A 48-channel API Legacy AXS analog console is at the heart of the recording control room hub at the new Hedberg Building at the University of Tasmania (UTas) in Hobart, Australia.
The control room, large enough to accommodate student groups, is linked to several recording spaces including dedicated drum and vocal booths as well as the Salon performance venue and Ian Potter Recital Hall. The university’s technical staff engaged in extensive research before deciding on API.
“What I was looking for in terms of the best console to learn on was something that sounds great and is easy to use; reliable with great technical support from a reputable manufacturer,” explains Rob Long, associate lecturer in music and music technology at the university’s School of Creative Arts and Media. “API was the only company that fitted the brief. When you buy into a large piece of equipment like a console, so many things can go wrong. You need to find a company that has already solved the problems associated with large format consoles. API solved these problems in the 70s.”
The 48-channel API AXS was supplied by API’s Australian distributor Audio Chocolate, custom built to UTas specifications. This includes American Cherry wood top and side trim, AXS Series center section, a 24-inch DAW/producer’s desk with monitor, a VU meter bridge and integral TT patch bay. The console also includes six stereo return modules that streamline stem mixing and parallel bus compression channels. Another capability is a Final Touch moving fader automation system, including DAW control of faders, mutes and inserts.
The new studio, for use by the UTas Conservatorium to make music and conduct research, has been designed to provide optimal music technology education and research. Recording culture is employed as a teaching tool as UTas offers an education pathway from year 11 to a PhD in Music Technology.
“In my opinion, Music Technology has been taught incorrectly in nearly all institutions,” Long states. “The student encounters functional equipment in average spaces where they learn some signal flow, but they don’t learn what sounds good. They are then expected to figure out the most important part — what sounds pleasing to most people — by themselves, which they seldom do. How can you learn without a great console? This is where API comes in because the console sounds pleasing across all genres. If you are a student and you can learn the sound, when you leave school you will have a chance of recreating it on other inferior equipment because it is imprinted on your memory. If you don’t have a sound like that as a reference point in your education, you are probably never going to get it.”
Long’s view seems to be shared by several other Australian educational institutes, with Monash University, the University of Wollongong and the University of Melbourne all recently acquiring automated API 2448 consoles for their teaching facilities.
“We’re very serious about music tech students training to be musicians and creators in a way that is adaptable to the moving target that is the modern music industry,” concludes Stewart Long, UTas lecturer in audio design and coordinator of music technology.