Rising Stars: Adam Bennett

Audio Pro International’s focus on the best of the industry’s up-and-coming audio technicians continues this week with the latest addition to our Rising Stars section.

This week we chat to London-based engineer Adam Bennett…

Where did you study?

I studied at Alchemea College in Islington, which was a pretty intense experience. The course is like compressing a three-year degree into nine months, so you’re constantly busy with hands on work and exams. About a week into the course I was lucky enough to be offered a position as a runner at Metropolis, and between that and Alchemea I learned an incredible amount in the year that followed. I’d worked in the industry before, but this was about as big a step up as it gets and I got to work with some of the biggest names around right now.

Which band/project are you currently working on?

I’m working with an extremely talented band called The Doll Mechanics, who are a soul/blues/pop outfit from London. They’re really serious about making an impact on the industry in a short space of time, so it’s quite pressured but in a great way. I’m at a stage in my career where I’m looking for great artists to develop and nurture a bit, but without having to micromanage every aspect. TDM fit that bill, in that they’re hugely ambitious and know what they want to do, but just need a nudge in the right direction.

Where are you based at the moment?

I’m working out of Arcadium Studios in Notting Hill. It’s one of the top mid-sized control rooms in London, and I’m very lucky to be based there. The staff have offered a handful of upcoming talents a base there under their engineer/producer initiative – The EPI – with a view to allowing us to get established as freelancers. It’s refreshing to see other people nurturing and encouraging young engineers, which is something I think the industry lacks for a great many reasons. I can’t thank the guys at Arcadium enough.

Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?

An Audient ASP8024, 48 channels. It’s a really well thought out desk with some great features, and surround capable too. Clean, unobtrusive and with a great ‘wow’ factor for clients.

What decision process was behind the choice of this console?

Originally the plan wasn’t to get a console, but the staff were persuaded towards the Audient and I’m glad that was the case. I think they realised that not having a console would be quite limiting in some respects, and really there’s still no substitute for a console when recording large groups of musicians, or arguably when mixing. The flexibility afforded by a console and the speed at which you can make changes is still unmatched.

Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?

Absolutely, I’m a big believer in outboard gear. I’m lucky to have some great pieces within arms reach. The Vac Rac is one of my favourites for tracking bass and vocals – it has an insanely smooth, artefact free style of compression, which is very natural yet still imparts a lot of character. The Massive Passive is a favourite on pretty much anything, but I often put it to work tracking guitars or vocals, with the Orban for more percussive material. Of course we have the 1081 EQs too with which it’s difficult to go wrong. I also like to use tape echoes when I have access to them.

What is your console of choice?

SSL 4K G Series. I’ve spent an awful lot of time with them, and there’s something magic about those consoles. They’re fantastically flexible and everything about it has a certain grit and bite that I really love. Partner one up with a Studer and you’ve got yourself a rock record.

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?

Porcupine Tree would probably be my first choice. The last gig I went to, at The Royal Albert Hall, had such an immaculate sound – I know Steven Wilson has very high standards. There’s an awful lot going on at a PT gig; lots of acoustic elements combined with loops and projections and all sorts of things, and very dynamic music to boot. A challenging gig but a fascinating one for sure.

To get involved in our Rising Stars column, whether you are an engineer who is new to the industry and would like to be featured, or an experienced engineer who would like to nominate a particular student/apprentice, please contact Audio Pro International editor Daniel Gumble on daniel.gumble@intentmedia.co.uk or 01992 535646.