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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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