The Channel: Z Product Guy, Fred Zimmerman
Interview by Erica McDaniel & Matt Ward
This month, "The Channel" presents Fred Zimmerman, aka Fred Z. Fred is UA's product specialist, serving the greater Los Angeles area with a brain full of audio and a big smile.
Who is Z Product Guy?
Man, I would have to say Z Product Guy is ever changing and always evolving, to maintain the highest level of product knowledge and awareness for those who call upon my services. Let's not forget that in this business there are those who want to have the latest and the greatest. The position I have put myself into lends my talent and skills to not only present cutting-edge products but also to education. I see myself as the go-to guy in my area amongst my friends and clients who want to put together a studio or mobile rig or anything in audio.
Z Product Guy, Fred Zimmerman
What do you specialize in?
I would have to say that I specialize in cutting-edge products and technology for music production. I've been fortunate enough to align myself with very good products that actually complement one another-a lot of rep firms tend to have competing products, which in my opinion makes their job a little harder, whether in presenting new lines to dealers or just doing product demonstrations. I would also like to think that I specialize in communicating with all types of people. In today's market being versatile is key and being able to relate on all levels is a plus.
Z Product Guy is ever changing and always evolving, to maintain the highest level of product knowledge and awareness for those who call upon my services.
What brings you to the audio business?
Where do I begin? Well, I'm originally from the east coast, Washington, DC, by way of Cleveland, OH, and now L.A. I've always been into the music as a producer, songwriter, musician and consultant. Throughout the years I've worked in different music stores and was able to learn that side of it, on top of playing in bands and working in recording studios. But what really got me going was when I moved to L.A. and started working at Goodman's Music, which is now West L.A. Music. So I was working at Goodman's and things were going pretty well, when I was asked to work with a really good friend and mentor who thought I had what it takes to become a good product specialist, and that's kind of how I got started. And things just kind of took off from there, and now I'm here. Also I feel that the type of service that I provide is really needed in this business, whether it's supporting dealers and sales guys or end users to better understand the products that they are interested in. Thus Z Product Guy was invented . . . to serve the masses!
What has been one of your favorite moments? (Aside from when you started working with UA gear!)
That's a hard one; there are so many. But you did ask for one, right-I think it's when I'm doing demos, the expression that you get when people are really impressed with the products . . . it's like, "Oh, I didn't realize it was that good!"
Where are you based?
I'm based in Southern Cal, Studio City to be exact . . . but I operate from all realms.
How long have you worked with UA?
Just about two years now.
Besides UA, what other products do you work with?
Well, let's see. There's RME, which makes the world's greatest audio interfaces, PCI or Firewire; EMES monitors; Magix, who makes Samplitude and Sequoia software, which are stellar! When it comes to recording high-resolution audio, mixing, editing and mastering, this is it. Algorithmix plug-ins for mastering and audio restoration; SRS Labs for surround sound encoding and decoding of audio; Dangerous Music-I'm sure you're familiar with these guys; they make the world-famous Dangerous 2-Bus, the first true analog summing box! Let's see . . . I'm doing a company by the name of Equation Audio that makes really good headphones and dynamic mics. Studio Electronics-these are the guys behind true analog synths like the ever-popular SE-1X. Most R&B and hip-hop music is pretty much done with their stuff, especially for bass and those silky worm Moog lines. So as you can see I have my plate pretty full.
What would a typical day be for you? Where do you go? Who do you see? (No, I'm not stalking you!)
Well, I'm usually up at 7 a.m. checking emails, planning my day, looking on forums, and finding out who needs what, who's doing what and how I can get involved. One of the perks of my job is that I get to make my own schedule, and in doing so I can be more effective in visiting the dealers, studio engineers, musician and producers.
Fred Z at the demo station
What about UA's products makes your life easy? Difficult?
Well, number one would have to be: the products are awesome! The people I work for are great, and like I said before, all the components complement one another . . . The difficult can be when there are back orders and you got dealers on your neck because the customer is screaming at them-this can be a little annoying.
What product would you ask UA to build for your own personal studio? Would this be something that other people would want too?
Okay, now you're talking. What I would like is a high-resolution real-time effects box with analog and digital I/O; something like a unit that houses 12 UAD-1 processing cards that would allow me to use these effects in real time on multiple channels-let's say 16-with the ability to upgrade at will. Along with a really sexy programmable remote. I'm talking all types of plug-in running on this box (the ones that only UA can produce with there incredible emulation skills this I know others would want because now they have box that they can take on the road for live and then go back to the studio with it to mix a record.
If you were marooned on a deserted island with electricity, what three to five audio products would you wish you had? Why? (There would be no cell service, so your Bluetooth headset won't work-sorry.)
Got to have my Toshiba laptop, Samplitude recording software, my one slot magma chassis-which holds my UAD-1 card with all the plugins-RME Multiface 2 interface, the EMES mini-OWL speaker-this thing's incredible. Imagine one speaker that does stereo-got to love it! The new Dangerous Monitor ST, UA's LA-610, my bass. Can't forget that; after all I'm a bass player. Let's see . . . last but not least, the Alesis Fusion 6-this keyboard rocks! What about food and water . . . ? Maybe I could send smoke signals to UA to send me more plug-ins.
Any last comments?
No. . . . Just kidding! I just want to add that I really enjoy what I do and consider myself very fortunate to be able to represent some really great lines and look forward a long-lasting relationship with them all. Thanks.