An Audient iD44 is now a permanent fixture in producer and mix engineer, Damien Lewis’ toolkit. With his client list including Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lennon Stella, Mariah and Whitney, he is keen to invest in kit that meets all his demands. “Finding an interface that gives me all the I/O options I need, that’s super easy to set up and sounds fabulous right out of the box was a real game changer for me,” he attests.
“The two D.Is are a great feature […] I can have a dedicated channel for bass and guitar ready to go”
He’s been in the industry long enough to have seen how recording and mixing has changed. “Where we used to be tethered to the studio, now we’re constantly on the move. I might be working in a big studio one day, in a hotel room the next or simply in someone’s house the day after that.” Indeed, he’s a regular at many well-known LA studios, including Windmark, Paramount, East West, Record Plant and Westlake – and his Audient iD44 will always go with him. Its four channels and a potential I/O of 20in / 24out, as well as the ability to provide the basis of a complete studio mean Damien has his perfect mobile setup. “iD44 allows me to keep everything on a dedicated input, so everything’s ready to go in ProTools at any given moment.
“The two D.Is are a great feature,” he continues. “In my template I can have a dedicated channel for bass and guitar ready to go and not worry about routing anything, just make it active and everything I need is there.” He cites a favourite plugin: Midi Guitar 2. “You can play any software instrument with a guitar rather than a keyboard and that opens up a whole new world in terms of performance and voicings. So I definitely put those D.Is to good use regularly!
“… having a dedicated set of outputs sent to a re-amp box to use guitar amp pedals […] is always really handy.”
“My mixing setup consists of an iMac, Audient iD44, UAD-2 Satellite, pretty much every plugin made, NS-10’s and Reftone Mix Cubes,” he says, describing his home studio. “I have a set of ProAc Studio 100’s that I’ll use occasionally, but recently I love the results I’m getting using my NS-10’s again. The amp is a Yamaha P2201 custom modded by JCF Audio. My laptop is a clone of my iMac mixing rig so when I do sessions at other studios, I’m working off the exact same system wherever I go.”
He might utilise a variety of software and plugins during the course of a mix, but ‘old school’ is still an option with iD44. “From time to time I do feel like I need something a little more analogue. So having a dedicated set of outputs sent to a re-amp box to use guitar amp pedals – or maybe a guitar amp in the control room – is always really handy.”
“The whole house was the recording studio: console and Hammond B3 in the living room and the back bedrooms were soundproofed and used for amps and drums.”
Apart from a brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a professional ice hockey player [we didn’t see that coming ~ Audient] music has always been Damien’s life. Starting out in a successful band playing on the Detroit bar scene whilst in high school – “I don’t think they would allow kids to do that nowadays!” – then setting out on the road playing 300 nights a year as a professional drummer after that, it was inheriting his father’s gear that piqued his interest in recording. “He was a live sound guy for many Detroit bands: Mitch Ryder, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat,” explains Damien.
“I started learning the equipment by recording my musician friends around Atlanta and soon after I started getting good and had the bug. The whole house was the recording studio: console and Hammond B3 in the living room and the back bedrooms were soundproofed and used for amps and drums. This was before recording at home was cool like it is now, mind you,” he laughs, mindful that his wife has had to put up with “all of that noise and insanity for many years.”
Here he is 15 years on, working from home again. “It’s all come full circle!” he says. He’s mainly referencing his mixes in his headphones these days, which is probably a relief to his wife. He does utilise the second of the two iD44’s headphone jacks for his Bose speaker on occasion, however. “That way, when I want to, I can just flip it on really quickly and reference the small speaker which is super handy to have on a dedicated set of outputs.”
He admits that he’s happiest when he’s mixing at home. “I just know my room really well and it’s comfortable. I’m up in a canyon in Malibu with my dogs overlooking the mountains and ocean.”
What’s not to love about that?