API Legacy AXS for new Tokyo College of Music studio
Posted on: Thursday 18th of June 2020
An API Legacy AXS analogue console has been installed into a Sam Toyoshima-designed recording studio at the Tokyo College of Music, part of a new campus dedicated to student performances at the prestigious establishment. This is the second API Legacy AXS to be installed in Japan, the first going into the main control room of the all-API facility, Studio Tanta, in central Tokyo.
The Legacy AXS was supplied to TCM by Mix Wave, API’s Japanese distributor of more than 15 years, which has played a central role in the brand’s success in the country. Mix Wave, headed by Hirokazu Saika, has established API across Japanese broadcast and recording facilities, including two API Vision consoles at the two largest scoring stages of national broadcaster, NHK. The brand is now making inroads into the education market, with two 16-channel 1608 consoles and a 16-channel expander unit previously sold to the Kyoto Seika University.
The oldest private music school in Japan, TCM was founded more than 100 years ago, contributing significantly to the development of Western classical music in the country. Now, students on the classical music course have a brand new, purpose-designed campus of their own, with the Legacy AXS at the heart of it. Performances can be recorded from multiple spaces around the campus, including the 806-seat 100th Anniversary Hall and a live room with a baroque style pipe organ.
TCM’s 48-channel console, customised to suit the college’s exact requirements, has been supplied in a 64-channel frame, leaving extra space on each side for future expansion when needed. In the middle of the desk is a 15-inch center section which includes 5.1 surround monitoring, offering a full complement of features for monitoring, talkback control, three sets of stereo monitor playbacks, studio loudspeaker and 5.1 surround monitoring. Above the center section are six stereo echo return modules, an important element of the AXS design. In addition to their function as stereo echo return modules, they also offer a 12-channel automated fader stem mixing platform, without burning other channel resources during mix creation. The returns can also function as simple routers for parallel bus compression without needing to access the patch bay. To the left of the AXS center section is a customised 24-inch DAW workstation. API supplied a monitor mount as well as a custom API 550 VPR Rack and an API L200 Rack, both housing various API 500 Series and 200 Series modules. The AXS also features API’s Final Touch motorized fader automation for the 48 main faders, four stereo master faders and two dedicated group masters, as well as the six stereo faders for the echo returns.
The studio is operated by recording engineer Tatsuo Umetsu, who started his career in 1968 at Tokyo’s Victor Studio, and frequently worked on API consoles that would now be considered vintage. “We decided to go for an API because it is really rare to find a proper analogue console these days, especially in an educational facility,” he says. “We listened to the sound of the console over at NHK, and from what we heard, we knew that putting together classical music with API was a great combination. I really like the microphone preamps; the sound is really natural, warm and rich.
“This building is just for the musicians, and just for classical music; it’s very specific. Between 20-30 students use the new facility every month. They have to make sure they are ready first by really practicing their work before they can come and record in here.”
Adds Hirokazu Saika: “API has gained a really strong foothold in Japan since we started working with them in 2007. It gives us great satisfaction to see API consoles becoming accepted by educational institutes, teaching students about audio quality in the analogue domain, and assisting them on their musical journey.”