Music composer and voiceover artist, Joe Wakeford recently upgraded his audio interface to the Audient iD22 and Audient was keen to find out how it was working out. “I love having physical controls in the studio, there’s only a certain amount of tolerance I have for reaching for the mouse for mixing controls,” he says, echoing the sentiment of many audio professionals who prefer not to rely on working ‘in the box’.
« …the experience was as close to real-time as I’ve ever experienced with a studio interface. I was extremely impressed. »
Audient first heard from Wakeford when he got in touch via Twitter to praise the low latency of his iD22. “I was playing (and recording) a delicate piano piece for a Hollywood produced film coming out in mid-2017. With piano especially you need latency to be as minimal as possible. With the right combination of ASIO buffer size and sample rate the experience was as close to real-time as I’ve ever experienced with a studio interface. I was extremely impressed – the last thing you need when recording an emotional piece is a detectable delay or gear messing around.”
Over the last 20 years his studio has evolved from a band rehearsal room and recording studio with a big analogue console, tracking to multiple synced Tascam DA-38 DTRS machines and Cubase VST 3.5, to today’s setup which he describes as “totally built for production studio functionality.
“The big analogue desk is gone and our system now centres around two networked 64GB RAM custom built audio PCs from Scan in Leeds, UK.” explains Wakeford. “For several years the M-Audio ProjectMix I/O was used as the primary audio interface but when the phantom power died the Audient iD22 was brought in to replace microphone recording.
« The software routing of the iD22 has worked wonders for our composition and tracking sessions »
“The idea was two-fold – to keep the ProjectMix I/O as the wonderfully tactile control surface for Cubase Pro 9 that it has always been (along with offering additional non +48v inputs) and to use the iD22 as a new monitoring system with its big central volume dial and custom function buttons.”
Wakeford’s idea has certainly paid off. “The software routing of the iD22 has worked wonders for our composition and tracking sessions, as well as the other aspect to my business which is voiceover recording. I run all audio through it and have recorded everything from the latest GoDaddy TV commercial to live Voice Of God announcements for the worldwide launch of the new MINI Countryman in LA recently.”
« The software routing allows me to operate live directed sessions while recording my recording input with no messing around. »
When it comes to recording voiceovers, iD22 also has its benefits. “For voiceover, the iD22 offers phantom power, a switchable 100Hz 12dB/octave high pass filter for when getting ‘up close and personal’ with the mic, Class-A console preamps with a low sound floor and of course the minimal latency for monitoring if required during a live session. The software routing allows me to operate live directed sessions while recording my recording input with no messing around. Once it’s set-up via the cue controls (similar to aux busses) you’re good to go without needing to re-adjust all other controls back for in-studio music production monitoring.”
Growing up in a very musical family, it was almost inevitable that Wakeford follow in the footsteps of his parents and grandparents, although there was always a leaning towards technology. “We had instruments everywhere and while my Dad taught me piano, I often picked up his guitars and then took up drumming which is what took me to the ACM. I was very interested in the process of recording too. When I was 8 I’d record my own ‘radio’ shows and broadcast them to neighbours via an elaborate and highly illegal transmitter conjured up via a science set. When at secondary school, a friend and I began our own station with our friends and family listening in via cassettes passed around school.”
After his graduation from ACM, Wakeford decided to stick to the straight and narrow, although his work has evolved just about as much as his studio over the years. “ My job description as a creative is quite broad nowadays but I love every aspect of what I do, from writing music for film, TV and artists to recording voiceovers for all sorts of productions.”
« Having good people and well-behaved gear around you is essential!”
When asked what advice he’d give to his younger self, he said: “It’s important to love what you do but to keep things varied so there’s something to surprise you around every corner. It’s great being challenged and stretched. Having good people and well-behaved gear around you is essential!”