The school, in the center of Athens near the University of Georgia, is the brainchild of CEO and recording instructor Andrew Ratcliffe, who previously owned and operated a music production studio, also named Tweed Recording, in northern Mississippi for over two decades. The school offers an accelerated Audio Production Certificate program that provides comprehensive instruction in the use of digital audio workstations and recording studio techniques as well as one-to-three-day workshops and Saturday sessions for high school and college students.
The new SSL Origin is in one of two identical 400-square-foot control rooms, Studios B and C, that are linked to separate 850-square-foot tracking spaces, each with three iso booths. According to Ratcliffe, “Charlie Chastain, our head instructor, said, ‘I love this desk. It fits the mold of what we’ve been talking about: could a student go out and purchase this?’ It seems that every time we turn around, another Origin is being implemented into a studio for that hybrid analog/digital situation,” Ratcliffe says. “So he said we should really take a look at it.”
The new Origin desk, purchased through Vintage King Audio, arrived shortly before the fall 2021 semester began. “We’ve been rocking it ever since,” he says.
“I’m an engineer but I’m also the head of faculty,” Chastain says, “and I have found the Origin to be a game-changer for me in terms of teaching students signal flow. It’s always a challenge to get students’ heads around it. Having the input path flip is such an advantage, to have that flexibility. We’re at the point in the semester where students still don’t understand that advantage, but I know there’s going to be a lightbulb moment in the next two or three weeks.”
He adds, “But even when talking about the split concept, I can configure the Origin in a way that it operates like a split console. It helps me to convey those concepts and I feel like students understand what we’re trying to do faster.”
Chastain, a Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences alumnus, has years of experience working on SSL 4000 and 9000 series consoles, he says. “I was always so excited when I got to sit down in front of an SSL because of the punch and the power. They used to say that you could use the SSL to bend the sound. So as soon as we installed the Origin, I sat down, took a drum kit and started carving the sound with the EQ the way I would on a 4000—and it gave me a very similar feel. I really enjoy Origin’s EQs.”