After over 30 years of service, two ageing consoles at Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART) were put out to pasture and replaced with two Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition desks. As part of the facilities’ upgrade, they were chosen not only because they supported the curriculum, but also because they came in at the desired price point.
“hearing is believing”
Head of Audio Production curriculum, Dean Nelson was pleasantly surprised when he first heard the brand new British consoles. “The first thing that jumped out – and this was the cherry on top – was the tone. I’d read the specs, was aware of the Stereo Bus 990C Mix Amps with the switchable Retro Iron transformers and Dave Dearden’s design history, but hearing is believing.
“The Heritages have a nice clarity and punch, but when you want you can drive the pre’s and it saturates quite nicely; the stereo bus has great headroom as well, it does not cave in. I love tone, but as an educator and learning institution, unfortunately, tone didn’t lead the list for requirements, it was form and function.” An added bonus then, on top of the specifications he knew were non-negotiable.
“you can boost liberally and don’t get any weird phase issues or harshness,”
“The routing and signal flow is/was the most important for selection, and in that area it wasn’t as much of a surprise, but still excited at the ease of bring up a mic, to setting up parallel chains during a mix. The EQ section is very smooth, you can boost liberally and don’t get any weird phase issues or harshness,” he clarifies, describing the desks’ standout features. “One more thing: visually they have a sharp look,” he adds.
It’s been a term since the consoles’ arrival at OIART in Canadian London, and Dean is particularly pleased with the results of MidTerm exams, describing them as “very solid, above average from past years.” Could that have something to do with new consoles’ user interface? “I believe that the students picked up signal flow at an accelerated rate,” he admits. “The old desks had a few more attributes that made sense for when they were designed, but they caused signal flow to be more complicated than it needed to be for those just starting to learn. The Heritages reflect what’s needed for recording and mixing for today’s standards; they’re simple, intuitive and quite flexible.
“the students picked up signal flow at an accelerated rate,”
“The first test run I did after the desk was installed and Studio 2 revamped, was with some great artists: Jenny Berkel & Ryan Boldt of The Deep Dark Woods, honouring Leonard Cohen’s 83rd birthday, with a cover of True Love Leaves No Traces,” says Dean, suggesting we have a listen to that very track on Spotify.
Dean sees the OIART Music Production department as an umbrella, encompassing many different aspects. “I teach some basic music theory, classic music production (demo to mastering) the DNA of a song, building it up through the recording process, the tech side of engineering, mixing, ProTools & Ableton. This amalgamation of specialty areas reflects more of the current industry; you have to be a jack of all trades in the music making process,” he says.
With the Audient desks installed, they have just the equipment to support this as they embrace the future. Here’s to them providing a further 30 years’ service to match their predecessors!