writing blog articles.

4. Web/Social/Whatever

Can’t believe that this happened  almost 5 months ago. Time is flying, already looking forward to Iron Imager VII and the contender for Brad!

Congrats to Iron Imager’s youngest contender @brad_leask ! . . . . . . . #soundquadrat #benztown #ironimager #radio #imaging #jingles #congrats #imac #apple

A post shared by Soundquadrat Klenk & Sannemann (@soundquadrat) on Apr 7, 2017 at 8:12am PDT

5. Imaging

My latest music promo I did a few minutes ago. Love the new Tay Tay record and think it matches great with some Shawn Mendes and Selena remixing. Let me know what you think!




Imaging South Africa Part 2 or Meet Linda Manganye!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 08/30/2017 - 08:18


Jan met Linda while his trip to Radio Days South Africa. Linda is the guy behind the imaging for Power 98.7. in Johannesburg. He’s also representing his station at the Liberty Radio Awards and is the current Commercial Imaging Producer of the year in South Africa and got a nod for the RAP magazine Editor’s Choice Promo of the month in 2015. I wanted to know more about the imaging scene in South Africa, the market and his work.
Enter Linda Manganye!


How is it to do Imaging & Radio in South Africa?

Radio has become an extremely competitive business in South Africa over the last couple of years. A few groups previously owned and controlled the largest market share of the business and subsequently positioned themselves as the front runners in radio branding. The national broadcaster`s (SABC) commercial stations as well, i:e (5FM & Metro FM) have for the longest time led the way in being the best and funkiest stations to work for. They had the budgets to sign and employ the best imaging VO talent in the world and could afford the best imaging libraries. Over the last few years the status quo has changed with the emergence of new radio players and young innovative producers who have found innovative and creative ways of positioning their stations without expensive imaging libraries and the most recognizable imaging VO talents. 



What is specific about the South African market?

Our market is divided into 3 segments (Public service, commercial & community/campus radio stations).

Like the rest of the world the market is divided in various formats that command a sizable market share in the respective regions. The commercial radio sector is extremely competitive, as everyone fights for a slice of the cake. Most commercial stations have the budgets and can afford imaging libraries and retain good talent. However we still have a large portion of imaging done by international companies like UXB in Australia, TMGS from London, etc. This I believe is still led by a lack of trust in local producers and the scarcity of very good imaging voice talent.


What production system do you use and why?

Pro Tools 10. I find it very user friendly and convenient.


Any favorite imaging trick everybody should use?

I’m currently enjoying using on air content and fusing it into our overall station imaging. I find the elements work for our talk radio platform and add to the signature of the sound of the station. It makes our station stand out and sound totally different from our competitors. It also gives us a great opportunity to leverage from the great content we generate daily.


What are your favorite PlugIns?

I really love plugIns from Sugarbytes, especially Effectrix. I would like to sample stuff from FabFilter. I`ve only seen a few video tutorials and would love to experiment with their plugins.


How do you get creative? What are the resources for creativity?

I listen to loud music and race bikes.


How is a typical day looking?

The days vary, depending on what campaigns we`re working on at the station. Generally I start with meetings with my production team, particularly the copy writing team, to go through creative briefs from the sales department. We strategize on creative angles and ideas. Then meet the on air engineers to look at different show promos.  These are followed generally with meetings with the Head of news to go through various plans for the monthly documentaries we also produce, etc.



Who were your biggest influences? What is the most important thing you ever learned from one of your mentors? What have been sources to learn?

There are a few people I have drawn inspiration from over the years. One of those is Lindsay Johnson, previously with Primedia. I`m a big fan of production style and approach. Neo Modjadji currently at Multichoice South Africa, Thabo Nkoala from Sinaloane and Arden Hanley from Phantom producer in the UK. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever got was from Lindsay – who suggests:-  “don`t try too hard, simplicity is always the best”.


Your advice for a youngster entering the game especially in Africa?

Always remember that you`re as good as your last production piece. Respect your craft, especially the listener you do it for.


Thanks Linda!




