I am a full-time audio engineer, musician, music nerd, and self-proclaimed weirdo! For nearly 30 years, I have been dedicated to assisting musicians to create their art in the San Francisco Bay Area. Graduating from the California Recording Institute in 1994, I co-founded Final Mix Studios in Campbell, CA, alongside my partner Jeff Bartlett in the winter of 1995. Final Mix Studios quickly became the heart of the South Bay music scene for almost a decade, providing comprehensive recording, mixing, and CD duplication services to numerous renowned artists.
In 2007, my colleague Jeff and I decided to close Final Mix Studios. Subsequently, together with fellow engineer Don Budd, I undertook the design and construction of Tone Freq Recording Studios in San Jose. Currently, I work daily at the studio, offering recording, mixing, and mastering services to clients in the Bay Area and around the world. Additionally, for almost 25 years, I have served as an engineer at Highland Studios, owned by acclaimed musician Joe Weed, nestled in the picturesque Santa Cruz mountains. There, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with notable folk, Americana, and Celtic artists.
My musical journey began at the age of 15, fueled by a passion for 70’s and 80’s rock. Although I initially picked up the guitar, playing bass was a natural fit for me. My musical tastes expanded to encompass blues, jazz, funk, old-school hip-hop, R&B, and soul. After transitioning to playing bass in my early 20’s, I embarked on a 25-year professional career as a bassist. Furthermore, I imparted my knowledge by teaching bass and music theory at the SJG School of Music in Campbell and Keith Holland Guitars in Los Gatos.
Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of performing with numerous artists and bands in the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York. Additionally, I have showcased my musical talents in various musical theatre productions in Walnut Creek. I firmly believe that my ability to read music and my extensive experience performing across diverse genres greatly benefit my clients in capturing their musical visions.
Growing up with an electronic engineer father proved advantageous when I delved into analog circuit design as a hobby. In 1996, well before it became a widespread practice, I reverse-engineered old Neve preamps. Subsequently, I designed and built several equipment pieces that are still utilized in the studio to this day. Needless to say, I know my way around a soldering iron, which often proves invaluable when troubleshooting an instrument, amplifier, or cable that goes down during a session. The experience of designing and constructing multiple studios has provided me with extensive knowledge of acoustics and room design (although I am now inclined to leave my next studio build to the acoustic professionals!). Nonetheless, this expertise has proven invaluable in capturing the best sound when micing instruments and vocalists.
Our band Sweet Hayah has been collaborating with Steven Glaze at Tone Freq studio for over a decade. Every session is an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Steve’s expertise and passion for sound engineering and mastering are evident in every step of the recording process. Over the years, Steve’s guidance, objectivity, incredibly keen ears, and technical know-how played an important role in helping us grow and evolve into confident recording artists. His attention to detail, his production ideas, his attentiveness to our ideas, and mastery of the equipment and recording software he uses, truly helped elevate our sound, and brought out the best in our studio performances. We owe much of our success as recording artists to Steve and the incredible experience we always have at Tone Freq Studio! His super social right-hand birdie Maxie is often there to greet you when you first walk in. She loves to rock out to our music, and even ended up in one of our music videos. Recording with Steve is always a meaningful, comfortable, empowering and fun experience…and what better way to create and capture music than in an environment that feels so intimate. We always look forward to our next single or record with Steve. He’s a Bay Area treasure!Nehal A.
At the end of the day, it’s your song, and my purpose is to guide you in creating your best work.
As an engineer, I rarely say no to ideas, as long as there’s no risk to the equipment or ourselves. Surprisingly, some of the craziest ideas, initially deemed improbable, end up as the brilliant idea that defines a song. The studio should be a place of creativity, not one that stifles innovation. I often will interject creative ideas as well, with the full knowledge that you, the artist, have full veto power if it stays or not.
I feel fortunate to have learned the old-school way, using 2″ tape machines and large format consoles. There was something special about capturing the performances rather than manipulating them on the computer that gave music a different vibe. With that said, I am extremely proficient in ProTools, with over 25,000 hours on the program. Editing drums, vocals, and instruments quickly and accurately is my specialty. While each has its place in modern production, I strive for authenticity and naturalness, unless a creative decision dictates otherwise or specific circumstances warrant performance edits. Click tracks are used sparingly, reserved only when essential for the song and genre. As for Auto-tune, it is employed solely when necessary or for artistic effects.
As for my workflow while mixing and mastering, unless the song dictates otherwise, I prefer a hybrid approach. Mixing stems out of ProTools into a transformer summing mixer, then into very high-end transformer-based analog compressors, limiters, and EQs. I find this gives me the best of both worlds. The large array of plugins available in Protools, with its detailed and recallable mixing capability, with the sound of mixing though a large format console, and expensive analog equipment. I then print mixes and masters digitally.
While I often mix and master songs from artists worldwide, local artists have the option to attend client sessions. For those at a distance, a zoom mix feed is available, allowing active involvement in the mixing process.
To conclude, I know that personalities are vastly different, and not all people are the right fit. When creating music, you need a team that works well together to create your best art. While I maintain a laid-back approach and warmly embrace all types of people, I acknowledge that I might not be the ideal fit for everyone. If you’re seeking an audio engineer, I encourage you to reach out for a consultation. Let’s discuss your project and together, see how I can bring your vision to life.