I'm a professional Mixing- Recordingengineer and Producer
Born in 1973, I felt pretty soon, that a career in the musical workspace is my confession. Growing up in musical family let me choose a classical education in piano for over 7 years and also extensive courses in music theory, which I still think is crucial for working in such a service business.
Always working with musical instruments, synthesizers and recording technology lead me to the step to do it professional.
Founding my company in 1994 and going freelance let me merge life and music. Working out of the SSL Suite at toolhouse studios, gives me an amazing homebase and a team where I could serve all the needs high profile clients expect from me.
How and why did you decide to become a recording engineer?
I was always thrilled by the sound of professional recordings. Recordings from engineers which take care of all the details of a sound source.
After experiencing the benefit of really great analog gear, wether tube or discrete, I was trapped in the hunt for great sound without compromises.
Beside the technical things I was always fascinated working with great artists and capture all of the details of their performance. Bringing it all together to a recording where you could hear the vibe happened at the recording.
Known as a diehard analog user, how do you fit the digital into your work?
It's not that I downtalk everything digital. I really appriciate recording things like vocals, strings, acoustic guitars to digital. Especially recording vocals, I enjoy working so quick with digital, that I'm happy to come after with catching the vibe of the singer so fast. Or when I'm producing and writing songs, I work with my MacBookPro (and my MPC3000), so I have everything in one place. But when it comes to mixing and major recording, I'm always addicted to my analog gear. Theres no other way to get that sound.....
What makes a mix great ?
A great mix delivers the feeling and the vibe the artist had at the recording session...
That's the goal to catch. Soundwise, my personal like'ing of a great mix is punchy, 3D with a great front to back stage, great intimate upfront vocals and a clearness where you could point at all the sources. But as always it really depends on the production.
Do you have any favourite microphones for vocals ?
Wow, I have a lot of favorit microphones. Beside the preamps, I use my microphone collection like a painting palette. Remember, before eqing a signal, you always have a chance to choose another mic.
Just to name a few, my favorits for vocals are:
Neumann U67 for that warm/"crunchy" mid sound which is classic to many recordings, TelefunkenUSA ELAM251 a new recreation from the classic, one of the biggest vocal tones Innertube MagMic, I like the openess from that mic and how it stacks when recording choirs Manley Reference, a very open mic, with a lovely mid character, EAR tube mic, I love that big bass sound I get from my pair of EAR microphones Sony C800G, I really dig that mic because it has that pop vocal sound I love .
I could go on and on... and on the next production I might use none of them...... U get it ?
What is your favorit drum micing ?
Depending on the sound and the production I'm after, I really like:
Kick: D12, RE20, Horch RM2...
Snare: SM57, MD431, M201...
Toms: C414, MD421, SM57....
HiHat: KM84, C451, Royer 121....
Overheads: Coles 4038, AEA R44c, ELAM251....
I just did an country album, with a D12 on the kick, one AEA R44c Over Snare, MD431 on Snare. It came out stunning..... for that kind of sound....
Do you have any heroes ?
I wouldn't call them heroes, as I mainly do my own thing and not try to copy. But there are engineers who are doing amazing sounding recordings, like: John Gass, Dave Pensado, Dave Way, Bob Clearmountain, Tchad Blake, Tony Maserati, ...
Have you found any new gear that amazed you ?
I'm not strictly a vintage guy. I'm always amazed by some new gear, and add it all the time to my toys. Small helpers, like the LittleLabs IBP and PCP make me happy.
Do you remember the first music you ever heard ?
I don't know exactly, as there are some... It might be mid 70s german disco sound, like Boney M. Also Pink Floyd, Queen and the white Beatles album come to mind.
Is there anybody you would like to work with ?
There are a couple.... Two of them might be Rich Costey and also John Brion. I like their production work and how far they go for getting great sounds.
In a production, what is your crucial need to do ?
The crucial need to do, is get a vibe where everybody feels comfortable. Having a friendly, but professional mood, will help you for a brilliant sessions with amazing results.
Do you have any advice for somebody who wants to start in this business ?
Be aggressiv, be professional and be honest. There are a lot of informations to get for free. With magazines, internet, trade fairs and personal contacts avaible today. Try to get an intern position at a studio, try to find a mentor, make you interesting for a team to adopt you. Find out what differs good gear from great gear. Experience why we choose that mic, that pre, that comp for that application. And..... do it 100%
What is you final mix medium ?
If the budget allows, I always mix to Studer A820 1/2" analog. Parallel always to 24bit digital, and we choose at mastering which one fits better.
Do you master the mixes yourself ?
Well, no. I would never Master a production where I'm so strong involved like recording and mixing. Fortunatly, at my homebase (toolhouse studios) we have a mastering suite, flown by one of the most knowledged Mastering Engineers in germany, Ulf Hattwig. It's just a stair up from my SSL Suite, and I would never distrust his ears. I always attend the mastering sessions, but I'm really quite in making decisions :-)
When not working in the studio, what's your time spent with ?
My rare free time, I like to spent with my family, hanging with friends, travelling or yeah cooking. I really love that..... and eating....... :-)
Is there a trademark "Wolfgang Manns" Sound ?
Maybe ? But it's not intended. Some people say, they could recognice my mixes, I guess that has something to do with how I mix the drums and bass, and how I pan and spread things. But I alway try to bring out the artist in that production. And if it has a signature sound, It should have the artists signature...
If you could instantly be somewhere else, where would it be ?
Miami/South Beach/Lincoln Street, Italian Place
Meat or vegetables ?
Blue or yellow ?
Coffee or tea ?
Comedy or action ?
Pepsi or Coke ?
Tits or ass ?