FOH engineer Ben Hammond has opened a new studio, the Vegas Rooms, in the renowned Chairworks Studios with Allen & Heath’s GS-R24 studio console as the centrepiece.
An award-winning mix engineer, in recent years Hammond has developed an impressive portfolio as a FOH engineer, mixing for bands such as Saxon, Deaf Havana, You Me At Six, and No Devotion.
“Increasingly on tour I was getting demands for live recordings for single B sides, album additional tracks, or magazine covers, so there was always a need for studio time. I knew it was time to invest in my own studio when I found myself mixing the bonus tracks for Deaf Havana’s deluxe edition album on a laptop on my knees,” explains Hammond. “The studio works alongside my touring work, opening up options for the bands I work with.”
Hammond has used Allen & Heath’s iLive digital mixing system for touring over the past few years so the GS-R24 was the obvious choice as his studio console.
“It was a no brainer for me. Sonically GS-R24 is familiar, the preamps sound fantastic and the EQ is amazing. It’s a great sounding console,” says Hammond. “Once you start to use it, you realise what a clever piece of kit it is – the routing is almost infinitely flexible. As both a desk and control surface, it works however you want to work, whether you’re tracking through it, mixing on the console, using it as a controller for Pro Tools, a summing mixer, or glorified patchbay to use various outboard – it’s ingenious.”
In addition to the GS-R24, there is also an iDR-16 MixRack installed, which enables Hammond to simply connect his laptop via CAT5, mix down material recorded via Dante on the touring iLive system, and pipe audio back to his laptop loaded with iLive Editor.
“Certainly for me the gap between live engineer and studio engineer has become closer. There is never time on the road, at soundcheck or festival line checks, to edit show files or audition FX to make my own signature edits rather than recalling a whole reverb. Now I can tune things to my particular artist and give my mixes that extra depth. It’s amazing to come back into a controlled environment to explore other avenues, refine mixes, and take them to the next level,” Hammond concludes.