Roanoke, VA – “Analogue and digital play well together,” says Skip Brown, but maintains that, “The best ‘front end’ for any music studio is an analogue console.” So when the building housing his original studio was sold from under him, he created the new Final Track Studios in Roanoke, Virginia centred around the compact ASP4816 analogue console from Audient.
He describes the decision to go for Audient as a two step process, initially buying four 8-channel mic pre ASP008s (the predecessor to Audient’s ASP880) before purchasing the console. “[We] never told the clients what we were using, and got consistent comments about how much better the ‘new place’ sounded, knowing the whole time that it was the ASP008s – not the space.” As all Audient products implement the same mic pre technology across the board, Skip was confident that the compact analogue console would deliver the same quality. “The ASP4816 in a custom Argosy enclosure was the perfect solution,” he says.
“One of the best things about the ASP4816 is the incredible two-bus compressor sitting right there on the console. We either bring our ‘in the box’ two track mix or 8 pairs of stems out of ProTools to the ASP4816, glorify them with the bus compressor and then record the result to one of our analogue or digital two track recorders,” continues Skip. “One of the four stereo returns brings the finished work back into the console and with the full assignment to the output buses, we record it back to our ProTools session for distribution (MP3, DVD, etc.) I cannot think of anything missing in the ASP4816 design.”
Skip is now finishing up his fifth decade in the music business and he’s not showing any signs of his dedication waning. “I work with people’s dreams every day. There is nothing more humbling than being part of the creative flow and watching it happen,” he says, particularly proud of a referral from an existing client “…who ended up being a 2016 Grammy Nominated vocalist.” Audient joins Skip in getting excited about the possibility of adding another award winner to the list of Audient users.
Despite his experience, he doesn’t forget good advice from others. “I remember a conversation with an old, grizzled engineer from South Carolina,” he recalls. “I asked him what is the best gear I should buy. His answer: ‘You can cut a CMA Award-winning record [and he had] with a pocket knife. Just be sure the knife is really sharp.” I guess I looked confused, so he finished by saying: ‘Most of it is your skill as an engineer, but having the sharpest gear for your workflow is mandatory.’ The ASP4816 is really, really sharp.”
Audient is delighted to hear it. Skip’s Audient console was purchased from Odyssey Prosound in Salem, MA.