EXPERT VOICE

Davide Ruffini

Sound engineer at Wisseloord Studios – Netherlands. He has helped create over 100 records including Alessia Labate, Amistat, Tamta, Ronnie Flex, Supa Dupa , ATN SOUL & NOAMLE, Elle Hollis.

Davide, how would you define your profession?

I am a recording, mixing and mastering engineer. I see my role very close to what a producer does but focused on the sound itself. This job has become challenging today, almost controversial. The new generation of artists creates amazing music by themselves, at a very fast pace, but has lost interest and culture regarding sound quality. In my experience, they very rarely know how to make what they do sound good. I still believe that, knowing your tools and their full potential is the right way to go, but you also have to understand and support artists and achieve their sound vision. Fortunately, the equipment and tools we use have become more and more reliable, so less time is spent fixing stuff and getting things to work, and more on the creation and shaping of sound.

 

What role does listening to music play in your life?

Listening to music is an essential part of my job obviously, even to the point where it becomes hard to still enjoy casual listening. I don’t have a lot of time to do that, but when I do, I like to listen to music using my phone and earbuds because it gives me a real life feel of how it is consumed out there by ‘’normal’’ people. Perspective is really important to me. I listen to all of my work that way too, trying to find aspects that I can improve on. I am still curious about new sounds and styles, which I bring inside the studio when I get to work. My playlists feature mostly Jazz or Rock music from Rohey, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote, James Blake or Hans Zimmer.

"I am really satisfied with its flexibility and specific features, Audirvana perfectly integrates into my workflow."

How much attention do you pay to sound quality?

Sound quality is paramount to me. Even if I know that the majority of people will listen to my work on small and poor sounding systems, I have to be able to listen very accurately to what I do here in the studio also to understand what the requirements of my clients are. Given the incredible quantity and variety of tools we have available nowadays, I believe it is important to select only the ones that do preserve and maximize sound quality.
I am not an audio snob at all, but I have very specific requirements when doing critical audio processing.  Therefore, I pay a lot of attention to every aspect of the audio chain: from conversion, to cables, to accurate monitoring and playback software of course.

 

How long have you been using Audirvana? What did you think when you discovered it?

It used to really annoy me, to never get the same sound after bouncing something off Pro Tools. The export would just not have the same audio quality that I would monitor while working in the DAW, probably because of various dithering and quantization artefacts introduced during playback. There is a darker feeling to it, some jittering issues and a poor rendering of transients. I have tried everything to solve this issue, ranging from the stock OSX space-bar player, to other dedicated apps like Amarra. A bout five months ago, I was browsing online trying to find a solution when I discovered Audirvana. I immediately loved it. It sounded so good, even Tidal sounded better using Audirvana. It’s a great tool for music playback because it really is truthful to what I hear when I mix or master and feels like nothing is compromised. I am really satisfied with its flexibility and specific features, Audirvana perfectly integrates into my workflow. For example: the one click stop function releases the DAC and allows Pro Tools to take over; or the sample rate limiter, which is very useful when comparing a reference track while monitoring it at the same resolution of the current project.

 

Do you talk to people about it?

I do. I like to do that and talk about things I value. So, I recommend it to everybody. At least, to the ones around me that are interested and concerned about this topic.

 

What are your passions outside of music?

I am also a photographer. When I work, I use my ears to express creativity, but I also love to express it using my eyes when taking pictures. It makes me feel good.

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