Californian Studio “Back To Analogue Basics” With Audient

ES Audio upgrades its Studio A with the addition of an ASP4816 mixing console, helping make studio manager Donny Baker’s analogue dream a reality. One of the first ASP4816 desks in the Burbank area, it was supplied and installed by the Los Angeles outlet, Vintage King (VKLA).

“We had been wanting to get back to analogue basics for quite some time, but most larger format consoles with enough I/O out there today were out of our budget range,” he explains. After spending time looking for a used console, they considered building a summing path with rack gear, “…so at least our mixes would be analogue,” continues Baker also the Lead Sound Engineer at ES Audio. A chance meeting with Audient’s Simon Blackwood and Luke Baldry at this year’s NAMM opened their eyes to the many benefits of the British manufacturer’s compact analogue console.

Audient owner, Simon Blackwood says, “Donny was looking for an analogue console with a small footprint, packed with features that would help differentiate ES Audio from other digital studios in Los Angeles. ASP4816 ticked all the boxes with its 4-band EQ, VCA buss compressor and 48 inputs at mix which together with Audient’s classic ‘English’ sound and the console’s impressive headroom made it the ideal choice.”

“The desk offers all of the features and routing capabilities of the larger, more expensive consoles, and was within our budget. After hearing about what it could provide for our future clients’ projects, we knew we had to go with the Audient ASP4816,” continues Baker, enlisting the help of old friend and VKLA stalwart, Chris Bolitho, “…to help with the purchase, design and building of the new patch bays and cabling, which made the installation of the ASP4816 easy and virtually stress-free.

“The guys at Vintage King made the decision easy for me because they helped pretty much every step of the way. The VKLA staff were very knowledgeable and made sure that we had all the parts we needed to get the swap done easily. The whole transition took only a week. Therefore, we were able to schedule around the transition smoothly, without having to disrupt the work flow of the other rooms here at ES Audio.”

For almost ten years Baker has taught and mentored students at ES Audio, through The Recording Connection Audio Institute of Los Angeles. From a teaching perspective, he felt it was important that the console bridged the gap between ‘old school’ analogue and DAW, with “…the newest features to help make teaching recording as straight-forward as possible.” Baker adds, “It’s all about the signal flow and being versatile, so that we can send the signals where we want, when we want. Having access to this kind of analogue signal path is awesome.”

Now Studio A is now up and running with Audient ASP4816 at its heart, coupled with Protools HD. In addition - thanks to some new TT patch bays from Redco - the ASP4816 desk has access to an MCI JCH24 2” tape machine. “The signal can also be sent over to an old Otari MX-12 1/2” 4-track that we acquired from Sony when they were decommissioning some of their old gear,” adds Baker. “Apart from the cool vintage outboard gear, everything is new, including patch bays, wires, cabling and the new Argosy desk that holds the ASP4816.”

ES Audio Recording Studio confesses to having had “a rocking year”, tracking clients such as, Tionne “TBoz” Watkins of TLC, YouTube sensation Shane Dawson and the Irish Duo, Jedward. Previous clients include artist Brandy, guitarist Manny Charlton of Nazareth and Academy Award Winning Actor Matthew McConaughey.