Show Off Your Studio – Part Seven

We ask MusicTech readers to show off their studios and get loads of amazing responses every month. Here are some of the best. We’re subtitling this roundup ‘a tale of three chairs’

Kooza Production Studio

It’s smart, neat and perfect. Plus we love the chair
Interviewee: Loris Venegoni
E: loris.venegoni@gmail.com

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Key components in your studio?
An iMac 27in with orchestral/cinematic libraries; a UAD Apollo Quad interface plus a lot of UAD plug-ins; Dynaudio BM12 monitors, which in this room sound big and expensive; Empirical Labs Distressor with British Mode; TLA 5051, great on bass and guitars; Korg TR Rack; Access Virus B; Nord Lead 2x; Yamaha Motif XS7; Hammond l-100 with original Leslie in the other room and upright piano; Korg SP-250 to record MIDI. For vocal fx a TC Voicelive 2. Ableton Push is my best friend, plus a Novation Nocturne and sometimes Impulse 49.

Which DAW do you use?
I own Live 9 suite. I discovered Live while trying to leave Logic and learning how to use Performer. I downloaded the demo just for fun and it blew my mind.

The control that it gives you is amazing. No more endless menu searches, hundreds of bounces in place to edit audio clips. I use the arrangement view just like a classic sequencer. I’m not the kind of producer launching clips or writing in loops, but having every tool the DAW offers is the key that makes Live so intuitive. And every native plug-in is just amazing: great quality, sharp tools and true sound design.

Favourite part of the studio?
Definitely the room. It was designed by Michele Cucchi, the best engineer I could have met in my life. He planned the Radio Deejay studios and Matthew Bellamy’s studio here in Como. Flat response, the longest tail I have is about 0.32s.

That is why I said the BM12s are like new monitors here – I can use them further than 1m of nearfield. They give you all the bottom end. It’s the best room I’ve ever heard and I’m very, very proud.

How often are you in your studio?
Depends. I study psychology in University and I’m a dancer too. Every time I have a job or I want to produce something I stay all the time I need to. I don’t like to ‘just to see if something comes out’; that ends in frustration and wastes precious days of sun when I can go outside and see the world.

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How do you use your studio?
For music for my project Kooza and sometimes I write soundtracks for short movies. I’m working on making it available for bands or electronic producers who need a simple and smart place to work in.

Next on your studio shopping list?
I think the second distressor will be the next friend.

What is your dream piece of gear?
I’m afraid it’s not gear but a real orchestra. There’s nothing like one.

I cry just thinking about it.

One piece of advice?
If you have the money, build the best room. If not, try DIY. Spend the money you have on great monitors, forget headphones. If you’re a genius, you just need something to record sounds, you know what to do. Your studio begins with your ears, so give them the best conditions.

Paul Dawson

Compact and another set of great chairs
Interviewee: Paul Dawson (owner)
E: dawsonpaul@gmail.com

What are the main components in your studio?
Pioneer DDJ-SX, Ableton Push, Native Instruments Maschine Studio, M-Audio Keystation, 4K Samsung Monitor, and finally KRK6 Rokit monitors.

Which DAW do you use in your studio and why?
I use Ableton due to its easy workflow and the open API Max4Live. Max4Live opens up the DAW to a plethora of community developments.

What is your favourite piece of gear and why?
Ableton Push really makes creating music quite easy, giving you the ability to hotswap between any virtual instrument on the fly, keeping you in the desired scales.

It also has a superb build quality. You may be looking for some sounds which fit together nicely, and Push gives you the ability to move between tracks and have a live sequencer flowing and ready. It’s great for making mistakes as these mistakes can sometimes lead towards a path that makes a song you were never expecting in the first place.

How long do you spend in the studio on average per week?
I guess it’s not often enough. I have to balance work and normal life which includes a member of the females species. I guess I probably spend between five and 15 hours per week if I had to make an average guestimate.

How do you use the studio?
It’s all about fun and purely a hobby for me.

Is your setup perfect or is there room for improvement?
Ableton can be problematic at times. Load times and crashes are annoying but these are commonplace in other DAWs.

Next on your studio shopping list?
I have more VSTs than posh women have shoes. I’m waiting for the Moog Sub37 to become available because the modulation capability seems endless. It’s at the cutting edge of analogue synthesis and digital technology being combined in a single unit.

They’re picked up pretty quickly when they be come available and supply is short in the UK.

Dream piece of gear?
If I’m dreaming, an A 200E System 7 Buchla would be nice. Why? Just look at it! It has knobs that go to infinity and beyond…

Do you have any advice to people starting out?
Read, read and read. Also, if you’re tired, go to bed because you’re not hearing everything. Whatever you do when tired is probably going to sound shit when you wake up.

Dave Walker

And a slightly frayed chair
Interviewee: Dave Walker
E: randy_ralph@hotmail.co.uk

Main studio components?
Yamaha MM6, Novation Bass Station II, Korg MicroKorg, Tascam US2400, Edirol interface, Mac Mini, Focusrite vocal strip; Tannoy, Cambridge and KRK RPK5 monitors; NI Maschine Mk1.

Which DAW and why?
I use Sonar as it was a good price. As I have Mac I’ll be going to Logic.

Favourite piece of gear and why?
The Bass Station – versatile and fun.

How long do you spend in the studio?
Only about two days a week. If I had my way then I’d never leave.

How do you use the studio?
For a bit of everything. I’ve found buskers to work with, do my own stuff and am making jingles and voice-overs for a radio station.

Perfect or room for improvement?
It would be good to get the Tascam working better with the DAW. I’m hoping it will integrate with Logic.

Next on your studio shopping list?
A Focusrite Saffire Pro 56.

Dream piece of gear?
I’d love anything by Moog, Dave Smith or Nord. I’d just love a high end synth!

Any advice to people starting out?
Start off basic and keep adding as you go. Studios don’t get built over night. People say, ‘you don’t need all that gear’. But more gear is more fun, and the more fun I have the more creative I can be.

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