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Downtown Studios Achieves Prime Flexibility With SSL Duality & AWS Consoles

New consoles enhance recording and mixing services to both South African and international artists

Downtown Studios, a world-class facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, has recently undergone a major upgrade, incorporating Solid State Logic (SSL) Duality and AWS consoles.

Throughout its rich 36-year history, Downtown has hosted leading recording artists such as U2, Simon Lebon from Duran Duran, Manfred Mann and Mick Hucknell, among many others. The arrival of the new SSL consoles has allowed the studio to enhance its recording and mixing services to both South African and international artists.

Renamed in 1992, Downtown Studios’ story dates back to 1978 when the facility was built under the name RPM Studios. Today, the studio is an integral part of the Downtown Music Hub an entity established by the South African Department of Arts and Culture and run under the leadership of its chairperson Don Laka, a noted South African musician, and CEO Chola Makgamathe.

“The decision to upgrade Studios 1 and 3 was fueled by the board’s desire to stand out as the number one state-of-the-art recording facility in Africa,” says Darryl Heilbrunn, general manager of Downtown Studios. “While we considered other options, SSL’s international legacy and reputation lead us to Duality and AWS.”

The Duality’s 72 channels of dual SuperAnalogue and VHD microphone preamps in Studio 1 provide the flexibility to record groups of any size or genre. While the more intimate Studio 3, largely used for electronic music production, takes advantage of AWS as a hybrid console/controller, catering to clients with a variety of styles of workflow.

“SSL has allowed us to fulfill our musical mandate in a big way,” continues Heilbrunn. “The Duality studio appeals to international recording artists; and the sonic consistency between the two consoles enables us to achieve the same results for electronic music on the AWS. Additionally, the sonic quality of both consoles is superb, crisp and warm. Our clients have been blown away by the remarkable clarity and depth provided by the SSLs.”

Solid State Logic

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