An Audient ASP4816 mixing console was installed at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) at the beginning of the year. The desk was launched straight into action within days of its arrival, recording award-winning Irish actor, comedian, writer and entertainer Pat Shortt’s podcast released on 4th February. “Our students are providing recording, Foley and mixing for the podcast’s six episodes,” explains Technical Officer for Creative Technologies, Art O’Laoire.
ASP4816: “Now we have analogue features to teach signal path topology”
It’s testament to preplanning and careful deliberation with the whole music technology staff that the compact analogue desk was up and running so quickly. “It was a decision not made lightly. We looked at all the possibilities to hand,” he explains. “We considered the Audient ASP8024-HE at first, but realised the ASP4816 console was better suited to our needs. In the end, Audient had the most features for the price range and the sound quality we desired. The way the desk is configured straight from the factory and meant it had all the connections we needed: 16 preamps, 48 inputs in total and a fantastic monitoring section.”
Up until then this studio was centred around a similar sized digital control surface. “Now we have analogue features to teach signal path topology,” continues Art, which they did as soon as the compact analogue desk arrived. “We had to instruct students on signal flow and how mixing back into the console is now possible.” With 120 music technology students in direct contact with the desk each week, as well as 20-30 film students using it weekly for Foley and ADR, that’s a lot of people to bring up to speed.
“we love the ability to send a mix back from the DAW into the console and get a tactile feel for mixing bands”
Initial feedback has been positive according to Art, who is perfectly placed to oversee how the ASP4816 is settling in, as he provides technical support for LIT’s three recording studios, five video edit suits, the millennium theatre and various Mac labs on campus. Both staff and students have commented on how intuitive it is. “All features are visible at first glance and without too much hassle people can just get work done. They don’t need much interference from lecturers once they are up and running a recording session or a mix down. Plus they seem to just like the tactility of the control surface,” he says.
«Switching between long and short faders for tracking and also EQing is a great feature”
It’s early days for everybody at LIT, however. “We are still learning its many features and routing possibilities. Currently we love the ability to send a mix back from the DAW into the console and get a tactile feel for mixing bands. The bus compressor is another plus. Switching between long and short faders for tracking and also EQing is a great feature,” he adds. “We have plans to integrate it more when we start the new academic year, September 2020.”
With the primary courses at LIT focusing on post production, broadcast, live sound and studio recording, Art and his colleagues have designed the facilities around a network-based, audio-over-IP system rather than the traditional hard-wired infrastructure. The studio can now receive 32 channels of audio from the theatre based on the other side of the campus which allows them to mix shows from the ASP4816 to be distributed for livestreaming events. “We’ll be doing our first livestream of our showcase performance in the millennium theatre later in the year,” says Art underlining that it will be the first of these to use the Audient desk. ”That should be fun!”
For Limerick Institute of Technology, this upgrade is just the first step towards a much larger goal. “We are fully committed to integrating all our campuses towards AOIP. We have multiple campuses all over the west coast of Ireland. This can be used for conferences, technical e-learning, broadcast and much more.
“We plan on growing the course over the next five years and hope to develop a new purpose built Creative Technology Centre here in Limerick City. Our student numbers are growing all the time, so to accommodate this we need to expand. Hopefully, next time we will be ordering the ASP8024 console.”
Audient looks forward to that!