Interview with Carl K. Robinson Jr.
Here is Carl K. Robinson Jr. answering our questions today:
Let's start with some ice breaking quick questions
- What’s your favorite book?
No clear favs, but I love biopic and auto bio novels about legendary figures in the entertainment and music industry.
- Mac or PC user?
- Analog or digital recording?!
I prefer analog. I love analog sound and working with acoustical sound energy. Started out learning to record, edit and mix on analog gear and the box emulations when becoming the experienced audio engineer I am today.
- Do you play any musical instrument?
No, but I love sampling live instrumentation from instruments for music production. I know music theory and can play chords and melodies writing progressions on virtual synths, pianos and keyboards. I like to classify myself as a Computer Musician. As all of us are Audio Creators, Producers, Engineers, Enthusiasts, etc. If you play some type of virtual instrument or software instrument for any production then you are a musician in your own right!
- What’s your favorite Digital Audio Workstation for editing sound?
Pro Tools. Hands down!
- What are your top 3 favorite music bands?
Very hard one to answer. I have a lot of fav bands spanning from like 3 decades of music. But here are three that on my mind that I really love to listen to:
Earth Wind and Fire
Kings of Leon
- Most recent concert post covid times? And what’s your favorite concert ever!
Only ever been to like 3 concerts ever. My favorite was watching Solange Knowles Beyonce's Sister Perform.
- What’s the most famous person you’ve met?
Jason Mraz. Met him and shook his hand at a Grammy pre concert event in San Francisco while attending college. Told him that I enjoyed listening to all of his music he released. He gave me a hug saying he appreciated his heart from a fan saying that to him!
- Imagine if you could meet a person you wish, who would that be??
Jay Z or Kendrick Lamar for sure!
- This holiday: beaches or mountains?
Beaches all the time. Mountains only in Winter or holiday Christmas season
- So what's your preferred weekend?
Saturdays?? I enjoy just having fun on a Saturday with friends and family and then spending time on Sundays at home watching Golf or Football during the seasons.
Career path & insights
- Where are you based?
Atlanta, Georgia currently right now.
- How did you start in the industry?
I started out having a passion for music and being a music producer and a studio engineer for record label artist and mixing records. I wanted to pursue a career in audio engineering doing more than music so I quickly learn and gain experience in recording mixing mastering for music as well as audio in general and having a strong passion and work experience in audio production.
I went to college at the Art Institute of San Francisco. After graduating college I took internships and tried to do freelance to gain experience for full-time student work and then I ended up moving to Atlanta Georgia to get more Career opportunities which is what I'm doing now. I'm certified Pro Tools engineer and I am part of a lot of audio groups online such as AES and other audio engineering group audios that support and network with professional and resources for audio engineers in the industry.
- Could you tell us some of the projects you enjoyed the most? Your outstanding project!
I enjoyed working on a lot of the film projects in my portfolio working on sound design and dialogue at their mixes. It's been some of the great work I've done recently that shows all of my skills as an audio engineer and mixer.
- What makes you a great audio engineer?
When it comes to working with voice over from my home studio setup I always try to use the Best Buy quality platforms to record especially working remote.
Source-Connect is what makes my voice over does that sound good. And then adding my editing and mixing is superb at the most high quality work and best quality for sure
- Which part of your job do you most enjoy?
Everything about audio pretty much, learning and working and networking with others and working and collaborating with others as well!!
- Which is the thing you enjoy learning more?
I always enjoy learning about the software and audio plugins and the ins and outs of how to use them the best for all types of audio work . And also getting my hands on any hardware gear analog equipment and learning how to configure those for any audio needs or capabilities, even just fun. And also anything related to immersive and surround sound I love to always learn about for sure!
- How do you think learning in this industry has changed?
I feel like the technology and the easy access to remote platforms and tutorials on YouTube and new technology or software and Hardware admitted easier for a lot of people to learn how to be an engineer and other stuff in audio.
Home Studio for remote recording
Let’s get nerdy about techie stuff!
