This is the fifth part of our tourney into what has become the Great Audio Summing Debate. Well done! You made it. It would not have been the same without you. This time we are again listening to an audio example summed through 16 channels of my Audient ASP8024HE console, but this time we are kicking in the magic bullets that are “Retro Iron”, “Low Bump” and “High Lift” to hear if some of the key features of the new Heritage Edition version of the Audient ASP8024 console really do improve things when it comes to the final mix.
The short, just under 2 minute track you are going to be listening to was recorded for an audio interface review. It’s a simple track featuring real drums, guitars (both acoustic and electric), bass, and vocals and busses down to 16 track quite nicely. You can find a full track rundown in Part 1 of this series.
As I’m sure many of you now know I am the owner of a beautiful Audient ASP8024 HE console. Now, although this is not an article about workflow as such, it would be hard to dodge the subject entirely and we will talk about this when we get down to the all important listening.
The Audio Interface
All the audio for these tests is being routed through the new Universal Audio Apollo X16 running at 96KHz with a headroom of +24dBu.
One of the mixes bellow is a basic “In The Box” (ITB) bounce to disk. No external hardware has been used. There are no plug-ins or processors on the master bus, in an attempt to keep this as much of a fair test as possible. It’s also worth noting that the files have been loudness matched without any kind of processing or limiting so you may need to turn your output up a little to get a good level. Remember, dynamic range is king.
Test 5 - 16 Channels Of Summing Through The Console With The Mix Tone Shapers Engaged
The final audio example is the same as part 4 but this time we are engaging the Audient ASP8024HE Mix Tone Shaping circuits. I think of these as a “Makes it sound better” set of buttons that I apply once the mix is as good as I can make it. It just gives the mix the final pop.
What Is Mix Tone Shaping?
By utilising an American style output amplifier along with classic through hole components and a British output transformer, Audient brought Retro Iron, a variable output mix bus with Low Bump and High Lift EQ to the ASP8024HE. Based upon two desks from console designer David Dearden’s first job in 1967 at the now legendary Advision Studios in London, Retro Iron adds punch and 'vibe’ to the consoles mix output. So whether your simply tracking, summing a few inputs or crafting a fully blown console mix Retro Iron offers that unique analogue console sound with a little bit of extra character that will put the final touch on any mix.
Take The Challenge
Below you will find audio examples A and B. One is a standard “In The Box” two channel stereo Bounce To Disk, the other is a real time summed mix run through 16 channels of the Audient ASP 8024 with the 3 Tone Shaping circuits engaged. We would like to know which one your prefer. If you then wish you can then leave us a comment saying which you think is which, but this is not the real point of the test. It’s all about the sound of the mix.
Which Mix Do You Prefer?
Over this series of articles and tests we have a total of 6 different summed mixes for you to listen to. Once you have had a chance to listen to all of these we will be back with a final article in which we will reveal the results. As always if you have any comments or questions please do leave them in the comments section below.
You can also find out more about the Audient ASP 8024HE console in a series of video I produced just before pulling the trigger on buying my own.