Audio clips from Carl Beatty's interview

Carl Beatty interviewed by Mike Thorne

Behind the board. All photos taken at TMF studios, New York City, during the BETTY Carnival sessions in October 1999.

Those mysterious credits on the last page of the CD booklet are often hard to understand. Just what exactly does a producer, an engineer, a mixer or (help us) an executive producer actually do?

Enter Carl Beatty, a recording and mixing engineer with more than 25 years' experience in the trenches, including work with the Stereo Society. How does he explain what he does for a living at parties? What is it that makes him tick? This is a non-nerd interview, asking the questions you never dared to, because of course everybody knows what is a producer, engineer etc etc.

Carl was interviewed by Mike Thorne on January 9, 2001

Streaming audio of Carl's answers can be heard by clicking on the player alongside each question. For help in playing music, see our Playing Audio page in the Big Help Desk.

How do you explain what you do at parties?

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That sounds pretty boring.

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How did you come to be involved in engineering?

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Surely you liked music?

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Is shaping sound for you similar to shaping wood for a carpenter?

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We're still circling the issue of what matters in sound and why you like it.

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How much experience does it take to react instinctively to sounds and their needs?

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Do you ever feel that you're stuck for too long in the same room with the music slipping away?

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You have an unusually broad range of styles that you have recorded, from pure pop through rock&roll, R&B and rap. Are there any differences in the mood and conduct of different session styles?

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You're a Berklee professor as well as a practical engineer and producer. What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning in an academic or commercial environment?

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How has the availability of cheap home recording equipment affected your profession?

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How do good records surface when anyone can do it?

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So the Grammy Awards are not the pinnacle of achievement for you? Is challenge the key?

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