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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Glenn Rosenstein
GlennRosenstein
GlennRosenstein

Glenn Rosenstein

Producer, Mixer, | Engineer, Songwriter
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Glenn Rosenstein’s story begins with a guitar and a four-track recorder, and has led him to working with some of the world’s greatest artists including Madonna, U2, Ziggy Marley, James Brown, Miles Davis, and so many more...

Madonna, U2, Ziggy Marley, James Brown, Miles Davis, Randy Crafor, Ramones, Talking Heads
It all began in NYC...

Rosenstein first got in to music growing up in New York “I have very specific recollections of watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, and I think the thing that was intriguing to me was that the Beatles were people closer to my age that were making music that wasn’t my parent’s type of music... and women seem to be really interested in that band, so I thought ‘hey, maybe this is a way I can get attention!’.” 

Glenn started off as a guitarist, but is quick to admit that the instrument didn't play to his strengths right away. “I wasn’t very good, but I did have a very real passion for music. I did find out very early on that there was this job called ‘producer’, and what that allowed you to do was to be in a studio with a collaborative creative effort and make a contribution, even if you weren’t a screaming smoking guitarist, or the amazing vocalist. So I realised that if I can’t play guitar, I really can’t sing, and don’t have much in the way of talent, I’m perfect to be a record producer!”.  

Growing up in New York City, Rosenstein found himself in a hot-bed for all kinds of different types of music, which is where his early work was generated from. “You would walk down a street, and literally on every block there were bands rehearsing in garages. There was R&B, there was punk music at CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City. There was progressive rock, and just everything you could imagine... it was amazing.” 

Getting your foot in the door

“A friend and I worked an entire summer so we could chip in to buy a four-track recorder. We put it in his basement and started recording local bands, which taught us how music is put together and how records are made.” 

At the time, Glenn realised that the only way he could start recording musicians at a higher level and learn more, was to get a job at a big studio such as Electric Lady, Power Station, Record Plant or A&R. He decided to make a go for it and took to the yellow pages: “I cold-called every recording studio in New York City... I happened to hit on Power Station, and they asked me to come in on Monday, however, I was the weekend night receptionist. But to me, it was one of the most exciting days of my life, because I was able to get my foot in the door. I was ordering food for Bruce Springsteen, or watching David Bowie finish an album, it was great!”  

At Power Station, he befriended the producers and engineers and took the opportunity to learn from them. “They were very kind to me, they basically said ‘Glenn, put the phone on night-answer, shut the f*** up, and come in to the room and just observe.’ “ 

Still learning after all these years...

To this day, Rosenstein is still deeply involved and passionate about all aspects of production from programming to mixing. “Even all these years later, I am absolutely in there, still playing guitar... The only thing I don’t do anymore is tracking live musicians, just because there are people who are much better than me at it, so I hire them as a producer.” 

Through working in between various locations, and alongside a huge selection of producers, engineers and musicians, Rosenberg has an opportunity to mix up his methods and equipment regularly. “Tomorrow I’m looking at a Neve console to put in to Muscle Shoals Studio. I also work inside of Pro Tools and Studio One. This year we worked at the Power Station on one of my favourite consoles, an 8060A.” 

“I don’t have a specific method, because I enjoy different method brains. I also work with a lot of different engineers, and what’s thrilling for me about doing that is that each of them has a very different take as to what their favourite gear is, and I learn from that. Even after fourty years of making records, I’m still learning. “ 

“I’m lucky to sit at this table, I really am, where I can get to work in to a multitude of different ways, and equally as important to me as the gear, truly, is partnership.” 

“If it sounds like shit, I ain’t gonna use it”

Rosenberg first discovered Aston Microphones while attending a NAMM show. “I’d heard great things about Aston, and I wanted to get my hands on one and listen to it in my environment to see if it was everything that it was cracked up to be. When I actually got my hands on one, it maxed and exceeded what my expectations were, and for what your design goals were. That was exciting to me, to me it’s like hearing a great album.” 

“You’re a visionary, and I love being around that. If you had a vision for something, and they exceed what they set out to do, then they get the title of ‘visionary’. The other thing is that none of it matters... It doesn’t matter what it looks like, what the price point is, what the marketing of it is like... It doesn’t matter if it’s competitive or not, if it sounds like shit, I ain’t gonna use it, and that’s really the bottom line.” 

“All the Aston Microphones products I’ve been exposed to have all met the criteria of that threshold regardless of price-point. The threshold that this is something that’s imminently usable, so in my mind, that’s where it starts. And then: does the product have a signature? Does it have something that it brings to the game? It’s not trying to do everything, it’s trying to just be good.“ 

Are you hearing what I'm hearing?

Rosenberg explains that the signature is one of the most important aspects of choosing your mics: “There’s a component of clarity, transient response, EQ response, there’s noise floor, and all these technical things... but at the end of the day, does it sound like something that would work? Does it fit? Does it capture the emotion? And does its signature come together with the signature of this particular instrument? When I put an Aston microphone in front of legendary horn player Jim Horne, and he’s like ‘what the f*** is this, where the f*** did you get it and how the f*** can I get one?’, then that’s an affirmation of the choice: he’s hearing what I’m hearing.” 

“I took the Spirit and have used it with horn sections. Crazy, right? But it has this signature that really brought out the things that I was really hearing with a minimum of equalisation. I’m an old school guy, it starts with a microphone and a wire. And then we get in to you know, do we need to EQ it? Let’s do mic placement first… Right out of the box, when I’m judging a mic or doing a mic shoot-out, especially for vocalists, it’s just same signal flow, same path, let’s hear the differences between the microphone. I found that the Aston Spirit has really worked well in many applications. I use it on electric guitar, the capsule doesn’t collapse on relatively high volumes, that was a surprise to me, that was pretty cool! I’ve used it obviously on vocals, to great effect. 

Out-takes

Q. What are your desert island discs and favourite artists?
A. "There are people I’ve worked with that became my favourites, but I’m also a sentimental guy... growing up in music, the artists that I first listened to were the artists that inspired me to want to be involved in the industry. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones were all huge for me, when they were current. That was my school, just sitting and listening to those records, I was not only listening to them as a fan, I was in my mind pulling them apart to see how those things all worked together. Al Green, a huge huge influence on me, because there was just this openness in his voice and the way he’s interacting with the drums. Listen to Let’s Stay Together, unbelievable. I was a voracious listener. I’ve listened also to a lot of stuff like people my age, like Coldplay, U2, who I even got to work with a little. All of that stuff was influential as time went on. None was better than the other."

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. "I’d be doing something that somehow or another allowed me to be in the music industry.What I would do is I would go to Wall Street ten years ago, and start a firm, and then have all my clients be people who I have worked with in the music industry. But I mean things that intrigue me are law, architecture, I find these incredibly creative."

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. I would want an Aston Microphone that had the noise floor and warmth and clarity that was toward a C800G. Your microphones are some of my favourite microphones, but my favourite microphone on the planet is a C800G, which many people would be like ‘those things suck, they’re too bright, etc, I just happen to love the way that they sound. 

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston or your experience with the brand?
A. "Quality, Value, Quality, and F****" [laughs] 

Q. What was the first song that made you cry? 
A. Angel by Jimi Hendrix

Credits

Madonna, U2, Tears For Fears, Ziggy Marley, James Brown, Miles DavisI’ve probably done 250 or more records over the course of my career. There are ones that didn’t become very popular, that are at least as meaningful to me as the records that became extremely popular.  

Artists using Aston: 

Wes Sheffield
Whitney Woerz 

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