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  • A genius at work:

    Don Buchla was one of the world’s most pioneering circuit designers in the field of synthesis, a man who was praised consistently for thinking outside of the box, bending the concepts of what a synthesizer should and could be. Creating some of the most intricately designed and musically inspiring machines that even to this day are making a HUGE impact on how people think about and approach synths and sound design.

    I personally think that without his input during the early formative years of electronic music, we would have a very different landscape to the rich, diverse and experimental group of musicians and manufacturers we have making synths and creating sounds today.

    A little history:

    Don’s experimental musical endeavours started back in his 20’s where he became interested in the growing music concrete scene, where physical tapes and their recorded content are spliced, manipulated and played back in odd and interesting way to create new sound and forms of experimental music.

    This earlier form of sample based composition and sound design coupled with Don’s traditional music studies set him in good stance to develop new and somewhat unusual ideas.

    In 1963 Don was commissioned to build a new type of electronic musical instrument designed for performance applications, this commission was at the request at none other than Morton Subotnik (known for his great album Silver Apples of the Moon) and Ramon Sender, both of the San Francisco Tape Music Centre.

    After raising funds from various sources, the development of the first Buchla Modular System began. The system was completed in 1965 and was dubbed as the Buchla Modular Electronic Music System. Eventually the system was moved to Mills College in 1966 where it still resides to this day.

    In the same year Don began to sell these systems, which would later be commercially known as the System 100. Even in these earlier designs Don’s unique insight into audio circuitry and human interaction with and instrument are very apparent, with a variety of alternative controllers like the TCVS-12 made available right from the beginning of the formats inception. These controllers, even in the early days of electronic music, challenged it’s users to think of new ways to control this brand new medium of music making.

    Dons vision to create new mediums in which to control electronics was always a passion project for him, even later in he’s career, Don was still developing groundbreaking concepts like the Lightning and Thunder, which in themselves later led to the 223e and the Kinesthenic input system to be developed, Don even designed an electric marimba….which current Buchla in house developer Joel Davel has a rich history with.

    Don’s initial range of Series 100 modular comprised of 30+ modules, of all unique design and function, some of Don’s key circuits were realized in these earlier modules and most of which still exist, either in their complete form like the 292e low pass gate and 259e dual VCO, or in part like the microphone preamp in the 206e which was originally its own module called the 170.

    Don eventually moved to on to create a wide array of different modular formats, synths (he designed for our friend Mr Tom Oberheim at one point), including the highly revered 200 series, that series that still stands the test of time and is even available today under the 200e series moniker, and most notably developed my favourite synth of all time, the Music Easel, which in itself is one of the most comprehensive and interesting instruments ever designed.

    So Don’s earliest work was incredibly significant in many different ways. On the East Coast Dr Bob Moog was working primarily with performers whereas Don was working more with experimental composers, these two vastly different client bases and demographics meant that their designs followed a very different path and had vast different goals and influences.

    Bob Moog’s modular designs followed the east-coast subtractive rule sets, where an oscillator tone is filtered and the harmonic content is subtracted, and then amplified by a VCA, this form of synthesis relies heavily on interaction with the filter cutoff. These types of patches would be played using a compliment B sequencer or a 953 keyboard for example, allowing the user to have very predictable and repeatable control over their patch.

    Don’s concepts followed what is now know as the west coast additive synthesis concept, where the starting position is a simple tone, such as a sine wave, which is heavily modified using frequency modulation with one VCO modifying another and passed through a low pass gate, which is a combination circuit of a low pass filter and a VCA in series, which produces more organic decay and harmonic response than your standard filtering processes. These patches we’re normally controlled by a series of complex gates & functions to form a more generative and abstract form of patch, with less repetition and more experimental results.

    Suzanne Cianni in 1971

    Let’s not argue who did what first, let’s just agree that they we owe them a great deal of gratitude for what followed their innovations. Both Bob and Don’s concepts of synthesis have played a very important role in some of the unique designs that we see today, but I think that Don’s more experimental mindset that has allowed for some of the weird and wonderful machines to come to fruition over the last decade.

    The legacy:

    You only have to take a very quick look at synthesizer market to start seeing flourishes of Don’s work and concepts in other manufacturer’s designs. I mean, let’s be serious for a moment…a good chunk of the Eurorack modules available today are essentially additive designs with roots firmly in Don’s early circuit designs:

    Verbos Electronics for example create a variety of aesthetically and sonically inspired Buchla style Eurorack modules, whilst the designs are different to Don’s they do however tip their hat to his great work. Mark Verbos actually started work building Buchla format modules, a few examples include the 258v and even he's current harmonic oscillator was also originally made for 4U as the 242v.

