NHTE 160 Rick Allen, Robert Dudzic, Ric Viers AND Dave Pensado

Ric Viers, Rick Allen, and Robert Dudzic, and then Dave Pensado all sat down for these two interviews during the Winter 2017 NAMM show in California. Viers, Allen, and Dudzic are among the leading sound designers in the industry and talk here about their work and favorite projects. Viers wrote the Sound Effects Bible and his location credits include hundreds of productions for nearly every major TV network, Universal Studios, Dateline, Good Morning America, Disney, and many others. Allen has received gold and platinum records from major labels for editing and remixing, and earned Addy Awards and Clio certificates. Dudzic is a producer, engineer, and studio musician who has spent the last 15 years designing and composing music and sound effects and has created several libraries of music and effects heard regularly on radio, TV, and in the theater. Pensado is a Grammy Award-winning mix engineer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, including Michael Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, Elton John, and Christina Aguilera, among countless others. He also has “Pensado’s Place,” a weekly YouTube show that has run for five years with over 210 episodes, an audience in over 150 countries, and monthly viewers between 550 and 700 thousand.

Show Quotes: 

(Ric Viers) “Just yesterday in my hotel room I had an air conditioning unit that didn’t want to cooperate with me.  Rather than getting frustrated with it, I’m like, ‘Ya’ know what, go ahead and not cooperate and I’m going to go ahead and record you not cooperating.’  And I swear to you it sounds like the Millennium Falcon trying to start.”

(Robert Dudzic) “I started working in radio and I was doing it for free… there was something missing in the sound so I decided just to go on my own and record the sounds and try to make my own sounds… Today… sometimes I pinch myself because I can’t believe what I’m doing – I’m getting paid pretty much for play.”

(Rick Allen) “I think all three of us… will admit that our minds work a little differently than normal people.”

(Robert Dudzic) “All of the coolest, crazy sounds come by accident when we aren’t expecting.”

(Rick Allen) “The beauty of having the new technology of digital recording – as compact as it is – is that we can capture those magic moments.”

(Rick Allen) “It’s a business that, there are so many people in the business, that, when you get to a level where you feel comfortable with what you’re doing and you feel proud of what you’re doing there really isn’t that somebody else, you have to knock somebody else off, in order to be successful.”

(Ric Viers) “The industry is a giant sandbox.  And I think there’s plenty of sand for everybody to make their own sandcastle provided that nobody’s throwing sand at each other.”

(Rick Allen) “In my mind, my main competitor is me… I’m always trying to outdo myself.”

(Robert Dudzic) “When I came to America it was as a drummer, musician, and my dream was to play drums and go on tour and I quickly realized that musicians on my level, there’s, like, ten thousand of them, so I wanted to find something different.  So, I came up with the idea that I can apply my musical skill to something different, just like in sound design.”

(Ric Viers) “At the end of the day I’ve done three things, all at the same time, only putting forth the effort to do the one thing.”

(Ric Viers) “Your life is like an album and each period or chapter of your life is a song that goes on the album.”


“I consider myself a musician – a failed guitar player.  I never thought I was going to be an engineer.  I never thought I was going to be good at it, so, I was a guitar player for the first 20 years of my life.”

“I learn so much more from my audience than they learn from me.”

“As a kid, like six or seven years old, I remember being as interested in how the records were made as I was in the record itself.”

“Probably the hardest thing in the engineering profession is to learn the jargon and the terminology and how to communicate engineering-type things with other people.”

“People don’t believe me when I say this but I built my first computer probably around ’69 or ’70.”

“I have so much respect for the engineering profession, and what I’m about to say comes from a position of humility and love for my profession, I think those artists should look at us as being cool, not us necessarily looking at them as being cool.  We need each other.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.  I don’t have clients, I have good friends.  I fall in love with my clients and I’ve found over the years (that) treating each other equal produces the best results.”

“I try to find ways to get the confidence of the people I work with, but I also need to do what I do best, which is to get millions of people to buy something.”

“Do it.  It doesn’t matter whether it sounds good or not.  It’s the process that’s fun and it’s enjoyable and if you make a good record and a few people like it… that’s enough.”

“The playlist is the new record company.”

“We’re blessed by our childhood and backgrounds and we’re also cursed by it.  Usually what makes you great is what makes you fail.”