Andy’s Fiver Friday #100 (!!) – Special Edition – The 5 Most Read Fiver Fridays!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 08:59

I am not ready for 100 yet! It is crazy, that this has been on for almost 2 years now!
Therefore I will have the 5 most read Fiver Fridays ever as a Special edition for you – below the actual FIVER FRIDAY No….100!!!! Yes baby! Thanks for all the support!!


1.) Fiver Friday #52 – Special Edition – VoxBox – Hardware vs Plugin

In Episode #52 we did a comparison between the hardware VoxBox and the plugin version of UAD. The result was pretty interesting!


2.) Fiver Friday #8 – from Hacking IKEA to Air Filter Gate

Want to pimp your studio by using ikea stuff? Also did some effects by using Filter Gate!


3.) Fiver Friday #5 – Boom!

Back then when Episode #5 was a milestone and Alex was a volunteer here at the studios


4.) Fiver Friday #91 – The Mouth, DJ Premier and FB Live

Including CHR Imaging Facebook Live video, great music and The Mouth tips.


5.) Fiver Friday #1 – BRAND NEW

Oh yeah! The ORIGINAL Fiver Friday Episode #1. This is where it all began.


… and here’s the actual Episode #100 – Enjoy!

1. Plugin

Ash recommended that to me – Brauer Motion. Played a bit around with the demo and it gives you great possibilities to add nice movement to your production!


2. Inspiration

Still a great dude with a great podcast. Take a listen!

The Tim Ferriss Show

3. Music

New Taylor record. Unexpected sound and the vocals are really stunning in my opinion.

4. Web/Social/Whatever

it is insane to get retweetet amongst 5000  highly successful companies having a massive celebration and online presence.
Thanks Inc. magazine to make us one of the ten best celebration tweets!
Awesome work by the benz creative team!

5. Imaging

My friend Christian and his August Composite from 89.0 RTL! Great german Imaging!


What’s Been Going On with Valerie Smaldone

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 08:55

Valerie, we’re so glad we could catch up with you. Remind us how you got started in the biz, what VO work you’ve done in the past and what you are up to currently? I was a kid when I got started! I was working at my college station WFUV-NY, and there was a card on the bulletin board in the hallway asking for voices for a project. I applied, and got the job. I was paid $25 and I was thrilled. I realized if I could get one job, then I could get two, and three and more. And so I embarked upon my VO journey. I have had the pleasure of being at the same radio station for 24 years in the best market in the country! I hosted mid-days on powerhouse music station 106.7 Lite-FM, New York City. I’ve also hosted and produced several syndicated radio shows heard nationally and worked at talk station WOR, also in NY. I’m currently imaging news station 1010 WINS in NYC, CHUP in Calgary, Canada and WBEI in Tuscaloosa, among others. I also just picked up KVSF-FM in Santa Fe. What I love is that every day is different. From narrating audio books, to doing live VOG work, to commercials to radio imaging…you never know what to expect!

From your experience, have you ever had a voice coach? What helpful tips can you offer up and coming VO artists who are trying to make it in the industry? I have never had a voice coach. And when I think of it, I have never been coached in any areas of performance from acting to radio to voiceover, I just learned on the job. However, I do recommend it these days because the opportunities are plentiful and so many people have jumped into the pool. If you are someone interested in getting into voiceover, I highly recommend doing your research; articles, books, websites, all the information you can consume. Prepare and know that you have to: 1) Work on your craft/practice, listen back, and develop that “discerning ear.” You must learn to self-direct. 2) Become proficient in technology. You have to be able to record, edit and send, at the very minimum. 3) Understand that you must market yourself. You are your own brand so you have to find the avenues to where the work is and the decision makers are. Google is your very best friend!

What gear do you use and how has technology changed the way you work? Any production tricks you’d like to share? I use Pro Tools because it is what I was introduced to. I also use a RE-20 microphone, Apogee, and Apogee Maestro. Technology has quite simply and literally provided a world of opportunities. You can work all over the globe from the comfort of your own home. Priceless! Here’s one trick I use when auditioning for a casting director and there are no headphones. I really like headphones and feel a bit uncomfortable without them. It is an old school trick that was taught to me. To be able to replicate the sound of headphones, put your hand around one ear and push it forward. You can use that technique and hear yourself so much better!