    Mutable instruments, whilst Olivier might disagree with me! I firmly believe that there’s some subtle nods to Don’s work in what he creates. Ripples for example, whilst it might be more of a Roland inspired filter, it does feature an on-board VCA which can be modulated at the same rate as the filter cut off to create low pass gate style sounds. Stages, which is a sequence-able modulation source feels and acts like a 250E Function Generator in some regards.

    Mutable Stages

     

    Endorpin.es, another quality Eurorack builder who has drawn constant inspiration from Buchla 200 series modular, best known for their Furthrrr Generator, a complex oscillator that oooozes west coast flair.

    Make Noise, a company near and dear to my heart! Whilst based in Asheville (down the road to Moog HQ) Antony Rolando’s designs don’t really follow the additive concepts, they instead allow for a highly experimental range of synthesis styles. It takes one listen of the 0-coast to get an idea of where the oscillator idea came from…

    Catalyst Audio, a small boutique manufacturer from the US build incredibly Eurorack format replicas of some of the Buchla 100 series.

    And the list goes on, but it’s not just Eurorack that’s drawing inspiration from Don’s inspiring circuits and synthesis concepts.

    Arturia Minibrute 2, whist the synths main voicing architecture sits firmly in its subtractive ways, you might notice that it’s triangle wave has something called a metalizer..which acts and sounds just like the timbral control section of the Music Easel or a 261.

    Landscape Stereo field, this little box of awesomeness even looks like a Buchla design! And whilst its architecture don’t really fit the additive format, without Don’s concepts of alternative controllers this thing could have ended up looking quite different.

    Bastl Instruments Kastle 1.5, these guys definitely tick the box for "far out designs" the Kastle 1.5 is a very complex additive synth with a cluster of interesting function generators and modulation capabilities. It's additive voicing tips it's hat to some of the more complex voices you can achieve with a Buchla system.

    The list of designs inspired by additive synthesis concepts is literally quite endless, these are just a few things that draw inspiration. Don’s experimental and unique mindset that has inspired people to go beyond what is considered the norm, who knows?

    Thankfully Don and Bob’s concepts permeated modern Synth designer’s mindsets and frankly I’m quite pleased they did.

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  •  

    Arturia are really starting to get a feel for that their users want, sure they've made a couple of questionable Creations and additions to their product lineup recently....but that can all be forgiven with the announcement of the DrumBrute Impact.

     

    Arturia DrumBrute Impact Doof doof doof doof

    You might be asking yourself "but why?" and "what's different?" and let me stop you right there. DrumBrute Impact, whilst I shares a similar look to the original DrumBrute it is in fact completely re-voiced and sounds remarkably different. It's also a lot smaller and quite a lot cheaper at just £265.

    Impact contains 10 analogue voices, which are controlled by a remarkable sequencer (something which Arturia are well known for). The sequencer can do complex poly-rhythms in the same way you can on Beatstep Pro V2.0 and it also allows you to sequencer lock the colour settings for certain voices.

    "colour settings? what are they?" Well, a new feature to the Impact is the colour control, which effectively serves as a secondary voice for the main voice you're programming, this colour handles a different function depending on the voice you've selected and, as mentioned above, you can chose on a per-step basis, when that colour change takes effect. Very handy for making linear grooves and beats sound more alive.

    So how does it sound. Well from the videos I've watched so far...it sounds a lot like a meatier 808, have a look at the video below from MylarMelodies and see what you think?

     

     

    As you can probably tell from the video, the form factor is quite a bit smaller than the original DrumBrute, but somehow they've managed to cram in a group of dedicated outputs, analogue and MIDI sync, full size pots and full size pads for more expressive playing.

    DrumBrute Impact is a very welcome addition to the drum machine world and is a superb option for anyone starting out or anyone that just wants a head-melter of a drum machine without destroying the bank.

    And it's just £265.....I'm always taken back how affordable it is to get into making music with hardware nowadays, when I started making music with hardware back in 2010 there really wasn't much around and now if you've got a couple of hundred quid, you can build a really great sounding setup and get playing out.

    Impact is shipping this Summer, for more information drop me (Synth-Tom) a line.

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  •  

     

    New Audient iD44 Available

     
    UK based audio manufacturer Audient are now shipping their NEW iD44 Audio Interface with over £500 of free software when registering using their ARC Software Hub.

