Studio and design consultancy White Mark Ltd has installed a new mastering facility at Extreme Music in London using a newly developed acoustic system that allowed the job to be completed in just seven days.
Marketed as Fast Studio by White Mark, this new construction method allows producers, composers and studio owners to build high performance facilities in far less time and at far less cost than would normally be anticipated.
White Markâ€™s managing director David Bell says: â€œWe introduced this system to meet market demand for high quality studios that are acoustically accurate but are quick to install and which preserve more of the character of the original building than a conventional studio. We have recognised that not everyone has the time or the requirement to invest in high levels of isolation, but everyone still wants a room that sounds good and delivers the acoustic performance
they would expect from a room bearing the White Mark name.
â€œOur system uses properly constructed and individually specified acoustic modules that are assembled off-site, making them very quick and easy to install. They are ideal for rooms using free-standing monitors and in which there is no need for full isolation. We always insist that Fast Studio customers have their initial drawings and monitor set-ups carried out by our team of experts so that we can guarantee both the viability of using the system and the level of performance that will be achieved, but, provided the room meets our criteria, we can deliver a studio that satisfies our customersâ€™ requirements â€“ and in a fraction of the normal time.â€?
Extreme Music, the production music arm of Sony ATV, was ideally suited to the Fast Studio treatment because it was using free-standing monitors and was keen to get the job done quickly in order to minimise downtime. The music library already had an existing mastering facility at its premises in Golden Square but needed to upgrade its layout and acoustics to achieve the high production standards necessary for the work it was doing.
Chief mastering engineer Nick Cooke explains: â€œWe had an opportunity to upgrade the studio and called in a number of studio design consultants to see what they might suggest. White Mark came highly recommended having recently completed Ray Staffâ€™s new facility at Air Mastering. They immediately got our attention by suggesting that we turned the room around and positioned the desk in front of the window. This not only improved the feel of the room but also created much more space.â€?
David Bell adds: â€œIn the case of Extreme Music we used six panels, which were installed by our builders Oakwood. We also created a new section of flooring that is rigidly fixed to the concrete structure beneath and packed all remaining voids with mineral wool to control unwanted resonances. The work was completed very quickly and has made an enormous difference to the acoustics of the room, giving it performance characteristics that are comparable to the best monitoring environments anywhere in the world.â€?
Established in 1997, Extreme Music is renowned for the quality of its production music and is committed to delivering an unrivalled roster of talent. Among its stable of Award-winning producers and composers are Timbaland, Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Vince Clarke Xzibit and Steve Jablonsky.
Nick Cooke, who joined Extreme Music a year ago from De Wolfe Music, says: â€œAll of our mastering is handled in-house and because we are committed to excellence, we wanted a mastering facility that reflected this philosophy. White Mark has achieved remarkable results with our studio. The new system has made a huge difference to the acoustics of the room â€“ to the extent that even our non-technical staff comment on how much smoother everything sounds. Iâ€™m also thrilled with the new layout, which has made it a much nicer place in which to spend time.â€?
White Markâ€™s Fast Studio system has already been used to great effect on other projects including an advertising agency in Mexico City, a production studio for BBC producer Peregrine Andrews and Giles Martinâ€™s new room at Abbey Road. The next scheduled installation will be in Suffolk, UK, where White Mark is currently constructing a new private mixing facility for MPG Award-winning producer/engineer Cenzo Townshend.
About White Mark:
Established in 1997 by David Bell, John Dunnill, Derek Buckingham and Alan Cundell, White Mark Ltd specialises in production facilities for music recording and the film and television industries. Over the last decade it has designed and supervised the construction of over 170 audio production suites worldwide. The companyâ€™s impressive client list encompasses some of the worldâ€™s most famous music recording facilities including Peter Gabrielâ€™s Real World Studios in the UK, the former Hit Factory in New York (for which the company won a coveted TEC Award for Best Acoustic Design), Hit Factory/Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, Strongroom in London and private studios for producers and musicians such as William Orbit and Damon Albarn. In the area of audio post production, White Mark has completed over 100 studios for more than 40 companies in Soho alone. The list includes Grand Central, Hackenbacker, Envy, Scramble, Lipsync, Molinare, Ascent Media, Wave and Boom. This impressive achievement means that a significant proportion of mainstream British television output passes through rooms designed by White Mark.