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River Studios Expands With SSL Matrix Console, Outboard, And I/O

Gear multi-faceted business, which includes a recording studio, rehearsal studio, and voice and music tuition

By PSW Staff October 1, 2012

The Matrix console and other SSL gear in place at River Studios

River Studios in Southampton, UK recently installed a Solid State Logic Matrix console with an accompanying range of SSL processing and I/O products to enhance its multi-faceted business, which includes a recording studio, rehearsal studio, and voice and music tuition.

“My confidence in SSL was exceptionally high, because they have a reputation to uphold,” explain Gareth Henderson of River Studios. “They very much lived up to that reputation.”

As a performer, Henderson had his own close shave with success, negotiating at various times with A&R representatives from Virgin, Chrysalis, WEA, and EMI. He went on to found the Southern School Of Popular Singing where he helps others shoot for the stars and River Studios is where dreams can become reality — with a little luck and inspiration.

Henderson’s lifelong love of music and associated technologies is matched by an appreciation of character-filled buildings’ and he has spent a year transforming a 100-year-old,double-height, single-story un-used hall into 18 purpose-built rooms spread over two floors with extensive soundproofing, acoustic treatment, and state-of-the-art technology — including a sizeable SSL investment.

“I was looking at analog summing, because I’d been mixing in the box for some years,” Henderson notes. “Having gone through various control surfaces, it was inevitable that I’d stumble across the SSL Matrix. It fulfilled the twin needs of a summing unit and control surface, but its ability to patch in other outboard devices seemed fascinating. And I’d dreamed about owning an SSL for years.”

A government-backed Enterprise Finance Guarantee helped Henderson secure the financing necessary to expand his burgeoning business beyond the physical constraints of its previous back garden-based location as HL Studios.

“We have many rooms here, so I wanted to create tie-lines to the recording studio and use lots of them simultaneously to record big projects,” he says. “Looking at the Matrix and its various options lead me to the Alpha-Link series; seeing that SSL were building A-to-D and D-to-A convertors using MADI it became obvious that a solution based on an SSL mixing desk with SSL outboard and mic pres, plus SSL I-O was an attractive way to build the heart of the studio.”

An X-Rack modular rack system with a stereo bus compressor module, four VHD input modules, and two stereo dynamics modules completed the SSL shopping list. “We are constantly fighting for various different types of business,” he says, “so when people see the wonderful Matrix console with its moving faders it just gives them the confidence that they’ve walked into a professional studio.”

The tie-line-connected rehearsal facilities and recording rooms all feed clients into Henderson’s well-stocked SSL-centric control room, with the success fo the facility is evidenced by the Gold disc personally presented by UK recording artist Birdy to Henderson for recording parts of her self-titled debut studio album.

“We’ve had the privilege of working with Birdy since she was 12. I’d like to see her career continue to skyrocket, but we’re just as keen to work with more singer-songwriters and bands, helping them develop the best kind of projects that they can.

“The addition of the high-quality SSL equipment that we have here has enabled us to offer a technical standard that’s in line with some of the top London studios, but we can afford to charge less and still produce results that are able to compete with them.”

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