Long Island Recording

Long Island Recording serves the musical community for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and as of January this year, they do so with the help of an Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition analogue mixing console – one of the first from the British manufacturer to be installed in the US.

Comprising a commercial studio and the only licenced audio engineering school in the Kentucky region (the Lexington School for Recording Arts), the set-up is overseen by owner and president, Wil Freebody. ‘The students and staff love it,’ he says of his new desk. ‘There is something about touching a knob and being directly connected to the sound source as opposed to manipulating the sound on a computer screen. 

‘Technology is great but we sometimes forget what it’s like to record the sound of a real mic, on a real drum, played by a real drummer, through a real compressor, then changing the sound with knobs on the Heritage,’ he adds.

Freebody has been in music production for more than four decades, with projects for Disney, TBS, Comedy Central and NBC Today Show on his resumé, as well as three-time Grammy award winner, Mack Rice (‘Mustang Sally’, ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘24-7 Man’) and blues artist, Tee Dee Young among his clients. He can also be credited with the hundreds of Lexington School for Recording Arts graduates working in the field as a direct result of his endeavours.

The console is installed in the main control room, a 22ft x 32ft room with an 11ft ceiling; the live room is 23ft high, a direct throwback to previous incarnation as a warehouse.

‘The Heritage is mostly used for the third stage of the students’ schooling, when they learn how to set up and run a full band recording session, which includes setting up the microphones, patching compressors into the signal path (both pre and post DAW), getting input levels, setting up cue mixes, and last, recording the band and any overdubs or fixes that might be involved in the process. This is usually a “solo” part of the course, meaning that there is only one student in the studio, so they really get a personal hands-on learning approach with the ASP8024-HE.

‘Later in the school year, the students are divided into groups and are required to chart, play, record, mix, master, and market a song as part of learning the whole production side of recording. For the recording and mixing of this project, the students come back into the Heritage room and work their own session.

‘We like to involve the students that are in the later stages of their courses as assistants for the ‘real world’ sessions if their schedules will allow, too. Nothing is better than the experience of working an actual recording date,’ he adds.

It was the growing programme at the school that prompted the studios’ upgrade. ‘Most of the advice we received was steering us toward preamps and some type of controller, but we decided it was important for our students to learn the basics of sound and signal flow on a traditional analogue console,’ Freebody explains. ‘We continue to use Pro Tools HD but added an array of outboard gear to accent the Heritage, such as tube compressors like the [Universal Audio] LA 2A, a couple of [Universal Audio] 1176s, and two [Empirical Labs] Distressors. We teach Waves plug-ins but we are constantly looking to add additional plug-in tools.

‘My strength is in my team,’ he reflects. ‘I already have in place the next generation of professionals to carry the school forward.’

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