After 13 years in London, Francesco Cameli has officially opened a brand new iteration of his renowned facility Sphere Studios in Los Angeles, California.
Located in North Hollywood in a building that was originally home to Royaltone Studios and subsequently Linda Perry’s private Kung Fu Gardens, Sphere Studios features a tracking room with a large live area, a sizeable drum booth and vocal booth, three guitar closets and a private lounge.
“Sphere Studios LA will appeal to musicians who really play well and love creative playground-type rooms,” Cameli said. “At the same time it has enough cool to appeal to artists and producers who just need a room to record a vocal or some drums or strings.”
The studio is equipped with a lovingly restored vintage Neve 8078 console, while Studio B (a mix room that also has two booths and two guitar closets) is equipped with an SSL 4072 G+ console. Both control rooms feature PMC BB5-XBD-A main monitors and PMC AML2 near-field monitors, which were chosen for their punch and clarity. The facility also has three production rooms – each with their own vocal booths – that are ideal for smaller projects and song writing.
“The more I worked with them, the more I realised that these were the most revealing yet musical monitors I had ever heard,” Cameli continued. “To make matters even better, we were able to soffit mount the BB5s at our new premises - and the minute we heard them in the wall we ordered a second set for Studio B. The BB5 XBD-As give you punch and clarity and are extremely revealing regardless of the level you are working at. We can offer clients other speakers if they want them, but with the addition of the AML2 near-fields we are now 100% equipped with PMC.”
Maurice Patist, PMC USA's president of sales and marketing, added: “We are really proud to have been closely involved in the upgrade of this amazing studio. Francesco had a clear idea of the level of quality he was pursuing and we are proud to have surpassed his expectations.”
Alongside PMC speakers, both studios are equipped with Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel converter, Pro Tools HDX2 rigs with a Lavry gold print front end and a separate print rig in the mix room. Most of the outboard equipment was shipped over from Sphere Studios in the UK, along with some fun new additions – mainly instruments and amps.
The atmosphere and feel of the second premises was perfect, said Cameli, and refitting it gave him the opportunity to do everything he had originally wanted to do in London.
“We updated the entire technical install whilst trying to maintain as much of the ambiance as possible,” he explained. “From a studio design and acoustics point of view, we figured it out as we went along using our many years of experience of what works and what doesn’t. As the studio was already built, most of the retouches were cosmetic - new paint, tiles, pictures on the walls, etc. The rooms sounded so good that we didn’t want to potentially break that.”
During the 13 years it was in operation, Sphere Studios London attracted high profile clients such as Adele, Muse, Duran Duran and Queen. Following its official opening, which took place on 25 February 2016, Cameli is aiming to repeat that success at Sphere Studios LA. Alongside his own engineering work, he has already lined up a number of external projects, including a film score.
“I’ve never been busier,” he concluded. “Two No. 1 records in one year as well as countless other smaller projects has highlighted how good a decision it was to move to Los Angeles. With Sphere Studios LA, we have tried to create an inspiring environment where artists can turn off the external pressures of life and just be inspired to create their best work. The rest is in their hands and in their imaginations, we’re simply here to capture it all and to make great music for as long as possible.”