Steve Burns

Music Producer / Engineer

Testimonials

  1. Greetings!
    I’m a recording artist/producer/emmc/music enthusiast. I have been creating and recording my own music for over 10 years now. As I’ve used many programs to produce and record with, Pro Tools has been by far the most efficient and proficient in quality and sound compositions in my opinion! I’ve been using Protools for about 6 years now! I have bought bibles also watched countless tutorials. I thought knew a lot! Until I met Steve the “Pro Tools Mentor” turns out there was so much more I needed to know! I was stuck and at the point considering classes or just hiring and engineer to record me. I’m a very self assertive person so doing things on my own gives me better grad faction. I actually was contacted by Steve 2 years prior to come record in a studio he worked in at the time. I ended up loosing track of his info but luckily found it. I called Steve to discuss booking time when we started talking he basically informed that he was a mentor and works from home and will come to your home to teach you what you want know! I was instantly intrigued because I’ve never heard of anyone doing something like that. I met Steve at Tall Cat studios in PHX where he took me through a tour of the studio and explained the different hard/software consoles and equipment and a what they did! My knowledge instantly grew! I realized the sound I was trying to achieve I was never going to get unless I had that set up! Steve said “wait” I will show you how to get there, the best way possible with you already have! To me that was all I needed to hear to consider hiring Steve as my mentor! He came to my house he started teaching how to build a proper session use “sends” and parallel tracks aux, midi, vocal and instrument tracks. He showed me how to set tempo to use effects also save everything to external disc and get the best performance out of your computer! He also helped find a new laptop that runs my studio top notch! I hope everyone could gain something from this and learn for yourself how make the sound you want!

  2. If you’re adamant about punctuality, integrity and quality service at a feasible price, Steve is the go-to guy. In my brief experience working with him, I have had the pleasure of going through equipment assembly, Ableton and Pro Tools instruction and valuable consultation pertaining to how my technical and creative abilities can converge and develop in the future. Steve has a genuine concern for what it is I want to achieve and he has an impressive sense of flexibility that enables him to contribute his wide range of expertise to even the most random and specific quirks of my workflow. He truly does enhance, teach and inspire and anybody who works with him will be investing in progress and tangible results. I am yet to meet an expert who breaks things down and translates complex technological specifications into understandable practices that can cater to established and aspiring musicians/composers/producers so efficiently.

  3. Steve Burns not only set me on the path to professionally mixing and engineering my music, his philosophical approach provided amazing insight, helping me embrace my compositions and stay true to my vision. With an ear typically reserved for dogs and Kryptonians, his production advice has been invaluable and I like the fact that Steve is a musician himself, something you don’t always find in a producer. I believe this makes him infinitely more relatable. My songwriting has improved greatly, he helped me dial in and record better guitar tones and made my “tinny” digital drums sound acoustic and huge. And, thank the lord, he’s patient.

    Steve Burns is a highly talented, knowledgeable pro I’d recommend for everything from producer to instructor to session drummer. I believe he has the potential to do great things in this industry.

  4. Hello! My name is James Robertson, and I recorded a Christmas CD at TallCat Studios and Mr. Burns was instrumental in producing. He also played drums on the CD and I am very pleased with the final results, and I would recommend Mr. Burns to do any producing that you might need. If you need a drummer, he is available for that, and he was very knowledgeable with the recording, editing and mixing. I am very very pleased that he made this CD come to life.

  5. Steve is easy to work with. He’s got a highly trained ear for hearing all the little nuances that are so important to a great sound. He doesn’t just settle for good, he’s looking for great in the recording and production. Want a killer radio ready song from scratch, Burns is your guy. I love what he gets out of my vocals. Butter! When I’m in AZ, Steve is who I record with.

  6. I met Steve a couple years ago. I am an amateur keyboardist who had basically gone as far as I could by myself. I wanted to see what somebody else could do to take my music to the next level. Without having any musical background, education, or even musical vocabulary it was intimidating trying to find somebody that I could work with. I immediately felt comfortable with Steve. At first it was difficult trying to describe exactly what I was looking to do with the sounds that I had. Steve was an absolute gentleman as he was extremely patient. He was more than willing to give me the time that I felt I needed for each track. He has completed close to 15 songs for me. I am very happy with the outcome and the entire process. Steve is very organized. I could tell he made every effort to be flexible with the schedule. I believe he is fair when it comes to the cost of production and engineering. He was also able to fix some computer issues we had. He’s very familiar with ProTools and Ableton. I have great confidence in Steve. I plan on using him for my future productions. His willingness and love for music make him a pleasure to work with.

  7. Hi! Steve is a very multi-talented musician as he is a talented producer. I’m actually recording an EP with him and couldn’t be doing it without him. Just his intuition and vision is incredible. I would totally recommend him to anyone looking for great advice, insight, producing, and/ or musician!!

