At dBs Music Bristol, student Mark O'Sullivan recently bagged the $2000 API Visionary Scholarship with his impressive portfolio of work and knowledge of the API 1608 console.
As you may already know, our dBs Music Bristol HE centre is the proud owner of the incredible API 1608 console. As such, this means dBs Music is the only educational facility in the UK to own this amazing console and therefore the only educational centre in the UK that enables students to apply for the API Visionary Scholarship. Here at dBs Music, we have to give a huge congratulations to Mark O'Sullivan who impressed the API judges and became the first UK student to secure the scholarship.
"Mark’s project was all of the above in addition to being a contemporary statement on society that was dynamic, creative and emotional – all aspects of music that we like to see an engineer highlight as they preserve an artist’s musical ability.” - Larry Droppa, President, Automated Processes Incorporated.
We caught up with Mark to find out more about this huge accomplishment and how he went about nabbing the highly regarded scholarship...
What made you apply for the scholarship and how did you find out about it?
"I wasn’t until I began my journey into education that I knew the likes of SSL, Audient and API even existed. These brand names new nothing to me. As an inquisitive student I wanted to know more about those companies and why they are perceived to be the best in the world. It wasn’t until I researched Automated Processes Incorporated that I realised there was a scholarship program I could apply for. I approached the centre manager, Ben Philcox to discuss this further and he suggested that I wait until the second year of my FDA to get a bit more experience under my belt before I apply. I took his advice, waited until I fully understood the mixing capabilities and signal paths of the API 1608. This is when I invited Lazy Daze (a folk band from Somerset) to come in and record their latest E.P. I mixed and mastered their E.P. and used these recordings as part of my API Scholarship portfolio."
Was the API one of the reasons you chose dBs Music?
"Prior to dBs I had no idea who API were! However, if I hadn’t chosen dBs Music I would not have had the opportunity to win this award and if dBs Music hadn’t provided such a high standard of tuition and support I would never have been able to operate the API 1608 with a degree of confidence. My reason for joining dBs Music was based on a number of factors, bare in mind I'm not easily persuaded by glossy magazines or well rehearsed speeches, for me it’s about the premises, the studio facilities, the classrooms, the lecture theatres, the tutors the staff and most importantly, how I felt and once I felt comfortable with all these things then it was a no brainer. It’s like when you walk into a new home, you have to feel right about all the place and all the little details."
What’s your particular favourite feature about the API and how do you like to work on it?
"I particularly like the analogue metering. It translates well, exactly what’s happening to the audio signal, as it arrives at the desk. Digital meters, although pretty good, are incremental, less musical and do not represent the sweeping undulations of the audio signal.
"I also like the musicality of the API’s 550a 3 band EQ’s and their retro styling however, for me, recording music is all about conveying the emotion and the energy of the performance. The quietly understated 1608 did an excellent job replicating exactly that, without asserting any unwanted artefacts or saturation into the mix. The relationship between the circuits are balanced and harmonious, with no apparent signal degradation and, what lies within the belly of the electronics, is a silky smooth, warm, transparent soul that allows the music to shine through.
"In terms of work flow and functionality I really enjoy being able to pre-fade listen to an aux mix via the echo sends at the touch of a button, the buttons and faders are placed logically, are quick to access and the routing options are extensive, basically there is not a lot you can’t do!"
Why do you think you got the scholarship?
"I won the scholarship based on four factors, production skill, overall creativity, presentation and my answers to the essay question and I am very proud to be the first English student from the UK to have won the API Scholarship program against some fierce global competition."
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