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New studio gear!

New studio gear!

I thought it was about time to add some gear to the studio equipment list and there was some spare cash in the bank account so I decided on a bit of a splurge! First off is the TC Electronic Powercore, a DSP effects engine that has, unfortunately, been discontinued. Why get one then? I hear you ask….. Well, we used to have the PCI version years ago and ever since getting rid of it I have missed one reverb plugin that I just haven’t been able to replace – plus being discontinued means they are going dead cheap on eBay right now! The item gives you 14 bundled plugins including the awesome Classicverb as well as Character and a rather nifty dynamic EQ that no other native plugins come close to. The next item is the Cloudlifter CL-2, a pre-preamp that raises the level of dynamic and passive ribbon microphones by around 25dB, allowing a lot more level for these quiet mics. One of my best mics is the Electrovoice RE-20 but it has a low output, meaning that you have to use loads of gain on the preamp. Look out for me using a lot more dynamic microphones for vocal recording duties from now on!! I got a cracking deal on the unit as well by shopping locally at Unity Audio – check them out. Also in the list were some plugins in the UAD sale: we now have the EMT 140 plate plugin for more juicy reverb, the SPL Transient Designer and also the Little Labs IBP phase plugin. Finally is the créme de la créme:...
What’s in your API lunchbox?

What’s in your API lunchbox?

Threecircles Recording Studio is now the proud owner of an API 6B 500-series lunchbox. So what’s that all about then?? The lunchbox system was developed by API to house their series of modules, including famous EQs and compressors such as the API 550a, 550b & 560 EQs and the 527 compressor. The great thing is that you can mix and match which modules you want, to create your own collection of processors in a convenient, portable, powered rack unit. The choice of modules available is staggering, with heavyweights such as Neve and SSL getting involved with their own 500-series modules such as the famous 1073 preamp from Neve and the SSL series EQ and dynamics. The first module I chose was the Elysia Xpressor, a Mono/Stereo compressor that is getting a whole lot of love online, especially on the Gearslutz forum for it’s transparent compression and high-end sound. The unit is a workhorse bus-compressor from www.cutterweldermaestro.com, meaning it will sound great on a drum sub-mix and even on the whole stereo mix thanks to it’s built-in high-pass filter meaning that the compressor doesn’t over-react to low-end material such as kick drums and bass guitar. The Xpressor also has a blend control so you can choose between a mixture of dry sound or compressed sound giving you access to instant parallel compression – real mix glue potential! So what’s next to fill the 4 empty spaces? I have my eye on several potential candidates – the problem is that I can see myself soon needing another lunchbox rack…hmmmmm….. Lindell Audio make a rather nice Pultec-style passive EQ for a very...
New studio plugins

New studio plugins

So I finally took the plunge and invested in a new UAD 2 Quad PCI card. “A What?” I hear you say? Its a processor that sits in my Mac Pro and allows me to use lots of lovely plugins! More importantly it takes all the heavy lifting away from the native system so you can run many more plugins without taxing the computer’s CPU. This means that I can run biger mixes with higher track counts and more processing – a good thing! The UAD comes bundled with 1176, LA-2A and Pultec plugins – all very nice (I have 3 hardware 1176s – very nice!) but I have also purchased the Classic Compressor Bundle – emulations of the dbx 160 VU, the LA-3A – just about my favourite compressor, and the revered Fairchild 670. “The What?” I hear you say? The Fairchild 670 is a vintage mono compressor from ye olde studio days that was used extensively at EMI studios (Abbey Road to you and me) by the Beatles amongst others. The units weigh in at a gut-busting 65lbs and cost around £30,000 on the used market so I’m not likely to be buying a real unit anytime soon. The good thing now is that I can use as many emulations of the Fairchild as the UAD will allow – 88 according to UAD’s website! The Fairchild 670 from UAD is modelled on the unit housed at Ocean Way Recording in LA as well so sounds pretty good… The other plugins I have invested in recently are the VTM – Virtual Tape Machine – emulations from Slate Digital....
Studio upgrades

Studio upgrades

Just a quick note to let people know of some improvements that have been made to the recording studio recently. We have bought a new 40-input DDA FMR console to replace the old Mackie 32-buss desk that did us proud for a number of years. The new desk sounds absolutely lovely and has some great preamps (DDA went on to found Audient!). The desk also has a lovely EQ and generally more polished sound quality compared to the Mackie so fun times ahead! New plugin bundles have been added to the control room as well. We now have the Slate Digital Trigger plugin for excellent drum replacement, as well as the company’s VCC vintage console emulation for some nice SSL, Neve, Trident, RCA and API flavours in the mix. Also added to the main mac rig are plugins from McDSP – we now have their amazing Analogue Channel plugin to give extra tape and console saturation to add some nice warmth to the recording/mixing. The other exciting difference in the control room is the addition of three 1176 compressors. All three have been made on site and we have two black-face 1176 LN revision D clones from Hairball Audio as well as a blue-strip silver-face 1176 Revision A clone. We have been covering the latest build stages in the blog section HERE. All sound very tasty indeed an can give a real analogue flavour on the front end of any mic chain. Recent uses have been on Kick, Snare and mono room mic, as well as vocals so expect to see them on your next visit! Also in the...

Studio has officially reopened!

Studio Improvements Finished! After what seemed like an interminable amount of time (6 weeks!) Threecircles Audio has now officially reopened! We now boast a programming room with a 24″ iMac, Apogee Duet convertors and Logic Studio. We also have various synths and samplers for you to use. Check back soon for rates for the programing room. We now also have a lovely lounge area with integrated kitchen facilities boasting natural light. The programming room and lounge are also fully connected with the control room meaning that we can record sound sources from anywhere in the complex. We can also send the control room mix to the lounge to listen to mixes on a consumer Hi Fi system. We also have a rather posh lav, complete with it’s own vaulted ceiling! A prize goes to the first band wanting to record in...