Legendary amp-maker Marshall has built a world-class recording studio next to their Milton Keynes factory in the UK.
The spacious new-build facility is on the site of an old theatre, adjacent to the Marshall factory. The live room has a stage with lighting and PA, along with an artist green room, bar and reception area – with the large recording control room featuring a 40-channel vintage Neve 8048 console. The self-contained studio has the benefit of ample parking in front and a ready supply of Marshall amps and Natal drums!
Producer Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Feeder, Therapy?) has already been in the studio recording rockers Bad Touch
A loading bay with ramp leads directly to the stage in the 273m2. Marshall live room, with a reduced ceiling-height area for more intimate recording located in front of the separate artist Green Room. Over 100 microphones are available, and the entire facility is equipped with tie lines, speaker connectors and AoIP Ethernet links. Four Focusrite RedNet A16R 24-bit 192kHz 16-channel analogue interfaces feed the Dante digital network, with an Avid HDX card providing the workstation link to Avid Pro Tools | Ultimate.
“Every part of the building has a mic tie line, a speaker output, and an instrument output for guitar amps, plus you've got data via RJ45 for monitoring or remote connection via six Focusrite RedNet AM2,” explains studio manager Adam Beer. “We can take any Dante mic preamp, put it anywhere in the building, it will come into our main network and we can record it directly. It means that the whole building is effectively the studio, even the office at the top!”
Front and centre in the control room is the unique vintage Neve 40-channel console, with a separate custom analogue patchbay installed to the side. Configured by renowned Neve expert Blake Devitt, the console frame came from EMI Pathé-Marconi studio in Paris and is populated by a superior selection of hand-tweaked modules. To the left are 24 channels with 1093 modules, whilst the right 16 channels include an additional eclectic mix of 1065, 1066 and 1095 modules.
Devitt will need no introduction to audio pros, having been responsible for several major renovations and studio installs in recent years, including the huge Neve at Adele-producer Paul Epworth’s studio, ICP studios in Belgium, and Miloco’s well-known Pool studio. A clever re-build of the desk has made space in the centre of the Neve for the all-important Pro Tools screen and keyboard, with Devitt building three new low-noise busbars, including one for solo-in-place, for the Neve summing system.
“The limiting factor for many vintage consoles is the record/overdub/mix modes in the master section – which of course only made sense during the tape era,” Devitt explains. “This mixer, as it has been re-configured, gives you two completely separate consoles which can be used for whatever the producer wants. I’ve even made the patch section ‘plug in’ in blocks of eight by changing the sockets underneath to reflect custom configurations, so the mixer can be set up without filling the patchbay with a nest of cables.”
Studio Manager Adam Beer reveals that even the very first recording session was a success: “Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Motorhead, Funeral For A Friend) produced some amazing recordings on the first test session, and the band went away very happy.”