  8. Working with Steve was an enriching and wonderful experience for all of our group. Steve was able to adapt his studio and work approach to the needs of our Voces Unidas choir: a choir for Hispanics with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. None of the choir members had never been in a recording studio before, but Steve made them feel comfortable with his patience, knowledge and professionalism. The quality of his work is reflected in the CD and DVD that he produced for us “Parkinson’s Voices”. One of the songs included in the CD, written by songwriter and singer Jose Maria Lobo for our choir, is now competing at an international event: the World Parkinson’s Congress 2016! Thanks so much Steve!”
    -Claudia Martinez
    Hispanic Outreach Coordinator Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center

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Notable Clients

 

Notable Clients

 

Steve had the opportunity to help produce a song with the Bachelor contestants.
DB Rich Productions and Steve worked to complete the English version of the full-feature film, Kameleon.
Steve Burns recorded voice actors for Disney's Swan princess 5
Toyota Logo.  Here as a result of Steve's producing.
Esteban and Teresa Joy
PBS aired the live performance that was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Steven Burns
Steve produced dozens of commercials for Bell Honda.
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered a commercial for Muscle Milk featuring Clayton Kershaw.

Services

Services


Music Production

I enjoy producing music because it allows me to be creative, enable others to create, and to continuously learn. I regularly create music for both commercials and artists.

With each artist, I love to dive directly into the song and ask the question, "What's good for the song?"

Sometimes, this means creating a new chord progression. Other times, it means, a few new parts. We may work on the lyrics themselves, or we may start from scratch to build the composition around the vocals.

I see myself as a channel to help an artist communicate their message. If I can enhance the artist's message by putting it in a format that's entertaining and relevant for the listener, I've done my job.

Recording

Recording


Recording

Capturing a musical performance in a high quality recording requires the right experience and the right equipment. There's a reason large format studios spend literally millions of dollars for all sorts of crazy gear. To put it simply, the equipment you're using to record and how you are using it will determine your end result.

Gear matters and the room matters. A better recording system converts the analog sounds to digital files with far more accuracy. This accuracy will pick up every stray sound, so it's extremely important that studios have great-sounding, well-balanced rooms to for recording. Rooms with a poor design will have annoying reflections or frequency build ups that make an accurate, clean recording near impossible. Because of this, most home studios are not able to record musically or with acceptable detail, even with the best mics and miking techniques.

An experienced engineer knows the type of gear and space that's required to achieve a professional sound. They will know the best combinations of mics, miking techniques, and preamps to accomplish the sound you're looking for. If recorded correctly, your tracks should sound close to "mixed" before the engineer ever actually mixes.

Mixing

Mixing


Mixing

Mixing is an extremely important part of a polished musical product. The best song ever written will no longer be the best song ever if it's annoying to listen to.

There are many elements to a good mix that complements your song. How far away does each instrument seem? Are the vocals clear and tastefully mixed into the music? Do the sounds tell a story that aligns with the lyrics and feel? Does the song seem to surround you? Does the song have solid groove? Is the bass responding correctly for the song? Does the mix sound as good as other successful artists?


All of these elements are important factors when considering whether your track is ready for promotion and production. I love mixing, please don't hesitate to have me mix something for you.

Mastering

Mastering


Mastering

Many people think that mastering is not important, or the opposite, that mastering will fix problems with a mix. Neither of these assumptions are true.


Mastering is an important step that's needed to produce a sound that's on par with industry standards. First, so we can understand why mastering is necessary, let's explore its origins.


Back before all of this digital stuff, after a song was mixed it had to be converted from tape to phonorecords. Unfortunately, tape recorders could produce more volume than phonorecords could receive. Therefore, mastering was used to reduce the dynamic range of a song, so it could record every detail to a phonorecord without unpleasant distortion.

 

Today, the TV and music industry uses a standard known as "LUFS" to determine the average volume over a period of time. Mastering needs to: 1) adhere to the LUFS industry standards we're all used to listening to, 2) complementing the music and its feel.

This can be very difficult to do, as the LUFS standards are far outside of the volume an average mix would inherently have. Additionally, it's not always an easy task to boost the levels to meet the industry standards, while still maintaining the integrity of the mix or creating ear fatigue. It can be a challenge to master a track musically, especially, if the track wasn't recorded or mixed professionally.


Mastering allows me to put the final, and anticipated, touches on my mixes. It also allows me to shape an outsider's mix to industry standards. I pride myself in being able to musically and tastefully get your track to all industry standards.

 

 

Composition

Composition

Composition

Composition is a big deal. Basically, composition is the feel, melody, and instrumentation of a song. Many songs are simply awesome songs which may only need a tiny amount of composition. However, most songs are asking for complete instrumentation.


I enjoy creating compositions from scratch which are meant to support an idea or a song. I compose directly to the lyrics or the feel that's desired. This allows me to create melodies and a feel that supports the artist's message through and through.


