EP 158: Dana Nielsen – Capturing Pro Vocals

master your mix podcast, ep 158 dana nielsen

Dana Nielsen is a Grammy-nominated mixer, engineer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist known for his work with Rihanna, Adele, The Smashing Pumpkins, Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan, and Kanye West.

Nielsen also frequently works with music for picture, producing, recording, and mixing a growing number of film scores and soundtracks, such as Kristen Wiig‘s Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar (Lionsgate), Will Ferrell’s Anchorman 2 (Paramount) and Casa De Mi Padre (NALA), as well as the Sam Rockwell/Olivia Wilde dark comedy Better Living Through Chemistry.

Based in Los Angeles, Nielsen has amassed credits that run the stylistic gamut from Neil Diamond to Slayer and just about every style in between. Nielsen’s work can be heard on albums by a diverse roster of artists. He worked as an engineer on Kanye West’s Yeezus(Roc-A-Fella) and Rihanna’s Loud (Def Jam), recorded Bob Dylan’s Tempest (Colombia), and recorded Neil Young and Crazy Horse for their album Colorado (Reprise).

As a composer, saxophonist, singer and programmer, Nielsen’s own music and/or voice can be heard on countless TV commercials, as well as hit shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, America’s Next Top Model, and the Duplass brothers’ HBO series Room 104.


  • Using the studio as a place of creativity and collaboration
  • Knowing when and when not to provide input in a session
  • Working with Rick Rubin
  • Executing on the vision of a producer
  • Being prepared for when creativity strikes
  • The easiest way to work your way up the ladder in the world of production
  • Getting a pro vocal sound
  • How to deal with bleed when editing vocals
  • Editing tools for vocals
  • Melodyne vs. Autotune
  • How to record vocals quickly
  • Tracking through Autotune
  • Why you should always start a mix by focusing on the drama first
  • Using automation to make mixes more exciting
  • The “slippery fader” trick

To learn more about Dana Nielsen, visit: https://www.dananielsen.com/

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