An Audient ASP4816 mixing console is now at the heart of Red Trolley Studios in New Zealand, which belongs to musician, singer–songwriter and record producer, Dave Dobbyn. Dave, who is about to enter his fifth decade of music making, shows no signs of stopping, as he upgraded his studio in the midst of writing for a forthcoming EP of four songs.
Indeed his new Audient desk along with his Sono guitar recording interface are already earning their keep. “I play guitar, piano and bass so I’m thrilled to shape sounds through the ASP4816 – and with the Sono too. Getting great tones to DAW is a rich joy now. Getting good drum sounds is a snap and I’m no engineer – but everything sounds fatter when you reprint a mix through the desk.”
He explains how it was watching a video of Pete Townshend that swung it for him. “I thought: ‘Should I heed the advice of a fellow deaf guitarist? Of course yes!’” he laughs. “It sure sounds amazing. I have used Neves, APIs, Tridents, SSLs etc. but this is way up there too. I just love the tonality and the harmonics, the punch and warmth. Its versatile design. Definitely the right choice.”
Dave was particularly pleased to get his hands on one of the first Audient guitar recording interfaces to reach the Antipodes, too. “Sono is sublime. I can’t quite believe the variety of sounds you can get straight out of the box,” he says. “The cabinet emulations combined with the valve, drive and EQ are instantly adjustable and very musical. Looking forward to putting drum stems and vocals through it too. But for now it’s guitar heaven and write to record some hopefully cracker songs.”
Dave rose to fame as the guitarist with his first band, Th’ Dudes formed with his school friends back in the late 70s. Taking centre-stage with his next band DD Smash, their debut album went straight to number 1 in the first week of release. This catapulted him into his career as a solo artist and prolific songwriter, and today he holds the most Silver Scroll Awards for songwriting. His song ‘Slice of Heaven’ spent eight weeks at number 1 in New Zealand, and four in Australia, and back in 2001 he was given a lifetime achievement award by the New Zealand recording industry. Eighteen years later, he is still topping the charts.
He describes Kerry Furlong who mixes his band, as “a huge fan of the Audient. He was sceptical at first, but the preamps and the EQ blew our minds, as did the compressor. The routing choices are thoroughly designed and we love its complete lack of software,” he says. “Kerry has a couple of projects ready for mixing, so I’m excited to hear them.”
Alongside his two cats and Woody the dog, Red Trolley Studios boasts some great outboard, a wide mic and FX collection and QSC PA gear for rehearsals. “We use ProTools and Ableton on Macs and have a hybrid set-up – with the glorious centrepiece being the Audient ASP4816. She’s jolly British – I’ve named her Audrey and she loves it here.”
All in all it looks like Dave Dobbyn has found his slice of studio heaven. “I’m learning a lot from the ASP4816 and it’s cool knowing that my new releases will have that magic Audient punch and harmonic colour.”