Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, Netherlands, is being rejuvenated for a new century by a confluence of creative minds and with the cooperation of major manufacturers of professional audio products. Originally built in 1978, Wisseloord is renowned historically as a destination studio for rock n’ roll royalty, including The Police (Zenyatta Mondatta), Def Leppard, Lionel Richie, Status Quo and Elton John, to name but a few.
“Wisseloord, in its prime, was known as a great creative environment for making music and was famous for its state-of-the-art technology and fine acoustics. Our overall goal is to embrace the rich history of the place while bringing back its cutting edge status,” says engineer and producer Ronald Prent, creative managing director for the new Wisseloord. Darcy Proper will also sit on the board of directors, and head the mastering department. Paul Reynolds, who will serve as commercial managing director, describes the project as “a creative team of friends who still believe in the power of music.”
“We are not just trying to relaunch an old facility,” Reynold continues. “Rather, we are starting a new way of working in a much-loved location with a great creative vibe (at least historically). Our challenge is to recapture the best of what Wisseloord was and build on it. We believe this combination of creative team, loved location and great tools will become something very special.”
“With Ronald Prent having been instrumental in the development of the first Vision console, which went to the renowned Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium, API is delighted to be supplying a second Vision console for his use to Wisseloord Studios,” says Larry Droppa, API president, of the 64-channel Vision chosen by Prent for his studio anchor position.
“Some months ago, Ronald began talking to me about the up-and-coming venture at Wisseloord Studios,” recounts Maurice Patist, PMC’s president of sales and marketing USA. “From the outset, he was keen to use our monitors in rooms designed by Jochen Veith, the German acoustic consultant, and his company JV-Acoustics, as he had heard this combination before. I thought this was a great idea, as we’ve worked with JV on several projects over the years and the results have always been world class.” Patist calls the JV-Acoustics developed rooms, “astonishing designs, which now feature the biggest installations of PMC BB5-XBD-A surround systems for a mixing and recording studio in Europe.”
In the mastering studios, along with a set of PMC AML2’s for close-field work, EgglestonWorks will be providing Savoy Signature speakers. “Since we consider ourselves firstly a consumer audio company, we respect and appreciate the foresight to utilize a full 5-channel system of Savoy’s at Wisseloord,” says Jim Thompson, EgglestonWorks, president. “We appreciate the crew at Wisseloord’s commitment to quality components and feel honored and humbled to be among some of the biggest names in pro audio.”
SPL’s Hermann Gier says his company is providing consoles and EQs for the two Wisseloord mastering suites. ”Suite No.1 will be equipped with a MMC 1 Multichannel Mastering Console and an eight-by-eight-channel automated patchbay,” Gier elaborates. “Furthermore, three PQ mastering equalizers with motorized controls and total reset will go into that room. Suite No. 2 will get a MMC 2 Multichannel Mastering Console with the meter-bridge of the MMC 1 console. All products feature SPL’s proprietary 120V-technology.”
Prent has a decided preference for converters from Prism Sound. Prism’s Frank Oglethorpe commented that “with Ronald wanting the very best quality AD/DA converters, Wisseloord with over 100 channels of Prism Sound ADA-8XR conversion will probably have the most number of our converters in the world under one roof!”
Martin Kloiber, strategist for creative professional products and solutions at Avid, notes that, as the studios are being “rebuilt around a variety of best-in-class audio solutions in an open and highly-integrated environment, Wisseloord will be able to produce some of the most sophisticated audio productions.” From the Avid family of products, he says, Wisseloord is “installing a 40 fader Avid System 5 console and will have over 200 DSP channels capable of all surround formats up to 7.1. And, with the open EUCON protocol at the heart of this all, Wisseloord will be able to work with multiple DAW’s simultaneously from a single control surface.” The DAW of choice for Wisseloord with be Avid Pro Tools|HD systems along with a litany of Avid interfaces. “Wisseloord will be able to select their choice of [Avid] A/D and D/As and Prism” Kloiber elaborates, “in conjunction with our mic pres for all analog inserts on the console.
“Wisseloord Studios be an example of one of the most sophisticated audio production houses in Europe,” Kloiber says. “We are honored to play such a pivotal role in this project and in the continuation of the studio’s success.”
Prent’s participation in the development of the API Vision console is evidence of but one of several long-term relationships that exist between the Wisseloord creative team and their manufacturer partners. In the case of PMC’s Patist, his relationship with Prent is over a decade strong. “We met while working in 1999 on the double platinum album As Long as You Want This by the Dutch rock band Kane and stayed in touch since,” recalls Patist. “After hearing the PMC systems at several events, Ronald wanted to know more about PMC’s ATL monitoring. After demoing them six years ago in his studio, he bit the bullet and bought his own PMC 5.1 IB2S system, and he’s been a bit of an evangelist for our monitors at shows and in technical seminars ever since. He honestly seems to regard us as the foremost maker of reference monitors, which is great. Ronald wanted the completely redesigned Wisseloord Studios to offer transparent, high-bandwidth monitoring with 5.1 capabilities, in two large recording/mixing control rooms.”
Two identical surround systems will be installed in the Wisseloord control rooms, with PMC’s twin cabinet and flagship BB5 XBD-Active monitors for the left and right channels, with dual 15-inch LF drivers per channel, a BB5-Active with a single 15-inch LF driver on the center channel, and stacked MB2 XBD-Actives on the rear channels, each featuring twin 12-inch LF drivers.”
The multi-Grammy winning mastering engineer Darcy Proper personally selected the PMC AML2s as mastering nearfields. “I really liked the AML2’s predecessor, the AML1; it had an uncanny level of resolution and highly accurate bass from such a tiny cabinet,” says Proper. “I called it a real wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing. As soon as I heard there would be an AML2, I had to hear them. I tried a pair and simply fell in love with them and have become my reference nearfield monitor since; I haven’t heard anything that gets close.”