Audient catches up with American record producer, engineer and mixer, Ulrich Wild who, despite his tender age, has enjoyed a successful career spanning nearly three decades.
Adding an ASP880 to his private Los Angeles studio, The Wilderness last year turned out to be a great idea, as Audient’s mic pres have been a part of his recording chain for just about everything he’s done over the last 12 months.
Looking back over the type of music he’s been recording & mixing, things have become progressively heavier – featuring Snoop Dogg & Sting early on to Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and Deftones. We asked him whether this had been a conscious decision…
I actually was a metal head as a teen and I still am one today, but I did mellow out a bit with age. Metal had a big impact on my career. After playing in a few unsuccessful bands in Switzerland I moved to Los Angeles (via San Francisco) in the late 80’s – 1990 to be exact. I eventually landed an assistant engineering position at One On One studios, which was a very influential studio for Metal (Metallica, Alice In Chains, etc) with a huge drum room. I assisted many Metal projects and finally met Terry Date who would later become my mentor. I worked for Terry for about 5 years and was fortunate to have been part of some serious Metal albums (Pantera, White Zombie, Deftones).
“There are many mic-pres out there, but the ASP880 packs a lot into a small space and gets you a lot of bang for your buck”
After a few years of producing on my own, Metal turned super heavy and I found myself in the precarious situation of being perceived as too heavy for Rock, and not heavy enough for the new breed of Metal. With the economic downturn and the ever-changing music business I seized the opportunity to re-invent myself a bit. I was able to diversify, and suddenly I found myself producing much more esoteric projects like Stolen Babies, Emilie Autumn, etc. I still work with many heavy bands like Dethklok, but I keep busy with a wide variety of styles.
You also mentioned that ASP880 has touched pretty much everything you’ve recorded in the last 12 months. How has it been helpful?
The ASP880 is a great piece of gear. I needed to expand quickly and add a number of high quality mic-pre’s. I wanted to stay away from tubes and keep things punchy, and the ASP880 fit the bill. After having spent two decades in professional recording studios I’m accustomed to having pro gear with all the bells and whistles, such as pad, polarity, HP filter, and individual phantom power. It’s important to have that kind of flexibility. The A/D converter is an added bonus.
“The ASP880 is a great piece of gear”
I’ve been tracking drums, bass, guitars and vocals through the ASP880 alongside my APIs and Focusrites, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. There are many mic-pres out there, but the ASP880 packs a lot into a small space and gets you a lot of bang for your buck.
Can you tell us about your setup there?
I always enjoyed working around town, but like many producers these days I, too, built my own place. It was necessary in order to accommodate today’s budgets. It all started with a mixing rig in my built-out A-frame, but it wasn’t possible to track there. About six years ago I built a small tracking room at my house. It was supposed to be a lounge/overdubbing room, but I started tracking drums here as soon as it was finished. Oddly, despite its small size the room sounds great.
“I couldn’t be happier with my decision”
I opted to go console-free and use only rack-mount equipment. Besides the ASP880 I have Focusrite and API pre-amps and EQs, some Aphex and ART compressors, and a few Ashly EQs. I basically have enough to comfortably track a live band. I spent a lot of money on construction – concrete is really expensive! – and it has been taking some time to populate the racks. I’m not really into spending buckets of cash on esoteric gear, and I never judge anything by its price-tag. There are some amazing units available with great price/performance ratios – the ASP880 being one of them. I did pay a lot of attention to acoustic treatment and monitors. It ’s very important to know what you’re hearing in the studio, and you have to be able to rely on your control room. I currently use KRK V8’s and Yamaha HS50M’s.
What have you been working on most recently?
I just finished Brendon Small’s Galaktikon II. Before that I mixed Beasto Blanco, and produced Death Valley High and Chrysalis. I’m currently working on a very esoteric project called Precious Child.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of all the projects, and this is like picking favorite child! I recently started a developmental label WURMgroup, and I am very pleased with our progress. We’ve already released a few singles by Eric13, Void Vator, and Geil UK, as well as Raven Black’s ‘Seven Sins’ EP. I definitely consider this new venture a source of pride.
So it should be. Audient wishes you all the best with that — and everything else!