Wiltshire, England (February 7, 2006)--Real World Studios recently installed a new custom-built SSL XL 9000 K Series console in its main studio, The Big Room. The residential facility, which is owned by SSL co-owner Peter Gabriel, hasn't had a face-lift of this magnitude since it opened in 1988.
Nearly a year ago, Real World Studios started negotiating the purchase of a new console for The Big Room with the intention of equipping it for 5.1 and high-resolution audio so that it could handle more complex productions. As the order was placed, SSL revealed that the company was being put up for sale. Rather than canceling the order, Gabriel decided to buy the company.
Alongside the installation of the new console, The Big Room has also had its monitoring and acoustics upgraded for 5.1 surround sound. The new desk may be large but thanks to the dimensions of The Big Room, there is still plenty of space. Its shape copies the U-configuration of the studio's previous SSL G Series console and it is positioned so that it works well ergonomically, with everything in easy reach of the operator.
The XL 9000 K provides the dual benefits of a full 5.1 surround architecture and the increased bandwidth and resolution needed for DVD-Audio and SACD. These were important consideration for Peter Gabriel, who creates the majority of his music in surround, with stereo handled as a separate interpretation. Currently working on music for this year's World Cup as well as a number of movie scores, Gabriel said it is "the sonic quality" of SSL consoles that inspires him.
"At a time when many top-class studios are scaling down or closing their business, we still believe that there's room for the extraordinary," he commented. "If your studio is unique and makes the best sounding equipment available, there are artists who will be attracted. As an artist I have made most of my records on SSL consoles. I have been a big fan since I was introduced to SSL in the '80s. When I heard SSL was for sale, it was both my and Dave Engelke's enthusiasm as users that encouraged us to invest in the company. An SSL desk makes sure all the effort put into making music gets reproduced on the record."
Real World's studio manager, Owen Leech, said the choice of console for The Big Room reflects the studio's determination to stay ahead in the UK residential studio market.
"This is a very exciting development for Real World and one that we have been eagerly anticipating for a long time," he said. "We have always been known as a musician's studio and this is undoubtedly the best sounding console on the market. Being able to offer full 5.1 surround mixing and sound-to-picture facilities is vitally important, because it allows us to maintain our reputation as the UK's premier residential recording facility."
Antony David, SSL's managing director, added: "We are honored that Peter has chosen the XL 9000 K for the Big Room at Real World. He may be the guy who liked the company so much he bought it, but trust me--Real World still had to pay for their console. Our valued shareholder will receive the same care and attention we give to all our recording studio customers."
Real World will also be transforming its smaller second studio, The Production Room, by installing an SSL AWS 900 Analogue Workstation System. This complements the studio's existing workstation system and, because it is so compact, will create enough space to build a voiceover booth.
"The Production Room will be completed by the Spring of 2006," Leech added. "While we're in building mode, we're also opening a demo studio, which will be attached to our existing rehearsal facilities. The range and breadth of facilities offered will allow us to take a project from pre-production right through to completion.
"We've been incredibly busy during 2005, so finding time to revamp the control room was tricky," Leech concluded. "We had a natural break over Christmas and decided to get the job done then. The Big Room re-opened in mid-January and is booked through to the end of March."
Solid State Logic
Real World Studios