Daniel M. Thompson is assistant chair of the Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) Department at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught advanced production, recording and mix techniques, and audio technology for more than 20 years. An independent writer/producer and Latin Grammy Award–winning recording engineer, his credits include work on records, feature films, and television series and movies, including ER, The Sopranos, Swimfan, The Sweetest Thing, and Melrose Place, among many others.
Thompson has written articles on music technology for EQ and Electronic Musician, and has been a presenter and clinician on music production topics in the United States and abroad, including at the Panama Jazz Festival. His book, Understanding Audio: Getting the Most Out of Your Project or Professional Recording Studio, is a required textbook for Berklee's MP&E classes as well as for numerous other music production and engineering programs throughout the country and abroad. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy (formerly known as NARAS), the Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS), the Audio Engineering Society (AES), and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
"One of the most important lessons I learned while at Harvard is that there isn't necessarily one single truth; facts and circumstances can be interpreted in various ways. I took away the realization that two perfectly intelligent and thoughtful people can completely disagree, given the same facts. I think that has certainly informed my teaching style. I tend to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. We look at a situation and try to come up with the best approach, understanding that, in fact, people can have different approaches to the same problem."
"We have some very high-profile visiting artists come through MP&E and get to watch them record or mix. They each get spectacular results, but through vastly different approaches. It reinforces the fact that each of us needs to go through our own process to get to the ultimate goal: the intended emotional impact that connects an artist with a listener."
"From the production side, it's easy to lose sight of that ultimate goal by getting 'lost in the toys.' Obviously when you're in school it's important to try out a lot of different techniques and to get facile with the tools. But ultimately we want to make the technology disappear—to be in service of the process and the creative moment. We're trying to get out of the way, to be masters of the tools and not slaves to them."
"In this field, the tools change so quickly that learning is less about the tool itself than it is about the process of learning. It's also about gaining the confidence that, even if you haven't seen something before, you know you can approach learning it in the same way you've approached everything else you've learned."