What is one of your VO goals? Being the announcer for an episodic television show, or a daily talk show, and the VOG for a national awards show.

Looking back, what do you think about? I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to either introduce on stage or interview giants in the music industry on so many occasions. Those experiences absolutely stand out in my mind.

Looking forward, what are you excited about? I continue to use my voice every day, teach privately, conduct workshops, consult with brands, and develop content. Every day is different for me, and every day I have this gorgeous mosaic of responsibility to tackle. It is fun and daunting at the same time!


We hear you’ve got the golden gloves and taken up boxing, do you ever have anyone specific in mind when you’re hitting the bag ;)? You know, I am concentrating so hard on the choreography and strategy of boxing that that that doesn’t even occur to me. There is so much to keep in mind when boxing, so it’s all about the technique for me, not so much the power or even the hitting.

We are animal lovers over here and you’ve got 2 furry friends. What pets do you have and what are their names? I have two little girl guinea pigs, Nocciolina and Nebbiola. They are absolutely adorable and make me laugh every day. Will send photos! I am going to be acquiring my mother’s cat soon. His name is Bailey and he is black and white and beautiful.


Benztown: https://www.benztown.com/brigade/valerie-smaldone

Website: www.valeriesmaldone.com

Twitter: @valeriesmaldone

FB: http://www.facebook.com/valerie.smaldone

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/valeriesmaldone


Who is the best or Becoming THE BEST

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 08:18

This is a bit of an uncommon post and I have not done this for a while, but I feel it is time to do something beside the pure “Here Is A Pro Tools Trick”.
As I have been fortunate traveling a lot over the last years and meeting a lot of radio people, imaging guys etc. there is always the discussion going on and numerous people have asked me personally this question :
Who is the best Imaging Director on the planet?

This is an impossible to answer – why?

1. Our work is highly subjective!
2. What format are we talking?
3. What type of work do you judge and what outside factors have been influencing the imaging piece you are judging such as market conditions, program director, target etc…
4. and and and

After giving these as an answer, some people might get more specific, but should be more concerned about:


And if all of this seems to be impossible: START MICRO. Where can I be better today than yesterday? What niche can I become the best ?



Andy’s Fiver Friday#99 – How to make the inc 5000 list 5 times in a row and did I mention the INC 5000!!!!! YEAHHH!

Benztown Imaging Blog - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 09:51


This week I am in all celebration mode. We made the inc5000 list for the 5th!!!! time in a row! This is a massive achievement and I want to thank all of you for helping us to make that dream a reality. Thanks also to our team, friends, partners clients – you are the best, the true ROCKSTARS!

1. Back to the grid. I played a lot with MANIPULATOR from Infected Mushroom this week…Also Jan did a great tutorial on the blog last week!

2. This is more than inspiration. James Altucher is crazy, smart and every article, podcast is just mind boggling!

3. Great track for a C&A international TV commercial by YOURS Truly and of course KICK ASS VIDEO!

4.Check out the official INC5000 announcement here!

5. Our friend Nick from Spin in Ireland!


What’s Been Goin On with Lucas Nugent

Benztown Voice-Over Blog - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 13:37

Lucas, we know you’ve got a lot going on so lets get started! So how have you been??

CRAZY! And I mean crazy GOOD! 2016 was such a supernova year, I had no idea how 2017 was gonna top it… but it did! And not only professionally, my wife and I adopted two baby brothers. Our two guys, we just love them to death. So now I’m living the #dadlife. When they start school I’m assuming they’ll be the only ones with a recording studio in their basement.

Professionally I’m hitting places I only dreamed about years ago. And that’s all thanks to my rep team. My agent Nate at CESD and my manager Marc at ACM. Wow. Where to start with them. Having solid representation is key. It’s access to work, access to coaches, access to their knowledge and experience. And they just know what to do with every deal and every challenge that comes up. You get to working as such a team. I hold so much love and admiration for them. And trust. That’s the key. Your team will fight for you, support you, and I know I can bring anything to them and it’s gonna get handled.

