Tchad Blake

Adopt an ICON, get a Grammy. That’s what happened to Blake, whose first major album with D-Control won him the award.

Tchad Blake recently celebrated yet another milestone in his already impressive career when he took home the 2008 Grammy® Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for his work on Suzanne Vega’s Beauty and Crime.

Beauty and Crime was the first major album Blake completed on his 16-fader ICON D-Control™ worksurface, which is located in his UK-based studio, Full Mongrel. With a strong analog background, including five years as resident engineer at Real World Studios, Blake made the switch to digital mixing on the only desk he found up to the job—the ICON D-Control.

Already accustomed to the power and flexibility of the industry’s leading workstation, Pro Tools|HD®, Blake chose an ICON worksurface to provide the familiar feel of a professional mixing console. “I wanted to mix in the box,” he explains, “but wasn’t ready to let go of my knobs. Thanks to ICON, I can own my own studio and use Pro Tools in the best possible way.”

Blake has worked with numerous artists and musicians, including Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, Travis, Crowded House, Tracy Chapman, and Gomez, among others. Considered one of the leading engineers and producers today, Blake is renowned for his work with binaural recordings, and use of inventive textures within the mix. He claims that using an ICON system gives him direct access to a wide range of TDM plug-ins, which allows him to experiment quickly and directly from the mixing surface.

“I’m really happy about this recognition, especially because it’s proof that you can do it in the box,” he enthuses. “For me, it’s the only way to work these days. Pro Tools and ICON have completely changed the way I mix. It’s made it much easier, and it wouldn’t be as much fun without an ICON.

“I can now work with artists wherever they are based, as I send mixes for review via DigiDelivery™. The ICON is quick to use, and I’ve usually started the second or even third mix before I receive comments back. Five years ago I couldn’t have imagined this—now I don’t want to work any other way.”

The 2008 Grammy Award is not Blake’s first. In 1998, he also won in the same category for his work on Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions. Having recently completed tracks for Daniel Powter, Peter Gabriel's Big Blue Ball, and Dido, Blake is ready for a hectic 2008: “I’m about to start mixing an album for The Bad Plus, an experimental jazz trio. I’ve done three albums in analog with them, but the next album will be mixed on ICON, and I’m pretty excited about that.”

Always looking for new and innovative techniques for mixing, Tchad Blake has proven that the ICON system, combined with the flexibility of mixing in Pro Tools, gives him the same tools he has grown to love—and a whole lot more.