The new SuperAnalogueTM hybrid console will have several roles at the Conservatoire, not least as a core teaching tool for the school's Music Technology courses. It will also be used to support general music recording, research, and other production activities. Dr Simon Hall, Head of Music Technology at the Conservatoire, sees it as a natural fit in a facility that has already invested heavily in the best instruments and equipment. "It comes down to quality all the time," he explains. "We've got a very good mic collection - lots of DPA, Neumann, Soundfield... We've got ATC monitoring... And on the other side of the glass we've got a Steinway Model B Grand Piano. The missing component was a serious high-end board, and that's what Duality is for us.
Duality δelta combines a traditional analogue path and signal processing with exceptional DAW control. The new SSL δelta-Control plug-in allows automation of the analogue signal path within the console using standard DAW automation recording and editing tools.
Outside the main Music Technology courses, the Conservatoire's new console will have important roles to play in producing student portfolios and audition recordings, and in course components aimed at getting musicians familiar with the recording studio. "We have lots of cross-discipline modules for performers," Says Dr Hall. "These can involve becoming au fait with studio etiquette and how to get something successful out of a studio session."
The Conservatoire's new Principal, Cellist and Conductor Julian Lloyd Webber, also believes in bringing technology into the realm of traditional musicianship. "He believes quite passionately that musicians should have an idea of what it is that is being put in front of them... They can take ownership of the microphone. Quite often engineers don't necessarily know as much about the instrument and the way the instrument projects as the musician does - especially when instruments can be very individual things.”
The Birmingham Conservatoire was founded (as the Birmingham School of Music) in 1859 and became a Conservatoire in 1989. Music Technology was introduced to the Conservatoire in 2001 and now the department offers BMus (Bachelor of Music), BSc (Bachelor of Science) degrees as well as postgraduate courses.
In September 2017 the Birmingham Conservatoire will move to a new purpose-built £46 million building designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. It will house a 400-seat auditorium, two additional performance spaces, and a range of teaching facilities that will include an experimental surround sound project space and a studioplex that, according to Dr Hall, will be unsurpassed in the sector. "It's been branded the 'digital conservatoire'," he explains. "We're looking at a big audio network infrastructure for it; we're getting John Flynn (Acoustic Design Group) as a consultant to do the studios... We're aiming have the best studio facility outside of London."
Professor Julian Lloyd-Webber commented: "We are delighted that Birmingham Conservatoire maintains its reputation for state-of-the-art facilities with the acquisition of the SSL Duality to be introduced at any UK music college. This confirms our status as the UK's premier digital conservatoire.”
Solid State Logic announce the first preview of the latest ORIGIN analogue console at AES NY 2019.