New York, USA - For those that crave a comfortable, personal space for recording and mixing in the heart of the very definition of cosmopolitan, Precision Sound Studios is the ideal destination. Studio Owner and Engineer/Producer Alex Sterling has created an oasis of technical excellence and creative expertise on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The Studio is well located, close to the City's American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, and the many cosmopolitan shops and restaurants nearby.
As part of a recent re-fit and technical upgrade package, Sterling has installed a 48-channel SSL Duality δelta Pro Station SuperAnalogue™ console in the Precision Sound Control Room A. The Studio upgrade, specified by Sterling and implemented by the Malvicino Design Group, also included a comprehensive new wiring scheme, a large video screen for Film/TV Post work, and overall layout adjustments and refurbishment: "I have always wanted to create a working space for music production that has the comfort of a person's home or living room but with the technical and professional capabilities of a larger commercial facility,“ explains Sterling.
One of the most striking features of the studio is the live room space, which also happens to be a library of around 3000 books. "Believe it or not," says Sterling, "They have an acoustic value as well as an aesthetic value."
The live room can host around 15 musicians, which means that Sterling is as in demand for band recording, film, and television work as he is for Electronic, Pop, and Hip Hop mixing and production. For Sterling, the new Duality δelta console is a creative tool that meets his own high standards, yet also puts his studio onto a more high-end commercial footing with outside producers: "During my console search I carefully researched and demoed several other modern consoles, many of which did have some substantial sonic attributes, however the Duality has the most developed functionality for a modern workflow and its sonics are nothing less than spectacular!
"The integration with the DAW was very important to me, as was the high channel count - and having a full complement of processing available on every channel... I could be spending twice as much to get full filters, dynamics, and EQ on every channel with another console, and I still wouldn't be getting any of the DAW control functionality that Duality offers."
Precision Sound has now been up and running with the new console for several months. The very first session on the new console was a TV scoring session for composer Michael Bacon. "That was a good first test," says Sterling. "Everything was flawless, everything sounded great...
"I've used the console's channel preamps for most of the tracking that I've done through the desk... I was not expecting to like the preamps as much as I do! For tracking, the SSL pre-amp is as transparent as any of the esteemed, clean boutique pre-amps, and it's extremely low noise, which some other pre-amps just can’t claim."
Sterling is also complimentary about the SuperAnalogue bus architecture of the Duality: "One of the things I've been experimenting with is using the console's mix bus to give me volume and level for a final mix print, but without having to use peak limiting. By driving the console mix bus with a lot of level, I am able to get a much more aggressive full and forward sound - without needing to lose or cut off transients with a dynamics processor for volume.
“I've been shocked how rich and full I can make things sound by essentially ignoring the VU meters and letting them pin completely into the red... just completely brutalising the capture chain. "...The desk can really take it. You can clip the channels a bit, but the mix bus itself is pretty much unclippable. At least, I haven't managed to do any damage with it yet..."
For Sterling, the last few months have proven that the Duality delivers superb sonics, an integrated DAW workflow, and a creative approach to production. "To my ear, signal processing is generally superior in the analogue domain," he says, "But some of the creative things that people are doing now really only exist within the DAW environment. To not become disconnected from the DAW while working on the console was very important to me because I'm working on modern productions that have modern production requirements… This console really has set the professional standard for this decade."