It’s the second part of our massive collection of studio wisdom tips provided for by some of the studio owners we’ve interviewed over the last few years. So, over to you…
1: Sain Code/Lucas Paez
Contact – email@example.com
• Favourite Gear – Yamaha HS50M
• Top Tip – Just to try to keep it simple. You don’t need tons of equipment to make good music, or create a good mix of your music.
2: Paul Dawson
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Favourite Gear – 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 to a song you were never expecting in the first place.
• Top Tip – 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.
3: Emun Music/Frank Walter (based in Köln)
Contact – email@example.com
• Favourite Gear – That is my Korg microKorgXL+. It is very compact and small, but for proper playing maybe it is a little too small.
• Top Tip – Get the right soundcard, the right monitors and, of course, cool neighbours. Forget about thinking too much about which DAW and studio stuff. The track, in the end, is important. You need to love it. Elvis just had a guitar and his vocals. Be creative and try something new.
4: Studio 3A/Paul Matich
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Top Tip – Think about what you want to achieve and about what space you have. Never give up on your dream.
5: Dave Walker
Contact – email@example.com
• Favourite Gear – The Novation Bass Station – versatile and fun.
• Top Tip – Start off basic and keep adding as you go. Studios don’t get built overnight. 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.
6: Steve Ess
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Favourite Gear – My Genelec 8240s with GLM2. I had gone through a wide range of monitors to find something that would suit my room and my ear. I happened to stumble across these, which were quite rare in Australia. As soon as I tried the GLM software, I was amazed at the difference it made and pretty much moved the whole studio around and reapplied room treatment. The readings I got taught me a lot about my work space.
• Top Tip – Invest in yourself, because no one else will.
7: Francesco Mulassano
Contact – email@example.com
• Favourite Gear – The Access Virus TI2. I owned a Polar TI and a Polar TI2 at the same time – a very crazy time. Then I changed my TI for the G2. Access is one of the few brands that remains an investment, year after year.
• Top Tip – If you’re starting from scratch, look at YouTube, talk with other musicians and focus on what you want to produce. Then read the manuals/reviews, and choose one machine only and spend all your available time on it.
8: Radar Services
Contact – meetandjam.com/studios
• Favourite Gear – My newest addition: a beautiful antique Challen upright piano. It’s one of the metal-framed originals and weighs an absolute tonne, so it took
three men to move it – but overall, it was definitely worth the trouble!
• Top Tip – Spend as much time as possible learning your craft before upgrading any of your gear. You can do great mixes with just a laptop and free software –
the pros use stuff which is generally miles away from what amateurs can afford, but what makes them pros is their skillset, not what’s in their equipment cupboard.
9: Don Goliath
Web – www.dongoliath.com
• Favourite Gear – My Access Virus TI. It’s my only gear! I’m a software guy, really.
• Top Tip – Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do proper mixes in headphones. I use them all the time and my mixes rock – and I also manage to avoid any acoustics nightmares.
10: Tiko Lasola
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Favourite Gear – Amphion monitors – 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. I love to sit back and listen to music with them as much as I love creating it!
• Top Tip – Acoustic treatment is 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.
11: James Green
Contact – email@example.com
• Favourite Gear – The Korg volca sample, as you can create complex ideas on the go – such as creating melodies and breakbeats for drum’n’bass, plus it also has the ability to resynthesise samples to create strange and magical noises. Finally, it’s analogue, so it creates a nice, warm sound.
• Top Tip – Get sound proofing, some good studio monitors, good headphones (my ones are AKG K240 MKIIs and they sound great) and a decent computer. It doesn’t matter if it’s Mac or PC.
12: Talla 3
Interviewee – Tommy Jansson
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
Web – www.facebook.com/talla3production and www.talla3.com
• Favourite Gear – The FMD Electronics VOC-10 vocoder module. I use it a lot and it’s also the only one there is. I know that, as I built it 20 years ago with pieces of schematics from the early 70s, but with modern low-noise components. The idea was to build a limited run of 20, but I ran out of money when I finished the first. I fell in love with it and kept it.
• Top Tip – Stop what you are doing immediately. Use your brain and think. What is the purpose of the studio? What are you trying to achieve? If you don’t know, then restart the next day. It’s important to let things take time. I can answer this in this way after building this particular home studio. It’s my sixth or seventh home setup, and my main focus this time was not to just build a recording studio, but rather a clean place for inspiration.
13: SoundGasm Studio
Interviewee – Kyle Bryson (owner/engineer/producer)
Contact – Kyle@soundgasm.com
•Favourite Gear – Right now, it’s my Yamaha HS8 monitors. I love those monitors. Everybody loved the NS10s from
back in the day, and I wanted something close to them.
• Top Tip – The saying goes, ‘You can’t rush art’. You’re going to be making art in the studio, so take your time to perfect your art.
14: GoodLuck Music
Interviewee – Ben Peters (producer)
Contact – www.goodlucklive.com
•Favourite Gear – I love my new EVE SC407s – the definition is astonishing.
• Top Tip – There isn’t one piece of gear that will make your mixes better. Focus on how to get the best out of your gear and room. Invest in an sE Reflexion Filter – a miracle cure for recording vocals. Lastly, remember you can’t polish a turd. If you’ve recorded a rubbish take, there’s no point trying to fix it in the mix. Instead, get the artist to nail the take. I believe in pushing artists to perform beyond their expectations.
15: Kevin McGrath
Interviewee – Kevin McGrath
Contact – email@example.com
• Favourite Gear – Native Instruments Maschine, because it’s the best of both worlds (in terms of both software and hardware).
• Top Tip – You don’t always need the bells and whistles to make them sound just as good. Review everything you think you want – most of the time you get what you pay for, so don’t waste your money.
16: Silicone Music Productions
•Favourite Gear – The Trident mixer, for its warmth and effects. Another would be the AKG ADR 68k reverb – it has an amazing depth and an even greater versatility.
• Top Tip – The most important tool to master is the ear, as Paco de Lucía used to say. In the end, all that matters is what the musician wants to express, and one has to learn how to capture that moment perfectly.
17: The Freq Zone
•Favourite Gear – Tough to choose just one! I like my API console and having that console sound, but it’s hard to ignore the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor. Everyone who sees it says, ‘What the hell is that?’ and wants to hear what it does immediately. They are both great pieces of gear.
• Top Tip – Choose what’s important to you and start from there. Everything in a studio is a personal choice, from your DAW to your monitors. Where possible, try before you buy, and when it comes to more complex topics like acoustics or room design, talk to an expert who will be able to guide you through the process and make life much easier.
18: EMR Studio/MS Music Corp
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
•Favourite Gear – Can’t live without the x73 and ISA for versatility.
• Top Tip – Your room is the best plug-in. Make sure the control room and live room sound great, and everything else can wait. Good rooms will make it sound great from scratch!
19: Kooza Production Studio/Loris Venegoni
•Favourite Gear – Ableton Live. 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.
• Top Tip – 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.
20: Paquito Garcia
Interviewee Paquito Garcia
•Favourite Gear – My Moog Little Phatty beast. It’s always such a warm-sounding bass and it simply add something special to the tracks… You can basically dry your hair with a Moog bass – that’s how powerful this machine is!
• Top Tip – It would probably be just to start with one powerful hardware sampler. Make it work! Period.