Two Solid State Logic Duality SE consoles power the creative flow for Tape Studios in Edinburgh, UK, a facility described by alternative record producer/mixer Stephen A. Watkins as “built to boldly go where no studio has gone before.”
The new two-story recording/mixing facility offers an equipment list and acoustics that match top facilities around the world while being able to deliver the creative experience without excessive cost. The Duality consoles are critical to the sonic success.
“We wanted to put together a studio that was completely over-the-top to match my personal recording/mixing style,” says Watkins. “The setup features an all-guns-blazing, maxed out patchbay handling a multitude of ‘who’s who’ analogue outboard gear. Duality was the perfect choice for Tape Studios because it brings all the elements we use together, while still addressing a DAW workflow. Even when I push them to the limits, which I very often do, the consoles sound incredible.”
Officially opened in February 2014, Watkins and partner, Fiona Mcnab, found an old Victorian whiskey bond building and converted it to a world-class facility with design help from Munro Acoustics. Tape Studios was conceived to provide a no-holds-barred creative environment to support a wide range of clients, including the hot new Scottish band BooHooHoo.
“We wanted to build a studio that was filled with the technology everyone dreams about, and that included the two Duality consoles,” Watkins adds. “I had this sound in my head and I knew how to make it. There is absolutely nowhere in the country that could provide the kind of facility at which I could make the records I wanted to make the way I imagined them.
“A genuine forte of mine is blending a little chaos into the banality of today’s beige multi-track recordings,” he continues. “I thrive on dynamic range manipulation by patching in multiple compressors instead of just one. I love envelope tickling and things that surge toward you from deep within the noise floor. A little Scottish swing, if you will, instead of safe boring everyman grid life. Duality provides the sonic foundation that supports my creative efforts.”
The ground floor of Tape Studios houses Studio 1 with the 48-channel Duality driving a Studer A80 24-track analog machine and a Cubase/SSL Alpha-Link rig. Studio 2 features a 96-channel Duality in a unique, custom built “L” shaped configuration. Everything in the facility is connected together so the resources of Studio 2, for example, can be used for tracking in Studio 1. Duality also offers a “wow” factor for clients coming through the doors.
“Our studio is quite new, but the reaction by the creative community thus far has been nothing short of fantastic,” Watkins explains. “Every single time anybody walks into any room at Tape and sees Duality, nothing more needs to be said. When we first started working, Duality became invisible very quickly, delivering exactly the benchmark sound we needed.
“When I began doing my thing, Duality was absolutely HQ. The line amps pushed hard into the channel dynamics post EQ is just heaven. Plus Duality plugs into the wall direct on only a couple of IEC cables. No machine room. No extra cooling. Duality is a no brainer – end of story. So we bought two.”
Solid State Logic