Music production is a long journey and as such, it is usually fueled by great passion. For Henkka Niemistö, a mastering engineer from Helsinki, Finland, his passion was a “deep interest in computers and music” dating back to mid-1980’s. His first big step on the journey was made in 1990 when Henkka purchased his first sampler – a Roland S-50. On buying it, Henkka told the salesman that he now had everything he needed to make music. But this young man was yet to realize that he had just opened a door that he would never close. A few weeks later, he was back in that same store meeting that same salesman, who just smiled at him. “From there on started the long road of constantly upgrading and expanding the studio, and learning all I could about how to create sound,” says Henkka.
It was 1994 when Henkka met his future friend and colleague Svante Forsbäck. They had worked together on a musical for the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki and only a year later the men combined their studios. Following that, Henkka made his way into recording, starting a production company of his own and connecting with all the major recording labels in Finland. In 2004 he and Svante commenced work on a new common project – Chartmakers mastering studio. About a year later after performing DVD Authoring and surround coding, Henkka focused on what is to be the longest and most demanding part of his journey – mastering.
For over a decade, Henkka had been building an extensive resume with numerous hit records. Despite the great number of successful projects he never stopped his journey in search of musical perfection. “I am constantly pushing my own reference point of sound quality while keeping up with today’s requirements,” says Henkka. Throughout the years he continually sought various equipment-combinations that would break new sonic and emotive ground. In 2009 his quest for innovation led him to Anssi Hyvönen, Founder and Managing Director of Amphion Loudspeakers.
Henkka’s relentless passion for the highest-grade technology and sound excellence in his studio opened the door for the first prototypes of Amphion Two15 studio monitors. “I thought there was a chance to bring something new to the world of mixing and ultimately to mastering. The big thing that was clear from the beginning was that the mid-resolution had a great potential,” Henkka remembers. “Quite soon I noticed that what sounds good in the prototype Two15’s sounded easily good everywhere, even on a cell phone or laptop, literally on any other speaker.”
As well as using the monitors, Henkka also started providing feedback to Anssi and helping the designers achieve optimum results. Their philosophy was not focusing too much on technical specifications and measurements, but in trusting their feelings. Henkka was mastering on different prototypes, and then together with Amphion’s team, they listened to the final results to determine what aspects would improve the new speakers.
Now, some years later, Henkka continues his music journey with a pair of Amphion Two18 and BaseOne25 system, which he describes concisely as “… quick, with accurate stereo image and reliable ghost-center.” His trip to sound perfection in his newly-built studio is assisted by his Maselec MTC-2 console, Merging Technologies HAPI, and Prism Sound Dream AD-2 converters – together with outboard gear from Dangerous Music, Kush Audio, Generic Audio, Hegel, and Manley – all connected via Audioquest and Vovox cables. The journey continues …