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API consoles chosen for prestigious new Clive Davis Institute campus in Brooklyn

The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University 's Tisch School of the Arts has purchased a 32-channel API Legacy AXS console with Final Touch automation, plus two The BOX consoles, for its new campus in Brooklyn.

API has history with the institute. Back in 2006, it purchased the third-ever API Vision console at the suggestion of associate arts professor/associate chair Nicholas Sansano. An engineer, producer and musician himself, Sansano started his career at Greene Street Recording in NYC working on the first Legacy ever made. "API to me represented 'color ' and a certain added thickness; 'added ' being the operative word - the console gave you back more than what you put into it, " he recalls.

When the Clive Davis Institute moved to new premises in late 2019, Sansano again turned to API: "We went back to basics, so to speak, and purchased the more conventional configuration of the Legacy AXS for the new space. We needed the sound, but not the multi-channel capability. We also purchased The BOX consoles for smaller-scale production suites. "

The new Brooklyn campus consolidates the university 's media, technology and arts department in the former headquarters of the New York City Transit Authority at the MetroTech Center. The studio and music spaces at the new Clive Davis Institute were designed by Francis Manzella 's FM Design and include four large studios, two production suites, one critical listening room, five edit suites, four practice rooms, two rehearsal/music performance rooms and two computer labs.

The Legacy AXS has been installed into Studio 3, better known as the Nature Room for its forest imagery and color scheme. Here, engineering classes are held for first year students along with some advanced production classes. The room is also bookable by students working on curricular and personal projects, and the whole facility is open till midnight seven days a week.

"We have a total of about 250 students, and over a semester any given room will see immense traffic, " says Sansano. "Our tech staff is very busy! We treat the instruction and our facilities as 'real world ' as possible. Many projects from our production classes are released commercially by the students; at NYU 's Tisch School of the Arts, once a project gets a grade, ownership reverts back to the student. The studios represent exactly what they will move into or aspire to move into professionally. If students wish to stay gear-consistent from studio to studio, we have a number of API Lunchboxes loaded with API and other 500 series gear. So even when we don 't have an API console in the room, we always have outboard API preamps, EQs and compressors. Again, it 's a great teaching tool - we want them to experiment with a variety of gear, and to learn to really hear the difference. Once they do, they can make selections based on their taste and the artistic task at hand. They will almost always see API gear in a professional setting; hopefully we are teaching them why. "

Like most large format consoles, the Legacy can be a little overwhelming for students at first sight. "However, we have found that they are quickly up and running, and the learning curve is in fact not as steep as more multi-function, deeply layered, menu-based gear, " continues Sansano. "Having all your options in sight and tangible seems to put the students at ease. It also gives them confidence when they use the two production suites with the API BOX consoles. We find that API consoles work really well in hybrid mix mode, using portions of the desk as a summing amp. In particular, the design of The BOX facilitates hybrid mixing with ease. Faculty and guests love the sound of the AXS console, as well as the sound of the room. "

The investment in API underlines the institute 's commitment to analog. "Digital recording is the standard; however, in pop music I have yet to see a series of front-end gear that matches the quality of analog preamps, EQs, and compressors in the recording process, " says Sansano. "Since we almost exclusively deal with pop music in all its forms, the idea of added color, added harmonic information and non-linearity is exactly what we 're looking for. We 're not always looking to capture and recreate sound in an exacting linear way, like a classical music engineer or producer would. Analog components are a part of the pop sound palette. Secondly, it is much easier for students to learn signal flow and gain staging on analog gear. You can show components, in series, that are real, not virtual. This allows students to better understand the trajectory of the signal, and what 's happening on its journey. Our philosophy is, let us set an analog benchmark, and allow students to hear and use what is commonly trying to be emulated in the box. Then students can make a more informed choice and embrace a hybrid world that combines the best of analog and digital. "

The institute was founded by Clive Davis, chief creative officer at Sony Music, known for nurturing the talents of countless artists. It offers the first and only program to provide professional business, critical writing, emergent media and artistic training toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Recorded Music. Of the institute he founded, he says: "I wanted to create a program to help nurture future generations of creative music entrepreneurs who excel at the crossroads of art, business and technology. "