Gear

Monitor Shakedown

We take a look at some of the most popular monitors here at Ten87 Studios.

We hear a lot of water-cooler chat between mix-engineers, sound designers and producers swearing by a certain make or model of monitor. With a sea of choice available out there we’ve decided to put a little list together of the 3 most popular boxes used at Ten 87 towers (and one wildcard)…

Neumann KH 310

Maybe the most popular monitor currently in our studios, they feature an active three-way tri-amplified design and deliver healthy weight and precision in equal measure. The KH series and particularly the 310’s are powerful and by no means an entry level speaker, which is reflected in their price. German engineering for the ears!

A favourite of producer and mix engineer alike, notable users of the KH 310 at Ten87 are Lewis James, Fiona Cruickshank, Adam Miller, Joe, Ahadadream, Mickey Pearce, Alex Evans, SBTRKT, Tom Clements and the speaker of choice for Ten87 HQ.

Amphion One 18

This iconic white and black monitor is extremely popular here at the studios. These speakers offer a super wide sweet spot and pinpoint-accurate imaged sound. They play the music without prejudice, with a super flat response – what you hear is what you get.

Our High Cross complex residents Alex Loring and Tom Andrews boast a dual (!) Amphion set-up and have this to say about it – “The detail in the mid range and stereo imaging make for mix choices that feel instinctual and inspired. Problems are easy to pinpoint and rectify, with translation that is practically guaranteed”….”I love the depth of field you get the most. They cover the mid – range detail with the same translation as an NS10, at the same time as being vibey enough to work on for hours without getting tired”.

There’s your sparkling review if you were ever looking for one.

ADAM A77X

We’re in scary horizontal 3 way dual woofer territory with the A77X’s.

The A77X’s are on the weightier side of the monitoring scale due to their 4 chunky 7” woofers – these are still a crisp favourite and are a bit more friendly on the bank account. The 77X’s are used in our studios by producers such as Jerome Williams, Aubrey Whitfield and Flux Pavilion (although Flux has the S3H’s in his studio).

The little sibling to the A77X the A7X you can find in the studios of Markfield Road’s very own Hinako Omori and fellow key wizards Sounds Like These and Hakan Ozkan.

TPI Type. RN1

Looking for a wildcard choice? Enter stage left: TPI. Designed and manufactured in the UK by a dedicated team obsessed with quality. The advanced aerospace-grade composite construction renders unwanted cabinet resonances inert.

Phase-Beating crossover technology and custom made reference-quality drive units, are hand matched and paired to remove any possibility of discrepancy. These speakers are trusted by the best engineers, artists and producers in the game including our own mixing wizard Alex Evans – within their price bracket these are some of the best out there.

For info on how to become a member of our community be sure to get in touch here.

At Ten87 Studios we offer long term studio hire and day hire music studios. Each recording studio is acoustically treated and sound proofed to optimise any type of audio recording and music production. We are home to a large community of musicians, producers, engineers and audio professionals working in the music industry. Our main day hire studio is a world class tracking facility equipped with the best in recording studio gear, instruments, outboard and backline. We’re based in Seven Sisters, Tottenham with easy transport links to the city centre – ideal for anyone looking for a London recording studio.

Optimize Your Studio

Whether recording a podcast, music or a radio show, getting good sound at home can often be a difficult process. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to improve your setup. But before we jump into the tips, it is important to distinguish between ‘soundproofing’ and ‘acoustic treatment’.

Soundproofing refers to the construction of a room, using different construction materials in walls to reduce the amount of sound which escapes the room. Soundproofing is for scenarios where you might need to play loud and not annoy your neighbours. 

Acoustic treatment differs from this; the aim instead is to create a certain acoustic environment. In production terms, the most common environments are the live room and control room. The live room is used for recording acoustic instruments and the control room is the playback space. A home studio is typically a hybrid of these two spaces, and very important for improving the sound quality of your recordings, as well as making mixing decisions in the post-production process. 

We teamed up with Mixcloud to explore different ways to improve your home setup to be better set for recording and listening.

Adjusting Your Monitor Placement

If you have speakers, it’s important to have them in the right position within the room. Wrong placement can lead to boosts in parts of the frequency spectrum, usually in the low end, resulting in an unpleasant and inaccurate boomy sound. 

To alleviate this, avoid having the speakers firing down the shortest wall of the room. If your room is rectangular, try adjusting your setup to be facing parallel with the longest wall, as illustrated below.

If you have the space, it’s best to create some space between the back wall and the speakers, (anywhere up to a meter if possible!) This helps to minimize sound reflections which occur from behind the speaker and bounce from the back wall and back to your ears – this problem generally creates problems in the low end. 

Lastly, the angle at which you have your speakers is also an important factor. Try rotating them toward your listening position so that it creates an equilateral triangle.

Absorbing Reflection Points

Given you’ve followed tip #1, your speakers will be sending sound waves directly towards you; this however is not the full story. The next point of contact for the sound wave will be the walls parallel to you. If left untreated, the flat surfaces will create points of reflection which continue throughout the room. A simple solution is to hang thick fabrics or absorbing panels in these areas.

Another problematic area are the corners in your room, where the low end can build up. Standard practice is to use ‘corner traps’, which break the right-angled corner space and are made from dense material (such as rockwool). Foam can be a good starting point, although generally the denser the material the better.

The last area of concern is the wall opposite your speakers. Using the same process, place a large, dense and absorbing object such as a sofa or bed. See below for a potential home setup –

Isolation or ‘Decoupling’

A common placement for your speakers is on your desk in front of you. One issue that arises is that the direct contact can cause the desk to vibrate with the speaker, creating unwanted rattling or resonant boosting. 

