Cologne, Germany - Parkhaus Studio has been an important creative force in Cologne for 10 years. Originally a low-key haven for songwriters and producers, the facility has become more commercial in recent times - though it still retains the original spirit, driven by a regular core of visiting artists and an expanding roster of new and converted customers.
Gabriel describes Parkhaus as a 'musician-friendly' studio, with plenty of space, and a relaxing environment. Facilities include a large central live room connected to two control rooms, each of which have their own vocal booths that double as production rooms, stocked with synths, guitars, and more. The main control room has the AWS 948 and an assortment of original analogue gear. "I know the SSL computer and the automation from the older consoles, so I found it really comfortable to switch to the AWS. Sound-wise I think it's pretty close the K Series - and I never had a better feeling in a studio than with the K Series!
Much of the studio's current growth is down to recent renovations, including both acoustic and technology upgrades. Albert Gabriel, Recording and Mix Engineer and Chief Tech at Parkhaus, moved in and extended the range of services on offer, bringing an SSL AWS 948 to the facility as part of his own move to a more analogue outlook. He sees this as major step forward: "I had been working 'in-the-box' for the ten years before I bought the AWS," he says. "One day, a friend asked me to work on something... Something that couldn't work without analogue gear... I realised that what I did in back the nineties on an analogue console was way more natural than everything I had done after that."
Gabriel went back to his roots (even acquiring a two-inch multitrack tape machine) and eventually found the SSL AWS 948 - a hybrid console with SSL SuperAnalogue architecture and sophisticated DAW control. "Now Parkhaus is growing particularly fast,” he continues. “With an SSL in the studio the old customers are coming back, and telling more customers to come too!"
The combination of superb SuperAnalogue architecture plus the AWS 948's unique dual path channel strip design and its trio of operating modes means that Gabriel is as happy tracking and mixing with the SSL as he is mastering from stereo stems. "The bus routing options, the Stereo Mix mode, and the opportunity to insert the dynamics wherever you want them are all features that are great for mastering," he says. "If there was an eight-channel version of the AWS, it would be called a mastering console!"
The AWS DAW control is also important to Gabriel. "I use it 24/7," he says. “The plug-in control is awesome. I often turn the DAW screen off when I'm mixing because I get access to all the plug-ins using the AWS screen. That’s better than the DAW control because you can concentrate on the centre of the desk and the centre of the control room. That's always been an important concept for SSL consoles.
Parkhaus continues to grow and continues to nurture the creative collective that is its expanding client-base. The SSL AWS 948 is an important part of that success story, along with Gabriel's mission to keep sound at the top of the priority list - along with a flexible, welcoming space, expertise on-tap, and the best tools for the job.