And not to mention of course the amazing Benztown people. Some of the most professional people on the planet here. It’s crazy. Do any of you have bad days? I have no idea cause every time I pick up the phone you guys sound on top of the world.

You are becoming the new sound of Urban radio. Was that a goal of yours? 

We initially fired things up with my imaging in spring of 2015, and my first get out of the gate was Big Boy. Which I know is ridiculous. But there’s the “ten year overnight success” thing. You make friends, and contacts, and you practice, and you’re just there and present and available. There’s a dear dear friend and mentor of mine that is almost solely responsible for my entire career. He’s kinda on the inside so I’m not sure if he wants me to mention him or not. But there’s people like that you just end up being close with. And when they say ok we need this or that, hey Lucas is ready, let’s give him a shot. And hopefully you hit it out of the park when you get that shot.

The Urban thing is definitely one of my areas that I wanted to jump on. Urban radio is one of the most fun formats to listen to. It’s so unapologetic. It’s intense and sometimes over the top and funny and serious and a nonstop party, and just everything. It’s in this big growth mode right now and is everywhere. And it’s so great to read. You can be silly and fun, but then menacing and dangerous all in the same ID. I give it this driving modern sort of sound. Seems to work well!

Any new gear or upgrades?

Yes! Can I talk about this for hours?? My wife is bored to tears hearing about it, hopefully you’re a tad more interested. I’ve upgraded a few things, I added the Audient ID22 to my chain. What a beast. It’s got some serious preamps. I had been using this old gear that wasn’t doing what I needed it to. But this thing picks up stuff on mic I hadn’t heard before. It’s funny I actually had to improve my mic technique. And for some reason I waited until this year to investigate these “plugins” that everyone talks about. I now roll a 1073 EQ on my VO then feed it into an LA-3A plugin.

You don’t just do imaging, you branch out into other VO areas. How’s that going?

It’s challenging but going well. I’m currently in the midst of some in-depth trailer and promo coaching. Every aspect of this is so competitive, you need to be on the absolute top of your game at all times.

For this aspect, the job is auditioning. Competing in it is like being signed to the Red Sox. You’re a draft pick in the majors. Every audition is a pitch. First you need to learn how to hit the ball (return a good audition), then you need to learn how to hit a homerun (nail it). And then once you can hit a homerun, you get compared to all the other homeruns that were hit, and hope they like your homerun the best. It’s here that your demos don’t matter. Your resume doesn’t matter, the sound of your name doesn’t matter. All that matters, is how good that particular read is.

Also, you gotta be available. If they go to you once and you’re difficult “oh sorry I’m out shopping” you can bet they won’t be back. You need to be really flexible. Tuesday at 2? Thursday at 9pm? You got it. Everyone’s got a story about having to leave dinners out with your wife, family vacations etc.

You’ve also gotta step off one type of read and step up to another. I could be cutting liners for my kickin’ San Diego station Jam’n 95.7 SHOUT OUT WHATUP ROB AND FRANKIE AND PABLO AND MELISSA, LOVE YOU GUYS and then an audition comes in. National TV insurance commercial. Or a trailer for an animated movie. Changing gears is something you don’t think about until it hits you and you’re frustrated and straining “why isn’t this sounding good”. Oh right I’m still in that imaging mindset.

Anyone Can Get Car Insurance Easily at Kanetix.ca from Lucas Nugent on Vimeo.

Looking back, what do you think about?

I think about how I’m glad I worked at it as much as I did. I have no idea if I’ve hit my 10,000 hours yet (probably not), but the fierce intensity and laser focus of this is something I am truly thankful of my past self. We were talking about this last time. Like how I used to do morning radio, work at it during my shift, go home and sleep, then go back to the studio after dinner and train more, etc. I also think about what everyone looking back thinks about: what was I so worried about. It would keep me up at nights. I gotta do this, gotta do that. What if, what if. But of course that is what drives you. If I got into coding I’d be up all night practicing until I could make an app as good as Angry Birds.