An economical solution is to find materials such as foam or rubber to place underneath your speakers — there are also speaker insulation solutions which can be bought, however a stack of books could be an alternative. Extending from this, you can buy floor stands which are designed to entirely decouple the speaker from the rest of the setup, although this requires more space and can be more costly.

Blue Sky Thinking

It’s time to think three dimensional. Whilst your walls are now set, it is good practice to treat your floor and ceiling if possible. You should aim to have at least one of the surfaces as non-reflective — a stylish solution is to lay a rug on the floor, or if you have carpet you’re already halfway there! Even better would be to hang panels from the ceiling (aka a ceiling cloud) — this of course might not be practical, so sticking to the floor is a good start.

Make Your Own Vocal Booth

Whereas the other tips help to optimise your listening experience, you might struggle to get good, clean recordings with your recording setup. Vocals are a common sound source for recording, so we’ll focus on this. 

When recording vocals at home, you may find that you’re picking up too much background noise. This can be easily reduced by creating a vocal booth using a duvet. The duvet will act as a faux room partition, reducing the amount of ‘room tone’ which is picked up by the microphone, giving you a more direct sounding vocal; great for recording podcasts or vocals for music. 

You could also use a combination of your wardrobe/clothes rail and duvet to complete the booth. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, we’d recommend getting a reflection filter such as the Aston Halo.

At Ten87 Studios we offer long term studio hire and day hire music studios. Each recording studio is acoustically treated and sound proofed to optimise any type of audio recording and music production. We are home to a large community of musicians, producers, engineers and audio professionals working in the music industry. Our main day hire studio is a world class tracking facility equipped with the best in recording studio gear, instruments, outboard and backline. We’re based in Seven Sisters, Tottenham with easy transport links to the city centre – ideal for anyone looking for a London recording studio.

The Club

Beneath the surface of the day to day bustle of the studios, a very special project has been quietly brewing; Ten87’s first day hire tracking and mix facility aka ‘The Club’. After nearly a year and a half in the making, the team are all so excited to see the space finally ready for action. We sat down with Ten87 founder Rob Burn and studio manager Sam Burgess to talk through some of the space’s technical specifications, equipment and special features.

What equipment and outboard specifics are there in the Club?

The room is centred around a vintage SSL6032e fully refurbished by the lovely people at AES Pro Audio. Legendary tech Peter Higgs spent the past three months painstakingly refurbishing every element of the board. The desk has 24 channels of the original 242 EQ, as well as eight channels of the 232 (Pultec) EQ.

The original onboard SSL computer has been ditched in favour of a new system from THD labs called ‘Tangerine’. The system allows for seamless integration with modern DAW’s and total recall within its design.

We are very excited to announce that TPI will launch their brand new M220 main monitors via the room, presenting “the very finest audio reproduction systems available”. In addition, we have a pair of Genelec 8351s taking on near field duties and the classic Avantone Mixcubes as extra reference speakers.

Over the years I have built up a pretty comprehensive collection of vintage and modern microphones that I will bring to the space, as well as the entire Aston microphones range (a big thank you to our kind sponsors).

When we were planning spec for the room, we surveyed our wonderful community of engineers and producers for their input. Through this we have covered the main bases with regard to outboard. To give some alternative options for preamps, we’ve got 10 channels of Neve 1073. We also have a pair of Universal Audio 1176’s and an LA2A. 

What instruments and backline are set up in the space?

The live room is a great size. We knew from the start that we somehow had to get a piano in there. A good friend of ours was looking for a home for her stunning vintage Yamaha C3 and the rest is history! We also have a beautiful vintage Rhodes piano in there and a collection of guitars and pedals.

What varied types of recording sessions can The Club hold?

The space has been set up for tracking primarily. The desk makes the space very versatile. The Club can host everything from one-on-one vocal sessions, to full band live recordings, all the way through to 10-person string ensemble sessions. 

Are there any special key features of the club as a day rate studio that you’d like to mention?

We have real EMT 140 plate reverb which is going to give a unique flavour and vibe to the room, and which we are very excited about. We also went into quite a lot of detail planning the foldback system for the space. There are eight panel locations dotted around the complex, making it easy to set up the hearback mixers in a variety of different locations. Giving really great flexibility to sessions and players.

What new future possibilities will The Club bring to Ten87?

Our community was a big driver behind setting up the space. We have such an inspiring group of creators who call the studios home. However for many, a part of their musical work can’t be done solely in their long-term studio room. 

The Club will allow for more projects to be solely written, produced and recorded under our roof. To make this a reality we’ve introduced a community rate for our existing members to take advantage of, which we hope will enable our existing members to use the space.

The high level of the studio’s sonic potential, and new energy that this space will bring to the Markfield Road site for the future is incredibly exciting. Next week we will be looking at the architectural design that has gone into The Club as well as the interesting history behind the space. The Club will be open for bookings from the 4th April, for all enquiries please contact info@ten87.studio and for the full tech spec visit our day hire page.

At Ten87 Studios we offer long term studio hire and day hire music studios. Each recording studio is acoustically treated and sound proofed to optimise any type of audio recording and music production. We are home to a large community of musicians, producers, engineers and audio professionals working in the music industry. Our main day hire studio is a world class tracking facility equipped with the best in recording studio gear, instruments, outboard and backline. We’re based in Seven Sisters, Tottenham with easy transport links to the city centre – ideal for anyone looking for a London recording studio.

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