Nashville, TN (August 24, 2022) — Robert Venable is one of those multi-hyphen mavens that other music professionals want to be. An Emmy and Dove Award-winning producer, recording engineer, and sound mixer and accomplished rock drummer, his early career saw him running the Pro Tools rig for metal superstars Megadeth. He currently mixes for The Kelly Clarkson Show on NBC. Between those bookends, he has worked on records for multi-platinum and Grammy-winning artists including Clarkson, MuteMath, Twenty-One Pilots, and more. His sound for picture clients include Sony, Saturday Night Live, and Pixar. In an extended interview, he details how he uses his Audix i5s, SCX25As, and a whole lot of D6s in a possibly surprising application. He also offers priceless stories and advice.
“I’m a drummer,” Venable begins. “I played in everything from ska-punk to hard rock bands and realized the touring life isn’t my thing. I’m 6-foot-5, and I don’t fit into a tour bus bunk so well! So I figured, let’s stick with music but move to the other side of the glass.”
When that side of the glass involves mixing the broadcast for The Kelly Clarkson Show, things have to be right. “The Kelly stage is one of the biggest on the lot for shooting a TV show. But there can be a lot of open mics in small areas, such as for the audience and the huddles and so forth,” Venable explains. “Her drummer, Lester Estelle, and I have always paid a lot of attention to our drum sounds because we’ve owned studios together for the past ten years. Kelly is a pop singer and she can sing loud, so we want the instruments to stand up to that and not sound muted. At the same time, we don’t want them to bleed into those other mics I mentioned and make them sound boxy or phasey. The big thing we learned was to use D6 mics on all the toms, from the ten-inchers all the way to 22-inch gong drums.”
Venable finds Audix mics sound great on many sources other than drums as well. “I love the SCX25A in this application,” he notes. “For a more focused, in-your-face sound, I’ll reach for a small-diaphragm condenser such as the SCX1. I’ve found both these mics more than capable of giving me a full acoustic guitar sound, without the need for a second mic. I’ve been defaulting to the i5 on electric guitar cabs to begin the foundation for a wall of sound. On a bass cabinet, the D6 naturally pulls some of the mud out of the sound and opens up the top end to capture that funky slap when the bassist throws it at you.”
Venable’s interview features many other anecdotes and pieces of sage advice, such as this gem for artists who may be working in the studio with a producer for the first time. “First, you hired the team that you hired for a reason. You are trusting them to get a sound you like based on their previous works. Go in knowing that things are going to change. ‘Demo-itis’ is real — being too in love with the demos you spent the last year recording.”
He likewise counsels those who aspire to work on his side of the glass. “When you start off, leave your ego at the door,” he says. “Don’t be too eager to touch faders on your first day in the studio. Wait to be asked. But once you’ve got some time and reputation in, don’t undervalue your work. Finally, just be humble and listen. You may be the best mixer in the world, but if you have to tell people that, it won’t matter. Let other people talk about you.”
Read the full interview on the Audix website at here.
Find out more about Robert Venable at robertvenable.com.
Audix began in 1984 and to this day their mission remains unchanged – to design, engineer and manufacture high performance, innovative products which contribute to the advancement of the professional audio industry. With passion and ingenuity, the company strives to push the limits of technology in order to provide their customers with products that exceed expectations. The company’s headquarters in Wilsonville, Oregon is also home for their research, design, manufacturing, and logistics operations. The company prides itself on having the latest technology products, an innovative R&D team and a loyal customer base. Audix microphones, earphones and headphones are recognized for their innovative design, performance, quality, durability, and value year after year.