“I have renewed respect for engineers and producers, it’s like a new world I’ve stepped into,” says Alex Toff, who joins the ranks of pro musicians recording themselves in order to deliver tracks quickly. Operating as ATDrumtracks from a professionally designed studio acoustically treated by Nick Whitaker, his studio room actually started life as a detached garage. ATDrumtracks website says, “This is where you can get great sounding drums recorded quickly and efficiently, played exactly how you want them,” and that’s exactly what customers can expect, now he’s filled the space with his extensive collection of drums, mics and high-end audio equipment – including ASP880, Audient’s 8-channel mic pre & ADC.
ASP880: “It’s super easy to use! Literally plug and play (with a bit of twiddling).”
“People want stuff instantly. These setups at home mean drummers are able to provide this sort of speedy service,” says Alex, having realised this project single-handedly. With nearly 20 years of live and studio drumming under his belt and experience playing with a range of artists from Belinda Carlisle and Bonnie Tyler through to Mike Posner and A-Ha, he’s certainly mastered his craft, and is highly capable of pro-quality performance. Yet the task of specifying recording gear was new territory, and potentially quite a steep learning curve. Luckily, he landed on his feet with the Audient. “It’s super easy to use! Literally plug and play (with a bit of twiddling). The ASP880 just makes everything sound great, no matter what gets plugged into it.”
In his setup, Alex has an audio interface with four built-in mic pres and uses the ASP880 for all the other channels. “Being a drummer I obviously needed more than four channels, so having the Audient gives me up to 12 channels of recording possibilities,” he continues. ”It’s obviously given me many more channels to play with such as mono overhead, room mic etc – I don’t need any more drums!”
Despite all this new technology, he argues that it’s still playing that is the most challenging part of his work. “You can have all this great gear, but if you’re not on it, locked into the click, then there’s not much point doing it. The drums need to be tuned well and sound great at source. I’m learning every day about the tech side – and that can be learnt. The playing itself? That’s a different animal.”
“…having the Audient gives me up to 12 channels of recording possibilities”
Thanks to his simple, high-end setup and a solid work ethic, Alex has every right to be proud of where he’s at. “I literally went from knowing nothing about recording to having a studio built, getting all the gear, learning how to use it, pressing record and pretty good sounding drums coming out of it,” he says. As for what he’d tell his younger self just starting out? “Don’t worry too much about the chops. Learn to groove, play in time and be consistent.”
Audient is right with you there, Alex.