Independent audio visual project Porta 253 has been utilising the Audient iD14 MKII audio interface to produce artistic films on YouTube for a while now. Recently, Portuguese TV network, Canal180 approached them to televise a curated selection of its audio visual pieces, each of which is recorded around the city of Braga in Portugal.
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Making an impression
Founded by Joana Jorge, the concept of Porta 253 is to promote Portuguese music by filming 20-minute intimate concerts and interviews with local and international artists in unusual surroundings. She is the creative mind behind the project, often choosing the venue – which could be anywhere from an ice cream shop to a railway station – as well as handling the video direction and editing of each performance.
Joana’s boyfriend, producer João Figueiredo looks after all things audio. Since the arrival of his iD14 MKII, he has put the Audient audio interface front and centre of the production.
iD14 MKII – “I love the audio quality”
For every Porta 253 project that only needs two channels, the Audient iD14 MKII is his go-to interface. “I love the audio quality: stellar preamps, very clean, transparent and articulated, with lots of headroom and very low noise floor. Also the DACs which contribute to the overall clarity and articulation of the soundscape,” he says. Indeed when he’s back in the studio, iD14 MKII is the main interface for mixing as well as recording.
Luca Argel and his non-inverted samba, with a fabulous percussionist, live in the beautiful space Casa Velha in Parque da Ponte in Braga
He also uses it every time he is mastering. “As I use an external stereo compressor, the 2in /4out configuration of iD14 MKII makes it the perfect combo. I run the mix from the DAW through outputs 3/4 into the compressor, then back again to my DAW via inserts 1/2 – always monitoring via outputs 1/2 either on my monitors or headphones. This means – amongst other things – that I use the Audient’s preamps as makeup gain after compression.
iD14 MKII – “I also love […] the iD button feature for ‘blind’ tuning of every parameter inside the DAW”
“I also love how easy it is to mute/select/mono your outputs; the internal routing options and the iD button feature for ‘blind’ tuning of every parameter inside the DAW,” he says, underlining his appreciation of iD14 MKII’s numerous features. “As for the drivers, I have never had any issue with them, even with very low buffer/latency levels.”
Reflecting on the early days of Porta 253, which was launched back in 2015, Joao says, “I had very little to no gear at all when we started; a condenser mic and a DI box, really.” Finding quirky locations for performances such as a cocktail bar, riverbank or rooftop – although aesthetically stunning, can make capturing audio tricky. “If recording full bands in places with no sound treatment at all wasn’t hard enough, try doing it with barely no gear!”
O Marta with “Ó Moça! É Folclore” and his incredible band, live in the main hall of the Biscaínhos Museum in Braga
Happily João’s hard work and dedication paid off, and over the years he has managed to grow his setup to align with what he wants to achieve. “Eventually, I had all the gear I needed to do a good job, but most importantly the skillset to use it: some experience, a full cup of ingenuity and lots of eagerness to do better.”
iD14 MKII – “It’s very easy to carry in a backpack wherever you go”
He started picking up studio work, recording full length albums, EP’s and live sessions, setting himself up as a music production studio, Senhor Engenheiro Recordings (Mr Engineer Recordings) “Nowadays I record using a 24-channel digital mixer, my laptop and mostly close mics and direct inputs, because I have to get the best sound I can without relying on ambience,” he explains.
Recording on the go
“Nevertheless, I still don’t own an actual studio – only a treated room where I do some of the recordings, my own room and a lot of nomad work.” iD14 MKII has its benefits when it comes to those location recordings too, as it is powered via his computer. “It’s very easy to carry in a backpack wherever you go, without the need of an external power supply.”
Rita Onofre with Ned Flanger live at Manecas’ studio
Porta 253 has built up a massive video library of performances and interviews on its YouTube channel, continuing to shine a light on interesting, independent artists along the way. João champions every single one of them. “Please follow the amazing artists we have recorded with Porta 253 over their social media! They are all tagged in our Instagram and Facebook pages every time a new video comes out on YouTube. Support small, cool and dedicated projects and brands,” he declares.
Audient reckons that’s a great sentiment and wishes João – and Porta 253 – all the best!