We Share Your Passion – Wessel Oltheten

Wessel Oltheten Video

We are thrilled to show you the first short movie we produced at Grimm Audio. It is a portrait of Wessel Oltheten, a well known mix and mastering engineer in The Netherlands.

In this video you can see him at work in his well equipped studio ‘Spoor 14’ in Boxtel, The Netherlands. Wessel relies on Grimm Audio LS1be loudspeakers with DMF motional feedback subwoofers for his mix decisions.

As a happy coincidence Wessel’s incredible book “Mixing with Impact” has just reached the shops in an English translation. With our movie we toast to an international successful career, cheers Wessel!

And a big Thank You to everybody who made this movie possible: Bart Jilesen, Jochem Bakker and Rik Meier.

Interview with Wessel

“To mix a piece of music to the best of my abilities I need to genuinely like it, or dare I say, fall in love with it a little. Next I try to understand where that love is coming from, and go from there. It helps a lot to mix music that surprises and challenges me, as this makes the love feel fresh and full of possibilities.

But in any case I constantly wonder: how can I serve the music? One should have no ego as a mixer. It’s not your mixing people want to hear—it’s only about how you present what is already there. My goal is to remove all barriers between the music and the listener. Even on a smart phone it must be listenable and its essence should stay intact.  

What is ‘good’? That is what you expect of it. Do you need to hear everything that happens in the recording space? Including that breathing sound or string pluck detail? Or would you rather have some distance to the performance? What do you wish to communicate? This determines what is ‘good’. So you need to get in line with the artist first and then use your ears as well as your brain to make the right decisions.”

“For me music is always first, not technology. In this job you need to step back repeatedly and reflect on your decisions. And then you find out that tools often just distract from your goals and that less is often more. The challenge is doing just enough to get you there, which can mean anything from doing nothing at all to distorting something beyond recognition.

I can explain my choice for the Grimm LS1be quite clearly. When mixing one needs to come in a sort of ‘detached’ state in which all decisions are based on guts and intuition, on how you experience the story of the music like a devoted listener would. But to get there you have to deal with lots of potential problems on the way and feel very confident about what you’re doing. You should never doubt whether what you hear and feel is right. The Grimm LS1 offers just that. It shows the balance between instruments to such perfection that I am never surprised when I hear my work on another system: it does sound different but in the core it carries the same intention.

In the past I used a tiny speaker to check my work for that intention, but I don’t need that anymore. If you can’t make a mix sound well on a pair of LS1’s, it’s really your own fault and not your gear’s. The LS1’s are my truth.”

Read about LS1be >