About Al Schmitt
Al Schmitt is a renowned recording engineer who started his recording career in New York City. During the past several decades, he has worked with such artists as Paul McCartney, Gloria Estefan, George Benson, Toto, Steely Dan, Ray Charles, Norah Jones and many more.
He began working at the Apex Recording Studios at the age of 19 and later moved to Los Angeles, where he became a staff engineer at the landmark Radio Recorders, Hollywood. In the early 1960s, he moved to RCA Studios in Hollywood as a staff engineer, where he worked on albums for Henry Mancini, Cal Tjader, Al Hirt, Rosemary Clooney, Liverpool Five, The Astronauts and Sam Cooke. He also handled a number of motion-picture scoring dates for composers Alex North and Elmer Bernstein.
In 1966, Schmitt left RCA and became an independent producer, working on albums for Jefferson Airplane, Eddie Fisher, Glenn Yarborough, Jackson Browne and Neil Young; in the mid-70s, he began spending more time engineering again, recording and mixing. Other career highlights include engineering Frank Sinatra's Duets albums, Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company and several of Diana Krall's successful albums. Much of his work in the last few years has been with acclaimed producer Tommy LiPuma.
Al has recorded and mixed more than 150 Gold and Platinum albums. He was inducted into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame in 1997, and in 2006 he received the Grammy Trustees Lifetime Achievement Award. Al has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards - more than any other engineer or mixer. In addition, he was awarded two Latin Grammy Awards in 2000, including Album of the Year. In 2005, he won five Grammys for his work on Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company, including Album of the Year; with that award he set the record of most Grammys won by an engineer or mixer in one night. He is also the only person to win both the Grammy and Latin Grammy for Album of the Year.
The System 6000 is always part of Al's productions, whether he is working as a producer or recording engineer: 'It's a tool I use every day. It's such a natural sounding unit, and the control you have over everything is just great. I just love [the 6000] and it's one of the first things I set up when I'm mixing,' Schmitt says.
Schmitt also uses the System 6000 for monitoring-reverb when he's tracking - he sets it up so that he can simulate what it will sound like when he's mixing. 'I will rather have everything dry so I can change it later on,' he explains. 'If I just print it, I'm stuck with it, so I try not to do that.'
Whenever Al Schmitt travels to work around the world, he will either take his System 6000 with him or make sure that they have one wherever he's going. "The fact that the 6000 gives me the opportunity to match up rooms anywhere I go is a great tool. Whether I'm in London at AIR or Abbey Road Studio, or here in the LA at Capital, or Criteria in Miami, I have great control over the sound. This way, I can get an idea of how it is going sound when I get down to mixing.'