A more than twenty-year-old Audient ASP8024 console continues to hold its own as the centrepiece of the capacious Tool Shed Studios in Silicon Valley. The entire facility totals 4000 sq ft, with the classic console sitting at the heart of the 416 sq ft control room.
Classic Console: “The preamps and EQs are clean and precise”
Co-owner of Tool Shed Studios, Brian Gibbs explains the concept: “Our main audiences are A&R managers/execs who have bands that need a retreat-style process for their Single/EP/LP/ELP projects. Our ‘destination studio’ setup gives us the ability to sleep up to seven, an in-house chef, tour bus parking and let artists/bands and their teams stay on site for weeks at a time. Having 21 basses, 19 guitars, 3 acoustic drum sets, 150+ microphones and pro outboard gear sets us apart from our peers, for sure.” And it works: the 2015 Grammy Award-winning album ‘Realidades’ by Los Tigres del Norte was a 3½ month project completed at Tool Shed Studios.
Brian loves the features of his vintage Audient desk, which mixes up to 50 records a year. “The classic analogue bus compressor is amazing. We print stems through the 2-bus frequently prior to final mix of the stems. Workflow for recording, foldback of monitoring the live tracks is easy. The preamps and EQs are clean and precise.
“What I hear in the studio is what I hear through the monitors in the control room”
“What I hear in the studio is what I hear through the monitors in the control room – and that’s vitally important, especially with classical acoustic instruments.” Brian knows what he’s talking about, having worked hard to get where he is. He started out recording his own band back in the early nineties and stayed true to his passion for all things audio engineering whilst studying Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music.
How they came to own the vintage ASP8024 at ‘The Shed’ was a lot more serendipitous, however. A mutual acquaintance introduced him to ASP4816 owner, Donny Baker of ES Audio Recording Studios, who invited him to come to Burbank and try out the compact Audient desk. “With hard drive in-hand, working through a jazz album recorded at Tool Shed Studios was great. The EQs, the workflow the capabilities of the console were wonderful,” recalls Brian. “Amazingly, that very night – just hours after mixing on the ASP4816, we found this 36-channel ASP8024 which had just been listed for sale!”
Six years on, and the Audient desk built in the last century is still going strong, keeping clients happy across the board – Christopher Main is just one example. “The entire album ‘Moving On’ is comprised of nine records; all single takes, no overdubs. All the records on the album were recorded and mixed on the ASP8024. It sounds fantastic. The artist and the musicians involved with the project were all extremely happy with the final result. We are now preparing Christopher Main’s ‘Moving On’ album for remix into Dolby Atmos, using the ASP8024 as the basis for the remix back into the Dolby Production Suite.”
“If the mix is great, then the gear and the engineer did their job”
It’s clear from Brian that it is passion which infuses everything that goes on at Tool Shed Studios – passion for music, gear, drive and talent. He likes to keep a quote by the late recording engineer & record producer, Ed Cherney in mind: “Ultimately, mixing is about heart – nobody leaves a session dancing to what kind of gear you used.”
Brian adds, “If the mix is great, then the gear and the engineer did their job: to be a completely transparent piece between the musicians and the listeners. The ASP8024 helps us to do just that.”
That is exactly what we like to hear. Audient wishes you many more years of successful mixing/recording with your classic ASP8024!