Two-time MPG mixer of the year award winner and British analogue gear aficionado, Cenzo Townshend has been wall-to-wall busy since the opening of the new Decoy Studios last summer. Set in the picturesque countryside of Suffolk, Cenzo’s studio is packed to the gills with high-end, esoteric gear, alongside which is his trusted Audient ASP8024 mixing console. “It’s my dependable rock. It’s been all over England with me back when I had the mobile studio, Electric Landlady” he says, adding, “If that console doesn’t work then I know there is something fundamentally wrong with the studio.”
ASP8024: « It’s very dependable, robust & sounds great »
Housed in one of the two large control rooms, he continues, “We use it for tracking and overdubbing, but also for mixing – it’s getting a lot of use every day.” When asked why it was so useful in this capacity, he explains, “It’s a very stripped down console with an awful lot of features. It’s very dependable, robust and sounds great. We try a lot of different equipment in that room too, most recently we’ve been using the new iZ Radar so we’ve had a lot of people coming in to do listening tests. It always sounds great through the Audient.”
A broad range of artists come through the doors of this world-class recording studio, from unsigned bands, rising star Rhodes [Ministry of Sound], to George Ezra and The Maccabees – even pop’s loveable rogue Robbie Williams was mixed here last month. Producer, Richard Flack did a 5.1 mix of the show using Audient’s ASP510 surround sound monitor controller. “It all happened in the Audient room,” adds Cenzo.
He’s a fan of the smaller Audient products, too. “I’ve not had anything from Audient that isn’t a good box,” he says, citing the Centro and a more recent purchase of the iD22, although he does confess to not having used the audio interface as much as he could have. “We keep lending our iD22 to clients, actually. If they come in with their laptops and need to plug something in or work next door, it’s ideal. The Maccabees had it for about a year! (They have since given it back and bought their own.) I love it though, it’s so beautifully built – everybody that picks it up says the same,” he adds.
Of course he loves it, the mic preamps are the same as those on the ASP8024 console, and he describes them as, “…really good and solid. We’ve got Neve preamps as well, but the other day we recorded a band and we ended up just using all Audient for speed and reliability. We didn’t plug anything else in. It’s great to be able to do that with the Audient.” He likes how they sound too: “The current album we’re working on with Rhodes is a very pure sounding record, very organic – the Audient desk is really helping with that.”
« I’ve never had anything from Audient that isn’t a good box. »
When pushed, Cenzo admits he is still very proud of winning an MPG award for best mixer two years in a row; in particular the moment he walked up to collect it and Brian Eno shook his hand. “That will certainly stay with me,” he says wistfully.
Looking back over his award-studded mixing career, Audient asked what advice would he give his 20 year-old self. “Learn to listen. Listen to instruments, bands; go to classical orchestral concerts and really listen to what instruments sound like. Hear how musicians balance internally without somebody turning faders up and down,” he says.
“And learn to record – properly. A lot of people just want to mix, overlooking the skill and necessity of making a good recording, until they start mixing and realise that it’s badly recorded and impossible to mix well.
“Also, listen to records – old records (I mean vinyl of course) – it gives you a completely different perspective. It’s very grounding to listen to that and to hear what you’re actually up against.”