- Do you have your own studio? Could you tell us what setup, tech & hardware it consists of? How did you build it? Which kind of interface, DAW, setup, mic, headphones, speakers…
Yes I have my own bedroom Studio set-up which I work remotely doing all of my post on your work phone and any remote recordings as well I have pretty much some basic studio studio equipment for a bedroom or home studio setup MacBook Pro JBL studio monitors headphones Sennheiser extra large Cable's TRS cables wave software IZotope RX software suite see how much everything I need to work remotely as a freelancer independently from home or bedroom Studio or professional work. I also use Pro Tools image line FL Studio, Audacity and Reaper for dolls that I use for a range of recording editing and mixing and assembling audio content. I am also a Pro Tools Avid user certified engineer
- What are your favorite places to record?
I would most likely say my favorite place to record is always in a recording studio environment or a treated room with acoustical treatment either in the house or basement or Studio treated area but most likely always I would I would have to say it's the recording studio itself.
- Which kind of services do you offer with your studio?
Mostly I offer post-production and recording production and voice over for in-person services as well as remote audio production services, remote voice over, remote ADR work and remote post-production editing, mixing and mastering work. As well as any in-person Studio work for the same services as well if I had to travel to a certain place for client to do any of my services as well if that makes sense.
Remote working with Source-Connect
- How has the pandemic been for you work wise?
I feel like in terms of the pandemic I feel like the work was slow at first but eventually I love how Source Elements started to release more remote software for us audio engineers to do more post audio to keep working. I was able to work on post audio projects during covid and I still am currently now.
- What percentage of your work is remote now?
100 percent currently
- When did you start with Source-Connect? What has been your favorite recording session with Source-Connect? Could you tell us some of the benefits of having remote collaboration tools?
I first started learning about Source-Connect and Source Elements' products back in 2016 when I was in college and learning about audio software, technology and platforms to use for different types of recording method. I then started to see how according Studios and professional post houses like 1 Union or sonic Union or other professional Studios used Source-Connect and Source Elements to do remote voice over to clients and other Studios or in their respective home Studios as well.
I enjoy using Source-Connect a lot during voice over work and I also use Source-Nexus in my sessions for high quality remote recorded audio. I think that the benefits of using Source-Connect and any of Source Elements' products are that you’re always beginning a HQ audio connection & you get full lossless audio on your end when the session is finished. It's great for working remotely. I recommend this to everyone especially if they're trying to record from a person's home set up or Studio or wherever that client is. Source-Connect is great for remote collaboration projects, podcast work, audiobook work and music work.
- How do you see working with remote tools in post-pandemic times?
I feel like it's going to grow because a lot of companies and studios are still doing remote collaboration projects and remote work. I feel like there will be more remote companies that will come out of the post-pandemic times and they will need post production Engineers like myself to run their work and projects.
- What is your favorite thing about remote recording?
High quality, High Fidelity, bi directional, lossless audio over bandwidth and voice over IP internet connection. Also my favorite thing about remote recording is recording remotely and always getting the best audio possible with someone who does not have the best audio setup on their end. Finally, also being able to collaborate with all types of clients and other engineers doing a remote session.
- Are remote collaboration tools here to stay?
Yes Man it is for sure it is for sure for the future long time to come. Definitely!!
- What challenges have you faced when working remotely?
Connection issues with internet on the client for other person's and not being strong enough because they're using a Wi-Fi connection because they're in a place where they're using someone else's Wi-Fi or connected to other people's internet and the connection bugs out a lot and not stable enough to record for sessions
- Are you collaborating with someone remotely at the moment?
I am collaborating and recording remotely with voice over artist for voice over work for a podcast series where I'm recording him as the host for the episodes.
Industry, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- How would you describe the media industry? And more specifically, tell us about your experience in the industry.
Really feel like the media industry could be more inclusive and more engaging and helpful to assist and work with African American, black audio engineers and editors and creators in the industry of media and entertainment because I feel like there are so many opportunities as a black audio engineer that a lot of other Engineers of minority or color get that we don't get.
