Interview: Rob Fraboni – Legendary Record Producer and Creator of RealFeel

Jun 6, 2013 by

How the heck did we get this interview? #highfive to Randy Combs. I recently had the honor of speaking to legendary record producer Rob Fraboni. His studio Real Mastering and his other company, Firstsound are working on a product to cure digital sound called RealFeel. It’s a very interesting concept and he talks all about it, gives a short history lesson on recording and mastering, and tells us why digital music is creating stress and how RealFeel is going to cure it.


We talk about his credentials, experience and career and how they’ve led him to create RealFeel and the reasons behind it.

Here are the topics we discussed in chronological order:

  • Young life, beginnings in electronics and sound.
  • Getting the job at the Village Recorder from his connections at Gold Star, where he used to hitchhike and sneak in.
  • Bob Dylan and the Band, and how and why they picked up Rob.
  • Recording the whole band live when Bob and The Band recorded.
  • Rob talks about the musical reasons for recording live instead of lots of tracking.
  • Moving to, building, and buying Shangri-La Studios with The Band.
  • Mastering, is it worth it?
  • Rob tells us how mastering used to work in the true days of vinyl.
  • Rob talks about how CDs and digital sound came about (morse code compression!?)
  • RealFeel – how it deals with samples.
  • Difference between a .WAV and .MP3 in breaks and stress level
  • I try to wrap his head around .MP3 compression, Rob sets me straight.
  • When’s RealFeel coming and can I have a unit? (Please, pretty please?)
  • Could RealFeel be the solution to kids’ ADD about music these days?
  • We A/B demo two versions of a Titty Bingo song – one recorded by the late, great Andy Johns and the other recorded by Rob.
  • Rob divulges how many microphones he used to record Titty Bingo, Live at Pedernales.
  • Rob describes his revelation about live recording with fewer mics. Story includes references to Keith Richards, Hubert Sumlin, and Chess Records.
  • He gives us a quick history lesson on dead space recording studios, track recording, and the revolt from it which was, in part, Punk music.
  • Rob gives out his email address and invites people to email if they’re interested in having their music mastered in RealFeel – rfraboni (at) firstsound (dot) org.
  • We say goodbye, and he tells us how to test if digital sound is stressing you out.

Rob Fraboni (right) sitting with Chief Mastering Engineer/Studio Manager Marco Centola (left)


Thanks again to Rob for joining us. You’ll hear him give out his email address at the end, you can grab it here: rfraboni (at) firstsound (dot) org.

And a special thanks to Randy Combs for setting up the interview for us. You’re a superstar.

Speak soon,