Whilst the overall landscape for professional studios has not been without its challenges in recent years, the growth of the residential market has been an unqualified success. The benefits of getting away from all distractions in order to achieve complete immersion in a recording project speak for themselves, and have certainly been a primary driver behind the development of Devon Analogue Studio near Exmoor, UK.
The new studio was designed and created by Tristan and Elley Grace, who are making the move into the commercial studio business after a previous tenure as owners of North Devon dance music vinyl store Input Records. Tristan’s ongoing career as a house/techno producer means that electronic music is one of Devon Analogue’s priorities for now – although equally critical is the emphasis on sustainable design that includes the use of locally-sourced materials and a timber-frame build with high insulation levels to minimise energy consumption.
Tristan says that “the space has been developed to allow artists to lose themselves within their project, be it writing, recording, rehearsals, production or mixing. We can cater for 4/5 people with full accommodation, wet room and kitchen diner, and when you want to get out for some fresh air you can be walking in a Devon forest within minutes.”
Complementing the luxurious feel of the studio is a notably high-end “hybrid” specification delivering “the best of mastering-grade analogue/digital technology and vintage instruments, wrapped up within an effortless workflow design – which, matched with our calibrated Genelec system and DA/AD conversion, creates an amazing sound space and vibe.”
As Tristan recalls, a number of factors fed into the eventual selection of Genelec 8050B active studio monitors and a 7370A SAM subwoofer. “Our previous familiarity with Genelec systems played a role, of course, but so did the scope of calibration in terms of their adaptability to our room, which is larger and of a non-conventional layout compared to most. When designing a non-standard studio control room such as this, you come up against traditional acoustic ruling ‘barriers’ which you need to work around and bend to fit the space to achieve the intended dynamics and, importantly for us, the overall vibe of the room,” he says.
Tristan and Elley optimised the calibration of the system in close cooperation with Andy Bensley, who is Brand Manager for Genelec at UK representative Source Distribution. Andy comments: “With Devon Analogue, Tristan had the opportunity to design a space with no compromises and the results speak for themselves. The speaker placement, acoustic treatment and room orientation meant that my job was incredibly straightforward."
“Having the ability to position the 8050Bs in essentially free space means that the frequency response of the system is incredibly even and the stereo imaging is razor-sharp. Adding the 7370A subwoofer into the system allowed us to naturally extend the frequency response of the 8050Bs and – once dialled in – gave us a truly immersive experience at the mix position. Coupled with the view over the valley when sitting in front of the console, it’s a very special place to be.”
Tristan adds that the quality of integration of the studio monitors with the sub – “adding that extra push when you need it!” – has proven to be a real asset. And then there is the design and look of the Genelecs. “We won’t lie – we do love the timeless enclosure styling,” laughs Tristan.
With recent clients including XL Recordings, the studio is currently working with artists from all realms of electronic music – although its doors are certainly open to other genres! Above all other considerations, the objective is to allow clients to take advantage of “an unforgettable experience whilst working on their project – be it starting on brand new music or wrapping up works.”