“I’ve learned a ton over the years and my new studio is an opportunity to incorporate all of it,” says producer, mixer and Grammy-nominated engineer, Tim O’Sullivan. Previously manager and chief engineer of Barefoot Recording, he now has his own space in Los Angeles, which is packed full of hand-picked audio gear – including the Nero monitor controller and ASP800 eight channel mic pre from Audient.
“I used the ASP800 on some recent sessions with Chicano Batman and we were all blown away”
Based in Frogtown, an artistic neighbourhood in east LA, the studio was originally Money Mark from the Beastie Boys’ creative space. “I’ve worked with Mark a ton and he’s a friend. When he moved out, I jumped on it!” says Tim. The decisions he makes as he refines his space are the culmination of everything he’s learnt from all the studios he’s built, run and worked out of over the years. “I want to have the utility and flexibility of a well-designed commercial studio, with the vibe, ease of use and speed of a private producers’ writing studio,” he explains.
It boasts a comfortable live room with tall ceilings, a vocal booth/iso and an amp iso. Tim has worked with Rayland Baxter, Grace Potter, The Head and The Heart, Chicano Batman, Mia Doi Todd and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in his time, so has a firm handle on what works in a studio. “I also have a great collection of guitars, keyboards, drums, amps, mics and guitar pedals. I’ve spent a lot of time making sure I have all the tools I need to make records with. I especially love tracking live with groups of musicians playing together and it was important to me to be able to do that here with no compromises.”
His current setup is based around a 32-channel Soundcraft Ghost, Audient Nero monitor controller, Lynx Aurora N, Aviom Cue System and Audient ASP800 mic pres (all with Little Lab’s Redcloud Attenuators) and PMC result6’s. “Nero is acting as my centre section and monitor controller. It’s the brain of the studio,” he says. “It sounds great, has enough inputs and outputs and the four built-in headphone amps are great.”
He got his ASP800 a little over a year ago now, and was originally excited about having “eight clean, high headroom mic pres in one rack space.” That was before he tried out the HMX and IRON Retro Channels, designed to add analogue tone to recordings. “I really fell in love with the saturation controls. I used the ASP800 on some recent sessions with Chicano Batman and we were all blown away by how much character they have.”
Tim O’Sullivan on Audient Nero: “It’s the brain of the studio”
Tim keeps himself busy by constantly switching hats between producing, mixing and engineering – even wearing a ‘live engineer’ hat, as he toured with Chicano Batman as production manager for a year prior to opening this studio. “Being involved in all the different stages of the music making process keeps me inspired, engaged and creative – and makes the music better.”
Audient loves that. So what’s coming up next? “I look forward to continuing to refine my studio and working with a ton of great musicians here.” Sounds ideal.