Real World Studios of Wiltshire, England, installed a new, custom-built Solid State Logic XL 9000 K Series console in its main studio (replacing an SSL G Series board), The Big Room. The residential facility, which is owned by Peter Gabriel, hasn’t had a face-lift of this magnitude since it opened in 1988. The Big Room has also had its monitoring and acoustics upgraded for 5.1 surround sound.
Nearly a year ago, Real World Studios started negotiating the purchase of a new console for The Big Room with the intention of equipping it for 5.1 and high-resolution audio so that it could handle more complex productions. As the order was placed, SSL revealed that the company was being put up for sale. Rather than canceling the order, Gabriel decided to buy the company.
Currently working on music for this year’s World Cup and a number of movie scores, Gabriel says that SSL consoles’ sonic qualities inspires him. “At a time when many top-class studios are scaling down or closing their business, we still believe that there’s room for the extraordinary,” Gabriel says. “If your studio is unique and uses the best-sounding equipment available, there are artists who will be attracted. As an artist, I made most of my records on SSL consoles. I have been a big fan since I was introduced to SSL in the ’80s. When I heard SSL was for sale, it was both my and Dave Engelke’s enthusiasm as users that encouraged us to invest in the company.”
“We have always been known as a musician’s studio, and this is undoubtedly the best-sounding console on the market,” says Real World’s studio manager Owen Leech. “Being able to offer full 5.1 surround mixing and sound-to-picture facilities is vitally important because it allows us to maintain our reputation as the UK’s premier residential recording facility.”
Real World will also transform its smaller studio, The Production Room, by installing an SSL AWS 900 Analogue Workstation System, as well as building a voice-over booth. Leech says that this room will be completed by spring of 2006. Leech adds, “While we’re in building mode, we’re also opening a demo studio, which will be attached to our existing rehearsal facilities.”