Show Off Your Studio (On a Bus!)

We ask you to Show Off Your Studios via the MusicTech Facebook page, and you do… to great effect. And sometimes you show off your buses, too, with studios in them. Of course you do!

Studio Bus

Best Studio Bus

Interviewee: Steve Lewis
Contact: www.camo.show

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MusicTech: Okay, your studio appears to be on a bus (or two) Steve – what gives?

Steve Lewis: The back story is huge, but the short version is: I started drumming at 14 in Southport and moved to London in 2000. Prince Charles’ charity helped me set up a studio in Greenwich, but after many noise complaints, I ripped it all out over a weekend, bought a coach for £5,000, loaded it and drove off.

Over the next decade, it went through many conversions and I became a proper band bus driver [eventually with two buses! – Ed]. Being a musician, AV specialist and running two mobile studios has opened countless doors of amazing opportunity. From what was a resolution to noise complaints, we will be a travelling music TV show. Both buses work together, ideally at music festivals.

MT: What are the key components of your studio, aside from wheels? A Mackie Onyx 1640i mixer; Alesis io|26 interface; Apple iMac and Logic; Ableton Live; plug-ins galore; Roland SH-101; Korg

MS2000, Triton Studio, four electribes, a Kaoss Pad and MicroKorg; numerous guitars and basses; percussion kit, V-drums; various mics; professional four-track tape recorder; four HD Sony cameras; Blackmagic ATEM vision mixer (for live streaming sessions).

Which DAW do you use?

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I use Logic since I converted to Mac.

What’s your favourite studio gear?

The Mackie Onyx 1640i – it’s so versatile, especially how it fits in such a small amount of space.

How do you use your setup –professionally, or for fun?

For now, it’s used for friends, family, and fun sessions. I’ve taken the studio to a few festivals and ran sessions at them. The plan is eventually to run a web series from the studio.

Does anything annoy you about your current studio setup?

Fader one has come off and it needs fixing back in!

Studio on Bus

Next on your studio shopping list?

Faster Mac and Korg Minilogue.

What’s your dream piece of gear?

Moog Voyager – synth heaven!

Any advice for MusicTech readers?

Research and keep going!

Any studio anecdotes?

Being chased out of Manchester in the coach with the Underwolves on board. We only lost one window.

Sunshine Studio

Contact: through us at MusicTech

MT: Key components?

iMac; TAC Bullet 32/8/2 Console; MOTU 828x I/O; Ferrofish A16 ADAT I/O; Yamaha HS8 and HS8S Sub; Yamaha NS10s.

Which DAW?

Logic Pro X – a great user interface with a wide selection of synths and plug-ins. We have a Waves package to get the full control of modern plug-ins, while being able to emulate old recording techniques and sounds that are specific to any genre.

Favourite gear?

TC Electronics Finaliser 96K. Great for mastering as well as multi-band compression and limiting for any application. AES is essential as well, to limit the noise created with multiple A-D and D-As.

How do you use your setup?

The studio is set up for full-band recordings, vocal sessions, overdub sessions and mastering. Web-order drum tracks are very popular; we’ve spent a lot of time on mic selection, placement and room adjustments to get powerful and rich drum takes.

Next on your studio shopping list?

A Yamaha Montage 8.

Anything annoy you about it?

An archiving system we can back up offsite needs to be addressed. Otherwise, it’s a joy to work in!

Dream gear?

Rupert Neve 5088. If you have to ask why, you haven’t heard one.

Any advice?

Balance your control room for isolation and listening. If your setup is unbalanced your mixes will never be balanced.

Jack Morgan

Contact: jack644@hotmail.com

MusicTech: Tell us about the key gear components that make up your studio?

I have a PreSonus FireStudio interface; TC Electronic C300XL FX effects processor; Quad 520f amplifier; Drawmer DS201 noise gate; TL Audio Indigo preamp; Yamaha REV7 effects; Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 interface; TL Audio PA-1 valve preamp (newly added); Focusrite Mix [Control? – Ed]; Alesis VI25 controller keyboard; KRK Rokit RP8 monitors; Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones.

