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VLOG #9: Open Ears, Open Mind, Health & Fitness

Hey guys, welcome to The Pro Audio Files. It’s the Friday show. We’re going to be talking with the owner/operator of All About Kick Boxing, and I’m going to be signing off for the last time on this Vlog, at least for this particular run, but before we get into all of that, I want to give you guys a quick little tip.

Alright guys, here is the most important tip I will ever give you. The most important thing when mixing is to keep your ears open, and the second most important thing is to keep your mind open, and what I mean by that, well, I’m going to give you some actual tangible examples of doing just that.

So this song that I’m about to play, it’s called Reality. It was produced by Chris Wallace for Continuum Music. He’s a really talented dude. Very complex mix. This is not the actual mix. This is me just sort of getting my fingers into the track, because we’re going to do the actual mix at Paramount Studios, Chris is going to come down, we’re going to put together there, but I want to have a really good idea, a really good game plan of what I’m going to do going in.

So anyway, I’m going to play this verse section, and then I’m going to jump over to the breakdown real quick.


And I’m going to jump over to the break.

[mix, break]

Now I’m going to point out something really important. I’m going to go back to the verse here, and I’m going to bypass this trim plugin.

[mix, trim bypassed]

Now I’m going to bring it back in.

[mix, trim enabled]

Really focus on the kick.

You hear how when I bring the trim plugin back in, suddenly that kick becomes a lot stronger? It’s because I’m flipping the phase on the kick. As it turns out, the kick is out of phase with the other kicks in the verse sections, but it’s in phase with the other kicks in the breakdowns and the chorus sections.

That’s keeping open ears. So no amount of techniques in the world are going to fix a messed up kick drum that’s out of phase with the other kicks it’s layered with.

But having open ears means I heard that something was wrong with the kick, went in, investigated and found yup, in the verse, it’s out of phase, but on the breakdown and chorus, it’s in phase.

Now I want to show you something else here. This sound right here…


To me, that’s sort of the driving sound of this breakdown.


There’s nothing in that break section that gives that — this mix like, that energy and aggression that I feel like it needs to kind of come at the listener’s face.

So keeping an open mind. Well, what did I decide to do? I tried a few things. I know that I want to pull up that texture in the upper mid-range, so I’m going to use the Manny Marroquin tone shaper here. Here’s before.

[mix, before tone shaper]


[mix, after tone shaper]

Right? Pretty obvious there. Before. After. Now, that’s a pretty big boost, and I don’t think that it sounds crazy, to be honest with you, I think that sounds like exactly what it needs. But let me show you what I tried doing before that.

This here is a high shelf, and it’s 26 decibels boosted. I have it bypassed right now, but watch what happens when I bring it in and out.

[mix, EQ enabled and bypassed]

Okay, without it. With it.

To me, that’s not that crazy. I think that actually sounds about right. Maybe a touch too much, like maybe four or five dB, but I mean, we’re still talking about a 20 dB boost to the high end. Why? Because that’s what worked, and I’m keeping an open mind.

So remember, open ears, open mind.

Guys, Matt here, and I’m at All About Kickboxing right now with Jonathan. He is the owner, operator, head trainer here, and I’m going to ask him a couple of questions about health and fitness, because I can’t think of too many better people I could interview for this.

Alright, so my first question is, let’s talk about boxing as a form of exercise. What are some of the benefits? Obviously, you guys have been watching, so you know I’m super into boxing, but what are some of the benefits of kickboxing specifically? As a form of working out.

Jonathan: Probably the best thing about boxing or kickboxing is it’s going to get your heart rate up. It’s a lot of cardio, it’s very intensive, it’s not like — when you’re running, alright? You’re running. It’s a constant pace, unless you’re fluctuating that pace a lot. When you’re boxing and kickboxing, that pace is constantly fluctuating. You can go from zero to 100 in two seconds.

Matt: One of the things that I noticed pretty quickly after maybe about the first month, when I’m at my desk, I’m sitting, and I hunch. Some of that has been improved because I got glasses, but some of that has been significantly improved because my posture is getting better, and so I’m not getting neck cramps the way that I used to. I think that’s because of all of the core training and probably some of the shoulder training as well.


Jonathan: Shoulder training, all of the planks we do to strengthen that core, any kind of training where you’re — you know, you’re working shoulders, you’re working your core, all of that stuff is going to help with your posture. Some of the exercise we do in here, obviously, when we do kickboxing bootcamp, which is like a mixture of body weight exercises and combinations actually helps with that.

Matt: Okay, so my next question for you is let’s take a hypothetical. Imagine, if you will, somebody who is about 70 pounds overweight, and hasn’t really worked out in the right way in about 10 years. They need to get started. I can’t think of anyone, but… [laughs] and they need to get started down the path to a better lifestyle.

What’s the first three steps that somebody takes to go there?

Jonathan: First step is work out. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy, doesn’t have to be anything intensive, just work out. Find something you can do that helps you do it every single day. Alright? That you can keep that’s easy. Alright? If you have to drive two hours to go to a gym, that’s not realistic. Alright? Find something that works for you.

