The Zähl AM1 mixing console installed in head engineer/producer Richard Belkner’s Free Energy Device Studios control room is the only console of its kind outside Europe, custom-designed and hand-built to his exacting specifications and custom layout.
Developed by longtime designer/engineer Michael Zähl in collaboration with acclaimed producer Mark Ernestus (Rhythm and Sound, Berlin), the Zähl AM1 is a pure analog mixing console transformed to incorporate the ultimate analogue feature set for ergonomic real-time mixing in a 21st century recording environment. Download the Zähl AM1 full technical poster.
Creating the perfect mixing environment
Richard Belkner’s Zähl AM1 mixing console is a 2017 upgrade to his previous Neve 8068 desk. After using Zähl’s 500 series EQ, Belkner was keen to implement Zahl’s signature sound and enable the transparency across all channels. Assisted by Belkner’s careful choice of monitors – a set of Amphion One18’s, classic Duntech Viceroys and Grover Notting CR1’s – the mixing desk’s world-class features enable the Zähl AM1 to be played like a musical instrument, the perfect complement to Belkner’s finely tuned ears and two decades behind the controls. Explore the control room.
The Zähl AM1 mixing console + creator Michael Zähl
The Zähl AM1 console is the result of a 2009 exchange between producer Mark Ernestus, who was seeking a new analog mixing desk, and acclaimed engineer Michael Zähl, who upon reviewing Ernestus’ wishlist of features, decided to return to mixing console development to create the ultimate analog desk for the digital world.
Zähl AM1 engineer Michael Zähl is best-known for his role as the lead designer of legendary recording engineer Conny Plank’s console within Conny’s Studios, a creative hub for innovative music in the 1970s and 1980s.
Conny Plank, an engineer responsible for a myriad of iconic records by artists including Kratftwerk, Ultravox, the Eurythmics and Brian Eno, was one of the first engineers to utilise multitrack recording to create dramatic production dynamism and a true live sound – in dramatic contrast to the over-compressed trends of more traditional early rock and roll. Plank’s sound had a seismic impact on artists as diverse as David Bowie and Johnny Lydon (Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd). Zähl’s innovative desk was a crucial element in the development of the studio’s influential sonic signature.
The Zähl AM1’s new home at Free Energy Devices
At Free Energy Device Studios, engineer Richard Belkner uses the Zähl AM1 to create that coveted analog sound for Australian and international artists across all genres. Free Energy Device Studios also boasts an astonishing collection of vintage and modern equipment and instruments available to Free Energy Device artists. Browse the studio equipment list here and explore the studio here.