Not to mention some pretty cool lighting… So which DAW do you use, and why?

I use Logic Pro X and also Logic 9 for its MIDI, because I feel like I can put pen to paper in the digital sense with regards to making my music quickly with this software. I also use Avid Pro Tools 12 for editing, as it offers much more precision within edits.

What’s your favourite studio gear?

Probably my favourite bit of gear now is my Quad 520f amplifier. It is a beautiful amp for passive speakers (I’m in the process of obtaining new ones), and holds historical value as it has been used during some famous     recordings in Trident Studios in Soho (where I work).

How often do you spend time in your studio?

Any free time I have in the week I am in my studio, at least an hour or two a day, with weekends seeing a lot more use if I’m home.

How do you use your setup, for recording bands, or for your own music?

I use my studio to make and release music for my record label Seizure Ltd.  I also use it for any quick edits that need to be done before going to work which mainly deals with audio for TV and Film.

What’s next on your studio shopping list?

My monitors are going to be upgraded very soon to some Adam A7Xs or Genelec 8040Bs. After that, an Access Virus TI2 synth will be a close second purchase.

Is there anything that annoys you about your current studio setup?

My monitors! I use my headphones a lot more, to be fair, but I bought them a long time ago, and they are muddy – they need to go.

What is your dream piece of gear, either real or imaginary? The Maselec MLA-3 multiband compressor – I’ve heard it in action and it’s superb.

Do you have any advice for MusicTech readers about setting up a studio?

You should be happy with the space that you have created as it becomes something of a shrine, and remember that your studio is always a work in progress!

Tiko Lasola

Contact: contact@tikolasola.com

MT: Key components?

A PC running Reaper; RME Fireface 802 interface with the advanced remote controller (ARC) which in my opinion is essential; Amphion Two15 monitors with Amphion Amp500 amp; Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones (I know them so well, I’ll always have a pair in the studio).

My main keyboard is a Korg Kronos 2 and I use a ton of virtual instruments for my work as well. Both electric guitar and bass are from the S.U.B. series of Sterling by Music Man and my acoustic is a Yamaha FG-730S. For drums, I have the Millenium Transformer bundle. I use the Rode NT1 for basically everything I record with a mic.

Which DAW?

I use Reaper. When I was starting out, I tried different DAWs like Pro Tools and Cubase. Reaper was simply the most intuitive for me. Everything was where I felt like it should be, so I didn’t need to spend a lot of time reading the manual or looking up stuff. It just felt right.

Favourite gear?

The Amphions – they’ve changed the way I work. I’m not checking mixes on different systems now, as I know that when it works with the Amphions, it really is good. I love the sound – or the lack of a sound. They really pull me into the music and the monitors disappear. Transparent, punchy, super detailed and very inspiring. I love to sit back and listen to music with them as much as I love creating it!

How do you use your setup?

Professionally, most of the time. I also listen to a lot of music every day and play my instruments, as that’s a big part of me – I base all my music on improvisation and feel. I do record a lot of non-work-related music with friends and by myself.

Next on your shopping list?
A larger space with room for an acoustic drumset and grand piano. After getting the Amphions, I finally feel like I don’t need to buy more gear to achieve the sound I want. It’s a liberating feeling!

Anything that annoys you?

It’s starting to feel a bit small. I look forward to having a bigger room, and that grand piano and acoustic drums at my disposal at all times.

Dream gear?
A Steinway grand would be amazing. Piano is my main instrument and there’s nothing in the world that can take me to where closing my eyes and improvising on a piano does. I’ve played a few Steinways and they speak to me. It’s a dream, for sure.

Any advice?

Acoustic treatment is important and pretty cheap when you do it yourself – I built all the panels for my first studio for about $200. Buy gear you can afford, but only get what you really need

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