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London Sound Laboratory

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To view the brochure for the London Sound Lab, click here

So, what exactly is The London Sound Lab? Quite simply, it is a room housing a rare and splendid collection of the wacky, the weird and the wonderful – vintage recording gear and analogue synths ready, waiting and willing to translate creative ideas into reality.

The name gives away the vibe. As opposed to most modern studios where a ticking clock determines the session and banks of computers strain the eyes, The London Sound Lab houses machines, processors, synth modules and devices that stretch the imagination and open new creative doors. Here is a unique space for musicians, engineers and producers to push the boundaries of their art, confident that their ideas will be captured with ultimate fidelity using a combination of the state of current and former arts.

So what makes this room so special?

Recording starts at the source. The LSL control room is comfortable and compact with tie lines linking to a spacious live area, easily sufficient to routine and track a ten-piece band, chamber orchestra or jazz ensemble. To help, the live area houses an upright piano, Hammond C3 and Leslie, Wurlitzer piano and a clutch of vintage Ampeg (Portaflex) Marshall and Fender bass and guitar combos. Needless to say, the mic cupboard bristles with the best dynamics, ribbons and condensers available, including a stonking Telefunken Elam 251 – the ultimate vocal mic (just back from a year on loan with Coldplay, where it captured the vocals on their new album effortlessly).

The control room sports a combination of timeless classics – half a dozen Pultec and Lang eqs, a rack of Neve, Quad Eight, Urei, Audio Design, Belcamon, Disa and Valley compressors, EMT 240, AKG ADR68k, Publison IM90, Eventide 2016, AMS, Lexicon and other reverbs and delays – in addition to some ultra rare and groovy devices. Numbered amongst these are a four channel Echoplex tape delay, Master Room and Orban spring reverbs, Decca mastering equaliser, Fairman custom buss compressor, Bluebird Cyclosonics panner and phaser, Gelf, Moog and Delta Lab phasey-flangey boxes, Mutron Bi Phase, Allotrope mic pre/eq and…oh the list goes on and on and on.

Hooked up to this electronic bouquet are a Neotek Essence desk and classic Neve 12 channel sidecar (with 33114 and 33118 discrete mic pre/3 band eq – the ultimate front end for drums, electric guitar and bass and general tracking). These feed a choice of Protools DH3, Nuendo (with Prism Orpheus) or 2 inch 16 track analogue. Needless to say, a pristine Ampex ATR100 half inch sits in the corner for mastering purposes. Monitoring? Name your poison…NS10’s, APS Aeon, Proac Studio 100; whateveryouwantwe’llbring. Oh, and fancy banging down a quick guitar track or two? You’ll find a neat selection of axes around the place including old 1960’s Epiphone (Gibson) six and twelve string acoustics, Roger Giffin Strat, Fender hockey string electric 12 and pre CBS Mustang six string, all specially selected as prime recording instruments. There’s even an electric mandolin lurking in the corner.

It's unlikely that there is a better sounding selection of outboard and guitars resident in any other affordable UK studio. However, there is definitely no other collection of such esoteric sound sources in London.

In addition to the Hammond. Wurly, Piano, guitars, amps and Ludwig or Sonor recording kits, the London Sound Lab boasts an ultra rare selection of sound modules and keyboards including original Studio Electronics rack conversions – Midi Moog, Prophirack (Prophet 5 in a rack), Obierack (Obie Four Voice racked), Voyetra 8, OBMX rack, MKS80 with programmer, Solina strings, Arp Odyssey and more. In short, the room houses a strength of sound from beginning to end, from mics and instruments through midi to outboard to media to master.

The London Sound Laboratory has been designed as a space to make uncompromising records and push the boundaries of creativity, whether that be in terms of writing, programming, tracking or mixing and is the culmination of years of careful collecting.

Appropriately the first session is by Nerina Pallot, engineered by Helen from RAK.

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