Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tech Talk: API’s The Box

While at the University, my upper level training in audio engineering took place mainly on the API Vision console. With 5.1 capabilities, fader/solo automation and recall, along with DAW remote control, it is at the forefront of analog consoles. However, in an industry where the digital option provides such a powerful yet cheap alternative to the analog workflow, companies like API who pride themselves on the design of their discreet circuitry must continue to evolve to compete with the power of digital interfaces.

While API has achieved up to 7.1 mix capabilities along with a powerful digital component for automation and DAW remote, the size and price of their consoles is still overbearing. With the API Lunchbox as the budget recordist’s only hope for achieving the API sound, it might make more sense to simply buy the API Waves package (software plugins programmed to mimic the sound from API circuitry). However, now API has revealed The Box, a small format mix console meant for the home studio market. Albeit, the price at close to 20,000 dollars still dictates a market for professionals only. With the classic sound of a large format console and the same compression/equalization/routing capabilities (slightly scaled down), The Box will definitely expand API’s console market. The downside is that with only 4 preamps, it makes it difficult to record drums for anything more than a modest setup and even then you better be very confident with your placement. The 16 channels of summing allows for a pretty nice sized protools mixdown, though.

All in all, it’s a very powerful piece of gear for the size. Not to mention, any shortcomings can always be worked around by running more lower cost preamps parallel to the system for instruments that don’t require the warmth of API circuits.

 

The Box

The Necessity of Output

It’s often discussed how individuals working in the creative industries, now, must be multi-faceted in their approach. They must understand composition, performance, technology, business and be well rounded in other creative mediums for the purpose of being open to a broad range of possible inspirations. However, for a long time I have questioned how such a mentality allows one to truly master one form of expression and become a true contributor to the artistic community.

My best attempt at answering this question for myself has been that the aspiring artist must take each of his focuses in stages of development so that he/she can commit themselves to one discipline at a time. This is not a calming answer, however, as one will inevitably feel the doubt that their skills in one facet will wain in the development of another. This is an answer which must be balanced with the individuals understanding of themselves and how they work.

The other part to my answer, however, is a constant. The creative individual must have output. If the inward breath of the expressive life is the work of the artist, then the outward sigh must be output of finished work. From this comes relief, feedback, growth, and most importantly, connection to those who view your work.

Verizon FiOS and other must-haves

When you think about working on music at home you typically think of killer gear–maybe a $6k Bottle from Blue Microphones or the newest version of ProTools HDX.  It’s easy to think of the hardware as the most significant portion of your studio but the reality of things is that comparatively speaking you’re not going to spend nearly as much time using those as you are these three things: A super-fast internet connection, a computer that can handle having a dozen resource-heavy applications open, and a work station that makes those fourteen hour days feel like nothing.

1) Verizon FiOS

It’s fun to fantasize about having a T3 connection running in and out of your basement but unless your wife is bringing home the big bucks that’s probably not going to happen.  Getting even the most basic home version of FiOS is going to be more than suitable for your sending of 30GB files around.  It’s blazing fast and if you’re able to dig up a Verizon promotion code then you’ll only be paying about $100/month down from about $150/month.  Other services, like AT&T’s U-Verse are also excellent if you’re out in the country a little bit more. I’m not sure why Verizon doesn’t extend their FiOS service that far out of major cities but for whatever reason they don’t.

2) MacBook Pro

There’s really no point in extolling the greatness of this machine.  It’s appropriate for everyone, can do everything, and somehow retains its cache as the “insider” machine despite being the market dominatrix.  If you don’t have one then you’re probably not doing something right.

3) Work Station

It’s easy to see why people skimp on this but when you’re sitting down in the same spot for days and days at a stretch you want to be comfortable and in a work environment that’s conducive to getting stuff done.  For about $1800, you can get something like this which is great if you don’t need an audio keyboard. For something a little more budget-friendly, you can pick this guy for about $400. If you have your own recommendations I’d love to read them in the comment box!

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