Angel Recordings, Hull.
The single storey building housing Angel Recordings was built from scratch over a period of six months by it's owner, Steve Larkman. He estimates the cost of the building, which occupies land to the rear of his house, at about £12,500 and says that he spent about the same amount of money equipping it.
Steve looks after the business side himself, as well as being the resident engineer and producer. It's only been open since February this year and already a 'demo' made here by local band 'Les Yeux' has aroused interest at RCA Records. Although having no academic qualifications in studio work, Steve's musical career spans many years and the wealth of knowledge accumulated at first hand as an artist in other recording studios has culminated in this very practical and well-designed studio.
As we survey the purely functional exterior of the building, with its two huge doors (to facilitate easy access with equipment), Steve proudly points out that six months ago this was just mud. But he's thankful that he no longeer has to get up at seven o'clock each morning to mix cement and lug bricks, preferring to turn his erudite qualities to an entirely different mix!
The multitrack machine is a Soundcraft 8 track, bought second-hand from another studio and now about three years old. A Revox B77 stereo recorder is employed for mastering and tape echo, and use is also made of the Boss Digital Echo and Boss Digital Delay, bought new, together with all the other equipment. Mixing is done on an RSD Studiomaster 16 into 8 with an add-on unit giving 20 input channels into 8 sub-groups.
Main monitoring power is supplied by an RSD 400C amp channelled into Tannoy speakers, and all the serious mixing is done on a pair of Auratones. Signal processing is via a pair of ProAudio PA20s and a single PA27 graphic equaliser, with a Trident compressor and Yamaha Digital Reverberation Unit. Drawmer noise gates and a dbx noise reduction system completes the set-up.
A wide selection of top-quality microphones are in use, including AKG, Shure, and Steve's favourite at the moment, the Neumann U87. Headphones are all Beyer DT100s. Steve says that he is 100% happy with all his equipment, but would like to acquire better effects when the money is available.
The two rooms of the studio are both a comfortable 18 feet square and tastily lit with coloured spotlights on sliding tracks. The overall atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and a thoughtful touch is the addition of coffee and cigarette machines for those 'all-night sessions'. Soundproofing is extremely good with floating floors and inner walls, and doors that look almost a foot thick! Steve has even gone to the trouble of arranging visiting bands with overnight stays at a three star hotel for only £5 per person whenever necessary.
Vehicular access is simplicity itself and there is plenty of safe parking space in the grounds. Musical instruments available include no less than three synthesisers, a Korg 700 mini-synth, a Yamaha CS01 synthesiser and a Casio MT41. Also available are Ibanez electric and Yamaha acoustic guitars and a small upright piano, soon to be replaced with a baby grand, no less! The hire of a drum kit can even be arranged, if necessary, at the very modest sum of £5 per session, and can be used in either of the two (live and dead) custom-built drum booths incorporated in the complex.
Angel Recordings' opening offer of three pounds per hour (expired 10-4—84) was certainly cheap, and their standard rate of five pounds per hour comes pretty close to unbeatable too! All of which seems to back up Steve's own words, "I'm on their side, not mine. If it ticks over I'm happy. I'm not in it for the money, really."
For further information telephone Hull (Contact Details) and ask for Steve Larkman.
Feature by Steve Goacher
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