Successful music producer with a passion for studio gear, Will Shenk chose an 8-channel mic pre, ASP800 when it came to upgrading at Métier Mastering. A self-confessed ‘nerd’, he spent three years researching and building his studio and certainly puts in the hours when it comes to specifying the right gear.
“I wanted to create rooms and a system that would sound even better”
In the 16 years before taking on his own studio, Will was chief engineer for National Media Services, cutting his teeth in an environment dedicated to being “the best sounding studio within several hundred miles” according to its many visitors. When he finally left to focus on his own studio, he had an excellent grounding – and set himself a high bar.
“I wanted to create rooms and a system that would sound even better than that studio,” says Will. “The majority of our work is centered around acoustic instruments and most of my clients are very proud of their instruments and want the capture to accurately represent them.”
“I was so amazed that the ASP800…incorporated the same exact preamps as their flagship large format analogue consoles. ”
Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Métier Mastering is an award-winning, state-of-the-art recording, mixing, mastering and audio restoration facility, which has indeed met expectations. “In the first year, we were already receiving testimonials which confirm we have ‘hit the nail on the head’,” he confirms.
His quest to find the perfect mic pre goes back three years. “From the very beginning, Audient always made the short list,” he says. Further, meticulous research whittled it down to two products – and they were both Audient. “I was so amazed that the ASP800, not only could be had at a reasonable price, but also incorporated the same exact preamps as their flagship large format analogue consoles.
ASP800 “…exactly what I was looking for”
“I knew what my budget was, I knew I wanted something rack mounted and something to easily expand through my trusty interface and convertors. Then when I saw that the ASP800 had options to add sonic enhancements that might emulate the tubes and transistors of the 60s and 70s that some of my customers have been wanting, it really was a no-brainer.” The ASP800 ‘Retro Channels’ 1 & 2 feature two variable harmonic colour controls per channel; HMX & IRON, which provide warm, sparkly tones.
With the ASP800 installed, Will shares his first impressions: “It is exactly what I was looking for. A unit that would yield accurate representation, have plenty of gain for my dynamics and ribbons, be rack mountable, speak the language of my interface through Word clock, ADAT and the DSP without me having to do too much thinking.”
Will Shenk: “I have high hopes for the ASP800”
As the ‘post-Covid19’ world slowly takes shape, bookings are starting to come in from both new clients and those revisiting the studio. The latter includes one of Will’s childhood heros, The Statler Brothers’ Don Reid, who will be using Métier Mastering to capture a brand new project. Will has big plans for the ASP800 in helping to bring Don’s project to life. Then there’s Bud’s Collective who started tracking their fourth album before lockdown. “I believe we were on our way to making their best yet,” says Will. Also Circa Blue, who bagged a 2017 Best Bluegrass Album nomination at the WAMMIES.
According to Will, the band’s founder and frontman, Steve Harris “has one of the best sounding guitars I have ever recorded. He told me that he chose my studio because we make his guitar sound like his guitar. I love that! I have high hopes for the ASP800 on this one and feel that we will make his guitar sparkle like never before.”
If anybody can do that, Will can. “I am proud of the way our studio looks and sounds, and certainly proud to have Audient as a lead part of that chain,” he concludes. Audient wishes him every success with it all.