Looking forward what are you excited about?

Honestly I get excited about all of it. Every aspect of this has something that gets me pumped. I gotta say there’s something magical about finding a passion where I actually get a little bummed out when the weekend comes!

Snatched (2017) TRAILER – Amy Schumer / Goldie Hawn from Lucas Nugent on Vimeo.

For Booking: 

Nate Zeitz, CESDnzeitz@cesdtalent.com or 212-477-1666

Social Links: 





How To Improve In 5 Minutes: Using Manipulator

Benztown Imaging Blog - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 08:06

Manipulator by Polyverse Music is a pretty useful tool when it comes to do creative voice and vocoder effects. In this quick benztown tutorial, Jan shows you how to manipulate an ID.

In this case Jan triggered the tool it via MIDI. To get started, set up an audio track, drop some audio on it and insert Manipulator. Then set up an Midi track and trigger Manipulator with this one.

It is perfect to adjust any material to a song’s key. You can create harmony lines up to 4 voices.
In this example Jan used the init preset and tweaked the settings. But note that there is a good number of presets to choose from.

Have fun!



From spinning records to creating Imaging for the biggest Urban Station in the world – Andrew on Power in LA

Benztown Imaging Blog - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 07:00
I met Andrew a few years ago while he was shadowing one of the biggest imaging talents in US radio, Dom Nero from HOT97 in NY. I was impressed with the skill set he developed in a short amount of time, but sadly he took another job and I lost track a bit. When he was announced the new head of Imaging for Power in LA, we reconnected and recently hung out at WWRS in LA.
I took the chance to get my question in front go him and think his take on thing is a real inspiration for all the young guys, who want to enter the business and of course his technical tipps and audio are far beyond! Enter Andrew


Which production system do you use and why?

ProTools is my go to! I always wanted to learn what everyone, (especially at the time) was using. Fast-forward a few years, I saw my buddy Dom at Hot 97 use it and couldn’t believe how quickly he maneuvered through the program. I bought it the next day. 


What are your favourite plugIns? What is the perfect VO chain?

Honestly, I’m using all things stock at Power. I don’t have any crazy Waves packages. The standard EQ-7 Band, D3 CompressorLimiter, D3 De-Esser, and Maxim are my favourites.
I’m constantly changing what I use for VO to get a different sound. The plugins mentioned are my most used in Pro Tools. An EQ will work wonders! 



How do you schedule your work?

I’m always collecting samples and trying to come up with new ideas all the time. That never stops. I try to do my writing, and refresh of sweepers in the earlier part of the week, then finish up the week with promos.
I also work outside of the average 9 to 5, that helps me stay organized and get down to the nitty-gritty in the office. 


What do you love about being the head of imaging for POWER? What is special about LA and the Imaging / Radio community?

There’s so much to love. First off, I always dreamed about having a job either at Hot 97 or Power 106. Being responsible for the sound for one of the most legendary radio brands is a blessing!
LA, obviously, the weather. So much to see and do and always a lot going on, just like NYC.
Some of the best imaging guys in the world are in, or have come from this market. It makes for a fun and competitive environment. And everyone has been super welcoming! 


What is the best Pro Tools or production trick anybody should know?

Not considered a trick, but useful. David Konsky, years ago mentioned: learn to use the grid mode. I was scared of it until I started to try it more often and got hooked. It’s going to make you that much cleaner. Now, I can’t get off the grid or I feel lost.


How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity? What means the term “creative Imaging” to you?

Listening to the work of my peers. Some of these guys are brilliant!!! Keeping up with the listener’s interests is key, and knowing what’s going on in my respective format. Creative imaging can be anything from great writing to doing something cool in a piece!


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

For those that know me, I will sound like a broken record, obviously, Dom Nero, Staxx Williams, Ron Tarrant, Dave Foxx, John Frost, David Konsky, Andy Jackson, Steve Dubbz, Justin Case, the Imaging Blueprint guys. (Tom, Adam and Paul.) There’s many to name, but anyone who’s trying to further the art, I’m a fan of!





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