Ryan McCambridge Brings Fresh Creativity to Each Mix with Amphion Two18
Grammy-nominated engineer/producer/songwriter on developing objectivity and taste in the studio with transparent monitoring
Toronto, Canada — Ryan McCambridge has built a career on being a studio polymath that balances his intense passion for sonic exploration with a genuine appreciation for all varieties of audio production and post-production. As a Grammy-nominated engineer and producer he’s worked with a diverse range of studio projects for major artists like Mastodon, Metric, and IAMX, major TV and film projects for HBO, Disney, Warner Brothers, and the CBC, and kept very active on his own songwriting and recording. To ensure that he’s able to bring focused objectivity and creative taste to the forefront of his work, McCambridge relies on Amphion Two18 monitors as a way of gaining an insightful window into the details of his various projects.
Objectivity and taste
Where many producer/engineers build reputations through specific genres of music, McCambridge has always been driven by the desire to stay creatively fresh and learn something new each time. As such, he has maintained a steady workflow of projects across a wide variety of project types — from rock and pop projects, to film and TV work, to commercials. Far from inducing a sense of burnout, the self-described workaholic sees doing so as a way of staying creatively fresh and bringing new inspiration to each project. Even if it comes from unexpected places. “Having that constant influx of influences keeps the work interesting and often will teach you things that you don’t expect,” he explained. “For example, I learned mixing in Dolby Atmos working on Sex And The City and was immediately able to bring that to my next project working with Mastodon. It might seem like stylistic whiplash to do that, but having that freshness renewed each time keeps the work exciting for me.”
“Given the variety though, it’s incredibly important to have a monitoring setup you trust because the needs of all of these projects can be so different and you need to be able to listen to all of them objectively.”
Developing that objectivity while still maintaining a sense of taste has been a guiding principle for McCambridge throughout his career, allowing him to dial into a project’s needs instinctively regardless of its origins. Doing so allows him to avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach to his work and create solutions for mix problems that honor the creative intent of the project. “Engineering is really about finding the function of specific sounds within the tapestry of the whole, and to do that well you can’t come into a project with a dogmatic sense of aesthetic,” he said.
“Having a window into the nuances of all those details is essential for this, which is why I started using Amphion.”
Fast transients and translation
McCambridge’s favored monitoring setup is a pair of Amphion Two18s in his private studio. Initially swayed by the brand’s design-forward approach, he quickly found that the improved level of detail had an immediate impact on his workflow. “What drew me in at first was how unique their approach is — making passive monitors in 2022 is quite uncommon,” he said. “I found that really meaningful because it showed how dedicated they were to get the design right no matter what and you can hear that passion and precision in how Amphion speakers sound.”
“When I first used them, it blew my mind how fast the transient response of the Two18s were,” he continued. “Once I got used to that level of resolution, I realized just how objective it made me on the details of any given track. I know I can trust what I’m hearing and being able to do that streamlines my workflow in a way that is immediately impactful.”
That impact also applies to mix translation, an aspect of his work that is increasingly important given the level of specificity required by the post-production workflows of film, TV, and commercial projects. As he is often jumping between wildly different productions in a given week, being able to trust what he sends clients has allowed him to streamline his workflow. “It really is one less thing to worry about and I haven’t had any major revisions since I started using them,” he said. “They really don’t sugarcoat anything, which is a testament to great monitors.”
This streamlined decision-making has enabled McCambridge to continue to work how he does best — with a steady march of different projects that keep him endlessly inspired. “The unique challenges of this work are what make it so exciting for me,” he said. “It can be incredibly empowering to learn a new technique and then immediately put it to use on a completely different project. I’ve enjoyed doing that even more since I made Amphion part of my workflow.”
For more information about Ryan McCambridge, please visit: ryan-mccambridge.com
For more information about Amphion Two18, please visit: amphion.fi/products/two18