    This new desktop interface features 4 Class-A Audient mic preamps, the same as in their console range, and with 20-in 24-out there are many configurations possible with this flexible AD/DA desktop converter.
     

    iD44 KMR Audient Front NEW Audient iD44
       

    • 20-in, 24-out Desktop Interface 4 x Class-A Audient Console Mic Preamplifiers
    • Class-Leading AD/DA Converters
    • 2 x ADAT Inputs & Outputs for Digital Expansion
    • 2 x Discrete JFET Instrument Inputs
    • 2 x Fully Balanced Inserts
    • 2 x Independent Stereo Headphone Outputs
    • Main and Alt Speaker Outputs ScrollControl
    • 3 x User Defined Function Keys Dedicated Talkback, Dim and Cut Controls
    • Low Latency DSP Mixer
    • Word Clock Output
    • USB-C Connectivity (USB2.0 Compliant)
    • 24bit/96khz
    • All-Metal Enclosure
    • Over £500 worth of plugins and software free with ARC

     
    The iD44 has two JFET DI inputs which behave the way an input stage of a tube amp may react, allowing Bass, Guitar or Synth direct connectivity to help speed up your recording workflow.

    There are balanced insert points for mix down or while tracking through your favourite outboard kit, and two stereo headphone outputs allowing for different cue mixes independently through their own DAC.
     

    KMR Audio iD44 Audient Rear iD44 Rear Panel

     

    New iD MIXER

     
    The iD Mixer has been created with smooth workflow and ease of use the primary functions. You can customise the channels, create up to 4 cue mixes, assign function button control and save any of your layouts and setups.

    The new talkback functionality allows any audio source to be used so you could assign and use your built-in Laptop mic to avoid using one of the Audient mic-preamps. This is an elegant solution.
     

    KMR Audio iD Mixer Audient NEW iD Mixer

     

    Over £500 worth of Software with Audient ARC Software Hub

     
    When you purchase an Audient iD44 and register you gain access to the Audient ARC Software Hub which provides over £500 worth of software free.
     

     

     

    More Information

     

    For more information on the iD44 as well as the rest of the Audient range - including the flagship ASP8024-Heritage edition console - please click the image below or contact us here

    KMR Audio iD44 with Mac

     

     

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  •  

    It's time to get some Komplete in your life. Starting 01/07/2018 there's some downright disgusting prices on Komplete 11 and Komplete 11 Ultimate, with savings up to 25%! This offer is only available whilst stocks last.

    This means you can get NI's collection of world class instruments, samples, effects and more from just £359! And couple it with a purchase of Komplete Kontrol Keyboard or Maschine and you're getting into the NI ecosystem for even less than ever before.

    Komplete is the benchmark by which all other software instruments are measured by, comprising of some of the most intricately designed instruments and effects ever including: Form, Battery, Massive, Monark, Absynth, FM8, Kontour, Kontakt and my personal favorite Reaktor.

    Komplete provides all the tools you need for sound design, production and songwriting, in a single software package, and NI's hardware range give you the tightly integrated controller options for giving you the best workflow possible.

    To see the Komplete list of deals available, click here.

    For more information regarding Native Instruments Komplete, speak to our in house NI Specialist Li Daguerre.

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  •  

    KMR Audio Big Bear Audio

     

    Big Bear Audio

     
    Big Bear Audio is a London based design house set up by audio designer and engineer who previously worked at Thermionic Culture, Charlie Slee.

    Charlie has developed two Class-A 500 Series preamp modules with access for the interchangeable DIYRE Colour Slot Cards, allowing customisation of the sound.

    Big Bear Audio have released two extremely high quality, clean preamp modules called the MP1 and MP1+.

    The MP1+ features a Lundahl transformer on the output stage, as well as an Elma stepped attenuator, and the MP1 has an electronically balance output with Burr Brown chip.

    Both modules have front panel controls of : input select, phase control, colour module bypass and +48v phantom power - and have been designed with a modern 'Tron-esque' style faceplate - so you won't lose it in a darkened studio!

    KMR MP1 Big Bear Audio MP1
    KMR MP1+ Big Bear Audio MP1+

     

    Colour Modules:

     
    The colour modules simply click into place allowing a simple and flexible way to change your sound, allowing experimentation with different designs. Should you want to change your preamp to say an API or Neve inspired version, you just click the module into place and you're good to go!

    Below are the current colour modules available from KMR..with more to follow!

