A 20-plus-years-old Audient ASP8024 console continues as the centerpiece of Tool Shed Studios in Silicon Valley, with the Morgan Hill, CA facility totaling 4000 square feet and the classic console sitting at the heart of the 416 square-foot control room.
Tool Shed Studios co-owner Brian Gibbs explains the concept: “Our main audiences are A&R managers/execs who have bands that need a retreat-style process for their single/EP/LP/ELP projects. Our ‘destination studio’ setup gives us the ability to sleep up to seven, an in-house chef, tour bus parking and let artists/bands and their teams stay on site for weeks at a time. Having 21 basses, 19 guitars, three acoustic drum sets, 150-plus microphones and pro outboard gear sets us apart from our peers, for sure.”
The 2015 Grammy Award-winning album “Realidades” by Los Tigres del Norte was a three-and-a-half month project completed at Tool Shed, and the vintage Audient desk mixes up to 50 records a year. “The classic analog bus compressor is amazing,” Gibbs says. “We print stems through the 2-bus frequently prior to final mix of the stems. Workflow for recording, foldback of monitoring the live tracks is easy. The preamps and EQs are clean and precise.
Gibbs started out recording his own band back in the early 1990s and stayed true to his passion for audio engineering while studying Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music. “The Shed” came to own the vintage ASP8024 when a mutual acquaintance introduced Gibbs to ASP4816 owner Donny Baker of ES Audio Recording Studios, who invited him to come to Burbank and try out the compact Audient desk.
“With hard drive in-hand, working through a jazz album recorded at Tool Shed Studios was great,” Gibbs says. “The EQs, the workflow, and the capabilities of the console were wonderful, Amazingly, that very night — just hours after mixing on the ASP4816, we found this 36-channel ASP8024 which had just been listed for sale.”
Gibbs likes to keep a quote by the late recording engineer and record producer Ed Cherney in mind: “Ultimately, mixing is about heart — nobody leaves a session dancing to what kind of gear you used.”
“If the mix is great, then the gear and the engineer did their job: to be a completely transparent piece between the musicians and the listeners,” he concludes. “The ASP8024 helps us to do just that.”