Studio Pro-Audio

Université de Montréal invests in analogue with Audient

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 13:14

Eric Deschenes and Jean-Michel Dumas

The recent addition of the ASP8024 to the Université de Montréal’s music technology department “feels like a huge upgrade,” according to console specifier, Jean-Michel Dumas, who cited cost, feature set, reputation and operating costs as important factors in the decision to choose the Audient desk. He also mentioned wanting to “… go back to teaching on an analogue desk,” stressing the importance of teaching the signal path to students. “Understanding the signal flow is easier in the analogue domain since you can “follow” the audio clearly,” he says, continuing, “Our students also have to be ready for live sound where the analogue paradigms are still used, even if digital desks are present.”

The console is used for an average of seven hours a day, with “countless students being recorded through it,” so the robustness of ASP8024 is a bonus. Dumas points to some of its other attractive features. “The fact that the DLC module could be integrated to the board was what sealed the deal, since we needed a surface control, and Audient found a way to streamline the process with a great driver (that Steve Flower even customized for us!) and great mapping options (pre-sets for ProTools, Logic, Cubase). The ProTools integration is flawless," he says.

“The EQ section sounds surprisingly good and can compete with other, more mythical desk makers. The in-line way of doing things was new for us, but we are finding new cool ways to work because of it.” The new desk has inspired Dumas to explore new areas of teaching. “We are even thinking of bringing back a tape machine to show the students an alternative way to work. We are also very curious about automating an analogue layer with the DLC through the Faderlink plugin. I haven’t had time to try it yet but it’s a fun thing I want to do - even if I’m not quite sure of the benefits on the actual results!” he muses.

Happily, he’s only heard good things from staff and students alike since the desk has been installed, despite there being a slightly longer learning curve initially. The desk is located in a conventional studio which is upgraded as and when funds become available. “We also have a bunch of outboard gear that gets inserted on the Audient when needed, other preamps we can A/B stuff with,” says Dumas.

The University has a thriving music department; with jazz classes, demos and grant applications where a professional studio recording is needed. “Once in a while, students also write and produce the music used over the University’s telephone network,” he says, underlining the diversity in the faculty. “We are seeing very exciting music being made here and it shows no sign of fatigue. WWII oscillators going through custom programmed DSP while a string quartet reads from a score? Hey, why not?!”

The console was supplied by local Audient dealer, Sonotechnique.