A couple of months ago, songwriter, producer and mixer Mike Pepe was in the market for a studio monitor controller for his Studio C – part of Barefoot Recording (formerly Crystal Industries) and got himself an Audient Nero.
Mike has a long list of rock/pop audio engineering credits, including Taking Back Sunday, As It Is and Sydney Sprague and spent a while looking for a desktop monitor controller with a decent feature set that didn’t sacrifice fidelity. Nero fit the bill exactly. He describes it as “masterful at what it does. High quality audio with all the options I want in a little sturdy box that can sit right in the studio and not be in the way. I love the assignable headphone sends and all the routing options it has. Also it’s a completely transparent box that feeds my monitor setup which is all I want!”
Whilst Nero was his main requirement, Mike also mentioned that he was after a quick and easy, travel-friendly audio interface. Specifically for his mobile rig, for when he’s doing production or recording work away from his main setup at Barefoot. Audient’s Tim Jones was quick to recommend the EVO 8 audio interface. This turned out to be an instant hit! “It’s been just awesome,” he says.
“It’s very typical as when I do pre-production with a band I’m going to do a record for, we’ll get together at their rehearsal space or another location to start nailing down the songs and completing any re-writes we may want. My EVO 8 and my laptop with Pro Tools go with me and I can capture performances of any changes or pre-pro I may need in the space with them. I bring the pre-pro back to my larger studio and am astounded at the fidelity the EVO 8 achieves every single time.
“After running some of the raw signal through some choice outboard gear at my studio there’s many times a vocal or guitar, etc that I’ve cut on location with a band will be almost indistinguishable from if I had cut it here at my larger studio,” he explains. Indeed, it’s not unusual for some of these location recordings to make it into the final record. “I have also on multiple occasions kept certain elements from the EVO 8 pre-production recordings and used them in the final productions and it sits so nicely next to anything else cut at my larger space.”
High praise indeed from this golden-eared producer. Yet it’s not only the sound that makes EVO 8 so appealing to Mike. “I enjoy its ease of use and quick setup, too. I can get a Pro Tools session going in next to no time,” he says. “That way I can move on to the more important things, like talking with the band about parts and songs, knowing I’m ready to capture an idea at any time!”
Clients seem to love the aesthetic of the 4-in/4-out audio interface as well. “Often the artist will think it’s a bluetooth speaker and they’re amazed when I hook up one cable and it lights up, boots up Pro Tools and we’re ready to record.”
Happily EVO 8 has also been invaluable for his recently launched YouTube channel, a project he’s been working on in his free time for fun. Taking deep dives into aspects of recording, production and mixing and drawing on his 15 years of experience he uses his channel to connect with people who’ve asked him about his process. “It’s pretty in-depth nerd talk,” he says, and adds that EVO 8 is “by far the best interface I’ve used for doing the videos.”
In the interim, Mike is unlikely to be far away from his trusty EVO 8. “I also use it at home when I want to tune vocals or edit drums and feel like doing that in my living room rather than going to my main studio. It’s the first mobile interface I feel comfortable using at home to edit important pieces of productions.”