     

    • DIYRE DOA Discrete Opamp RED-25 - inspired by the sound of the API 2520 Opamps
    KMR DIYRE DOARED25 DIYRE DOA Discrete Opamp RED-25
    • DIYRE Distortastudio - designed to recreate the dirty yet musical sound of old 4-track portable recorders
    KMR DIYRE Distorastudio DIYRE Distortastudio
    • DIYRE Colouruptor - designed to add the smooth distortion of optical compression
    KMR DIYRE Colouruptor DIYRE Colouruptor
    • DIYRE Colourphone - designed to recreate the old style telephone effect sound
    KMR DIYRE Colourphone DIYRE Colourphone
    • DIYRE CTX - adds a custom-wound Cinemag transformer to the signal path.
    KMR DIYRE CTX DIYRE CTX
    • HRK British Console - inspired by the sound of vintage Neve mic preamps.
    DIYRE BRITISH Console HRK British Console
    • DIYRE AWB95 Cassette Tone - inspired by the sound of worn out cassettes.
    KMR DIYRE awb95 DIYRE AWB95 Cassette Tone
    • DIYRE 15IPS - recreates the sound of high-quality analogue tape at 15IPS
    KME DIYRE 15IPS DIYRE 15IPS

     

    For more information on all the Big Bear Audio products and colour modules please click the link below or contact us @ KMR Audio

    KMR Big Bear Audio

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  •  

    KMR Audio Cliff Maag

    Designer Talk : Cliff Maag | maag Audio

     

    Cliff Maag Sr is the owner and designer of Maag Audio, a small boutique family-run audio company based in Utah, USA. Cliff designed the highly regarded NTI Nightpro 6-band EQ back in the 1990's which was the first product to feature his 'AIRBAND' EQ. I caught up with Cliff Sr to find out more about how this sound has developed over the years.

     

    KMR : Were you always into recording gear or did you start life as a musician?

    CM : I started as a musician singing in a dance band in the 60s, writing songs and having a desire to capture and record the music.

     

    KMR : I know you became a successful Audio Engineer and Mix Engineer, how did this come about, and when did you decide to build/run your own studio?

    CM : In 1974, I had the chance to go to a recording studio for the first time. What an experience, especially for someone who loves music! I was immediately hooked and soon after built my own studio to so I could create my own music. Every engineer and musician can remember their first studio experience!

     

    KMR : You still run the Record Lab Studios, was it the need for certain equipment that got you into designing the original Air Band product?

    CM : Yes, it was really after I acquired an original AKG C12, a Twin Servo mic-pre and an LA2A. I had an amazing vocal chain with what I call "air" on a vocal, so then I had to have better mic pres and EQs for my 24 track recording. I had three choices really:

    1. Buy a new console

    2. Buy a used console

    3. Update my old custom console

    Because of my tight budget, I had to update my console. This is where the "AIRBAND" Mic Pre, EQ, and MAGNUM-K came from.

     

    KMR : How did you take that step into equipment design, as it’s quite a bold move from simply using gear to building your own?

    CM : I learned a lot when I built and wired the studio and I learnt about the circuits in the console by those I hired to service it - so I just went for it!

    I had a great mic pre to compare to, so I developed my own. I wanted to hear the high end in dynamic and ribbon mics. The "AIRBAND" was born in the mic pre I developed for my custom console as it opened up the AIR in all of my microphones.

    Then I developed a better EQ for my console and I had to have the "AIRBAND" in it as well. I also modified one channel in the console with a compressor to control only 2.5k in the EQ. I did it for the sole purpose of controlling the edge on female vocals and I called it the "MAGNUM-K".

     

    KMR : What was the response when you first the presented the Air Band? I remember hearing about this ‘Air Band’ EQ in the 1990’s when I was beginning as a tape op in the UK.

    CM : The first time I showed it was in the early 90's and was in Nashville, Tennessee. The first to hear it was Producer Ed Seay, Vice President and Producer at Capitol Records in Nashville Paul Worley and Mastering Engineer Denny Purcell. All three endorsed it and wow, what an exciting time for me!

     

    KMR : When did you decide to create Maag Audio?

    CM : We created Maag Audio in 2009 and launched our first product in 2011.

     

    KMR : Was the EQ4M to provide a mastering grade option - or to replace those old NTI / NightPro’s that everybody was still searching for?

    CM : It was to offer a mastering EQ to match or improve the specs and standards of our original NTI Eq3, which I’m convinced we accomplished.

     

    Maag Audio Gear

     

    KMR : The MAGNUM-K is a new direction for you, even though I've learnt that you created this a long time ago, was putting it into a rack always your idea?

