I find sound and music just amazing. Lucky for me, I get to do them for a living. I'm the production mixer / dialogue editor for Fox's "American Dad" while doing some post audio and composing on the side. In the past I have done this same job on "The Cleveland Show," assisted the production mixer on "Family Guy," restored audio soundtracks for TV and film, done some sound editing and mixing, recorded and mixed a bunch of music projects, played in the Laker Band and a few rock bands, and taught high school band as well as private drum set lessons. I love to listen to brilliant sound and music people geek out about what they know best.

Read more about me. Or go to my IMDB page.

I am a member of MPEG, MPSE, NARAS, and ATAS.

The EQ of Food: Torpedo IPA.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPAA while back I realized I think of the taste of a beer in terms of a frequency response curve, and that I am not the only one capable of such audio-geekiness when it comes to beer. In pursuing this further, I decided to use a simple a five-band “graphic EQ” model which, in audio, would represent lows, low-mids, mids, high-mids, and highs. In beer, here’s how different flavors and descriptors map out for me:

LOWS – body, stout, espresso; earthiness, fullness

LOW-MIDS – malt, berries; richness

The EQ curve of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.

The EQ curve of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.

MIDS – toasted hops, fruit; presence

HIGH-MIDS – bitter hops, grass, herbs; edge, brightness

HIGHS – citrus; crispness

I decided I’d choose a number from 1 to 5 to represent the level of each of these “taste bands” relative to my general experience with beer. Here’s the latest: The frequency response of a Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA


I think a picture can be more precise and revealing, so I grabbed a post-it and drew this as a frequency response curve. Anyone else have anything to say about this? Aside from calling me nuts?

One observation: I’m beginning to feel that the lows generally map to the back of the tongue, and the highs map to the very front. I’m not yet sure if it’s linear and straightforward, though, or if there’s more to it than that. Another observation: I don’t think of most foods this way, but it seems to make sense more with beverages than with food, which strikes me as odd. But also more likely with very flavorful food than with bland food, which seems to make sense.


Dave Pensado interviews Claudio Cueni on editing for a holographic performer.

At a recent incarnation of the huge Coachella music festival in California, a hologram of deceased rapper 2Pac “performed” on stage, including some introductory words. Someone had to do the work of sifting through recordings of 2Pac and cutting together the right takes to make a convincing performance. That someone was Claudio Cueni, who says he spent two and a half days just cataloguing every piece of 2Pac audio that had been made available to him. In this episode of the popular Pensado’s Place podcast, Cueni talks about that and other things—like the challenge of creating words that 2Pac had never been recorded saying.

The main interview of the episode is Thom Russo, and that ain’t so bad either. Enjoy!

Watch Pensado’s Place – Episode 064 – Thom Russo in Educational & How-To  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com


Orchestras through the eyes of GoPros.

A few years ago I shared New York Phil trombonist Dave Finlayson’s hilarious video taken from the slide of his trombone as he played.

By now it appears everyone is doing it. My wonderful teacher friend shared this with me—thanks, Ria!

Plenty of other examples are out there, but this appears to be one of the more exhaustive, with 24 cameras distributed among the players and instruments of the Czech Philharmonic under maestro Manfred Honeck. You’ll see some neat points of view, especially if you’ve never played in an orchestra before. Less experienced instrumentalists might enjoy this closeup look at how musicians do their thing in this setting. And as a recording engineer, it’s not exactly educational, but still a reminder that every player and instrument is different, so using our eyes and ears as we mic up a session is crucial.

If you really love this sort of thing, here are the Brigham Young University Philharmonic Orchestra playing Copland on the salt flats in Utah (though disappointingly presented without the sound of the actual performance—either it was prerecorded or reverb was added) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with a rehearsal full of cameras (including on the conductor).


Walter Murch and the rule of six.

Walter Murch: The ‘Rule of Six’ in Film Editing from Imaginox (imaginox.co.uk) on Vimeo.

A clip of needs-no-introduction editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient) talking at an NFTS post-production symposium for the Imaginox Online Creative Academy of Film and Television. He’s sharing his ‘Rule of Six’—six criteria he uses to judge the worth, quality, and necessity of every cut he makes in the picture. Overall I think they actually apply quite well to sound editing and mixing as well, which, I guess, is not a huge surprise.


A great article on a superb sound designer.

Here’s an excellent article in The Guardian by Jordan Kisner about veteran sound designer Skip Lievsay, whose credits include No Country For Old MenThe Big LebowskiWaiting for “Superman”Men In BlackFargoSilence of the LambsO Brother Where Art Thou?, and Goodfellas. One of the best jobs I’ve seen of both crafting a compelling narrative and describing our strange world in words a layman has a shot at understanding.

You know that friend who’s always asking you completely left-field questions about your job? (“So… you make all those noises… with your mouth? Or, do you have, like, a piano?”) Send him this link.


Virtual choir: performance, and technology, and... wow.

Composer Eric Whitacre, known for stirring choral compositions, has for several years been doing an experiment he calls “Virtual Choir”. He makes a guide track available for one of his pieces—something to sing along to—and asks the public to record themselves singing their part on camera and send it to him. In this particular rendition, “Virtual Choir 3,” you are apparently hearing 3746 voices from 73 countries performing together. Whoa.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 3, ‘Water Night’

More virtual choirs and Eric Whitacre:

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir – ‘Lux Aurumque

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2, “Sleep

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4, “Fly to Paradise

TED talk “Eric Whitacre: Virtual Choir Live

TED talk “Eric Whitacre: A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong


Everything is a drum: large man edition.

Yup. This happened.