TAMPA – Built on the premises of what was once a personal restaurant for one of the founders of Outback Steakhouse, Lala Mansion began as a private recording room in Tampa, built and designed by Tom Morris from Morrisound Recording. At that time, current studio owner Don Miggs was just looking for a writing room, but it has quickly grown into a world-class studio outfitted with an SSL Dualitymixing console. Boys II Men was the first group to get a turn on the board, with Cowboy Mouth, Charlie Midnight, members of the Plain White T’s, Candlebox, LoCash Cowboys and Kamelot quickly following suit.
“When I first purchased the home, the previous owner had built a small version of his restaurant, complete with a bar and commercial kitchen,” says Miggs. “As soon as I saw the building, I knew it was the perfect space for a ‘home’ studio where my band miggs could rehearse, write and record our album, Wide Awake. For that project, we had the opportunity to work with the wonderful multi-platinum producer/engineer Ken Lewis (Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande) who had some suggestions on how to become a place where the vibe is special and the sound is great. I wasn’t ready to put in a real console at that time, but then my chief engineer BJ Ramone, son of famed producer Phil Ramone, said his dad would love to produce the next miggs album, which eventually became 15th & Hope. So, I decided to kick things up a notch, expanded the control room and bought gear worthy of a multi-Grammy® Award-winner.”
Fast-forward to late 2014 and Miggs was in discussions with SSL regarding how Duality would be a perfect fit for his studio. “When making a major purchase, I like to look for multiple signs that the decision is the right one,” he says. “I asked several peers for their opinion of the console, and everyone agreed that this was the board, and this was the company for Lala Mansion. I have friends who work on the Late Show with David Letterman, studio owners like the Morris Brothers and Phil Ramone, before he passed, and others who all told me the reliability and the ease of operation of the Duality, combined with SSL’s support, made it the only real choice for me. I decided that an SSL mixing console was no longer something ‘nice to have,’ but a necessity. And we are loving the decision more each day.”
The Duality provides the engineers at Lala Mansion with the unique combination of a full-on SSL analogue console with comprehensive DAW control surface and monitor management. “Since Lala Mansion is a Pro Tools® room, we wanted a mixing board that would allow my staff to work in a familiar environment while increasing our flexibility and the audio quality of our output,” Miggs continues. “We needed a modest footprint in the room and we didn’t want a console that was strictly digital or analogue. The Duality is perfect, conquering both worlds, and it’s crazy how much better it sounds than our old desk. We’ve run previously-recorded material and projects through the Duality that were not completed before we migrated to SSL three months ago, and they sound fuller, richer, better.”
Another important consideration for Miggs was the fact that the Duality does not need the extra power and cooling systems required by some traditional totally analogue mixing boards. “Lala Mansion is a relatively small room by traditional studio standards,” he explains. “There’s a control room, a live drum room with a vocal booth, a unique booth that has six guitar amps situated in the room, mic’ed up and ready to choose from at the click of a button; three other small rooms for recording bass or acoustic guitar, and we even have ties to my living room so we can record the grand piano that’s there. It’s not the layout that’s impressive. It’s the feeling of the room and the quality of the gear, with the SSL Duality front and center.
“Initially, Lala Mansion was a studio created for just me, with a mission of ‘doing good work’,” continues Miggs. “When we realized the room sounded great and the equipment was growing into a formidable collection, friends in the industry and other popular artists quickly started coming. My studio is like a playground for them. We have become a premier recording facility in the South, and the results we are getting with the Duality speak for themselves.”
Solid State Logic is the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for music, broadcast, live and post production professionals. For more information about our award-winning products, please visit: www.solidstatelogic.com.