    CM : I had it in mind since the 1980's and it started with one modified channel compressor EQ in my custom console, designed to take the edge off female vocals. I also built two rack mount multi-band compressors when I modified the console. They are still in service today.

    As I developed the Maag Audio 500 series gear we gained the learning and understanding required to make the Maag Audio MAGNUM-K come to life. I love this compressor! It has complemented my recordings in such a big way. I couldn’t live without it at this point.

     

     

    KMR : What has been the biggest challenge in getting Maag Audio off the ground and into the hands of mix engineers and producers?

    CM : The biggest challenge was deciding to take it on again in the first place. My son Ryan had to hound me to get back into designing and manufacturing audio gear but once I made that leap, I haven’t looked back. It’s been an absolute blast and I have loved the challenge.

     

    KMR : What has also been the biggest positive from it all, as I’m sure seeing and hearing your designs in use is such an amazing feeling?

    CM : For me, the biggest positive is to be working and developing new products with my three partners, my two sons Cliff Jr and Ryan and Travis Allen. It is so humbling to hear the designs in use and to talk to those who use them and depend on the gear like I do.

     

    KMR : You partnered with Plug-in Alliance and also UA to provide software versions of the EQ4 and EQ2, do you think this is the model for designers these days, to provide hardware and software versions?

    CM : It’s been a good model for us. I think it really depends on the type of product and desired end-state. Having hardware and software complement each other has been ideal. Dirk Ulrich at Plugin Alliance modelled both the Plugin Alliance and UAD versions. He is a great partner and friend.

    EQ2 Plug-in KMR

    EQ4 UAD KMR Audio

     

    KMR : Where are your hardware products made, are they all in the USA - it seems that Maag Audio is has a family business feel which is always great to see...

    CM : We build them all in the USA. It is a family business. There are four of us and we are the four worker bees too.

    KMR Audio | Maag

     

    KMR : Last question, and one very hypothetical! If your studio was burning down… what 3 things would you grab and why?

    CM : I would grab my C12... I love that mic!!

    Yamaha C7 grand piano... I love that piano!!

    Hammond B3 and Leslie cabinet... I love that organ!! Although I would need to transform into the Incredible Hulk to make this happen.

    Obviously all the Maag Audio gear I could hold as well!!!

     

    KMR : Thanks for the interview

    CM : Thank you!

     

    For Maag Audio products @ KMR Audio please click the link below :

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  •  

    KORE Studios | KMR Audio

     

    KORE Studios | Interview

     

    KORE Studios is a London based recording studio which was created and set up by owner George Apsion back in 2004, artists like Amy Winehouse, Florence and The Machine, Magic Numbers, Paloma Faith, Stereophonics and Plan B have recorded here. I caught up with George to find out how, when many studios were closing in the UK, he managed to create a successful, popular recording studio very much still in demand.

     

    KMR : When did you open up Kore - and what made you think 'I want to open a studio', at the time when many other established Studios were closing?

    GA : Kore opened in 2004 but I think I initially had the idea in 2000. I had been in bands and started to get an idea of how to record demos at home and I just weirdly one night decided I wanted to work in a studio and eventually run my own.

     

    KMR : How did you start off?

    GA : I got a job as a runner at a studio called Westside Studios, which was in Holland Park, London that was run by Langer and Winstanley *. I was very lucky I got a job there and was there for three years first as the runner, then assistant engineer route.

    *Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley recently received the 2018 MPG Outstanding Contribution Award for their work with Madness, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dexys Midnight Runners, Bush, a-ha, Morrissey and Blur amongst many others. 

    All the while I guess I was studying and figuring out if it was worth doing, or if there was a gap in the market whilst talking to many people and making contacts. I think it became clear that whilst the bigger studios were struggling and the smaller more basic studios weren’t really relevant anymore there was sort of this middle ground where you’d need:

    a.) Good Soundproofing, because you couldn’t always record a drum kit at home

    b.) Good Acoustics

    c.) Good signal path - good preamps and compressors

    d.) Monitors you could trust.

    All bundled in with a good service attitude like you would get in a traditional recording studio. Not just recording with some guy smoking a joint and recording as-and-when the mood takes them!

     

    KMR : You were aiming for a slightly more professional angle than that!

    GA : Exactly! slightly more professional haha! - So yes that was the idea for the studio, and you know at the beginning it was slow - as it’s very difficult to talk somebody into a recording studio without them having had any word of mouth feedback about you. If you’re starting from zero it’s very hard, so we did the cheap deals so we could to keep the momentum going, and we were very lucky as I had one or two very good mentors from my time at Westside, one of whom was Tony Platt.*

    Tony was brilliant, he booked us and gave us lots of great feedback and started putting the word out and then it sort of rolled on from there really.

