8 Hands Of Sound has just released its debut album, which was recorded entirely using Audient ASP880 mic preamps. “The ASP880 handled everything we threw at it: handpans, drums, analogue synths, woodwinds, flutes, percussion, guitars, vocals and a myriad of other instruments!” says Jeremy Arndt, one of the ensemble. Comprising four multi-instrumentalists, the band 8 Hands of Sound came about as a result of a shared passion for the handpan.
“8 Hands of Sound set out to expand the boundaries of handpan music and bring it to new frontiers,” says Jeremy A. “It draws upon a diverse palette of musical influence, including modern greats like Snarky Puppy and Bonobo, as well as the vast genres of world music, electronica, jazz and classical.” The album New Light features the unique and mournful sound of the handpan and was recorded at Grooveboy Studios in Melbourne, Australia.
ASP880 mic preamps: “To me, they do their job by letting the instruments shine.”
Band member and studio owner, Jeremy Diffey oversaw the recording session and has nothing but praise for his ASP880. “The recording setup consisted mainly of ribbon microphones and small diaphragm condensers. We recorded into my ASP880 through an RME UFX interface,” he says. “I’ve always found the preamps in the ASP880 to be extremely high quality and they sound great. When EQing the instruments, often only small adjustments are required. It just works!”
Jeremy A adds, “In addition to all of the acoustic instruments recorded through the ASP880’s preamps, we also used Moog and Dave Smith Instruments synthesizers, Arturia V Collection software synthesizers, and a Sequentix Cirklon for some of the sequencing of synthesizers. All of the hardware synthesizer tracks were run through the DI’s on the front panel of the ASP880.
“I love the clarity,” he enthuses. “To me, they do their job by letting the instruments shine. I find they always capture the source precisely without colouring the sound in any way.” He likes them so much he bought his own ASP880 for his own studio back in Michigan, USA. In fact he recommends it to anyone who asks about studio quality recording preamps. “The price you pay for the 8 channels of quality preamps is incredible. I firmly believe there isn’t a better value preamp out there.”
“I firmly believe there isn’t a better value preamp out there.”
Although the album has only just been released, the actual recording took place back in 2018, which also happens to be the last time all 8 Hands of Sound band members were in the same country as each other. Jeremy Diffey (Melbourne, Australia), Adrian Portia (Shepparton, Australia), Lauri Wuolio (Helsinki, Finland) and Jeremy Arndt (Michigan, USA) originally met online through a forum called www.Handpan.org.
“There were so few players of the instrument in the early days, that it allowed us all to be connected through the internet,” explains Jeremy A. Originally invented back in 2000, the handpan is the newest widely-produced acoustic instrument in the world. The ‘hang’ which inspired the handpan, began with just two artisans hand-building it in Bern, Switzerland. Even in the early 2000s the number of people building them was still in single figures.
The first in-person meeting of 8 Hands Of Sound took place at the annual ‘Hangout’ USA gathering in 2014 where they had organised a concert together. “We had such a great time that we decided we should get together in the future to work on an album,” Jeremy A reminisces. And here we are!
“I’ve always found the preamps in the ASP880 to be extremely high quality”
All of the band members have their own studios these days, so there is talk of recording some new music remotely. For now though, it’s all about sharing the current one far and wide – within the confines of the global pandemic. “When the restrictions of the pandemic lift, we fully intend to bring our live experience to audiences in the US, Europe and Australia!” says Jeremy A, who’s been busy recording a new solo album, Handpan Solo: River Sessions for release very soon.
Jeremy D plans on starting work on another solo album incorporating handpan, woodwind and electronic instruments. “As for 8 Hands Of Sound? We’d love to perform a tour. It may take a bit of planning and fundraising due to the spread out nature of the band,” he laughs.
Audient looks forward to that…whenever it may be!