I have seen a surplus in women audio engineers and other people of color white audio creators, editors and producers who are getting opportunities respectively but wish there could be more opportunities in work and professional environments for black audio Engineers like myself who are still trying to make it in the industry. In regards to the media industry my networking, collaborating and connecting with professionals and fans of audio and enthusiasm is really at a high-level. I just have this factor in this personal embellishment and character that just connects with people who want to connect me just to talk about audio or just to talk about anything related to the Arts and entertainment world. Always evolving and connecting and networking with others when I can!
- Would you like to change the industry? If so, what would you change?
Giving more opportunities in working with people who are willing to learn and grow as an audio professional. I really would like to change the scope of hiring different positions in terms of hiring people of color in studios. With companies I feel like the internship format and working as an unpaid intern needs to be changed. I feel like people coming up in the industry should have the opportunity to intern for a paid wage or some type of compensation like or a apprenticeship type of deal with a studio or professional company.
- What’s the future of the industry looking like from your perspective?
The future is now the future. I feel like more remote collaboration and I really do feel like more audio Engineers will start having remote production studios where people can work remote from home but at their home set up and work remote with clients. A professional studio quality environment or an engineer's home studio working remotely with that studio remote full-service production recording and post-production facilities, that's the future
Advices to other VO artists/sound engineers/people in the industry
- How would you describe your job to those who know the industry well?
I am a audio Creator editor mixer audio producer. I work in audio post-production and I work on Films. I work on audio books and work on podcast. I would like to work on TV commercials and TV episodic content as well. I can do editing, mixing, mastering and remote recording. I am a audio post-production and I do audio post for all media and entertainment in content that requires post production services
- Do you have advice for other professionals in the industry?
I wish we can join more groups without paying a large lump sum of money for professionals handout. I wish more resources for audio Engineers like myself to have better equipment and better Technologies in a home environment to do the same type of work that the professional students can do. As well be more engaging and helpful to hire more unexperienced engineer so they can learn and gain skills and professionalism for freelance work and independent work as well
- Who have you found useful to watch or to learn from?
I got the chance to really watch and learn from a lot of great and handful of audio Engineers who are the same color as myself. I'm always learning new skills and techniques from others in online workshops and online tutorials like YouTube and other Online community Networks.
More specific professionals and Engineers like Leslie Brathwaite, Dave Pensado, Adam Clairmont, Delavante Tabor, Greg VilFranc are just a handful of people I've watched and learned phone in person and online.
- What advice would you pass on to someone who's trying this sort of remote workflow out for the first time?
Sure you know the audio basics and the basics of how to route audio and how to pass audio through basic sources in basic technology before you use remote software like Source Elements for any other remote workflow. You need to make sure to be able to understand the base of the audio technology and how to route audio through different places in and out for remote use for online use. I would say even understanding the basics of how are your passes do in and out on a basic level when handling a microphone source to a person and how sound transfer can travel from one source to the next. And from experience and from learning myself I know that when it comes to using these platforms and plug-ins and it can get more complicated when you have multiple people, multiple 4 buses and multiple instances of audio connected in and out. I know it can get tricky at times so it's better to understand the basics of signal flow and how to route audio to a certain place first before you can learn everything that goes into have a remote session with a client or for any work purposes as an engineer.
- What would you say is your recipe for success?
Relationship building, connecting and networking. I do my best work on every project. Using my skills to the test at every time and putting my best foot forward when building my brain, being creative and technically advanced at all times. I think those will get me father and father and I will success in the future.
- What would be the thing you would most like our readers to take away from this interview?
That I am a strong and passionate audio engineer skilled and trained in post-production and I love working with audio. I just want any readers to know that I am a force to be reckoned with in terms of a professional engineer doing post-production and doing audio to the fullest at a high level at all time and if anyone is reading who is hiring or in need of an engineer with my skills and services I am always available to work or connect any new opportunities. So please reach out!
That is all thank you! I hope whoever is reading this interview will take some great information and hopefully connect with others like myself. Always be great at what you do and don't settle for less. Make whatever you are passionate about and make that a goal for a working dream!
Carl K. Robinson Jr.
June 7, 2023
June 7, 2023