Nottingham’s Mount Street Studios opened its doors only a few months ago. We spoke to its owners, Charlie Kirby and Fred Bailing, about their pride and joy…
- TL Audio VTC 32 Console
- Antelope Orion32+
- ATC SCM25A Pros
- Avantone Mixcube
- Urei 1176
- GML 8200
- API 2500
- Universal Audio Anniversary Edition 1176
Tell us a little about the studio, where you are, and how long you’ve been there?
Mount Street Studios is a brand new, state-of-the-art, professional recording facility, based in the heart of Nottingham city centre. From a 1960’s disused boiler room, housing industrial boilers servicing the original office block above, the space has been transformed over an 18-month period into a fully dedicated, hybrid recording studio. The studio officially opened at the beginning of May, 2018.
What kind of kit do you have in your studio?
MSS Here at Mount Street, we are centered around a TL Audio VTC 32-channel console. Our interface is an Antelope Orion32+, connected to our 2.7GHz, 12 Core – 64GB RAM, Mac Pro. Everything is backed up onto our Synology RS816 NAS drive, with 24TB worth of storage space.
Our main monitoring is the ATC SCM25A Pros, which are very revealing, along with a pair of original Yamaha NS-10m studio speakers, powered by a Hafler P3000 amplifier, and an Avantone Mixcube. On our outboard, we have an 1980’s Urei 1176, GML 8200, Manley Massive Passive EQ, API 2500, a pair of original DBX 160VU and the Universal Audio Anniversary Edition 1176.
Which DAW do you use and why?
MSS For tracking purposes, we use Pro Tools 12, and for production, we use Logic Pro X. We use Pro Tools for tracking, due to its easy workflow and it is also especially good for consolidation purposes, and pairs very well with our analogue console.
Logic Pro X, however, has a much more user-friendly interface and is extremely easy to edit audio, for example vocal performances. Pro Tools is fantastic for a multitrack session, but Logic Pro X is good for everyday use.
At the end of the day, it’s all personal preference and we find ourselves switching between the two a lot!
What is your favourite piece of gear and why?
MSS Fred argues that the TL Audio VTC 32 channel is his favourite piece of gear. The reasons being, he comes from a background of working with 24-channel consoles, and he’s found himself running out of channels very quickly when coming to mixing. So having 32 channels is a real luxury, and not to mention the desk truly is as analogue as it gets. Of course, it sounds beautiful too! (This is in close competition with the API 2500)
On the other hand, Charlie’s favourite piece of gear has to be the original Teletronix LA-2A. It gets used on every track we produce here at Mount Street, and is an absolute treasure on bass guitar and vocals. Combined with our Urei 1176, we are able to create a classic vocal chain. Hands down beats anything else for him, but if he had to choose something different, it would most probably be the Thermionic Culture Phoenix SB.
How often would you say do you spend in your studio per week?
MSS Far. Too. Much.
How do you use your studio, as in are you recording bands, working professionally or just making music for fun?
MSS As well as being a recording facility, Mount Street offers mixing and mastering services, songwriting, tutorials and ghost production. We record a variety of musical acts, from bands to solo artists in a professional environment. Of course there might be the odd day or two when we make a few tracks for fun!
What is next on your shopping list studio-wise and why?
MSS Next on the shopping list has to be some washing up liquid…! In all seriousness though, it would most likely be a few more microphones. We have our eye on another pair of AKG 414s and, potentially, a Royer ribbon microphone for our beautiful Hamstead guitar amplifier.
Does anything annoy you about your set-up and, if so, why?
MSS Computers and DAWs suck (sometimes). The most annoying thing that probably comes to mind is our internet speed. No fibre near us – you would think the centre of Nottingham might have that covered yet, but oh no.
What is your dream piece of gear and why?
MSS It would most likely be a 24-track tape machine. We are, of course, dreaming about it, and we hope one day to house one here!
What is your top piece of production advice?
MSS Our top piece of production advice would be to make sure your recording is as clear and perfect as you want. You can fix some mistakes in the production phase, but with a good recording, it makes things a heck of a lot easier. Also – don’t be afraid of having fun. There are no wrong answers – if it sounds good and it’s not causing technical problems, just do it. You don’t need to read every post on every forum!
Also for you musicians, practise, practise and… practise. You can’t make a bad performance sound good and it makes your time at the studio so much more valuable.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
Charlie Be involved every step of the way. I learnt so much in the building process and was able to put my stamp on the place. But the most important thing I would say is making sure you use a top, top acoustician. We had a few problems starting out, but we finally found the right company with The Studio People. No regrets at all, and we are extremely happy with the final result.
Fred Get to know your equipment intimately (but not in that way…). True zen is achieved when one knows all the ins and outs of their own space.