Additionally, many song ideas may be great ideas, but the means to produce those ideas on a recording may be limited. This is where I'm able to use myself as well as a large network of studio musicians to make almost any composition idea a reality. Because I'm doing this all day, my ideas are plentiful. However, my ideas are not always the only ideas or the best ideas. I enjoy using my engineering skill sets to explore musical collaboration with other studio musicians as well as the artist themselves.

Session Musicians

Session Musicians

 
Session Musicians

I've learned with experience and time that a song is only as good as musicians who perform on it. Granted, I have experience with multiple instruments, this doesn't mean I'm the one that knows the absolute best way to use them 100% of the time.

 

This is where session musicians come in. Many songs have unique feels that, when accompanied by the right musician, will be absolutely awesome. When you use the specific talents and styles of others to enhance your composition, you will feel it, because the composition is created by a collective instead of an individual. It's my belief that, simply the collaboration needed to record an accomplished session musician lends itself to a better song. I believe a song created using multiple professionals will most likely sound better-developed than a song that uses just one or none.
 

This is exactly why I've kept track of every musician I can find that is capable of recording at a pro level. I keep track of their strengths, so I can pair them up with projects appropriately to elevate the entire production. I may be solely able to take your track to the next level, but, it probably wouldn't be as good as it would be if I used the best musicians I know to do it. Good studio musicians help guarantee a good product.

Performance Coaching

Performance Coaching

 
Performance Coaching

I don't know of anything more important to a great song than the musician(s) performance. I've heard awesome writing completely ruined by self-serving musicians and slop.

Believe it or not, this is normal. The role of a producer is to help ensure every part is complimentary to the song. This is why most labels and artists have a need for music producers.

I've found that the best performance is usually brought out of someone through inspiring disciplined-confidence. Recording is scary if you're not used to it. It's easy to allow the new environment to disrupt your potential performance. When I can get an artist having fun, I start to hear how they actually sound and perform. It's important to be able to capture that in the recording, and not their insecurities.

Sometimes the artist has great ideas but has trouble executing them well enough. In these scenarios I offer any advice or guidance I can to help, and can also edit the performance as necessary.

Music Production Training

Music Production Training

 
Music Production Training

Wouldn't life make a lot more sense if you could just create a music product using your own opinion and talent? I think so too, so I dedicate a huge part of my efforts to educating others. Most of this production stuff is not rocket science, and is actually just a matter of opinion.


These days, some software has become close to hardware in performance, which has greatly decreased the cost of producing music at a professional level. What holds the artist back is the knowlege needed to create a song on a computer program.


This is where I come in! I will teach every element of music production from recording & composition to mixing and mastering. This includes midi setup, program installation, room design, acoustic treatment and tuning, signal flow.


My goal is to teach or assist my clients however they prefer, so they can create to their hearts content.

Steve's Story

Steve's Story

Biography

 

Producing music has always been Steve’s passion. When Steve intuitively set up his dad’s karate equipment as his first drum set at age 7, his musician dad recognized the potential in his young son and brought home a real drum set. With his uncle, an accomplished pianist, and his dad, a seasoned bass guitarist, Steve was immersed in music. In 2000, he formed the alternative rock band, Internal Defect.

For six years, Internal Defect proved to be a wonderful introduction into the business and creation of music.  Touring Arizona and California gained the band a following that allowed the release of their first album to become a profitable endeavor. While achieving this momentum, Steve acquired invaluable knowledge of marketing, public relations, tech writing, performance royalty organizations, copywriting, publishing, merchandizing, and organizing live productions.  He also developed a passion for production and engineering, as the better the writing and the quality of the sound, the more enthusiasm he saw from the audience.

Despite growing success, Internal Defect parted ways in 2006 - but Steve took with him the valuable lessons of how to make music collaboratively and profitably. Empowered by this knowledge and experience, he continued pursuit of a lifelong career in music. He learned to produce and engineer his own music from a small home studio setup and began writing on piano, synthesizers, bass, and guitar. To expand his knowledge base, Steve consulted with and learned from every audio engineer that he could.

In 2009, Steve built a much larger studio inside of his new home, working on his own collaborative projects and taking on clients. Still, with a regular day job, he could only produce and engineer from his home on a part-time basis.  Thus, in 2011, Steve quit his job and sold his home to fund a new partnership with his great friend, Tom, at TallCat Studios LLC.

Steve was a music producer with TallCat Studios for more than three years, where he provided a variety of professional audio services for radio, television, film and both live and recorded music.  Steve’s portfolio of clients includes ABC’The Bachelor, Muscle Milk, Toyota, Honda, The Phoenix Suns, DB Rich Productions, Walt Disney Pictures, PBS, Esteban, Super Bowl Gospel Show, Gladys Knight, Anthony Hamilton, The Makai Souljahz, and many, many more. Most recently, Steve was awarded the 2016 People’s Choice Silver Telly Award for recording, mixing and mastering Esteban’s live performance broadcasted on PBS.

Steve is currently working independently from multiple Phoenix-area recording studios.  Please call or send an email to start your project.

Contact Me

Contact Me

Let's see where we can take YOUR music!

 

 








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