LA-based music production duo, The Wildcardz haven’t looked back since adding an Audient ASP800 mic pre to their setup. “This mic pre sounds great on everything we use and it’s also significantly upped the quality of our string recordings and samples,” says Ester Na, one half of the talented multi-instrumentalist team.
“ASP800 has taken our string recordings to a whole new level”
Together with Sadie Currey, they have written music for pop, RnB, film and tv with a star-studded back catalogue. Credits include co-writing songs with K-Pop supergroups EXO and NCT, American DJ 3LAU and Nikki Flores (Nas, Christina Aguilera, JoJo), as well as work on movie soundtracks – Universal Pictures’ Pitch Perfect III and Sing II, 20th Century Fox’s Bad Times at the El Royale – and collaborating with eight times Grammy award-winning producer Harvey Mason Jr.
Doubling as sound engineers mixing and mastering their own work, they are currently finalising their second string sample pack ready for release later this month. They have both appreciated the improved sound quality. “The ASP800 has taken our string recordings to a whole new level. We’ve done several A-B tests and also included our audio engineer friends on the test and the ASP800-processed strings wins hands down.
“after running violin and cello through it we were super pleased with the results”
“We honestly had no idea the mic pre would work so well on string recordings and planned on using it mainly for guitar, bass, percussion and drums, but after running violin and cello through it we were super pleased with the results,” says Ester.
As multi-instrumentalists – Ester on keys, bass, guitar and cello and Sadie playing bass, guitar and violin – they appreciate that the ASP800 is so versatile. “It offers all around flexibility and works really well with our Vanguard V13 mic. You can really crank the knobs and get a heavy and saturated sound with guitars and bass, or you can just add a slight bit of colour to bring a string composition to life.”
ASP800 “offers all around flexibility”
They also record a lot of vocals with the Vanguard V13, Audient ASP800 running into an Apogee Quartet and using ProTools to record audio. Adding COVID-19 into the mix over the last year has meant they have worked from home which Ester describes as “an adjustment and a learning process” – a familiar story for many. “Fortunately we had a really good home studio setup right as the lockdown happened. As far as creating music and new songs and tracks, we haven’t slowed down, although we have been affected in how we collaborate with others.
“We have done Zoom sessions which have gone well and written some really great songs this past year. We also have been doing more co-production sessions where we send stems and tracks back and forth to producers, and also have been arranging and recording strings within our home studio.” The Wildcardz have indeed been active in many projects over the last few months, including a release on the new NCT 127 album, Neozone, as well as collaborating with UK artist, RAYE on her latest single release, Natalie Don’t and having their song DNA featured on the Netflix comedy drama, Gente-fied.
There’s more to come, too. “We will be collaborating with the music production platform PROMU founded by music producer, Tee (credits include: Drake, Alessia Cara, Meghan Trainor) and creating an additional sample pack full of goodies for music producers and songwriters. We also have a Splice collaboration in the works and are super excited about this.”