Let's face it - most of us aren't made out of money. We're trying to get the best bang for the buck where audio is concerned. However, the biggest bang for the buck - the Digital Audio Workstation - leaves a lot to be desired where tone and inspirational workflow are concerned. A lot of us miss our consoles for the utility that they offer, and we sincerely enjoy working with our hardware devices as they give us something that feels more alive than plug-ins. And then sometimes we just need a device like a pair of microphones or a DI box which will perform like a high-performance race-car, but is priced more like a Corolla (figuratively speaking - not literally, for sure).
Brad Avenson's offerings under the Avenson Audio banner deliver serious tools for the working studio and engineer. We at Front End Audio been selling Avenson Audio's wares for roughly ten years now, and these devices have made many a satisfied customer of ours.
Some of the earliest Avenson Audio products we carried were designed more with performance capture and performance in mind. And they're still going just as strong today as a new generation of customers discover them.
If you're truly into the art and craft of recording, then owning and using a pair of omni-directional microphones is probably your equivalent of wearing a pocket-protector. There's nothing quite as real sounding as a properly placed pair of omnis. However, most quality, matched stereo pairs will creep into the 4-figure range. But with the Avenson Audio STO-2 Microphones you can have a quality, matched stereo pair of omnis for
The Avenson Audio Small DI is a gigging acoustic guitarist's dream. When sound quality is all you care about and you just need a TS jack and an XLR jack, the Small DI delivers crystal clear signal from a tiny box that you can easily slip into your pocket. There's not any frills like a parallel / thru out for sending the signal on to an amp. So, for acoustic and bass players who rely on a stage rig, it might not be the one for you. But the newer Avenson Audio IsoDI Direct Box offers a Thru-put to feed an amp, as well as many intelligent features designed at defeating noise interference in less-than-ideal environments like stages.
Brad eventually started shipping products designed for the control room. The Avenson Audio Blend Parallel Processing Tool and Avenson Audio Mid-Side Stereo Processor bring high-quality stereo processing to a market that had been until then under-served. Parallel Compression has been a long standing "trick" for bringing up the energy of a bus while not robbing the signal of dynamics. And the Blend Parallel Processing Tool is a perfect substitute for the DAW user who lost the ease of hardware parallel processing on a studio console. But you're not just limited to compression. Try Parallel EQ on for size -too. And if you have a reverb or delay which doesn't have a blend function, the Blend will help in these applications, too.
Mid-Side processing takes the basic Left / Right stereo signals and converts to a Mid-Side situation where the Center can be processed differently than the sides. This is a very common - if not required - practice in mastering. But it is also a great mix tool for solidifying a drum bus, and more. But the trouble arises when you need to find a Mid-Side Matrix which doesn't require the outlay of some serious cheese and force you to buy a mastering console - OUCH! But the Mid-Side Stereo Processor delivers JUST this encode/decode matrix in a simple half-rack space unit. And since both units fit together in a single rack space, Front End Audio put together the Avenson Audio Blend & Mid-Side Stereo Processing Package to make putting these incredibly useful studio tools into your studio an easy proposition. Just be sure to consider integrating these devices into a patchbay - it will make your life seriously way more simple and enjoyable... and we have solutions ready!
More tools to satisfy the studio engineer have recently emerged. The Avenson Audio Headphone Amp, while not exactly budget priced as headphone amplifiers go, delivers features - such as crossfeed, for example - only found in headphone amplifiers clocking in at well over twice the price. So, in that sense, this ultra-high quality headphone amp is a bargain for what it delivers.
The Avenson Audio IsoGtr Direct Box takes all of the great sound and noise isolation functionality of the IsoDI and packs in the ability to reamplify your DI signal - but out into as many as 4 amps at once! "Reamping" is a common studio process whereby the recorded DI track is fed "backwards" out of the recorder at +4dBu line level, into a box which converts it to instrument level (it might also give you attenuation control), and sends the optimized signal on to a guitar amplifier. It's commonly used as a means for ensuring that performance is captured, but flexibility for achieving the "perfect" tone for the song is granted.
Lastly, lots of requests from engineers poured in for enhanced features of the Mid-Side. People who lean more towards mastering as their profession need the ability to bypass and monitor signal at various points within the processing chain. The Avenson Audio Mid-SideR Stereo Processor delivers a Mid-Side Encoder/Decoder Bypass (labeled Mid-Side Defeat) in addition to the Main Bypass, as well as an Insert Bypass, and a Mid Mute and Side Mute. The Hi-Pass Filter gains a new companion in the form of the Side Channel High frequency Shelving EQ, delivering both Boost and Cut at frequency points of 5 kHz, 10 kHz, or 20 kHz. And the Mid-SideR is topped off with a premium Neutrik XLR I/O compliment across the rear panel.
As you can see, Brad Avenson has been busy building quite the stable of quality studio tools which bring the thunder for not a whole lot of dough when compared to many other offerings. But the important thing to note is that the quality of sound and quality of build of these devices don't take a hit in order to deliver at these very reasonable price points. If you're in the market for fantastic sounding gear that rivals much more expensive designs, or you just need some unique tools for your control room for stereo processing or reamping, check out all of the offerings from Avenson Audio at Front End Audio.