FLOCK AUDIO IS REPLACING TRADITIONAL ANALOG ROUTING TO HELP CREATE MORE GREAT MUSIC FROM YOUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS!
By Renato Pagnani
Darren Nakonechny is excited. In a few weeks, the first PATCH units — a digitally controlled analog routing system for audio recording — that he and his colleagues at Flock Audio have been developing for almost two years, will be shipping out to the customers who had preordered them in 2018.
“You go through such rough times along the way it makes you wonder, ‘Is this going to actually be something, or is it going to fail?’” explains Nakonechny, founder and CEO of the Edmonton audio company. “But when you step back, you go ‘Wow, this is very cool.’ We started literally in the basement of my home and now we have an office and work with a network of professionals building a product that people are excited about. Shipping out our first units is a milestone we’ve all been working toward for a long time.”
The PATCH system aims to help reduce the chaos that comes with connecting audio gear in a studio, a process that with traditional analog patchbays is time consuming and prone to annoyances like corroded connections and tangled cords. Because PATCH is digitally controlled, no analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog convertors are required, saving both time and effort, especially in studios with dozens (if not hundreds) of pieces of equipment.
Along the way, Flock Audio linked up with Startup Edmonton and it was at Launch Party 9 where Nakonechny got the opportunity to get a taste of the city’s startup community.
“We don’t have a big local market, so we’re a very unique tech company in Edmonton,” Nakonechny says. “I got to meet a lot of local entrepreneurs and people involved in the industry that I would’ve never got to meet otherwise. Those kinds of connections are invaluable.”
When PATCH successfully launches, Nakonechny looks forward to helping mentor the next generation of Edmonton entrepreneurs. “If you can help take away even 10% of the headache that comes with starting your own business, it makes such a big difference,” he says.
And even though the first retail PATCH units are just on the verge of shipping to customers, it’s already spent time in the hands high-profile beta testers from around the world and generated excitement and interest from top industry professionals such as Dave Pensado — who Mariah Carey and Maroon 5 have tapped for work — and Greg Wells — a Grammy award winner who has worked with household names like Adele, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande.
“These guys have worked on some of the biggest records in the world, and they were some of the first people to jump on PATCH,” Nakonechny says. The most satisfying validation Nakonechny has received came recently from a mastering engineer friend that he knew didn’t really want to try PATCH at all. “He loved the idea but didn’t think he’d ever use it,” he says. “So I sent him a unit last month, and yesterday I got a text from him that read, ‘Damn you, I have to buy one of these things. I can’t live without it.’"