    *Tony Platt recorded AC/DC's Back In Black and Highway To Hell as well as working with Foreigner, Gary Moore, the Cult, Marillion and Iron Maiden to name but a few, after starting his career at Trident Studios and then Island Studios.

     

    KMR : Did you find being in West London was key to making your location accessible?

    GA : A lot of it was obviously price dependent and, rather than lease or rent, I was in a position to actually put money down on a freehold building. I was initially looking further out at places like Park Royal, but there was nothing really out there, no restaurants and it feels pretty soulless.

    I guess the biggest factor was always going to need to be close to where I live which is West London, and I’ve always felt that there’s been lot’s going on in that part of London historically. There's Universal and there were labels like Mercury, Decca, and whilst many of these aren’t here anymore, at that time there were a few studios, and a little creative industry.

     

    KMR : There used to be the Guitar Institute, Bass Institute, Drum Tech and you had/have Stanley House and Westpoint Studios nearby too?

    GA : Yes, and two doors up we had the record label Cooking Vinyl so there was a good creative atmosphere in the area, so we felt it was a good fit.

     

    KMR : When you’d gone through layouts for the studio, what did you focus on first? Was it the acoustic space or the equipment, as sometimes you have to compromise when you start off a new venture?

    GA : In order of 1, 2, 3  - it was Acoustics and Isolation that was number one, they go hand in hand. Number two was wiring. We wanted to make sure it was wired really well and make sure no gremlins would come up further down the line, we spent quite a significant portion of the equipment budget on wiring.

    Then number three was the main equipment which was the minimum we felt could get away with! I think we had a pair of Neve preamps and a GML EQ, and then the rest were things like the Audient console and a Pro Tools setup, as we started off with an Audient desk.

     

    KORE Studios Live Room KORE Studios | Live Room

     

    KMR : The Audient ASP8024 is a great desk and gives a proper console workflow, why did you choose this for your room initially?

    GA : It was very easy to pick up the routing and understand the workflow especially for anybody coming in. It was very reliable it never went down or misbehaved, which is what we needed. That was the first twelve years, and I loved that desk. I would never say a bad word about that desk - it worked great for us.

     

    KMR : You changed to an API 3208, what made you go API route rather than say Neve or SSL?

    GA : I think the main thing is, there aren’t a great number of them in the UK. There’s RAK and a couple of semi-commercial places, so that was the first thing. I was also really focusing on ‘selling that sound’ - so rather than just being a name on a list of studios, I wanted to stand out. I wanted people to book us not because of price but because we have an API. It becomes a destination thing " I want to do my drums through an API ", so come to us.

     

    KMR : When did you install it, was it 3-4 years ago?

    GA : I think it was 2014. API are fairly unique in the UK and we’ve always had bits and pieces of API outboard and certainly the mic preamps and EQ’s always got used, so it became a no-brainer to get the API 3208 (32 channel) console.

     

    KMR : When you upgraded the desk, did you update other equipment at the same time or just do it bit by bit?

    No, it’s just been a gradual process really, it’s just a slow process of acquisition. As you know I’m just a lunatic for it and I’ll never stop!

     

    KORE Studios Outboard | KMR KORE Studios | Outboard

     

    KMR : Talking of gear, I know you have some amazing old ribbon mics, the Milodeum ribbons? Where did you source these from?

    GA : It just came down to scouring around on eBay, and looking for weird things. Just a lot of weird funky eBay stuff that I get restored by this fantastic guy called Stewart Tavener, who has just brought his own range of products called EXTINCT Audio, which are very good ( www.extinctaudio.co.uk ) - you should check them out.

    Lo-fi stuff, old ribbons, the jewels in the crown are the old French Ribbon mics, they were the French equivalent of the RCA ribbons. I’ve also got a pair of U67’s from the Manor, which came from the Townhouse Sale and were used on Tubular Bells.

    KORE mics KMR

    U67 Kore Studios KMR

     

    KMR : Where do you use the Melodium Ribbons mainly, is it as room or ambience?

    GA : Sometimes it’s on room, or horns and a few times on vocals, I did a very throwback 1940’s swing album a few years ago, so we use them all over that, they can be an effect mic - or if you want some nice bottom end with not too much zingy top.