And for me, boxing and kickboxing, it’s — it always kept me going. I always find it therapeutic to hit something, and it’s just —

Matt: Nobody in the music business has ever wanted to hit someone. That’s never happened. [laughs]

Jonathan: I know where your aggression comes from.

Matt: No more revisions! What about diet?

Jonathan: Diet. Start with small changes. Obviously, cut out the soda. If you have the motivation, you can go crazy. If you do not have the motivation, take small changes, little bites. If in the morning, you go to Starbucks and you get a mocha frappuccino, you have to have it, you’re always going out there, instead of going out and stop doing that, just go out there and like, take it without the whipped cream. Alright?

Then you keep going, keep going, and maybe in two weeks, alright? Take something that maybe has less low sweetener. Like a low sweetener. And progressively keep doing the same thing, and just replace it with now something else which is even healthier, like a tea. You’re still maintaining that habit, but now you’re doing better choices, and eventually, maybe you’ll be able to quit, and you won’t care about it so much.

So small progressive changes is probably the best.

Matt: On the Wednesday show, I mentioned something and I want to get your opinion on it. In your experience, do we need any kind of additive sugar in our diets at all? Like, is there any point in which granulated sugar is good for us?

Jonathan: There is absolutely no point in it. Most sugar is — it’s like crack. Your body can use sugar — it’s the one thing your body can use that’s the quickest. It’ll quickly feed everything in your body.

Matt: So it’s like, literally, if you’re not about to jump up and go running that second, that just stores in your fat.

Jonathan: Yeah. It’s just going to go straight as fat.

Matt: I’ve tried to go cold turkey on sugar, and it worked for about two weeks, and I just found that…

Jonathan: You went into crazy cravings.

Matt: No, actually, I got over that in about three days. I never ate candy bars, I never drank soda, my sugar was already kind of lower, but when I added it up, I realized I was still getting like, 35-40 grams of sugar a day, without eating candy or soda, because there’s sugar in literally everything.

So now, my threshold is 20 grams. As long as I’m not going over 20 grams, I feel like I’m doing the job right, and I’m still — you know, like you said, looking at a lifestyle thing where I’m not aiming to go cold turkey on additive sugar overnight. This is something that I want to do over the course of a year or so, where I can be under 10 grams. You know? That kind of a thing.

Okay, so my last question is let’s say that I convince a couple of people to come out here, which I am going to do.

You offer more than just — first of all, the boxing is not straight up people fighting each other, right?

Jonathan: No, most of our classes are cardio based. You are learning, you are learning the moves, you’re learning how to do it properly, you’re learning very simple sparring techniques, most of the classes on it are on the bag where you actually — there’s no — you don’t have a fear of getting hit.

We do kind of offer the option of doing sparring, and possibly getting some blood going on on your nose, and I try to incorporate as much as we can, so I don’t want to do just kickboxing and boxing, because you also do need weights, so we do have weights upstairs, and we do some weight training classes, and we also have yoga and spin.

Matt: Yeah.

Jonathan: Because it’s really all about, you know, you need a place where you can have all of that, and have the sense of community of people who want to work out and actually stay in shape. Because I use the graphics. I think you know that, I used to do the graphics, so it’s the same thing. When you’re on the computer, you’re working all day, you’ve got deadlines, you’ve got horrible clients coming at you asking for horrible changes. I was doing the graphic design, and it was getting me fat, and so this is what actually kept me in shape.

So that’s what I — that’s what this gym is about. It’s about just making sure people have a place where they can come in, work out, and try to stay fit, and make it fun.

Matt: Cool. So I’m going to wrap this up with this. In general, if you’re in the music business, as I’ve been discussing all week, it is absolutely, exceptionally important not to get into the bad habits, or if you’re in the bad habits to break them, and start breaking them as a lifestyle choice. Don’t look at doing them overnight, look at doing them over the course of a year. And if you happen to be in the North Hollywood/Burbank area, I really encourage you guys to come down to All About Kickboxing. You can go to the website, it’s

I’m here all of the time. I’m here like, five days of the week.

Jonathan: He’s not even kidding.

Matt: No, not even kidding. I do multiple classes sometimes if I can. If you’re in this area, you’re in the music business, come on down. I’d love to meet you in person, I’d love to go through a class with you, and really encourage you guys to stay in shape and stay healthy.

Alright folks, so that’s going to put a cap on season 1 of this vlog. I’m going to have to put it to bed for a minute, it’s just a very difficult format to keep up with, since I’m kind of one man banding this with Dan here, but I really need you guys to hit that subscribe button, because the whole point of this channel is to bring you information that’s really important in the world of music production, but do it in a way that’s digestible, do it in a way that’s actionable and do it in a way that’s fun, and we’re going to keep experimenting and trying different ways to get that really great information to you.

So that subscribe button is really everything.

Alright guys, don’t forget, mixing with reverb is in the description below, and I will catch you next time.


Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is the recordist and mixer for multi-platinum artist Akon, and boasts a Grammy nomination for Jazz & Spellemann Award for Best Rock album. Matthew has mixed for a host of star musicians including Akon, SisQo, Ozuna, Sonny Digital, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development and 9th Wonder. Get in touch:

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