Studio Heaven at Suomenlinna

Stunning multi-room studio opts for Genelec's studiomonitoring range as part of refurb project.

 

Suomenlinna is a picturesque fortress island off the coast of Helsinki. The Unesco World Heritage site once served as a strategic military base which was originally established to fend off Russian advances in the 18th century. The island – accessible via a short ferry ride from Helsinki – is now a popular destination for tourists, with stunning views of the Baltic Sea, which laps against its picturesque shores. The tranquil location serves as an ideal location for recording studio Suomenlinnan Studio, which has been extensively refurbished and kitted out with an array of premium audio equipment from Genelec’s studio monitor portfolio.

Owners Tapio Tamminen and Tommi Tikkanen aimed to revitalise the former studio space by injecting a bold new approach to the business when they took the keys in October 2014. The studio, housed within a 19th century stone-arched roof building, now boasts four control rooms kitted out to suit different needs – be it tracking live bands, mixing and mastering, music production, writing songs or sound design.

Being based in Finland, Suomenlinnan Studio felt it was a natural choice to use Genelec, and the monitor manufacturer also assisted by providing its acoustic expertise to the project. The previous studio had shut 18 months before Tapio and Tommi moved in, and the pair took on isolated and floating rooms that required refinishing and acoustic treatment. This proved to be a challenging process, and a steep learning curve.

Suomenlinnan’s flagship control room – Studio 1 – has been optimized for mixing and mastering. A total of three Genelec 1238A SAM™ Studio Monitors are installed at the front, alongside two 7271A SAM™ Studio Subwoofers. A further two 8320s are positioned on the meter bridge, with 10 Genelec 8330s arranged for immersive playback; ideal for when the room is in use as a demonstration space. The powerful combination provides a clean and neutral sound. Tapio hailed the 8320 monitors as “brutally honest”, and the perfect tool for mix appraisal. There is also an SSL Matrix 2 set up for maximum flexibility and easy patching of outboard.

“It’s unorthodox to use a Matrix 2 for mastering and it gives us enormous possibilities for modem mastering in terms of how we can run the buses and how we can interconnect the outboard,” says Tapio.

A tracking control room is located next to the live area in which they record through various mic preamps to DAW or to 16-track 1-inch. It serves as a hybrid space with an SSL Nucleus, 16-channels of Antelope Orion 32 HD and outboard and 500 series racks. Due to the nature of the space, the positioning of the Genelec 8351As is not optimal, but thanks to Genelec’s Acoustically Concealed Woofer (ACW™) technology combined with the Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC™) driver and Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™), the monitors produce extremely controlled directivity over a very wide bandwidth. “For me they are the absolute benchmark for that size of monitor. They are quite amazing,” says Tapio.

The third and fourth control rooms are sub-rented to other operations. One is Haista II, a studio that was on the mainland and moved to the island, and is run by Ilaris Larjosto, a mixing, mastering and recording engineer. Haista II is loaded with synth and analog gear, feeding a modded and refurbished Soundcraft TS12 in-line console and Genelec 8250s. The fourth room is used by Viktor Storm, mixing music and movies with 8351 and 8320 monitors.

The studio has a green, Finnish theme, with much of the furniture made by a Finnish carpenter Woodsaver out of recycled materials. This is very much in keeping with Genelec’s own sustainability values. More than 95% of the aluminium Genelec uses is recycled, and stringent sustainability principles are held in the company’s product design and operation.

The result is a spacious, stylish, interconnected and well-equipped recording studio with skilled staff and customers who are able to maximise their creativity and share expertise. “I used to work in a very small studio and it was cramped but I had a lot of work,” says Tommi. “I have to work somewhere and now there’s this big space to work in I am so much happier. I have the things that I wanted for 15 years like a recording room and preamps that I like. That adds up to the possibility of doing better work and enjoying it more.”

KIT LIST

HAISTA II 2 x 8250A
MIX 1 3 x 1238A
  10 x 8330A
  2 x 7271A
  1 x AD9200
MIX 2 2 x 8351A
  2 x 8320A
TRACKING 2 x 8351A