Audio Engineer/Instructor Dennis Ritchie has been a producing, engineering and playing music for over 30 years. He’s recorded numerous multi-platinum, Grammy and Emmy winning artists in Nashville and L.A including Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Eric Church, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris and newer acts such as I Am Sparticus and Earl & The Agitators. Dennis also has an impressive amount of experience in TV and Film
CBS, ABC, NBC, MTV, VH-1, The History Channel, Fox, Disney, Universal, Paramount, American Idol, PBS, HBO, EA Games, TriStar Pictures, “The Sopranos”, “The Office”, “Psych”, “My Name Is Earl”, “Criminal Minds”, “Boston Legal”, “America’s Got Talent”, “Dirt”, “Las Vegas”
The River Within
Tom Astor (Germany)
Elisabeth Andreasson (Sweden)
Vera Negri, Feo & Mau (Brazil)
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what mic would you bring?
A Telefunken 251, to remind me there is civilization out there.
What piece of audio gear can you not live without?
The one the producer just bought.
What’s your favorite piece outboard gear?
The one I haven’t used. I really don’t have any favorites. They all do a job. I’m usually looking for the next one I haven’t tried because new is fun.
What was your first big break?
I’ve had a lot of what I would call big breaks but they were always because I worked hard and pushed to find opportunities.
The first was because I bugged a friend until he let me do a session. Within two weeks he left to pursue a management opportunity and I was chief engineer by default. The second was because I was doing a terrible session in a studio I’d never seen before a week before their engineer quit to sell used cars. Seriously! Again, chief engineer by default. The third time I was looking for an excuse to see a brand new studio and walked in off the street. I had no idea they’d just fired their chief engineer and I left with the job, in shock I might add. It seems they were having trouble finding someone who could run MCI automation.
The best gig I ever got as a freelancer was because another engineer was two and a half hours late. I just happened to be recording there the previous week, had a couple of racks of outboard gear and didn’t manage blow anything up. That led to a string of major label records in Nashville and Los Angeles and a whole lot of fun. If the other guy had just been on time it never would have happened.
In every case I was the next closest option. Each time I was there trying hard. My rule was to go to work every day whether I had work or not, because no one ever knocked on my door and asked me to get into the music business.
What advice would you give up and coming engineers?
Do it because you love it or do something else. Do it hard or it’s not worth it. No one but you will maintain your personal standards of excellence.