Hillingdon, England-based JBJ Studio recently invested in an SSL AWS 924 console to help transform its production capabilities in the midst of an expansion. The acquisition has also led to a partnership with leading studio Miloco.
JBJ was founded just 12 months ago as a small creative studio, with owner James Brown prepared to invest in growth. “I’ve always wanted an SSL and been fortunate enough to mix on a G Series previously,” Brown says. “And ever since SSL introduced the AWS range, I’d been thinking ‘that looks a bit good, but I’m never going to be able to afford one. Over time I kept discovering that it did other things that I didn’t know it was capable of. In the end, I just had to have one, and it’s been a total game-changer for JBJ.”
According to Brown, having the SSL AWS924 desk gives his studio a certain “kudos” among clients, but ultimately the combination of features and sonic performance have made an impact. “It’s essentially a classic analog board with excellent digital features — quite literally the best of both worlds — and I love the way that it speaks with [Avid] Pro Tools in particular,” he notes.
JBJ utilizes both a Pro Tools HD rig and a Studer A80 tape machine, allowing them to combine the digital and analog domains. The new AWS 924 extends this hybrid offering. “There are some people who say the AWS doesn’t have the ‘grunt’ of an old E or G Series console, and although it might not crunch like those boards, it still has an SSL sound, and it’s much cleaner in terms of the SuperAnalogue preamps, which gives you headroom for days,: Brown states. “I also love the SSL X Rack analog outboard too — the way you can recall all of the compressor settings is fantastic.”
There are three rooms at JBJ: the control room, a fairly small live room, and a larger live room. It can play host to a variety of audio applications, ranging from mix sessions and overdubs to drum tracking and full live band recordings. “Our control room was treated by [the late] Graham Whitehead, who was an acoustician at the BBC,” Brown explains. “He did some work at Maida Vale, and the Royal Opera House, so it’s not an overly-treated dead room, but it’s fairly neutral, which is just what we wanted.”