Living for sound: Ismael Antico
Ismael Antico grew up with music. His multi-instrumentalist father had him and his brother jam together with other musicians still as a child. The love for music, particularly sparked by Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message”, would stick with Antico and lead to him starting his own PA renting company, studying audio engineering and eventually founding his own music studio: Soundimension.
Hip hop sounds from the Dominican Republic: Soundimension
After his Bachelor’s degree, Ismael Antico started recording, mixing and mastering music. He traces the beginnings of his professional studio back to the year 2009, marked by the purchase of his first Pro Tools TDM system and also his first PSI Audio studio monitors. At that time, a lot of studios were closing down due to the transformation of the market in the wake of digital music distribution. “I realized that the requirements for music studio setups were about to change,” Antico says. “My plan was to go along with the changing market and offer real and uncompromised professional audio services at an efficient cost.” He achieved this by going hybrid, combining the flexibility of digital music production with the sonic virtues of analogue equipment while also working in live sound and providing audio services to convention centres. Today, Antico mainly offers mixing and mastering – and he moved his studio to the Dominican Republic to enjoy more time with his family. “The point was to focus more on the studio. The Dominican Republic is a lot cheaper than Switzerland, the people here are amazing and we love the sunshine!”
Moving forward instead of resting on laurels
Antico’s life and work seem to be defined by a strong forward motion. It is symptomatic of his general approach when he states: “I never listen back to what I have mixed and mastered once it is released!” Instead, he trains his senses on the next target, always improving, always optimising. Ismael Antico constantly has his eyes and ears on the next project, not looking back to what he has achieved already, and he certainly is not one to brag despite the successes he had a significant part in. Having worked on projects with artists like Busta Rhymes, Dilated People or the Wu-Tang Clan, Antico still only mentions these big names when asked for it specifically. And he seems to find the same delight in mixing and mastering a local Dominican artist without pay: “That was a contribution to the culture.”
Live mixing with studio monitors
With his extensive experience in live and studio sound production, Antico has numerous stories to tell – “I could write a book.” One of those stories is the unusual application of studio monitors in a live setting at the SwissTech Convention Center. “The main venue has a capacity of 3,000 seats, powered by a full PA of L-Acoustics Kivas and Karas, with lots of delays, integrated with a full DANTE setup,” Antico explains. “The control room with the mixing console is a closed space right under the balcony.” After painstakingly setting up the PA system with regards to frequency and phase, Antico then used PSI Audio A17-M to monitor the live sound, simply due to their accuracy in phase being comparable to the meticulously optimised PA array. That way, the precision of the monitors enabled Antico to hear “what was actually happening in the venue”.
The importance of accuracy: PSI Audio at Soundimension
With this amount of trust in PSI Audio speakers, it is hardly surprising that Antico also uses the Swiss manufactured monitors in his Soundimension Studio. He considers the monitoring in the studio possibly the most important piece of equipment: “How can you judge the width of your mix, whether there are phase problems, or your processing, if you cannot properly hear it in your room?” For this reason, Antico employs Swiss precision: he uses a pair of PSI Audio A17-M as well as a pair of the larger A25-M in combination with two A225-M subwoofers, meticulously phase-aligned for optimal reproduction. “Once you have a proper monitoring system, everything is different,” he says, going on to explain how cross-referencing his work with the stereo system in his car is a thing of the past and how his mixes and masters translate perfectly to other systems. “So once the master is done, I can shut down the studio and enjoy my life in the Dominican Republic!” For more information on Ismael Antico and his Soundimension Studio please visit soundimension.com