All the latest from around the studio traps.
STUDIO 52: WHAT A YEAR TO MOVE
Well it seems like years now since the relocation of Studio 52 to Heidelberg’s Empire Music Studios; the new Studio 52. It’s been a huge process from finding the right building to getting a permit and then building a world class new facility. We had to move from Collingwood because the building was up for demolition to make way for a new apartment block. We spent almost a year building the first stage, closing Collingwood and moving everything across then we continued building, completing the second main studio just as Covid struck, so our whole year’s work has been disrupted including the entire year’s Kool Skools Project of 30 albums down the drain. We were also completing our main ‘Studio A’ when Covid hit, so that had to be put on hold and the builders laid off.
The new facility is far bigger and greatly superior to Studio 52 Collingwood. The overall building has 1250sqm of studios, production suites, photography and art department, offices, kitchen and shared events and lounge spaces. The major studio completed is 200sqm, equivalent to 301 in Sydney or Abbey Road Studio 2. It will be Melbourne’s biggest and best recording facility once we get past Covid.
We are keen to hear from any professional engineers, producers, studio owners who want to be part of this great new setup. We also have about 80sqm of offices available for a complementary business such as a label, management agency or publicist who will share our facilities. We are also looking for a permanent graphic artist and photographer who also has video experience — an all-rounder in the field. We are keen to increase our pool of freelance people and engineers who need access to dry hires for their own professional projects.
BUSTIN’ A GUT FOR A GREAT RECORDING…
In the middle of a covid 19 pandemic, AudioTechnology’s founding editor Greg Simmons spent one week in a public hospital in Bangkok. It all started with a recording in Laos. Simmo tells the story…
There are many monasteries in Luang Prabang, Laos. I had been searching for one in a quiet area with less visitors and passing cars, and, most importantly, that didn’t use a PA system – so many monasteries use PAs now, and they totally ruin the natural acoustic. I found one alongside the Nam Khan river, a drop away from the Mekong. It ticked a lot of boxes for recording, and there was no sign of a PA. After chatting with the monks I was invited in that evening to record their chants. In fact, I sat there recording for three evenings in a row – every time critiquing how I was doing it and planning how to do it better next time. There are no soundchecks, no false starts, and no interrupting with this stuff, of course, so getting it right is purely a matter of successive approximation through multiple attempts. By the third night I’d settled on a pair of Sennheiser MKH800s spaced 34cm apart, cardioid, facing forward. I recorded into a Nagra 7 field recorder with peaks reaching my target of -12dBFS, and monitored with a pair of Etymotic ER4 microPro canal phones. Nailed it!
Riding the high one gets after making a successful recording under such conditions, I decided to walk back along the banks of the Mekong rather than getting a tuk-tuk or boat. It was a 30-minute walk but the weather was perfect, the sun was setting beautifully over the Mekong, and I was feeling pumped and invincible. Unfortunately, instead of my usual daypack I was using a small duffle bag that hung over one shoulder. I had a lot of gear and it was getting quite uncomfortable, but in true Aussie male style I told myself “She’ll be right!” and pressed on. In the shower that night I noticed two small lumps bulging out of my groin, one on each side, and ended up in a public hospital in Bangkok for a bilateral inguinal hernia operation. Right in the middle of a pandemic.
I still love the recording, though…
YOU MAY EXPERIENCE (DYNACORD) DELAYS
Newmarket Studios has been ‘weirdly busy’ the last few months. In between lockdowns, Guus Hoevenaars recorded with Tones and I, Kingswood, Christian Li with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for Disney & Decca and Orchestra Victoria. For a Post Malone collaboration, vocal production and mix with Australian rapper Richard of OZ.
The Newmarket Collective has finished songs for Emily Daye, Clint Wilson, Kingswood, Aeora, Shenko, Mylo and Marcel Heath.
Kingswood especially have been very prolific in working on three new albums simultaneously which have been put on hold during COVID.
Additionally Newmarket has had Black Heart Death Cult finishing off their record.
Technically the studio has undergone maintenance with new Antelope Orion converters, Harrison console upkeep, Avid Control and S1 integration, as well as servicing of our AKG C12 and Neumann M149. The studio acquired a vintage 1962 Dynacord Echocord Super S62 valve tape delay and an All Black 1970s Beyerdynamic M160N!
DG’S SSL DELIVERY
Damien Gerard Studios: The SSL stork has arrived. Damien Gerard Studios, now residing one hour north of Sydney on the Central Coast, has recently taken delivery of a brand new all analogue SSL Origin 88-input recording console, delivered in record time by Aussie distributor Amber Technology. Read the full story here.
With the board arriving last week the current control room has been de-commissioned for the changeover and the installation will happen over the next two weeks to be up and running for new bookings from October. We’ll no doubt follow this story closely.
Some of the other new arrivals include a Neumann FET 47, 4 x Neve 1073 preamps and a highly sought after Pultec EQP1A tube EQ.
DG’s spent time checking and lining up the old faithful MCI two-inch 24-track tape machine and it’s settling into the new Central Coast digs well. Most of the old tape will need baking for any transfers and there’s some new tape on the shopping list.
DG’s is particularly proud of the new studio’s diffuser wall which debuted on the Luke Escombe live show. Having these finished and installed now gives us the classic LEDE (Live End Dead End) Space.
APHEK CUTS A RUG
At Aphek, Greg’s been busy recording, editing and mixing 22 songs (mainly one person at a time), for the Grace Church Peninsula online services. His eldest daughter videoed the musicians and edited most of the clips for them too. Recently started back on an EP for multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter RB Brown (who hadn’t been in since last year, due to fires threatening his place and then the lockdown). The 2010 Mac Pro has been replaced by a new 12-core Mac Pro, with 48GB RAM, which certainly makes life easier. Greg reckons it does make you realise you own too many plug-ins, when ProTools is installed and running in an hour (including AAX DSP card) and then it takes days to download and install the plug-ins. The glacé cherry is a pair of large handmade Persian rugs, which make the rooms feel very classy.
Big Sky Audio recently added two new Royer dBoosters to the inventory, and prior to Victoria’s second wave lockdown, got to try them out with an almost ‘co-incident pair’ of vintage B+O BM6 ribbons as overheads for some live demos with Melbourne band Clowns. The verdict, very impressive! Trying to make the best of quiet times, the resurrection of the Wertheim upright piano has commenced. Wertheim pianos were made in Melbourne, in a state-of-the-art factory in Richmond, which operated between 1908 and 1935. The original buildings, in Bendigo St, eventually became the home of Channel 9. They were known for their quality build and we are looking forward to hearing it in all its glory.