News

Al Schmitt, GOAT Recording Engineer, Dies at 91

What a tremendous loss for music. This GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) started from the bottom from the streets of Brooklyn, New York.

One of the most prolific and gifted producers and recording engineers passed away Monday at the age of 91. With a record-breaking 20 Grammys under his belt, he had more awards than any other engineer on the planet. And if you take a look at what he has spent his life doing, it was mastering some of the best music we’ve ever heard. He has worked on at least 1,500 (!!!) hundred albums.

Schmitt bought his first record at the age of 10 (Jimmie Lunceford’s White Heat). He worked at the first independent recording studio on the East Coast with his two younger brothers. He went on to work at Apex Recording Studios, Nola Studios, Radio Recorders, and RCA. In 1966, he left RCA and became his own boss. Since then, he almost worked exclusively at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.

I’m a huge fan of his work and it was an honor to meet him briefly during a Capitol Studios event in late 2018. He was such an amicable and extremely knowledgeable guy. He was able to boil down the technicalities and had an obvious appreciation for the art. His aura was magnificent and everyone in the room felt it. He was obviously highly revered and loved not just for his devotion to music production…but as a person with grit and a strong work ethic. It was also obvious he was a fantastic storyteller.

If you’re an audiophile, you’ve heard his work. This is a small list of the artists and musicians he has worked with:

  • Frank Sinatra
  • Sam Cooke
  • Ray Charles
  • Paul McCartney
  • Elvis Presley
  • Brian Wislon
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Rod Stewart
  • Neil Young
  • Steely Dan
  • Jackson Browne
  • Quincy Jones
  • Madonna
  • Michael Jackson
  • Bob Dylan
  • Diana Krall
  • Melody Gardot
  • Shelby Lynne
  • Bill Evans
  • LeAnn Rimes
  • Miles Davis
  • Jesse Cook
  • Chris Botti
  • Celine Dion

And the list went on. There aren’t too many people that are willing to put this much heart and soul into something they truly love. My condolences to his wife and family. It goes without saying, the world is a little less musical now. Undoubtedly, his work will live on forever.

RIP Al Schmitt

Jay Luong

Mr. Audio Bacon himself. An open-minded electrical engineer and software developer by trade. I have an obsession with the enjoyment of all things media - specifically in the realm of music and film. So much heart and soul (and money) go into the creation of this artistry. My aim is to find out which products get me closer to what the musicians and directors intended.

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