Audient Console installed in brand new East London production house
UK – New music production house and music mixing service, Offbeat Crew has installed an ASP8024-HE at their headquarters in Ilford. The brainchild of producer Charles McGougan (Lee Perry, Dennis Bovell, Zion Train, Dreadzone, Redseal) and engineer/mixer Trevor Lancaster-Smith (Beth Orton, Dru Hill, Mica Paris, Sugababes, Faith Evans), the group falls under the banner of an upcoming label, Offbeat Records, which is being developed as a vehicle for some of its in-house productions.
Already working on a project with Earl Sixteen (Leftfield/Dreadzone) and an EP for the band Love Grocer, they are also working on a few development projects in the areas of drums and bass and dance music, the production has so took off early.
Offbeat Crew is made up of a team of four and includes two in-house music studios: a mixing studio and a production/writing suite. The 24-channel Audient console is the centerpiece of Offbeat Records’ mixing room, which is also Trevor’s personal studio. Describing it as “a fairly modest affair”, he has spent the last two years building it. “It’s totally designed to be an analog front-end mixing environment for DAW-based production work (Logic/ProTools, etc.) although we plan to incorporate a 24-track analog tape recorder at some point, partly as a comfort cover for me, but also optional for customers who like tape.The Audient console is great with a tape or DAW.
Strong believers in traditional analog mixing techniques, each member of the Offbeat Crew has over 25 years of experience in their area of the music industry. Trevor himself has spent the past 30 years recording and mixing on “literally every analog console out there, including most of the extremely high-end consoles that many people find impractical these days”.
Claiming never to mix “in the box”, he continues: “Charles and I have been in the studio scene since the 90s, so all recording and mixing processes are done exclusively with equipment, the only concession being that tape recorders were replaced by computers to facilitate modern practices.
He explains how the studio focused on the idea of creating a space where they could create and mix on a similar level achieved in the large studios they inhabited at the time, “but without the time constraints of a clock. It gives us a lot more time to experiment with our production work.
Drawing on his decades of experience, Trevor has nothing but praise for the new desktop: “The Audient overall is actually my favorite console. It’s very musical, extremely quiet (fantastic for modern DAW applications), has a totally responsive and familiar layout, a great EQ and I really like the VCA bus compressor – again very familiar to use – as well as on the sound plane. He adds: “We knew it would do the job, but we were surprised at how easy and enjoyable it was.
“In addition to all these great features, we feel we can really rely on them. The build quality and features are completely unmatched at this price point and Audient’s excellent customer service and technical support is very well known. Self-management is a very important factor for us.
Musician, producer and composer Andrea Terrano (Basement Jaxx) who counts Ennio Morricone as a close mentor, and multi-instrumentalist and producer David Fullwood (Ital Horns, Lee Scratch Perry, Aswad, Morcheeba, Dreadzone) complete the creative quartet of Offbeat Crew. Trevor confirms that when it comes to working with this team: “You hire expertise and experience, not studio time.”
Regarding customer feedback, Trevor says, “Everyone who has come in contact with the board so far has loved it. It has great appeal for customers who are normally more assimilated to “mix-in-the-box” type studios, as well as older guys (like me) who are used to large-format analog consoles, but don’t like the daily rate plus.” So things got off to a good start. “It’s been working really well, and while we obviously have ongoing plans to develop the studio further, the console isn’t going anywhere!”