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Audient’s Zen enlightens Westminster

Westminster Kingsway College has just installed two of Audient’s compact Zen mixing consoles into its new recording facilities.

Two Audient Zen compact high resolution mixing consoles were chosen for the extensive new recording facilities at the King’s Cross Centre, part of London’s Westminster Kingsway College. The studios are now fully operational, and were specified by Grant Leslie, music technician at Westminster Kingsway College. Leslie says the chance to upgrade the studio equipment on this level is an extremely rare thing, particularly in the education sector, and had to be done correctly. “The Zen was the logical choice as it had exactly the features we were looking for as well as the renowned Audient sound quality,” he says. “I love the smooth, clean sounding pre-amps and signal bussing; and we record and mix a huge variety of different studio projects, so flexibility in the console was key.” The studios comprise two control rooms adjacent to a large main live area, and four other rooms used mainly for band workshops and rehearsals, all of which have audio and video tie-lines to the control rooms. “The combination of routing options is vast, but also laid out in a neat and logical way that students find easy to understand,” Leslie explains. “Many of the students are used to using only software in their music creation, so understanding analogue signal flow is very important.” The studios are based around Pro Tools HD2 and Logic systems using Lynx Aurora convertors with Genelec monitoring. Leslie is also integrating the studios’ existing outboard, which includes kit from TL Audio, Lexicon and Drawmer, in a bid to teach students how to mix ‘out-of-the-box’. In other Audient news, French musician and producer Loic Gayot has also invested in a Zen console, which he rates for its compatibility with Logic Pro. “Zen is at the heart of my little studio; I can select the pre-amp I need, and everything is centralised in the Zen,” Gayot reveals. “I produce a lot of live music, including jazz, classical, pop, and world music; and enjoy trying to reproduce the different styled sounds from the 60s, 70s and 80s.” Ten months ago, Gayot co-founded new label GSound, which offers a catalogue of music for cinema, TV and radio; and he plans on producing 100 albums over the course of the next five years. Currently he’s just finished his 18th which puts him ahead of target. “Zen is ergonomically faultless, and fantastically designed,” he concludes. “As good as Neve or SSL, I think, but just at an affordable price.” An Audient ASP 8024 mixing desk was also used at Glastonbury this year, as the centrepiece in a studio designed and constructed out of wood and straw by Cowshed Studio’s producer Joe Leach. The Audient console was used alongside Cowshed Studio’s grand piano, classic keyboard collection, vintage mics and pre-amps, offering musicians the chance to record with a professional producer onsite for the first time in the event’s history.