The API 1608 console in Blackbird’s new Studio H.
Blackbird Studio in Nashville houses one of the finest collections of recording equipment anywhere. Having already installed a 48-channel API Legacy Plus featuring 96 inputs in Studio B, and the largest API Legacy Plus console ever built—with 96 channels and 192 inputs—in Studio D, Blackbird has opened its brand new Studio H with an API 1608 discrete analog console.
The API console in Studio H joins two other API 1608 desks on the premises, according to Vance Powell, Blackbird’s Grammy-winning chief engineer. “We have three API 1608s, and two 16-channel expanders,” he explains. “One of the 1608s, with a 16-channel expander, is installed in Studio E. Another 1608 is in our new room, Studio H, an overdub/edit/mix suite. The 1608 is the centerpiece of that room for monitoring, busing and as an ‘in-the-box’ summing mixer. The room just opened and its first client was Kevin Costner and Modern West.” A third 1608, outfitted with a road case, is available from Blackbird’s rental inventory.
Clients booking time on the 32-channel API 1608 in Studio E over the last several months have included Taylor Swift, Josh Turner, Kenny Chesney, LeAnn Rimes, Cory Chisel, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Liv Devine, and Martina McBride, who co-owns the facility with husband John McBride.
API is a big part of the sound at Blackbird and is much appreciated by its clientele. Blackbird’s rooms offer a plentiful selection of API outboard equipment, including 550A 3-band EQs, 550B 4-band EQs, 560 10-band graphic EQs, as well as 512C mic pres, 3124+ mic pres, 7600 channel strips and 2500 stereo compressors.
Powell, who shared the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album-Non Classical for his work on The Raconteurs’ Consolers Of The Lonely, mixed the album on the Studio D API console. When Powell works at other facilities, he routinely travels with a selection of API gear. “Lately, I’ve been working a bit at Jack White’s Third Man Studio. I have several outboard API pieces that I brought over—512s, 550As, 560s, 525s, and a 2500. They’re all making their way in there.”
Most recently, Powell completed mixing a new album by American bluesman Seasick Steve in Blackbird’s Studio B. The Seasick Steve album Man From Another Time was released in the UK in early October.