We chat with John Stewart at FrEQ Audio Recordings, who converted his garage into a professional studio…
- Apple Mac Pro 12 Core
- Avantone MixCube
- Unity Audio The Rock MkII
- RME Fireface 800
- Neumann U 87
- Diezel VH4
MusicTech: Tell us about the studio, John…
John: It’s a converted garage at the rear of my house. I spent 18 months planning and researching the best way of going about the build, so I could track live drums and guitars. I used to have an attic, but wanted a dedicated space to start a business doing what I love: FrEQ Audio Recordings was born.
MT: What gear do you have?
J: Logic Pro X; Waves, Steven Slate, Native Instruments, FXpansion, Izotope, Lexicon, IKM, Soundtoys, Synthogy and FabFilter plug-ins; Unity Audio The Rock MkII, Avantone MixCube monitors; Apple Mac Pro 12 Core; RME Fireface 800 x2, Audient ASP880, Heritage Audio OST-10, Neve 1073LB, Shadow Hills Mono Gama, SSL VHD Pre Module x2, SSL Alpha VHD-Pre, API 3124+, TLA Ivory, Behringer Powerplay Pro-8 preamps; Neumann U 87, AKG C451B and 214, RØDE NT55, Shure SM57 x2 and SM7B, Sennheiser Evolution e 906, Evolution e 604 x3 and MD 421-II, Audix D6, Soloman LoFReQ Sub and sE Electronics sE2200a mics; lots of backline gear.
MT: Which DAW and why?
J: I use Logic Pro X. I started about 10 years ago on an old version of Logic 5.5 (the last PC version before Apple bought out Emagic). I was on that for a long time, then I moved to Logic 9, then Pro X. It’s phenomenal bang for buck and fantastic for both MIDI and audio. The stock plug-ins alone are brilliant and now I’ve got my Apple Certification, it will likely be my go-to DAW for the foreseeable future.
I dabbled in Pro Tools for some time a while ago, but always went back to Logic. All DAWs now do the same thing, pretty much, and some might have more intuitive ways of doing certain things than others, but I don’t think it really matters any more. It’s whatever suits your workflow and what you feel comfortable with.
MT: Favourite gear?
J: I have some excellent high-end tube amps (Diezel VH4, Diezel Hagen and a VHT Pittbull Ultra-Lead). They’re all so versatile, I use them regularly for gigging and studio re-amping.
MT: How is the studio used?
J: It is my business, but I have just started, so it’s early days. I work part-time but aim to make this a full-time occupation. This will no doubt take time and immense hard work, so I’m in it for the long haul. I’ve recorded bands and various artists over the years, as well as my own band. I hope to continue doing it and eventually grow a client base.
MT: What’s on your wish list?
J: Nothing at the moment (wow, that must be a first!). I did the big spend on my setup this year, so now I want to earn and save. There will always be gear out there, but right now,
I want to get the most out of what I have and if I prove successful, then I will likely plan a smart upgrade.
MT: What’s your dream gear?
J: Something awesome like an SSL G4000 console. Not a necessity, with what can be achieved in the box these days, but as it’s a dream piece of gear, why the hell not?
J: Practice and invest in your skills, never stop learning or wanting to get better. Learn your setup and room, and if you are ever looking at expanding, then make sure you do your research. Oh, and get out in the audio community, there is much to learn from others doing the same thing