Three Audient consoles are helping to shape the future of a new intake of students at London College of Communication, part of University of the Arts London. Integral to the teaching of Music Production undergraduates, the new ASP8024-HE consoles are located in three studios at the always-evolving Elephant & Castle site.
“The Audient ASP8024-HE is really versatile”
Lead technician, Christopher Bourke explains the setup at London College of Communication. “These three studios are centred around the Audient consoles working in a hybrid analogue and digital method. One is located in our larger Performance Lab/Teaching space. This is used more for teaching larger groups of students on the operation of the console and other recording hardware and software. The other two consoles are in our new purpose built ‘acoustic pod’ based studios.
“The studios are designed for great flexibility in input possibilities, to help the students learn the various options available in modern studios and tonal variations between types of hardware before (and after) the signal moves into the digital realm,” says Christopher.
London College of Communication – “the studios are designed for great flexibility”
“Currently the studios are designed to record into Avid ProTools Ultimate with two MTRX interfaces, SyncX word clock and we also have an Avid S3 control surface in each studio for automation input and manipulation. Typical signal flow would be recording the musicians’ performance using a selection of our high-end microphones from one of our live rooms into the control room via a traditional analogue patching method. From here the students can either go directly into channels in the Audient console or via one of our outboard hardware preamps or channel strips, or a combination of both.”
The recently launched three-year BA course sits alongside the established Sound Arts course (students of which also use the desks) within London College of Communication, based at Elephant & Castle. There are currently 24 undergraduates on their journey towards becoming highly skilled music and audio producers, and an MA Music Production course now on offer.
ASP8024-HE: “great value for money”
BA Music Production course leader, Diego Benalcazar is pleased with how the Audient desks give his undergraduates “a hands-on, real-world experience.” He says, “The consoles give students a sense of what it’s like to work in a professional recording studio and allow them to develop practical skills in recording, mixing, routing and signal flow.”
Yet when faced with a full size 36-channel analogue mixing desk, he admits that some of his students were initially intimidated. “Once they have had the chance to work on it and understand it however, they find it pretty straightforward.” He puts students’ quick acclimatisation down to the console’s flexibility. “The Audient ASP8024-HE is really versatile,” he says. “Being an in-line console, and the way we have it set up here at the College helps students understand the underlying principles of different hybrid workflows.”
Christopher is also very pleased with how things are shaping up for them. “The Audient consoles have been great value for money, containing most of the features of a traditional large format analogue studio recording console with quality signal path, enough routing options to keep the flexibility needed in a hybrid digital/analogue workflow, as well as some nice perks such as the mix bus compressor and Retro Iron functions.”
“enough routing options to keep the flexibility needed”
The College has also installed Audient iD4 compact 2in/2out audio interfaces at its individual audio workstations. Every iD interface features the Audient Console Mic Preamp – the same discrete circuit design found in the ASP8024-HE – ensuring the same high quality of sound throughout the college.
Upgrading its already outstanding facilities ensures London College of Communication keeps investing in its future – with plans including a brand new building for the College across the road from its current site. Although the new building is still in relatively early stages of development, these latest studios have been designed to be future-proof…and mobile! Christopher explains the pioneering concept: “The ‘room within a room’ pod studios are of a semi-prefabricated construction, which allows for them to be dismantled, transported to the new location and re-assembled when the new building is completed in a few years’ time.”
The acoustically insulated studios were initially specified by audio consultant, Richard Liggins who has designed a number of universities’ studios and audio technology courses over the years. He says, “Audient consoles are still first choice for education in my book. Their inline architecture ensures students get a clear understanding of signal flow. They are robust in construction so built to last and yet still represent excellent value for money.” For London College of Communication, Richard led the design with Will Benger at EQ Acoustics, and the legendary Eddie Veale consulted on the acoustic design.
“Audient consoles are still first choice for education in my book” ~ Richard Liggins
The entire project was initiated by John Carbery, who proposed the repurposing of an existing copying and printing facility to serve as the expansion area for the growing Sound discipline at the College. The prefabricated ‘Pod’ solution allowed the option to factor in relocation of these to the new college premises in three years’ time, as well as being able to assemble safely within an occupied building.
A mammoth project like this takes a big team effort and thanks also go to Pete Newman, Langdale Technical and of course gear supplier, Academia. Indeed, the result is testament to the involvement of all these industry heavyweights. Diego is excited about the new building too. “We will have more music and sound spaces that will help the programme to grow.”
Audient is just as pleased to be a part of London College of Communication’s vision for the future!