For many people, audio is a great day out, an adventure. A quest to hear the smallest difference and where it’s coming from, experimenting with new sounds, enjoying the discoveries like an explorer. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how you get the sound, going with the flow, discovering happy moments that create something special. After that, it seems like you’re always running after that moment to capture it again, when everything comes together…
Brent Finlayson Smith is a musician, audio engineer and technologist.
Radio New Zealand
Starting at Radio Northland 1ZN, New Zealand as an audio technician, he operated panel audio for early morning announcers and outside broadcasts before leaving in search of surf down South at Raglan, Waikato.
He moved to Sydney, Australia, studied and received a certificate in audio engineering and worked for ten years in audio and audio-visual for large events, conferences, black-tie balls, brass bands, and concerts, including working on the Prince Charles and Lady Diana engagement visit Ball, and the official event for the George Bush Snr Vice Presidential visit to Australia.
He became Assistant Technical Manager at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and also production manager (and an operational engineer) on many large and small shows and events, including the Australian Bicentennial celebrations.
During this time he was lead singer, songwriter and guitarist in two bands and produced several demos, also working as a roadie for some of the name bands of the era, and as an audio engineer for some smaller bands, during a magic time in Australian music.
Production in London
He moved to London in 1990 to take up a job offer and became Production and Technical Manager at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, managing 32 engineers and production staff on over 720 events per year, including live-to-air television spectaculars, Government, AGM, Royalty and Benefit events, and major international conferences including the ’91 Press Briefings to the G8 Economic Summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in attendance. You can read more about audio and show production in New Zealand, Australia and the UK here.
Satellite Uplinks in Tierra del Fuego
He left the Centre after four years to become Satellite Events Manager for France Telecom (subsidiary Maxat) at the ITN Centre in London, travelling to Tierra del Fuego for the 1994 global launch of a new SUV, production managing the field event and operating international audio foldback for the VIP talent (Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE, and Helen Sharman OBE). You can read more about this event and sending audio around the world by satellite here.
Returning to New Zealand after 16 years, he became General Manager of Voyager Internet, and moved again six years later to Ireland, founding Clearwire Ireland, a wireless ISP, ultimately gaining significant foreign direct investment and serving on the Board of the Internet Service Provider’s Association of Ireland. During this time he continued to play and record music.
Ardán Audio Limited
After conducting a successful trial of new WiMAX technology, Brent left the company he had founded after six years, in June 09, to focus on several products in the audio industry he had long wanted to create, the result being Ardán Audio Limited.
From the GEC KT88 valve days of broadcast radio and the lovely big dials of the early consoles with their sensitive VU meters and large horizontal PFL sweeps, through to satellite audio and digital audio workstations, he has long been fascinated with the development of analogue audio into digital forms, finding new sounds through unconventional means, and retaining dynamics in recording and mixing. Brent plays guitar and sings occasionally in Dublin and is recording an album in his home Pro Tools studio that may never see the light of day. He enjoys recording other musicians with a portable Pro Tools rig and a bunch of closely guarded microphones.