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.