THE HISTORY OF GREAT SOUND ENGINEERS

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The history of great sound engineers is wrapped around the history of music and the recording of sound itself.

From the invention of the “phonautograph” by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, the invention of the ”phonograph cylinder” by Thomas Edinson in 1877 to different microphones and gadgets till today, sound engineers have continued to use and invent tools to deal with the technicality of sound such as recording, editing, mixing and mastering of sound to create and recreate sound in different ways. 

Great sound engineers can be found in different areas of sound engineering and these include;

André Perry

André Perry was born in Montreal Canada in 1937 and is popularly regarded as the pillar of the Canadian Music Industry. He is a sound engineer, producer, and musician who have always displayed a passion for excellence in his craft from an early age. He started his illustrious career at the age of sixteen as a drummer and singer (jazz) and by the time turned twenty he had already become highly sought after as a studio musician. 

André Perry is a founding partner of Fidelio Technologies Inc which developed a proprietary system (2xHD) that transforms analog and digital music masters to hi-rez DXD and DSD formats.

He founded a revolutionary world-class, sophisticated environmental recording studio, the first of its kind, named Le Studio, the distinctiveness, and flexibility of which drew artists such as Bryan Adams, Kim Mitchell, David Bowie, April Wine, Nazareth, ASIA, the Bee Gees, Keith Richards, Cat Stevens, Chicago, Corey Hart, Julien Clerc, Roberta Flack, and have produced over 250 million copies of music recordings sold worldwide.

Gimel Keaton (Young Guru)

 Gimel Keaton, aka Young Guru, was born on February 24, 1974, in Delaware, United States. He is a celebrity producer and referred to as Hip-hop’s most trusted sound engineer. He has over twenty years of experience in sound engineering, sound production, and A&R for Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Records. As a teenager, Young Guru worked as a DJ during which he got his lights microphones, and amplifiers. The combination of this equipment and how they help his music made him develop an interest in music technology. He started as an amateur DJ in Washington during which he got a gig as Nonchalant’s tour DJ which was very successful. He saved his earnings and used them to enroll in a music recording course at Omega Studios School of Applied Recording Arts and Sciences.

Recognizing Young guru’s potential, Chucky Thompson, Nonchalant’s producer, invited him and hired him to work with him in Washington. He decided to become independent in 1999 so he moved to New York and he got to work with many singers including Memphis Bleek who was signed to Roc-A-Fella Records where Young Guru met Jay-Z. He went on to work with Jay-Z and a host of big artists such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Pete Rock, Fabolous, Ludacris, Ghostface Killah, Freeway, and more. 

Young Guru teaches students about music technology and music history at the University of Southern California where he is a guest speaker at colleges such as NYU and MIT.

Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers is an American professor who grew up in Southern California with a great interest in music from an early age which made her want to work in a studio. Due to this interest, she started working as a receptionist at the University of Sound Arts and starts studying electronics, acoustics, and magnetism, all very important in sound engineering.

In 1981, she became a maintenance technician for a studio, Rudy records (David Crosby and Graham Nash’s) after being trained as an MCI console and tape-machine technician at Audio Industries. 1983 saw Rogers move to Minneapolis to take up a role as Prince’s technician after he returned from the tour as she repaired his tape machine and got his studio back in shape. Despite having been only an assistant engineer, she quickly became an engineer but later left after Prince’s recording studio, Paisley Park, opened. 

Rogers has a Ph.D. in music cognition and psychoacoustics and has worked as a sound engineer and music producer for artists like Violent Femmes, Lauri Anderson, Barenaked Ladies, David Bryne, and others.

Tony Maserati

Tony Maserati is a 10-time Grammy-nominated and award-winning American sound engineer and music producer with a specialization in mixing. His legendary mixes have been regarded as defining the sound of New York hip-hop and R&B. Tony studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music where he initially majored in music composition but later changed his major to Music Production and Engineering and it was there he learned to mix.

 He graduated and later went on to work at Sigma Sound Studios in New York where he was an assistant to Glenn Rosenstein and he worked with Whitney Houston and James Brown. The first song he mixed was “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too) by Samantha Fox. 

Maserati became independent in 1989 and instead of focusing on sound production like most of the other sound engineers, he carved a niche for himself by specializing in mixing and focusing on R&B and Hip-Hop. Puff Daddy brought him into Bad Boy Records and he went on to work with major R&B and Hip-hop artists of the 90sin New York. These include Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, and more.

Tony Maserati decided to build his studio, Una Volta (One Time) in Upstate New York to accommodate his analog equipment. In 2011, he worked with singer Stefan Skarbek to co-found a record label, music production, and publishing company called Mirrorball Entertainment. He worked with revered studio designer and acoustician Martin Pilchner to design and create modular studios in which each room could be customized to the needs of the sound production team using each of the studios. He has worked with Beyonce and Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Black Eyed Peas, and Usher while being nominated for a Grammy award for his work with them (Crazy in Love, Where is Love, Elephunk and Confessions). 

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