     

    KMR : Now at KORE you have a Studio B as well, how did this come about?

    GA : Originally we had that as the office, and it's sort of grown up over the last 2-3 years. We had a much smaller cupboard room at the front which was an editing suite, so we changed it around, as the idea of having an office didn’t seem worth it - when it kind of follows you around these days on your mobile!

    So we made the bigger room into a studio. It's really nice as it has natural light and has a different vibe and we put up acoustic panels from GIK and tuned the room up well.

     

    KORE Studio B KMR KORE Studios | Studio B

     

    KMR : Is that mostly a mixing and overdub kind of space?

    GA : It’s mainly writing and mixing yes, but there's a lot of mastering equipment in there. I do a lot of my mixing up there as I like going into a different room to mix than where I tracked.

     

    KMR : I think it’s a good option if you can do it, track in one studio and mix in another, it can help you focus on getting the parts right and captured in one place and then focus on making the record in the other...

    GA : Yes I agree. I know that may sound odd mixing in one room and tracking in another, but there's something for me that helps give a different perspective on it all.

     

    KMR : Looking at your Studio B you have a console in there called the Tweed. Where did that come from?

    GA : That Tweed was originally on eBay and it's a Scottish desk company set up by two engineers who used to work from Neve, and left to set up their own company.

    It has the Neve ideas, similar circuitry and sound to the Neve broadcast stuff. It’s fabulous and has big Marinair transformers inside it. It's great for stem mixing as it has stereo inputs and has a big fat, thick sound to it, which is a nice alternative to the API. 

     

    KMR : It gives you a great balance - two different flavours in one studio.

    GA : Yes, this is a mellower and a darker desk, which for my tastes I like to mix through.

     

    KMR : Where do you think most of your clients come from these days, is it producers or engineers or bands that choose KORE?

    GA : What we've tended to find is you get 3-4 producers who get comfortable with you, so as long as they’re busy - then you’re busy! Over time of course they may want to try somewhere new or move into somewhere else but, what we tend to find is they make up the majority of the work throughout the year, and then the independent stuff fits around that.

     

    KMR : You’ve been used by Softube and UA for developing the UAD2 Marshall Plug-ins recorded by Tony Platt at your studio. Is that something you can see yourself moving into more, working with software developers when requiring studio spaces to record in?

    GA : Yes of course - it’s great promotion for the studio, as your name is on the tin. The fantastic thing about running a studio today is the clients want to do to the marketing for you. There's Instagram, YouTube, Twitter etc and everybody all wanting to take pictures and make videos and post them for you. When we first started off there was only the Myspace thing going and the desire for generating content wasn’t there - unlike today!

     

    KMR : What's some of the most recent work and artists you’ve been proud to host?

    GA : The recent Anna Calvi album produced by Nick Launay.

     

    KMR : You’ve obviously done a great job of building up and providing a studio for what clients need, and to see the variety of artists who have recorded at KORE must be fulfilling?

    GA : Yes, anybody booking a studio always want to see the client list, and to see a few famous names on it definitely helps. Once you get a few clients in, and every time we’ve had a band or artist do well, we’ve noticed a spike in usage afterwards, which is great.

     

    KMR : Last question, and one very hypothetical - If your studio was burning down …what 3 things would you grab and why?

    GA : Haha, can this be in pairs?

    You can get whatever you can carry - and people are all out already!

    GA : ok, what would I take that I could lift ..probably be the Pair of U67’s 

    A stereo AKG C24 tube valve mic…that would come with me

    ...and I think probably a very sexy tube distortion box, that you should check out actually, called the Kerwax Replica it’s a fabulous, fabulous box, I use that on everything!

     

    Kerwax Replica KMR KORE Studio | Kerwax Replica

     

    KMR : Thanks for the interview George!

    GA :  Thanks!

     

    KMR Audio KORE

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  • Sonnox are beginning the festivities early this year with a fantastic Buy One Get One Free offer. As of the start of November, simply purchase any of their plug-ins from us, register it with Sonnox and receive a voucher via e-mail for the value of the plug-in you bought. It’s that simple.

    Sonnox Buy One Get One Free Offer

    Sonnox need no introduction and their vast range of plug-ins are considered indispensible by countless engineers and producers throughout the world whether they work in music production, broadcast, post production or mastering. From their superb Sonnox Oxford EQ and Dynamics which were first developed for the original Sony digital consoles, the ever-so powerful SuprEsser and SuprEsser DS which are possibly the most flexible de-essers on the market, or even the incredible Inflator which is being used on anything from single instruments to masters just to add some life, level and excitement to any source.

