Abbey Road Institute, which will be opening its first music production and sound engineering school in the U.S. in Miami, is constructing a new control room equipped with a Solid State Logic ORIGIN analog in-line mixing console.
The institute is partnering with multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning producer, pianist, arranger and composer Julio Reyes Copello at his Art House Studios near downtown Miami, where production space has been expanded to accommodate the school’s program, slated to begin in January 2021,
The institute’s Miami music production and sound engineering program will offer education in both the creative and technical aspects of music production while Art House Academy teaches songwriting skills and helps students develop as artists. Reyes Copello, who has worked with artists such as Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, Alejandro Sanz, Camila Cabello and Alessia Cara, will act as a mentor to students joining the complementary programs.
“Miami is the premier gateway to music and Latin culture in North America, and an ideal location for Abbey Road Institute,” says Reyes Copello. “It is part of our mission to provide students with access to the best audio solutions available. Our new ORIGIN will play an integral role in helping students understand key workflow concepts in a modern production environment, while providing real-world experience working on a world-class mixing console.”
The expanded environment at Art House Studios now encompasses two control rooms, three live recording spaces and a production suite. Abbey Road Institute’s control room is intended to prepare students for the real world and is accordingly equipped with many of the key items of equipment they will encounter after graduating.
“I’ve always been a big SSL fan,” says Latin Grammy-nominated mixing and mastering engineer Robin Reumers, who is director of education at the institute. He previously held the same role at Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam, which he helped establish in early 2016. “In Amsterdam we have an SSL 4000. If we want to teach students on relevant mixing consoles, it makes sense to have an SSL, which can be found in many studios, especially in the U.S. We are glad to have ORIGIN as part of our program here.”
Reumers, whose resume also includes over six years at Belgium’s Galaxy Studios where he was CTO and head of post, was considering the purchase of a refurbished SSL 4000 for the Miami location when Solid State Logic announced the new ORIGIN console. “It came at the perfect time,” he explains. “It makes sense to have something future-proof that also requires less looking after,” he says, noting the time and expense required to operate and maintain a vintage analog desk.
The ORIGIN console offers features appropriate to modern music production workflows that are not typically found on older desks. “There are subtle things that you always do,” says Reumers, “and SSL has recognized that and integrated them into the design of the desk. I really like that.” For instance, he says, “Having an independent key of the bus compressor is extremely useful when printing stems in today’s workflows,” where the final stereo mix can be fed to the sidechain to trigger the bus compressor when individual stems are printed.
Another useful feature where stems are concerned, he says, is the 0 dB fader bypass switch on each channel. “When I previously worked on the 4000, it was great for tracking because you didn’t have to worry about recalls — it’s in Pro Tools and it’s done. But for mixing it’s a nightmare, because you have to calibrate the faders it you want to keep them at unity. On ORIGIN, it’s just the press of a button.”
Reumers continues, “The eight stereo groups are also super useful. Just last week we did a mix and we wanted to use the subgroups and the bus compressor. In less than a minute we had everything set up, bused together and printed.”
Abbey Road Institute has long partnered with existing studios to offer an immersive industry-focussed experience, such as Omega Studios in Paris and Abbey Road in London. “The goal is to approach education from a mentorship perspective where, as a student, you get thrown into an existing facility with existing clientele in real-world scenarios,” he says, “instead of building studios where you don’t have real-life artists coming in to create and record,” Reumers concludes.
Abbey Road Institute, founded and headquartered at Abbey Road Studios in London, is headed up by CEO Luca Barassi, and also has campuses in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa. All but one of the locations have SSL consoles.