MusicTech visited Dan Armstrong at Hereford College for a chat about their studio set up, teaching practices and prospective gear…
MusicTech: Give us a list of the gear in your studio?
Dan Armstrong: SSL Duality Delta and Alpha-Link SX; RME MADIface USB; Apple iMac i5; Warm Audio WA-EQP; wide range of mics including Aston Origin & Spirits, Neumann TLM 103, Sennheiser e609, Shure Beta 52; Roland Digital Snake setup (for extra/alternative mic pres); Behringer P16 setup for foldback; Yamaha NS10s, Tannoy System 1000s monitors; Synths include Yamaha Reface, E-mu modules, Roland System-1, TR-8, VB-3, XV-5050, MKS-50, Korg MicroKORG, Oberheim Matrix 1000, Access Virus; Akai S3000XL sampler; Novation Launchpad.
MT: Which DAW and why?
Avid Pro Tools 12 – seamless integration with the Duality Delta Control. It’s the industry standard for audio recording and mixing.Logic Pro X – super creative for the composing aspect and very intuitive and quick to create on.
MT: Favourite gear?
The SSL, because of the sound quality and functionality. After learning my trade on various consoles, but mostly the SSL 4000, the Duality is cleaner (like the J and K series), but can handle being pushed a bit. With the combo of great mics and the Warm Audio EQP, you can get a really great sound, and very quickly. The Astons are great, too – such a good sound for the bargain price.
MT: How is the studio used?
It’s a training facility for students on BTEC Level 3 and 4 (HNC). The sessions are wide and varied, from bands to electronic projects. The whole aim of the room is to encourage a professional attitude and give students the confidence to use high-end kit, ready for the varying types of employment in the music and associated industries.
MT: Next on your shopping list?
We’re looking at PMC actives, because after hearing them, they sound great! I like the Warm Audio stuff. We need another EQP for pairing work, along with the WA-2A, and WA76 – these will add further flavours to the SSL mic pres. We’ve also got the support from SSL for further toys.
MT: Anything annoy you about the setup?
Only that Mike Banks from SSL keeps tempting me with the other 24 channels!
MT: Any studio advice?
Plan, plan and then plan some more; learn to solder; patchbays are invaluable; network with other people.