Sound engineer based in Lisbon with over 10 years of experience.
My name is Ricardo Riquier, I'm a recording and mixing engineer. I've worked on some of Portugal's finest albums of the past years including Luís Represas, Raquel Tavares, Orelha Negra, Mafalda Veiga and Frankie Chavez. I have also worked with high profile Brazilian names such as Marcelo Camelo, Mallu Magalhães, Adriana Calcanhotto and Marisa Monte.
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Interview with Ricardo Riquier
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Working on Luis Represas' latest album, 'Boa Hora' back in 2018. I was the recording and mixing engineer.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm mixing a live album and two studio albums.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: In essence, I won't rest until the client is happy with my work. That is how you build trust.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Mixing engineers are often expected to fix an otherwise poorly recording. 'We'll fix it in the mix' is still a very common mindset.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1 - Are there any references, any particular song or album whose sonics which may serve as a comparison to this mix ? 2 - How 'final' is the rough mix ? 3 - What's the deadline ?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Communication is key. It's important the client lets the engineer know exactly what they want.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A computer (because you don't want a Studer A800 on a desert island !), an SM57, a pair of speakers, a guitar... and an iLok !!
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: That depends really. One thing I've learnt over the years is not getting caught up in the technical aspects of it. Music is all about emotion. I'd say that the rough mix is usually 50% of the work and unless told otherwise, I'll stick to the artist and/or producers vision and try not to deviate too much from it, aesthetically. Considering things have been tracked properly, I strongly believe mixing is all about enhancing what's already there and 'lifting the veil'.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I'm assuming we're talking mixing, so here goes: I usually start a mix fairly early, around 9am and it will take me roughly 8 to 10 hours to complete it. I'll listen to it again the very next day, dial my adjustments and send it to the client for revision and/or approval. I use my own template, which saves a lot of time. If the session is well organized and it's been edited beforehand, I can start mixing it within 20 minutes once I've received the session, after doing my routings and more importantly listen to the rough mix a couple of times !
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My setup is based around Universal Audio's converters and a pair of Adam A7X as my main monitors in a well treated room. I also use a mono Avantone. DAW is Pro Tools 12.5.2 and plugins ranging from UAD to Waves to Soundtoys, amongst others. I also favor Softube's Console 1 for a faster workflow.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Musicians... Ryan Adams, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Noel Gallagher.. the list goes on. As for engineers/producers: Tchad Blake, Michael Brauer and more recently, Beatriz Artola.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: If you mean tape vs converters, I'd say digital. Converters are impeccable these days. I don't mind recording a drum kit to tape if possible though ! Regarding mixing ITB or with outboard.. I'd say digital. I've worked on 'hybrid' studios with plenty of outboard gear and in all honesty, though mixing was fairly faster, it can be a bit of a problem with the question of recalling. I developed a good method and it worked pretty but working completely ITB makes recalls so quick that it becomes a no brainer. Besides, even though I cherish so many analog pieces of gear, emulations are becoming almost (I said ALMOST) identical to its analog counterparts, so it's easy for me to find certain sonic colours when I need to. I'd say, however, that nothing beats recording things properly whenever possible. I favour Neve pres and a fair amount of compression (1176s, LA2As, distressors) when I feel the need to. I like being able to give my recordings that sonic imprint and 'analog vibe' from the get go so that I don't have to worry so much during mixing.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been doing this ever since I finished college in 2007, really. As of 2019, 12 years later, I consider myself able to work on mostly anything. It took me a long time to meet the right people and get my break through as a professional. It definitely does not happen overnight.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Articulated mixes with plenty of space. I like to be able to perceive everything that's there, no matter how far back it is the mix. Otherwise, what's the point of it being there in the first place ?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: There are so many. But I'd love to track a Foo Fighters record. One can dream, right ?
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock, Folk, Hip-Hop, Indie and Pop.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Perhaps being too judgmental and hard on my work. You can't deliver a good product if you're not your best/worst own critic, which is also how one evolves as an engineer.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording and mixing music, mostly. A few records a year as well as a large volume of composing, recording and mixing music for tv ads.