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With Engineer’s Encouragement, Idea Comes to Market

Grammy-nominated engineer, equipment manufacturer and audio educator Greg Wurth was given a Flock Audio prototype Patch system to critique; he never gave it back.

Greg Wurth with his Flock Audio Patch system
[/media-credit] Greg Wurth with his Flock Audio Patch system

Los Angeles, CA (March 1, 2021)—Four years after encouraging Darren Nakonechny to pursue his idea for a digitally-controlled patchbay, Grammy-nominated engineer, equipment manufacturer and audio educator Greg Wurth is still using Flock Audio’s prototype Patch system.

Wurth had a serendipitous meeting with Nakonechny, then owner of a mid-sized commercial recording studio in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2016, and soon became both a friend and a mentor. “I have experience with traditional patchbays, to the extent that I hate them; there is so much time wasted on them. I told him that Patch was an amazing idea and that he had to do it.”

As the concept for Patch developed, Nakonechny routinely bounced ideas and use cases off of Wurth, who in turn provided user feedback. Once Nakonechny’s idea materialized, he sent the first prototype to Wurth.

“Darren spent a lot of time working on it and testing it before he put it in my hands. It was revolutionary, really, and I think the only things I came back with were a few little suggestions on the software side, from a non-designer’s perspective. Once it was finished, I helped evangelize it,” says Wurth, who has been guitarist Steve Vai’s personal engineer for over a decade.

“I have a crystal-clear image of what my signal chain sounds like, and when I tested Patch, there was absolutely no sonic degradation. For me, the main thing was always my desire to see certain features become implemented into the software.”

Four years later, says Wurth, “The fact that I am still using the prototype says a lot. Patch remains at the centerpiece of my system, and I use it every time I work on a project. With Patch, I can save and recall specific outboard routings, A/B certain channels or remove something right out of the chain if I need to.”

Wurth appreciates the ability to instantly recall signal chains with Patch. “If I have a client come back after a few weeks asking for something that wasn’t done in the original mix, before I would have to document the gear and take photos of the patchbay. With Patch, I don’t even have to think about it — I have that preset saved and it is recallable.”

One of Wurth’s favorite Patch features is its ability to bypass certain outboard equipment in a given signal chain. “This of course empowers engineers so they can understand the context of their gear and what each tool is doing. Some older and vintage equipment lack a true bypass, so you could never really know what it sounded like if it was taken out of the chain. With Patch, you can bypass anything, and that is valuable — this gives you the knowledge of letting you know exactly what something sounds like through any given circuitry.”

Flock Audio •