As we gear up for the LDI Show, we’re profiling speakers in our Sound Tracks series of panels aimed at live sound engineers. This week we’re pleased to introduce you to Erik Zobler, who will be hosting our “Studio Strategies for Stage Mixes” panel.
Renaissance man Erik Zobler is part of a rare but growing group of engineers who have found success in multiple audio arenas: He is a Grammy-winning mixer and recording engineer for music, film, and television; a mastering engineer; and a live mixer. Zobler was George Duke’s studio engineer for 34 years, recording 19 albums with the jazz icon, from 1979's Master of the Game through 2013's DreamWeaver. And in 2005, he joined Duke on the road to mix front of house.
Zobler’s music credits include Miles Davis, Anita Baker, Kenny Loggins, Al Jarrau, Stanley Clarke, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and many more. His TV and film credits include The Bourne Supremacy, Robots, Happy Feet, and Gigli.
Sarah Jones: What was your first live sound gig?
Erik Zobler: One, setting up the 16mm projector for my 6th grade class; two, setting up a Bogen P.A. for my high school rock band; and three, running a real sound system for a play in rehearsal in San Francisco.
SJ: Who or what has most influenced the way you think about sound?
EZ: Who: When I worked as an assistant at Westlake Studios, every good engineer who came through the door. There were many.
What: Every great recording that left an indelible sonic footprint on my brain.
SJ: What kind of technology is having the biggest impact on the way live sound engineers work right now?
EZ: Digital consoles.
SJ: What can show attendees expect to learn in your panel?
EZ: How to successfully wear different audio hats—or, how to prioritize work flow.
SJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
EZ: “You’re only as good as your last job.” Or: “Always give 100% effort.”
SJ: How about the worst?
EZ: “Second engineers are a dime a dozen.” (An actual quote from a first engineer.)
The 30th annual LDI Show takes place October 15-21 in Las Vegas.
Sarah Jones is a writer, editor, and content producer with more than 20 years' experience in pro audio, including as editor-in-chief of three leading audio magazines: Mix, EQ, and Electronic Musician. She is a lifelong musician and committed to arts advocacy and learning, including acting as education chair of the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Academy, where she helps develop event programming that cultivates the careers of Bay Area music makers.