Purchase, New York - Dec. 2009:
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York system, provides its students with real-world training in the visual and performing arts. For students seeking the studio production emphasis, the conservatory of music houses five recording studios that are designed and maintained by practicing professionals in the pro audio industry. As such, the studios represent a well-balanced sample of the current state-of-the-art technology. Faculty member and accomplished producer and engineer/mixer Peter Denenberg (Spin Doctors, Roger Glover/Deep Purple, Martin Sexton, Joan Osborne, et al.) donated his summer to renovate the facilities, retooling the monitoring systems, integrating new outboard gear, and, perhaps most significantly, installing a new API 1608 analog console at the helm of Studio A.
A flagship for the rest of the complex, Studio A is the largest of the five rooms and is used both for a master class "lab" setting and for tracking and mixing of independent projects. Students "test in" to gain access to the room. Last spring, Purchase student Justin Bright and his peers drew up a wish list of consoles to replace the (somewhat ironically) dated digital board in Studio A. The API 1608 topped the list, and Justin's parents, Claudia and Kevin Bright, donated the funds to make its purchase a reality.
The API 1608 is a fully-analog, sixteen-channel modular console built in the functional and sonic image of the now-vintage API 1604. Why did the 1608 top the students' list? "First and foremost, it was the API sound quality," answered Denenberg. "There's something undeniably alluring about the storied analog sound of API. But we were also in dire need of a real-world example of signal flow. So much of the gear in studios today is digital, which essentially simulates analog signal flow. That's fine for someone who grew up with analog signal flow, but for our students who didn't, it's hard for them to wrap their heads around it. With the API 1608, there's no simulation. The signal flow is right there, and everything else in the pro audio world immediately makes more sense to them."
Summer's work didn't stop with just the 1608. Along with recent program graduate Michael Barocca, Denenberg completely remodeled and rewired Studio A, adding a custom desk and work area. "I challenge you to find a cooler one," he laughed. He also upgraded acoustics and aesthetics, and multiple near and far monitoring options. The room also contains an Otari 16-track analog tape recorder and Pro Tools HD3 system, along with a wealth of outboard processing and plug-ins from leading audio manufacturers. New advanced Furman private cue systems with individual mix stations connect the control room with the spacious live room, complete with a new 15-cloud variable diffuser system designed with master classes by visiting acoustician L. P. Swist.
"These 'summer 2009' upgrades offer our students a wide range of recording options, with exposure to a considerably more varied production discipline," said Denenberg. "Purchase Studios now incorporate some of the finest in analog, as well as digital, technologies. Students can experience firsthand the differences between analog and digital summing, outboard versus 'in the box' processing, live music mixing for broadcast production, and much more."