PAR: You had a lot of options when choosing a console for your mix room, including hybrid analog desks with integrated Pro Tools controllers.
JB: I looked at all of those, but the API, even though it didn't have all the fancy bells and whistles, it's just solid. It's a real console. My priority was "It's got to sound good." Plus, this console has the vintage kind of vibe that I liked.
PAR: And it's a beefy, big-iron piece of gear.
JB: Yes, that's 400 and some pounds.
PAR: It looks like you have room to expand by adding additional option modules.
JB: I thought, "I'm just going to get into this thing where I can get into it" and then, it's easy to add modules.
PAR: How long have you been using your 1608P?
JB: I ordered it November 1.
PAR: How many projects have you done on it so far?
JB: I had a full project in December, and there've been several projects where I've done two mixes for this, two mixes for that. I've been working on Brooks and Dunn's new record; I just did a couple of mixes up for them last week. I've had a Sony Latin project, a female pop artist from Spain. I mixed her record in December. That was really the first full record. I mixed one other small project at the end of November. The console went in about the middle of November.
PAR: The console has a relatively shallow work surface, even with your keyboard and mouse in front.
JB: I was so tired of standing sideways all those years (started getting a crick); you just go nuts. So I thought, "I'm going to go buy an LG screen and figure out how to sit forward." Of course, big letters don't hurt either. I took a laptop stand from Office Depot and cut it off. It's worked great.
PAR: After years of working with behemoth consoles, is the 32-fader count enough for you?
JB: Yes, I actually have 48 inputs, the center section has eight bus masters with stereo inputs. I was talking to Dan [Zimbelman of API] and was saying, "I may need to order a rack summing mixer, because I really want 48 ins because that's what I've got out." But I got to reading the manual, and I was like, "Oh, no way" — they're basically a left-right, just echo returns. So, I've had 48 inputs, and it's perfect.
PAR: Primarily you are using the console as a large summing bus and panner, in effect?
JB: In a sense, yeah. I've been tempted to use the sends on the console, but I'm trying to balance my recall time. I can recall a mix now in 10-15 minutes with output gear, console pans, and so on. I take a macro photo of each fader, label them up, and export them to a folder. I use Teaboy Audio for recall; everything is stored on a cloud. It looks like photos of the gear, but all the knobs and buttons work so you can turn them and set them. Then I just print a PDF of the recall for that song and save it on the file with the photos and the audio. I have no documentation papers to worry about. Teaboy Audio has anything and everything that you'd want to document. Between that and photos, recalls come back great. It's a good convergence.
PAR: Do you miss having fader automation?
JB: API has said they can add it when they get enough people interested. I would add automation eventually because I miss grabbing a fader.