Audient fan, Raag Sethi is a producer, composer, engineer, guitarist and bassist from Ahmedabad in India. He also runs his own Compass Box Studio – where he’s using the ASP800 and iD14 – and records one-take, live sessions. Having worked with a variety of great artists, labels and musicians across numerous genres, he’s managed to create a niche for himself and his studio.
He first heard about Audient via YouTube, then his mix engineer got an iD14 and raved about the converters and pres. That was when he decided to find out what all the fuss was about…
My first Audient interface was the EVO 4, which is a complete work horse, and at its price, was the obvious choice for me. Later I was able to get my hands on the newer MKII iD series, and naturally, it was an easy switch from the EVO.
iD14: “those pres sound ridiculously great when paired with a good microphone”
In my home studio, I use the Audient iD4 MK II, which I absolutely love! With this setup at home, I end up recording most of my guitar and bass DI from home, thanks to its lovely JFET input. Moreover, since my room is acoustically treated, I have also recorded final vocals for quite a few of my projects, and those pres sound ridiculously great when paired with a good microphone.
Once Raag got his hands on ASP800 and iD14, he put them both through their paces – and sent the results to VH1!
After my deep-dive review of the ASP800, I really wanted to record a Live Session (a series of one-take live recordings of some of the biggest indie artists in India, that Compass Box Studio undertakes) using the ASP800 paired with the iD14, for a total of 10 inputs.
As you’ve heard, it sounds amazing! We ended up using the iron circuit for the mono overhead and the HMX for the vocals — and, no surprise, it adds so much depth and colour to the already super clean Audient pres.
ASP800 Retro Channels “…add so much depth and colour to the already super clean Audient pres”
VH1 really liked the video that we shot, and it aired on their channel as well, which is a testament to just how good those pres sound.
What were your first impressions of these Audient products?
On my studio’s YouTube channel, you’ll find an in-depth review of the MKII iD series and the ASP800 as well, where I outline some of their technical features, along with actual demos for these products.
iD14 & ASP800: “so easy to test”
The units were so easy to test, compare and work with. I remember opening the boxes for the first time and seeing the new clean Audient aesthetic, knowing right then and there that these would be some good interfaces to use and track with.
What features of the iD14 MKII stood out to you?
Aside from the new pres and AD/DA conversion, the look, feel and build quality really stood out to me. Having ADAT is so important to be able to grow a space or studio — the fact that you can add up to 8 more channels to extend your multi-track recording capability is an extremely vital feature for a professional producer/musician/engineer.
Moreover, what really sets this interface apart from its competition, is having an additional stereo out for an alternate monitor, the JFET inputs, and of course, the iD button.
How about the ASP800?
A majority of the ADAT expanders that I have used throughout my professional career, seemed, for lack of a better word, entry-level. However, the ASP800 is in another league as a means to expand your existing I/O easily with ADAT or through DB25.
“the ASP800 is in another league”
The first 2 channels rocking the HMX and IRON circuits give engineers a great opportunity to test what it would be like to work with outboard gear; to be able to commit to saturation and colour is an important part of working with outboard gear, and those channels gives you a taste of what that process and sound is like. As seen in Mali’s session, when paired with the iD14, you can comfortably record a full band live without having to bust the bank.
How are you finding them to work with?
The iD is my main interface at my home studio, and I have routinely used the ASP800 to track drums, as it gives me a consistent recording image of the full kit by having the same pres. A fun thing to try is to use the first 2 channels either on overheads or rooms, or using them for the kick and snare, we have got some real punchy results using the IRON, and a really nice harmonic saturation with the HMX.
What’s coming up next for you?
Recently, I’ve been working with a lot of independent artists and a few labels too. It’s always fun working with artists, especially when they come down to your studio to record with you. I truly enjoy the process, and since I have a studio space with some great gear, we rarely use MIDI or VSTs to complete any of our projects.
There are a couple of jazz tracks, a few prog. rock songs and some neo-soul projects in the pipeline, as of now.
Great to hear that you’ve been chosen to be a voting member of the Recording Academy. Congratulations!
Thank you! It’s such a huge honour to be a voting member at the Recording Academy. I can’t wait to start voting on the Grammy categories, and also, finally submitting projects I’ve produced, as well.
I can’t wait to start voting on the Grammy categories
Hold on, have you also won an award…?
Yes! I did recently win an award for Best Jazz Producer at ‘The Clef Music Awards’ 2020-2021, along with having songs that I produced win Best Pop Song and Best Jazz Song, and a few other categories as well.
What’s this about building a new studio? Tell us more…
I am SO excited about the new space. When I first started my studio in 2019, I did what I could with the space I had and what limited knowledge I could find about building and running a studio, on YouTube.
While the work we have produced in this space is truly amazing, there are certain limitations to the space.
A perfect time to upgrade, then. Audient looks forward to seeing the results!
In the meantime, let’s stay up to date with Compass Music Studios online, on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Raag is also on Instagram as himself.