London College of Communication, part of the University of the Arts London and integral to the teaching of Music Production undergraduates, recently added new Audient ASP8024-HE consoles in three studios at its always-evolving Elephant & Castle site.
Lead technician Christopher Bourke explains the setup: “These three studios are centred around the Audient consoles working in a hybrid analog and digital method. One is located in our larger Performance Lab/Teaching space. This is used more for teaching larger groups of students on the operation of the console and other recording hardware and software. The other two consoles are in our new purpose built ‘acoustic pod’ based studios.
“The studios are designed for great flexibility in input possibilities, to help the students learn the various options available in modern studios and tonal variations between types of hardware before (and after) the signal moves into the digital realm,” Bourke continues. “Currently the studios are designed to record into Avid ProTools Ultimate with two MTRX interfaces, SyncX word clock and we also have an Avid S3 control surface in each studio for automation input and manipulation.
“Typical signal flow would be recording the musicians’ performance using a selection of our high-end microphones from one of our live rooms into the control room via a traditional analogue patching method. From here the students can either go directly into channels in the Audient console or via one of our outboard hardware preamps or channel strips, or a combination of both.”
The recently launched three-year BA course sits alongside the established Sound Arts course (students of whio also use the desks) within the college. There are currently 24 undergraduates on their journey towards becoming highly skilled music and audio producers, with an MA Music Production course now on offer.
BA Music Production course leader Diego Benalcazar states, “The consoles give students a sense of what it’s like to work in a professional recording studio and allow them to develop practical skills in recording, mixing, routing and signal flow. Once they have had the chance to work on it and understand it however, they find it pretty straightforward.
“The Audient ASP8024-HE is really versatile,” he says. “Being an in-line console, and the way we have it set up here at the college helps students understand the underlying principles of different hybrid workflows.”
The acoustically insulated studios were initially specified by audio consultant Richard Liggins, who has designed a number of universities’ studios and audio technology courses over the years. He says, “Audient consoles are still first choice for education in my book. Their inline architecture ensures students get a clear understanding of signal flow. They are robust in construction so built to last and yet still represent excellent value for money.”
Liggins worked with Will Benger of EQ Acoustics on the project, with Eddie Veale consulting on the acoustic design. The project was initiated by John Carbery, who proposed the repurposing of an existing copying and printing facility to serve as the expansion area for the growing sound discipline at the college.