    Plug-ins included in that offer:

    Sonnox plug-ins are crucial tools for any engineer serious about their sound and there’s never been a better time to add any of their high-quality offerings to your arsenal. If you would like to know more, contact us on sales @kmraudio.com, on 020 8445 2446 or simply visit us in our North London Showroom or Richmond office.

    By Paul Lavigne

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  • Barefoot Sound has announced the release of the Barefoot MicroMain45 3-way active studio monitors.

    Barefoot MM45 Active Studio Monitors
    The Barefoot Sound MicroMain45 takes on many of the designs of the flagship MiniMain12 studio monitors including signal path, amplifier and driver technologies to deliver similar performance at a fraction of the cost.
    The Barefoot Sound MM45 follows the success and proven design of the ubiquitous Barefoot MicroMain 27 which is being used in hundreds of studios worldwide and championed by legendary mixers and producers such as Michael Brauer, Butch Vig and many others. Now the Barefoot MM45 brings the sound and detail of its predecessors at a size and price accessible to project studios and small studios alike.

    Although the Barefoot MM45 does not feature the dual force cancelling drivers and MEME DSP technology of its forebears, the MicroMain45 sports the same 1” ring radiator tweeter complemented by Hypex amplification as the Barefoot’s flagship monitors. A new 8” has been specifically designed to provide the best bass reproduction.

    A stripped down version of the MiniMain12 the MicroMain45 is the most affordable studio monitor to date by Barefoot Sound and delivers the same quality that has made Barefoot one of the most most popular and revered studio monitor manufacturers today.

    The Barefoot MicroMain45 are available to pre-order from KMR Audio and retail at £4999 inc VAT for a pair.

    By Paul Lavigne

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  • Polish Manufacturer Bettermaker has just announced the 542 Remote and 502P Remote Plug-in controlled 500-series EQ modules.

    Bettermaker 502P Remote and 542 Remote Announced

    Featuring the exact same circuitry as the EQ542 and the EQ502P, both modules are controlled only via the dedicated VST, AU, RTAS and AAX plug-in allowing for quick session recall and automation directly within your DAW of choice.

    The 502P Remote and 542 Remote are both true-analogue stereo EQs with the 502P Remote being inspired by legendary Pultec designs and the 542 Remote a truly transparent four-band parametric EQ with both a 24dB/oct High-Pass and a 12dB/oct Low-Pass filters. Both units are extremely powerful and ideal tools for mixing and mastering.

    Both modules feature a minimalist faceplate with only a USB socket which connects to your computer for plug-in control. The digital and analogue sections are separated by steel screen isolators ensuring no crossover between both sections.

    Bettermaker EQ542 Remote Key Features:

    • Stereo Parametric section, two parametric filters offered in combined, matched stereo.
    • High pass section, 24 dB/oct filter with selectable frequency
    • Low pass section, 12 dB/oct filter with selectable frequency
    • USB link to use the EQ’s just as you would use a plugin, including Automation.
    • Free AU, VST, RTAS, (AAX soon) 32 & 64 bit plugin controller
    • Steel screen isolators for maximum separation of digital and analogue sections
    • You can connect up to 99 EQ542′s to one D.A.W. and control them with dedicated plugins.

    Bettermaker EQ502P Remote Key Features:

    • Stereo Pultec section- Shelf filters based upon legendary constructions, offered in combined, matched stereo, with all the features including separate boost and attenuation knobs.
    • USB link to use the EQ’s just as you would use a plugin, including Automation.
    • AU, VST, RTAS (32 & 64 bit) supported A/B comparing function
    • Steel screen isolators for maximum separation of digital and analogue sections.
    • Frequency response: 5Hz to 100kHz (-0.5dB)
    • Dynamic range: more than 106 dB
    • S/N ratio: more than 104 dB
    • THD+N: less than 0.004%
    • Channels: 2
    • Weight: 0,5kg
    • Input impedance: 10k Ohm unbalanced, 20k Ohm balanced
    • Output impedance: 100 Ohm unbalanced, 200 Ohm balanced
    • Max input level: +24dBu balanced or +18dBu unbalanced
    • Max output level: +24dBu balanced or +18dBu unbalanced
    • Unity gain: balanced: 0dB, unbalanced: -6dB
    • Clip detector: present P EQ low freq. range: 20, 30, 60, 100Hz
    • P EQ high freq. range: 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 16 kHz
    • P EQ high cut freq: 5, 10, 20 kHz 6db/oct

     

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