NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Michael Ashby is a young recording and mix engineer with an incredible work ethic who has taken the blessing of great sonic instincts and leveraged it with dedicated study at New York City’s SAE Institute. After just a decade behind the console, Ashby has five Platinum albums to his name, was twice nominated for a Grammy Award, and was nominated for “Recording Engineer of the Year” by the Pensado’s Place Academy. His highest-profile clients include Cardi B, Latoya Jackson, Fetty Wap, Zoey Dollar, and Offset, but Ashby’s passion for music and aptitude for recording and mixing have earned him a client list that numbers four-hundred strong. Ashby operates out of his own Krematorium Studios in New York City, where he recently upgraded to a pair of ATC SCM25A compact three-way monitors. The new ATCs let him make risky moves with confidence and create mixes that reliably translate whether he’s mixing alone at a reasonable volume or in a room full of excited clients at a loud (i.e. less-than-reasonable) volume.
“I started out as a drummer, but I was lucky enough to become an audio engineer before I went deaf,” Ashby joked. Although he’s tremendously passionate about music, he is also refreshingly humble: “I kind of fell into engineering. It wasn’t something that I initially decided. People liked what I was doing, so I just kept doing it.” That said, once Ashby knew that engineering spoke to his heart, he had the good sense to formally train up and continued to work while taking classes at SAE Institute. Great work and excellent referrals kept his existing clients and organically networked him with new clients, many of whom were already big names in the music industry. “Things just got more and more serious over the years,” he reflected.
With that growing seriousness and Ashby’s own deepening knowledge and experience, he figured it was time to elevate his monitoring situation. “I wanted to listen and evaluate using the same tools that my favorite mix engineers use,” he said. “I’m inspired by Jaycen Joshua [Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna, etc.], and he recently made the switch to ATCs. In addition, I saw a pair of ATCs in the room of Craig Bauer [Kayne West, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, etc.], and I also have a deep respect for his work. So, there I was, seeing different styles of music, different engineers, and the same monitor company. I looked into ATC and learned what a lot of other highly-respected engineers were saying about ATC’s midrange clarity and translation.”
Now several months in, Ashby is more than satisfied with the upgrade. “I can use the ATCs to be super surgical or I can use them to bump,” he said. “I can listen in depth by myself, but sometimes I’m forced to do a rough mix when the room is filled with people. The ATCs let me satisfy the client while still giving me the clarity and balance I need to deliver an effective mix. I think it’s important to point out that they aren’t dangerously flat-sounding. They’re really fun to listen to, but everything I do still translates. For monitors to sound great and bump in the room but still translate perfectly outside the room… that’s everything!”
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