Audient makes life easier for Pete Townshend: “My desk is literally plug-in-and-play”
Musician and songwriter Pete Townshend had three requirements of the mixing console for the new multi-functional recording studio he was building: sonically transparent, efficient operation and fast delivery. Audient delivered on all three with its flagship ASP8024 analogue desk.
“I had to have a desk that any engineer would immediately feel comfortable with,” explains Townshend, best known for his forty years as rock guitarist with The Who. “I didn't want to buy a classic desk, even though I found some nice old ones with patchbays. They would have been tricky to keep properly serviced.”
“Then I remembered how wonderful life was in my private control room at Eel Pie, back when I was mixing The Who's last album, Endless Wire,” he says. “The desk? An Audient ASP8024.”
Townshend explains how this console made things easier for him back then. “Flexibility was one thing. I also used it as a multi-track desk sometimes, with a RADAR coming up on the inline monitor faders. I used line channels sometimes for my ProTools output groups, and with an Audient ASP510 Surround Sound Controller, enjoyed complete versatility with various monitors and a degree of downmix at my fingertips.
“Sure, you can do that using ProTools plugins, but I wanted to sit in the 'sweet spot' to check 5.1 against stereo, stereo against mono, also listen to post-Dolby surround encoding. You just punch a few buttons and you're done.
“The mic amps simply worked - I was never distracted by what they added or subtracted. Of course this meant I concentrated my focus on what was the best microphone for the job in hand - not what the desk might be doing.
“The EQ is fabulous, a traditional British EQ: clean, airy and solid. The inserts are great too. Located in the right places, they work with almost all floating units.
“Where the Audient really came into its own was in the centre section. Few desks have been arranged so elegantly. The bus compressor is a joy, the output groups superbly considered. I got that familiar feeling of being in the 'driving seat' at a mixing desk.”
Audient dealer, Funky Junk handled the sale. Director, Mark Thompson says, “Pete has made some of the great British albums of past and present decades, not merely as a musician but also a skilled engineer and producer. He's a cool dude to deal with as he knows what he wants and is invariably right. I wait with baited breath to hear him push the Audient to the limit and tickle our ears with another great offering.”
Townshend himself has every confidence in his latest purchase. “Everything I've wanted to do, I've been able to do on an Audient. If you can afford an Audient, go for it, it is a bargain. Incredible value for money, and they hold their value because they are rarely changed. And if you are building a room from scratch, and have the space, and are really smart like me – you'll have a patchbay.”
He concludes, “The Audient desk is literally plug-in-and-play. It's like a pro studio iPod with a Bose Sound-Dock. It's simple, elegant, and British.”