Tracking With Jim Kaufman of Jim Kaufman Productions
"Starting at about 17, I was making records all the time," says Jim Kaufman of the aptly named Jim Kaufman Productions. The Phoenix, Arizona-born producer and engineer has been working in studios since his teenage years, whether helping to helm the desk for his own band's work (Opiate For The Masses) or working on sessions for other artists.
"I had no idea it would turn into the career it has, but I was told one time by Ed Stasium, 'Hey kid, someday you are gonna realize what side of the glass you are supposed to sit on,'" recalls Kaufman. "I love all aspects of making recordings from production to engineering and mixing. I get to do all of things still today and I LOVE my job very much."
After spending so much time in studios owned by various other parties, Kaufman quickly realized just how stifling professional studios can become when working on a deadline. "I was sick of going to the big studios and feeling the pressure of watching the clock," Kaufman states. Graduating from the 4 and 8-track Tascams he owned and the consoles and DAWs of others, the young music creator decided to start building out his own studio space.
While the effort to create his own environment has been an ever-evolving search for the right mics and pres, Kaufman has been working in his own space for the majority of the past 15 years. His distinct attention to detail, concern for ergonomics and hands-on approach, ultimately resulted in the recording studio layout that he uses today.
"I like to be able to personally reach as much gear as I can. My rig is horseshoe-shaped. I make a lot of rock and country records and rely heavily on vintage pre-amps so I need to be able to get to all 24-channels without moving," Kaufman says. "I based my studio off necessity. It's not really modeled after any one setup, although I have picked up ideas from studios, mentors and friends along the way."
When looking for some unique vintage pieces for his studio, Jim began working with our own Chris Bolitho, in addition to reuniting with his friend and Sales Support team member Navon Weisberg. Together, the trio were able to identify some of Kaufman's dream gear, which included a Gates SA39B, Telefunken 251 and C12s, Neve 1089s and a 1970s Neve Melbourne with 12 33115s.
"I had picked up a few new and vintage pieces from Chris before I purchased my Neve Melbourne sidecar. I really love the service and quality of craftsmanship VK puts into refurbishing the old stuff," Kaufman says. "Chris is fantastic and when one of my childhood friend Navon started under him that made me extremely happy. I have considered Navon a brother since I was about 13 and it is a pleasure to be able to work with him so closely under Chris."
Splitting his time between his studio and others requested by clients, Jim Kaufman has built quite a resume over the past 15 years with recent highlights including Anti-Flag, Beware of Darkness and Danny Worsnop. In all, the 34-year-old has worked on over 30 records and music for five film scores and still comes to the studio every single day with an intense passion.
"To me a record is a living and breathing thing and making them is a journey that is different every time. I like to be challenged sonically, physically and spiritually in the studio and the LP does exactly that," Jim Kaufman explains. "If the last record you finished isn’t your favorite, you're doing something wrong."