Up Close: Fix Audio Designs

Fix Audio Designs


A History of Audio Innovation and Reinvention: With so many custom designs and several major companies in his expansive history, veteran electronics engineer, sonic designer and entrepreneur Paul Wolff breaks the subjects down this way: “The focus should be three seconds on owning API, three on owning Tonelux, then the rest on Fix Audio Designs,” the company he founded in 2016 after fulfilling a request from Gregor Schweiger in Germany to create a 64 input surround console with over 140) 500 series module slots. 

After launching his career as the front-of-house sound engineer for the Washington, D.C. nightclub The Bayou, he moved into the console business at Datatronix in 1978, just after the company had acquired API. He subsequently purchased API, where over the years he introduced innovative products including the 5502 rack mount EQ, the 550B, the 3124 and the 512b mic pre, as well as  the Legacy Console and, with Jeff Bork, the Legacy Plus and the Vision (after API was sold to the ATI Group). In 2004, Wolff formed Tonelux, whose product line was geared towards the new studio model, with much of the production work being done in the DAW. After selling Tonelux, he launched Fix Audio Designs after several years consulting for audio companies like A-Designs, Analog Alien, Steven Slate Companies and Sunset Sound. The nickname Fix goes back to the ‘70s.

Immersive Console: In 2020, Valhalla Studios in New York debuted its 64 input Fix 360 console, built by Wolff and designed by Wolff and the studio’s engineering wizard Ronald Prent. The console supports any format from stereo through various surround sound configurations to immersive Dolby Atmos, Sony 360RA, Auro-3D and DTS. It has seven pan pods which serve both the upper and lower horizontal planes, with 7.1 panning on the floor and 4 channels on the ceiling, in addition to allowing movement between those planes, plus a dedicated LFE send. It is capable of mixing and monitoring up to 24 channels, Stereo, LCRS, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, 11.1, etc. 

Andy Hong and Reid Shippen have purchased a 24 input FIX console for Nashville, and Wolff has sold others to Pete Weiss of Verdant Studios (custom 16 channel), and Ken and Olive Paul of The Home for Unloved Toys in LaGrange, IL (configured as a 32 input channel immersive console). Wolff’s clients include Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who will use the 802 console for tracking and summing/mixing along with the dual Slate Raven system. Jam had a classic comment about the console when he first heard its capabilities: “This sounds like truffles. Everybody loves truffles.” 

Quote from Paul Wolff: “I like the old saying ‘Think outside the box,’ but find that all too often, when someone succeeds with an outside the box idea or concept, they build a box around it and can’t adapt well to changes in their industry. When I create something new, I try to completely erase the blackboard and start over—continually breaking the walls of the box and making sure the box doesn’t engulf me. Another expression I’m fond of is ‘groovebuster,’ which I heard during a session where everything was going well until the vocalist’s mic pre failed and everything started popping and sputtering. I vow with my designs and products to make sure I’m never a groovebuster! You never want to interrupt an artist’s path or flow.” 

Contact Fix Audio Designs, 703-730-8800