Producer and studio owner Paul Savage has upgraded his Chem19 Studios with a Solid State Logic AWS 948 Hybrid Console/Controller. Chem19 is a commercial recording studio that occasionally doubles as an in-house studio for artists on the Chemikal Underground record label. Since re-opening as a fully upgraded creative environment for high-level recording in 2006, it has played host to an impressive selection of artists that includes Calvin Harris, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, King Creosote, and Deacon Blue. The addition of the AWS has already brought new creative inspiration for Savage, enhanced the quality of the output of the studio, and helped drive commercial success.
“SSL is probably the most well known console manufacturer in the world and the sound quality of the AWS fits in perfectly with our ethos,” said Savage. “When I put this studio together in 2005, I wanted a place where bands could come in and feel very comfortable putting down live tracks. When our older analogue console needed replacement, I jumped at the opportunity to have an SSL console here. Using the AWS helps the creative atmosphere in the studio because we know each track will sound great. If we use outboard to get a particular sound or use the AWS mic pres for tracking, then mix through the AWS, our clients need not worry about how the tracks will sound. They only need to concentrate on performing. Clients are already coming in looking to work on the SSL and that is good for business.”
Savage ran a session on the studio’s old analogue desk right up to the AWS’s commissioning and the before/after results were revealing. The band was requesting more bottom on the keyboard in the old mix and Savage kept pushing to achieve the desired sound. When the mix was run through the AWS, the clarity immediately brought out the problems with the old mix.
“On the very first pass with the AWS the mix opened up and suddenly I had weight and power that I didn’t have before,” related Savage. “The strange thing was that I expected the sound to be extremely clean and polite, but the reality was, yes, clean, but with depth and detail that was amazing. I was getting this sub bass that was monstrously huge. The AWS has widened the spectrum for mixing and the bands love it.”
The console’s Total Recall system is a favourite feature for Savage as it helps to streamline workflow, making sessions smoother than in the past.
“The Total Recall is, in a word, great,” Savage stated. “How many hours did I waste writing everything down, then having to translate the paperwork settings back onto the old console. If a band is tracking, but wants to revisit a mix, I can do this quickly and accurately with the AWS. I believe in capturing great music performances and turning them into great finished tracks. I also believe that my clients deserve the quality of an SSL product. The AWS is an agile tool that makes getting the right sound very straightforward.”