How did The Audio Hunt start? Tell us about your journey to setting up The Audio Hunt.
The Audio Hunt is the brainchild of mix engineer and music producer Stephen Bartlett. Stephen has engineered and mixed several top ten and platinum records, mixing for renowned producers like Pat Leonard and John Alagia. He first conceived of the idea for The Audio Hunt as artists he worked with began to create music outside traditional the studio set-up, and then return requesting him to mix it professionally. He found this caused restraints on the creative recording process as well as leaving an abundance of excellent audio equipment going unused for 80 per cent of its life. The solution? The Audio Hunt.
Jokingly, however, we think the idea really came from when Stephen left his position as a resident mixing engineer at Wisseloord Studios in The Netherlands (one of the best equipped studios in the world), and couldn't come to grips with not having one of the most amazing collections of gear available to him whenever he needed it, so he founded The Audio Hunt so he wouldn't need to do without.
Tell us a bit about The Audio Hunt and the services you offer?
In short, The Audio Hunt enables people to have their audio files and MIDI processed through any piece of gear anywhere in the world, and allows users to monetize the equipment and skills they have. Through our online marketplace, users are met with a wide variety of gear: boutique EQs/compressors/FX units, large scale mixing consoles, mastering grade processing units, anything and services: professional mixing, mastering and audio editing. These listings can be selected, booked and then processed by the Owners remotely. This creates a whole new marketplace for anything from re-amping to having a song mastered professionally.
While our core philosophy is access to high quality equipment at a fraction of the cost of the unit, our users get much more ‘bang for buck’ because they get the added benefit of interacting with the gear owner who is generally an audio professional with years of experience. Users receive critique on their projects, advice and personal suggestions; more often than not they make a connection with the owner which is beneficial for both parties. Users become familiar with the owners’ sound and general approach to audio (from a technical and also from an artistic/aesthetic standpoint) and thus they are more likely to contact the same owner for other services. Likewise, the owners build these relationships and generate more business. It’s an ongoing cycle, one which we think has the potential to completely disrupt and re-organize the current state of the industry.
What challenges are you facing at the moment?
A common trend we have been noticing has to do with the never-ending battle between analog and digital processing. The truth of the matter is, at least in our opinion, they are both 2 different sides of the same coin; each realm [analog and digital] comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks, but the key is to cleverly utilize both.
The Audio Hunt is not advocating for the use of one over the other (in terms of analog vs. digital). Instead, we're about creating another choice for music makers to create music with access to the tools that they want.
What plans do The Audio Hunt have for the future that you can share with the community?
We are working hard on improving the platform, and focusing most of our attention on user experience in order to make the process of having your files processed remotely a seamless part of anyone’s workflow. This includes improvements to the processing of booking, the messaging service, adding and editing listings and social media integration.
Our vision is to completely remove all traditional barriers that stop people making use of high quality audio equipment.
What is your favourite audio tool?
We love good analogue outboard; Neve 1073, UA LA2A, Pultec EQP-1A – you name it, the list goes on. We love seeing every time one of these great pieces gets listed on the site. We also like the rare / classic / unique stuff like this Fairlight CMI or this Studer A807.
What one thing gets you annoyed about the audio business?
The audio industry has always been subject to dramatic change due to external factors. Unfortunately, the industry is very resistant to internal change, new innovations and initiatives tend to be met with cynicism and ridicule rather than encouragement. Ultimately, this ‘old hat’ mentality is something that is stifles innovation.
Look back at history: anything from The Musicians Union in the UK voting to ban synthesizers in the early 1982, to every single delivery or recording format change, or from analogue to digital to streaming. Ultimately though, music is something that everyone should be able to create, and we believe that collaboration, and sharing of equipment will only help create more and better art, which benefits all of society.
We are solving a fundamental problem in the current state of the industry by monetizing studio downtime, creating new revenue streams for producers and engineers, while also building a virtual space where industry peers can collaborate, where young engineers can develop their skills; a place where gear is abundant, creativity is nurtured and quality sound is promoted. We hope the industry as a whole can embrace this change as something positive… time will tell.
PTE's Dan Cooper Signed Up To The Audio Hunt - Try It For Yourself
Do you have some interesting studio outboard gear that you would like to serve on The Audio Hunt? Signing up is simple, it took me around 5 minutes to complete and I didn't incur any sign up costs. I myself recently signed up with my Tegeler Audio Crème Bus Compressor / Mastering Equaliser. It's well worth checking out The Audio Hunt site as they have a growing catalog of studio gear that may be of interest to some either as a service opportunity or place to look at great gear.