Mixmastering and Running Back Records: Inside Germany’s one stop music shop

Stefan Eichinger, founder of Germany’s Mixmastering Studios and Gerd Janson, head of neighbouring record label Running Back Records, open up on their work together down the years, the coming together of analogue and digital technology, and the invaluable role of Merging Technologies in their operations.

Throughout his career, Eichinger has consistently expanded his business’s offering to encompass composition, recording, mixing, mastering and Neuronavigation, and will soon include Dolby Atmos output.

Janson, meanwhile, who is also a revered DJ, asked Eichinger several years ago to set up a vinyl cutting and production studio south of Frankfurt. Eichinger’s current activities also include composing film soundtracks with his own publishing roster as well as an eclectic selection of other music, from folk to electronic via classical, jazz and pop. Janson has also remixed and edited songs for the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Gibson Brothers, Leon Vynehall, Christine and the Queens and more.

Their studios and the Running Back HQ are both situated in the Southwest of Germany between Frankfurt am Main and Heidelberg, an area known for cutting-edge scientific work, as well as its film-making community.

Having started in the late ‘80s composing and recording, Eichinger built a steady business making tape copies, recording bands, and cutting the first 12” vinyl in 1995. In the early 2000s, his LOPAZZ club tracks like I need Ya on ND Baumecker’s label encouraged him to tour the world. As a result, Janson, being a journalist for Groove magazine, interviewed Eichinger along the way. The pair quickly realised they had common interests, not the least because Janson’s night job was as a DJ and record label owner. Janson was also doing projects with the Red Bull Music Academy that was very active at that time.

This coming together led to the pair teaming up in business with a partnership that continues to thrive to this day.

The Mixmastering Studios houses an eclectic collection of microphones, guitars, amplifiers, drum machines, synthesizers and outboard gear from the 1960s, as well as the MERGING+ANUBIS and MERGING+HAPI from Merging Technologies. Despite his leanings towards classic gear, Eichinger says he has always been quick to embrace new technology.

“The Anubis not only solves many issues, but it’s also so easy to operate,” said Eichinger. “The Music Mission is what I was looking for and the Anubis has got to be one of the best pieces of gear to be introduced in the last 10 years. The RAVENNA network is now handling 108 analogue channels, so I am really glad I discovered the ‘Expert Mode’ on the Anubis.”

All the while, the technical facilities at the studio have expanded to keep up with the volume of work and now occupies three floors of the Running Back building. Eichinger has mastered and produced more than 60,000 songs for clients all over the world, while Janson’s Running Back walls are lined with albums, tapes, and other testimonials of the output over these years.

“Nowadays with the energy/CO2 crisis, we are aware of issues that come along with producing records, running studios, etc. Anubis is the mainframe for my modular setup", Eichinger commented. "I don’t want to have a huge console that´s on 24/7, eating power all the time. In both studios we have modular setups, so we just switch on the machines we need. With Anubis I could just use our Neumann U67 and do overdubs with the guitar or I could play the big ‘analogue gear orchestra’ with the Hapi peered up. It’s so versatile and it sounds amazing.”