Audient Heritage Edition at SAE Institute in Leipzig
The SAE Institute in Leipzig has given its Studio 2 an overhaul, starting with the upgrade of its console to a 36-channel Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition with patchbay and Dual Layer Control (DLC). “It replaced our old and beloved Neve VR Legend console,” explains Leo Baron, Audio Head Instructor at the global brand’s Leipzig branch who specified the desk himself.
“It was not an easy decision to part from that old lady,” he says, referring to the Audient’s 30 year-old predecessor, a desk he had clearly built a strong bond with over the years. “Yet it was not until I started using the Heritage Edition that I realised how convenient it can be to work on a fully functional piece of gear. No missing channel strips waiting for repair, no ‘dicky’ potentiometers [...] but in an educational environment like this, sometimes a desk simply needs to be reliable and working,” he concedes. ”Which is exactly how it is with the Audient.”
All that and more, as his audio colleagues have fed back to him, after recording a song to get tracks for their classes: “They told me afterwards that working on the ASP8024-HE was a piece of cake,” he relays, citing the microphone preamps and EQs as stand-out features. “Reliability and clean design make it extremely useable. Everything does exactly what it is supposed to.”
Leo is a self-professed analogue gear fan. “Besides the analogue sound, I also like having controls and real faders at my fingertips,” he says, although he is well aware of the benefits of learning the full spectrum. “An education in the audio engineering sector would not be complete having only covered the analogue or digital domain. You need both to be able to combine them in the way that suits your application.
“A mistake that I see a lot of young engineers make, is to look at a screen with their eyes permanently on FFT analyser tools and fancy graphic plug-in surfaces, rather than using their ears and actually listen to what they are doing. Of course being able to pop hundreds of plug-ins onto all the DAW tracks is great, but some people forget that simply adjusting a good compressor and EQ correctly could do the job just as well (and quite possibly in less time). One of the things I like about the Audient console is the EQ section; it simply gets you to the expected result in no time.”
Leo tailored the new desk to the studio’s precise needs by taking advantage of Audient’s bespoke layout option. Top of his list was the DLC module, which integrates with the DAW and provides hands-on control, “which is very handy. The patchbay is of course mandatory in an educational environment, especially when flexibility is an important factor,” he explains. “We even got a double arm rest, which turned out to be really comfortable to have it twice as wide.”
Students get to use Studio 2 after their have cut their teeth in smaller setups, digital environments and have learnt how to mic up a whole band. “In these advanced courses they need to know how to get the right sound. At this stage they need to be able to be very flexible depending on what the project demands. They can either decide to work completely in-the-box using DAW automation, plug-ins etc or to get the ‘real thing’ with full analogue processing, a desk full of signals with literally every fader to hand and make the song breathe with valve sound. Or even a hybrid with a combination of both worlds. They have all the possibilities! This is the whole point of Studio 2: not being limited, but rather figuring out what approach is appropriate for the desired outcome.”