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Behind the Scenes with Imagine Dragons Engineer Micah Natera

API: What is your favorite feature of the API 1608?

Micah Natera: That's a hard question to answer because it's a lot. I like the compactness. I was running some tests with an SM58 and it just sounded good. Before we had the 1608 we had some other APIs in a signal chain, and I'd plug a mic into there. This was the first time I just stopped and thought "Huh, that sounds nice on playback, I don't have to EQ as much." I'm amazed at how much you can fit on this small footprint. It's also the stuff that I haven't gotten into yet; I love having eight auxs, and I like the fact that it's not dumbed down. It's got the flexibility to do what you gotta do and there's a lot of forethought that went into putting together this console. You don't have to repatch things. The layout on the back of the 1608—this is the first major console I put together and it was intuitive. And everything I plugged in works!

I love the way it looks, the lighting, everything. I like the no-nonsense layout and I love your manuals. It's just like: here's how it works, an overview of the console, but then goes section by section and breaks things down. Other manuals use 'hot lingo' and it sounds less professional—some even sound like a kid wrote them.

API: What's one thing you can do with the 1608 that you weren't able to before?

MN: I really enjoy setting up headphone mixes without having a computer. I have everything patched into our headphone systems, I just glance at things and do them. Immediacy. Using a mouse kind of takes away from the fun of the session, and I think that can indirectly affect my sound.

API: What would you say has made the biggest difference?

MN: Just having a console. I like to get tape sometimes, which I couldn't do without one. And the warranty is great. I just love sitting at the desk, being able to feel everything. We've got some great outboard gear and we can just bring all our gear together without having to go digital.

API: Any other thoughts?

MN: API seems to upgrade smart. The buss compressor isn't a one-size fits all piece of gear, like if I need five different guitars for five different things then that's what I need. We applaud that philosophy here.

Everything about API functions so intuitively and without the fuss of some other gear. Sometimes gear will have functions that seem redundant and unnecessary. There's so much about the recording process that's difficult anyhow, so you just want your gear to work simply.