With over 160,000 YouTube subscribers, Wavy Wayne is educating future audio pros around the world while helping them become more conversant with analog gear.
For anyone aspiring to master the craft of professional audio, there are more resources now than ever before. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, one had to intern, become someone’s protégé, or study equipment manuals front to back. Pro audio programs at universities were scant, and there was no ‘online’ option because the Internet didn’t exist. Now there are hundreds of collegiate level audio programs around the world, but these may not be financially accessible for some people. Enter Wavy Wayne, a professional audio instructor on YouTube.
Thinking ‘outside the box’
As a former audio instructor at a college in the heart of St. Louis, Wavy Wayne began his YouTube channel as a resource for students missing class: “If somebody missed a class, I would just direct them to my YouTube channel,” he says. “Everything kind of started out that way, and I received great feedback from people both inside the school and out. So I just kept making content.” Now, Wavy Wayne boasts more than 160k subscribers — though he insists he’s never been in it for the numbers. “I am not one to try to reach for a million views,” he says. “If 30 people watch a video and get something out of it, I am fine with that.”
Interestingly, his early video content and his own recording studio originally hinged on the concept of getting away from analog and working inside the box. Now, his journey has come full circle and Wavy Wayne evangelizes the benefits of working mostly outside the box and leveraging authentic, analog signal chains: “I really do love the sound, the feel and the workflow of analog gear — it changes everything,” he says. “When I am working in the box, I am spending so much effort to make things sound ‘imperfect’. But when I use analog hardware, it already sounds imperfect, giving me the character and flavor that I need. Getting outside the box is so much better.”
Joining the Flock
When he is not YouTube-ing, Wayne keeps a busy schedule into his recording business, often mixing two or three songs in a day. When he began favoring outboard analog gear — such as his LA2A, Empirical Labs Distressor and his Neve 8816 summing mixer — to their ‘in the box’ alternatives, having to do mix recalls with a traditional patchbay was a non-starter. “I couldn’t do what I do without the Flock Audio PATCH, and I wouldn’t want to do it.,” he says. With PATCH, he uses two primary default presets: one for recording and one for mixing. “I just hit a preset on the PATCH software, and in two clicks, I am set up for recording or mixing. I can then save any specific routings to my session folder, making mix recalls effortless. So if a client wants to tweak something in a certain song, or if they are looking for a different sound, all I have to do is access one of my saved presets and make an adjustment.”
Wayne says that when he first happened upon PATCH, it was something of a revelation: “I was watching YouTube and I saw a video about the PATCH. At the time, I had a few outboard compressors and preamps I was using. I had a traditional 32-point patch bay but only used my outboard for recording because I didn’t want to have to re-patch everything when it came to mixing. So when I heard about PATCH and I saw how it worked, I purchased the 64-point PATCH unit and never looked back. Now, just because of PATCH, I have tripled the amount of hardware I own,” he says.