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The 8424 Fuels the Creative Process for Tobias Menguser


A quick tour of Tobias Menguser’s studio is enough to take anyone’s breath away. It is a constantly evolving space filled with vintage synthesisers, stomp boxes, and reams of processing gear. Sitting at the heart of this space is an 8424 console which he uses to tie in his whole sonic palette.

Tobias has been working in sound design since the early 1990s. He has experienced everything in his illustrious career from programming synths to chart success. However, it was the creation of software instruments and designing samples that really captured his imagination.

What started as a way to maintain his creativity while he worked in a more business-oriented side of the industry has blossomed into his full-time job. “Around 2010 I randomly met a guy who worked on trailer sound design in Hollywood and started providing sounds for trailers. It’s producing catalogues of single sounds like risers and hits. Those catalogues are handed over to the trailer companies and when they want to use a certain sound, they pay for it. Today I have more than 500 trailers using my sounds and quite often one sound is used in many trailers.”

Tobias has recently been focusing on his new company, 10 Phantom Rooms, designing instruments for film composers and all other kind of music producers. The samples that he creates are not trying to be perfect emulations of real instruments but take a hybrid approach to combine real sounds with highly processed versions. The result is something completely unique. “I’m taking real piano samples, using the Neve desk, routing it to my modular system, making a dirty piano out of it, and combining the real piano sounds with the dirty ones in a unique way and trying to create new sounds based on my processing skills and possibilities.”

The processing that goes on behind the creation of one sample is remarkable. “When I’m doing a sustained string processed sound, I’m using multiple channels on my 8424 to create that sound,” Tobias explains. “It’s not just I have the original sound, send it to a modular filter and that’s it. On other channels I use, for example, harmonic distortion being sent through another filter, being sent to my 500 rack and to other channels. So in the end, you would see in Nuendo 10 to 15 tracks but it’s mixed down to one sample. It’s much more than one track with one filter treatment. It’s multiple tracks over the Neve desk that results in the new samples.”

The 8424 proved itself to be the exact tool that Tobias needed in his signal chain. He already had two 500 series racks providing his pre-amps, external stereo equalisers, analogue compressors and other secret sound shapers, he just needed a large routing console, which was exactly what the Neve desk offered. “There is no other product that does this of this size and with these possibilities,” he states.

Tobias essentially treats his 8424 as a patchbay. He assigns specific channels for a certain effect and then he choses the different ones that he has stacked up. “I can route a signal by pressing one button to a filter or to two different filters entirely.”

One of Tobias’ unique ways of working is that he uses the digital side to decide where to put audio on his desk. The console is connected to his Nuendo DAW so when he changes the channel in Nuendo, it automatically changes the routing on the mixer. “It’s super quick to move tracks on Nuendo and to route sounds to different insert channels.”

With his recent addition of motorised faders for greater speed and automation, the desk is central to Tobias’ setup and there are some key features that he cannot live without. “It’s the sound quality, which is that warm, big sound which is the Neve sound for sure, and all the routing possibilities to quickly be able to route signals,” he explains.

Tobias is part of a large and growing community of electronic sound designers who rely on the 8424 desk, with the console really coming into its own for his unique workflow.

Learn more about the 8424 here.

Learn more about 10 Phantom Rooms here.