Grammy-winning mix engineer and producer Andrew Scheps is renowned for his stellar mixing and production techniques, which he has applied to some of the biggest acts today, including Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Low Roar, Metallica, and Hozier, among others. Moving from a fully analog to completely in the box production set up 10 years ago gave him a wide-ranging perspective on record making. This shift came with numerous advantages, including portability and convenience, thanks to the iLok licensing system.
Today, Scheps relies on a wide range of iLok-protected software for his work. He uses Pro Tools for editing and arrangement, while employing various audio plug-ins to shape the sound of his tracks. These plug-ins offer a plethora of processing options, such as equalization, compression, pitch correction, noise correction (iZotope RX), and emulating hardware like an old speaker or megaphone (Speakerphone), or even the lush, iconic sound of Scheps’ long-lived Neve 8068 console (Scheps 73).
PACE’s iLok system has become an integral part of Scheps' workflow. It allows him to authorize his licensed software with ease, whether he's moving from one project to another or working in different locations. With iLok USBs, authorizations on a computer, or iLok Cloud, Scheps can conveniently manage his activations within his iLok account, ensuring a smooth and efficient working process.
Scheps’ passion for audio technology has been ingrained in him from the early days of his career. He began by fixing and maintaining Synclaviers for New England Digital right after college. This association with one of the first synthesizer and digital samplers eventually led him to explore MIDI sequencing software from Studio Vision, which used the PACE copy protection system, a precursor to iLok.
The introduction of iLok marked a turning point for Scheps. It revolutionized the way he worked, allowing him to bring his essential tools anywhere and eliminating the need for cumbersome hardware setups. Scheps had always been a beta tester for Pro Tools, receiving beta builds on floppy disks as far back as 1997. But it took him some time to find software tools that could entirely replace his console and racks of analog gear.
Around 2013, Scheps committed to mixing solely ‘in-the-box’, and immediately recognized the benefits. The ability to seamlessly transition between projects and locations with just an iLok USB, and his hard drives for multi-track sessions, was a game-changer. The iLok system provided a reliable and efficient way to manage authorizations, eliminating the hassle of dealing with other authorization systems.
As Scheps continued his journey in the world of audio, he found himself venturing into new territories. To add to his success as a mix engineer and producer, he developed an interest in programming software. Scheps, a self-proclaimed geek, was always looking for ways to automate tasks and streamline his workflow. He wanted to eliminate repetitive work that hindered his creative flow.
Driven by his curiosity and desire to simplify his process, Scheps started exploring SoundFlow, another PACE-protected software that allowed deep integration with Pro Tools. SoundFlow enabled him to accomplish tasks that no other software could achieve. He saw its potential and began writing scripts to automate various aspects of the mixing process. This newfound passion for coding led him to create his own app called Bounce Factory, which automated all aspects of the bouncing process.
During the pandemic lockdown, Scheps dedicated himself to both mixing and coding, often working late into the night. He learned the intricacies of programming through online resources, YouTube tutorials, and the supportive SoundFlow community. Scheps is grateful for the guidance and support he received, particularly from Christian Scheuer, the CEO and founder of SoundFlow, who has been instrumental in helping him navigate the world of programming. With SoundFlow's powerful platform and the protection and licensing provided by PACE iLok, Scheps didn't have to worry about the technical aspects of safeguarding his software. He could focus on unleashing his creativity and pushing the boundaries of what was possible.
Scheps didn't stop at Bounce Factory; he continued to explore programming and developed smaller tools to address specific pain points in his workflow. One of these tools was the Offset Counter, which helped him quickly locate specific sections of a mix, saving him valuable time when addressing notes from clients. By giving back to the community and sharing his creations, Scheps contributes to the collective growth and innovation of the audio industry.
“I love doing Atmos, I love the immersive stuff.”
Always at the forefront of audio technology, Scheps has a particular affinity for immersive formats like Atmos. He has mixed over 150 Atmos mixes to date, and is excited about the advancements in playback technology. Sharing that excitement and expertise in a Q&A on his personal Atmos setup, or a panel on Atmos Mixing with industry veterans like Bob Clearmountain, Steve Genewick, Will Kennedy, and Dave Way, is one way Scheps consistently contributes to the advancement of the greater audio community.
As soundbars and headphones improve, Scheps envisions a future where people could experience the full potential of immersive formats in their homes. He sees immense creative freedom in breaking free from the limitations of stereo and headphone playback, and eagerly anticipates the day when home speaker systems provide a truly immersive experience.
“I think eventually when consumer speaker systems are at a point where people can afford to actually get a speaker up over their head or behind them instead of just simulating it… That's when I think it'll really be cool, because then you'll have complete freedom. You're not trying to match a stereo thing, you’re not catering to headphone playback, which is a big part of the process now. And I don't mind that because I can still be really creative and have it work on headphones. I've gotten good at that. But it'll be nice when I don't even have to think about that.”
In November 2022, Scheps attended his first Audio Developer Conference (ADC), an annual event hosted by JUCE and PACE Anti-Piracy, that celebrates all aspects of audio software. ADC 2022 sponsors included prominent companies like Apple, Focusrite, Avid, Audiotonix, GPU Audio, ByteDance, Ableton, and many more. Andrew thought that most if might go right over his head, but to his surprise, he discovered that he fit right in with the passionate community of audio developers. The enthusiasm and dedication of the attendees, including those from prominent companies, inspired Scheps and reinforced his belief in the importance of pushing boundaries and driving innovation.
From his early days as a mix engineer to his more recent forays into programming, Andrew Scheps has consistently embraced emerging technologies and harnessed their power to enhance his craft. As an ambassador of the digital audio future, he continues to inspire (and be inspired by) his fellow professionals, demonstrating that the marriage of artistry and technology can unlock new realms of sonic possibility. Through his unwavering passion, relentless exploration, and commitment to excellence, Scheps continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of music, shaping its future with his pioneering spirit.