Cesar Sogbe:Bridging the gap between artist and listener with FX Collection 5

Cesar Sogbe:Bridging the gap between artist and listener with FX Collection 5

Renowned audio engineer and mixer Cesar Sogbe has been a significant figure in the east coast music scene for many years. Known for his collaborations with iconic artists like Prince, David Byrne, and Natalia La Fourcade, Cesar brings a keen ear and wealth of experience to all his projects.

We recently visited him at his studio in Miami, where he demonstrated his mixing process on a 10-track Latin pop album by Bacilos using a range of new and existing plugins from FX Collection 5 - Arturia’s premium suite of studio mixing tools and creative production effects.

Grammy-winning engineer

Cesar's love for mixing started when he first walked into a recording studio aged 20, the same year becoming an Assistant Engineer at International Sound in North Miami. By 26, he earned his first Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album for Baaba Maal's Lam Toro.

Over the years, Cesar has continued to excel, winning a Grammy and 11 Latin Grammys, including Best Engineered Album in 2015 for Natalia Lafourcade’s Hasta la Raiz. He views mixing as a way to bridge the gap between artist and listener, a process of openness and collaboration that attempts to understand and integrate all points of view.

I was nominated in the Grammys for Best Engineer Album, by 26. And after I got that nomination, my life changed.

A journey of discovery

Cesar’s career is marked by high-profile collaborations and landmark recordings. His work with Prince on the Emancipation album and with Baaba Maal on Lam Toro are particularly special to him.

The project with Prince is a vivid memory for Cesar, involving a last-minute call-up that forced him to adapt quickly. The result? A highly praised album that was ahead of its time on release in 1996.

Working with Prince was incredible. He was comfortable, he would talk to me, and he gave me songs to mix… the most talented artist I’ve ever seen in my life.

A latin pop mixdown

The upcoming album by Bacilos was recorded at Criteria Studio C in Miami. Cesar was initially requested to work with an analog workflow at Criteria for the mixdown, however, when he sent over his first demo, the production team were immediately impressed. While using original analog gear is unmatchable in many instances, it is not always practical or feasible for an entire project. On the other hand, the quality, variety, and versatility of plugins today give producers and engineers more creative options than ever.

Cesar shows us how Arturia's FX Collection 5 enhances his mixing and production workflow, providing everything he needs to get the job done, from meticulously modeled outboard gear to innovative modern effects.

Drums and Bass:

Cesar uses the Arturia Bus PEAK on his drum bus, particularly enjoying the clipper feature to control peaks and enhance Bacilos' lively Latin drum arrangement.

It calms and holds up all the peaks, and evens out the drums. I think it's wonderful.

Claps and Horns:

The Bus EXCITER-104 is utilized to add subtle high-end enhancement to the claps and horns, making them more present and vibrant.

The claps really benefit from the exciter… it brings them out more and in my face, which is very nice.


For vocals, Cesar uses the Chorus Dimension D to add depth and width, which is particularly noticeable when the vocals are soloed.

Arturia also gives you the option to go under the hood and do things that you couldn't do with the original box. But I love the emulation so much that I never touch it.

Cesar’s demonstration of the FX used in his mixdown reveals his passion for both modern and classic mixing tools, and he shares his appreciation for the wide variety on offer with FX Collection 5.

I think what impresses me the most is they have such a wide variety of plugins from compressors to modulators to clippers to everything; it's just like a toolbox for me.

A Personal Connection

Cesar Sogbe’s celebrated approach to mixing focuses on understanding the artist's vision and working with the original essence of a recording to bring it to life in a way that resonates with the audience. He values the human side of audio engineering and applies an ethos of collaboration and continual learning, whether working on high-profile projects or guiding emerging artists.

FX Collection 5 fits perfectly into his workflow, offering everything he needs and more, to carry both an individual mix and an entire musical project to completion.

I've learned not only the technological side, but the human side of what we do, which is you have to be open-minded, you have to collaborate with people, you have to try to understand their point of view.

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