Pete Townshend has been an Audient fan for some 12 years, putting his first ASP8024 to work on the 5.1 mix of The Who’s musical, Tommy back in 2003. Today he owns one of each Audient analogue console, and whilst talking to us about the writing and recording process, acknowledges that they are both indispensable to him.
“It’s really hard to fault,” he says, wondering where to start in his praise of the larger of the two desks,ASP8024. “It’s a really powerful, elegant desk,” he says, remembering why he originally plumped for Audient. “They’ve proved to be totally trouble-free. I’ve never had a single technical incident with an Audient, despite the fact that I move around all the time.”
“I’ve never had a single technical incident with an Audient, despite the fact that I move around all the time”
Travelling extensively around England and even enjoying a stint in France, his 36-channel ASP8024 with patchbay has come to rest more recently in Townshend’s private studio, where it may be a surprise to find out that he still uses tape, and RADAR like a tape machine. Still making music: producing solo projects as well as getting creative with other artists and friends – he appreciates being able to work on what he calls a ‘traditional desk’. “Having in-line [architecture] suits the old-fashioned way of working which is from the 60s, 70s and 80s,” he says. “I’ve been doing that a long time so it suits my headspace.”
His latest acquisition is the more compact ASP4816, which delivers power and flexibility in a much smaller frame. “It’s a big console workflow, a big console sound – in a small footprint. It’s an amazing little board,” he says, quipping, “For the price of this console it’s no wonder that it’s used in so many educational establishments. It in itself is an educational tool.”
“I like the Audient. I really like it. It’s a powerful tool.”
With all the same key features as its big brother, including EQ, mic pres & in-line architecture, the analogue ASP4816 does not scrimp on audio performance – a fact that has not escaped Townshend. “I had a commercial studio for a long time and a big Audient upstairs. We had a big rack of mic pres, but I never used them. I would bang the mic in and think, ‘Well, that sounds great,’ and that was it! So I love the mic amps. The pathway in, the EQ and everything about it is perfect for me.
“I’d prefer to have an Audient console in my studio than the money equivalent of several fancy vintage rack boxes with big black knobs and twitching VU meters. Vintage analogue is fab. After all I am now vintage! BUT my heart is young: give me a laptop, a good DAW, and a modern Audient console. I get the best of analogue and digital with only me in between. Audient makes that connection.”
Townshend speaks passionately about recording with his Audient consoles in a pair of videos released this month. They walk viewers through the console, with Townshend explaining how he uses the desks when recording new music, describing his his creative flow and offering up tips on how he uses some of the many functions.
Reflecting on the characteristics of the other big consoles on the market, Townshend’s pretty clear where he stands. “I like the Audient. I really like it. It’s a powerful tool.”