San Francisco, USA; March 2022 – A second Audient mixing console has just been installed at the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) facility in downtown San Francisco. “Our facility has four recording spaces and upgrading the second control room to an ASP8024-HE ensures that the workflow between the two control rooms remains consistent,” explains WAM Studio Director and Lead Engineer, Mary Ann Zahorsky.
“This console brings the updated features of ASP8024-HE to us, and allows engineers to make smooth and efficient transitions from control room to control room as session schedules often require moving to a different room in our facility.”
According to Mary Ann, the installation of the desk couldn’t have gone better. “Thanks to the DB25 connections, it was very close to plug and play. In fact, I plugged in just a few cables the day it was delivered just to prove it worked upon arrival.” She continues, “The crating was thoughtfully designed, perfectly packed and came with clear instructions. We were even able to modify the crate slightly and repack it with our outgoing console – from arrival to repacking to placing the console on its stand – it took under two hours! Absolutely unexpected!”
Having recorded everyone from Beyonce’s band to the New York Times in the studios, Mary Ann is really looking forward to “making a super-efficient workflow between the two control rooms” using the two Audient consoles. “We need to be really flexible as we can move from full ensembles to an audio book in the course of a day,” she says, citing jazz vocal legend Denise Perrier as an example.
“We recorded Denise Perrier last fall on our first ASP8024 in Control Room 1 with Howard Wiley producing. For that project we used every single channel on the 48-channel console, and also had all four recording spaces in action for the basic tracking sessions.
“David Sedaris for Hachette Books recorded his latest audiobook, ‘Happy Go Lucky’ and Gina Schock of the Go Go’s recorded her book ‘Made in Hollywood’. Toro y Moi was recording at WAM back in January and we expect more great music and stories to be recorded in our facilities in the coming months,” she adds.
WAM is the only professional recording studio in the world run entirely by women. Executive Director, Terri Winston founded WAM in an effort to counter the fact that less than 5% of people creating audio are women/gender non-conforming individuals.
According to its website, WAM is changing the face of sound by providing hands-on training, work experience, career counselling, and job placement to over 4,000 women and girls every year in creative technology for music, radio, film, television, and the internet. An additional ten Audient iD4 audio interfaces have helped kit out a WAM training location in Oakland, California.
Terri says, “We so appreciate our partnership with Audient. Having these two amazing consoles has made WAM’s studio complex in San Francisco a world-class recording destination allowing us to attract great projects across all sectors and provide the opportunity for women/gender-diverse producers and engineers to gain critical professional credits in the industry.”
The programs offer something for everybody. Girls on the Mic is for Middle Schoolers, Adult Education and an Internship Program ensure those who are 18 and over are catered for. “Between our staff engineers, freelance engineers, interns, students and the artists we serve, we anticipate over 1000 people to get their hands on the new Audient desk over the course of the coming year.”
Happily, the classic ASP8024 installed back in 2015 is still fired up and working every week. “Taking a moment to contemplate the new ASP8024-HE features when it arrived, allowed lead engineer, MAZ to contemplate the optimal wiring and installation scheme. This of course led to running back into Control Room 1 to re-route a few things to improve the workflow in that room, too. It turned out we hadn’t been taking full advantage of the FB routing for remote producers and local talent. With an output swap on the back of the console, the routing is even more versatile and the remote connections are normalled for routine use.”
Mary Ann is no stranger to the industry herself, having worked as a staff engineer and freelance engineer for a variety of studios, with occasional live work. She’s been involved in projects with Whitney Houston and MC Hammer, on soundtracks for independent films and TV post work and on ad campaigns such as Levi’s and Taco Bell. She also served on the National Board of Trustees of The Recording Academy and led the San Francisco Board as Chapter President.