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Studio Of The Month

The Chocolate Factory

Wussell 'Wonka' Webb wins a visit to the Chocolate Factory

Home of sweet sounds

I'd never heard of the Chocolate Factory. As it happens, that's what it used to be. A chocolate factory. Yum. But they built a studio inside and it's massive. A bit like Dr Who's house — a bit like a Tardis with a sauna, jacuzzi, gymnasium, lounge, kitchen, offices, pool table... oh yes, and it's a studio as well, with a control room, studio areas one, two, three, four... and even more.

At the moment the drum kit gets set up and recorded in the gym. That's because it's a bit liver (no onions) than the studio playing areas. I don't know if they plan to permanently hot wire the gym or to make the studio a bit less dead, but whatever they do I'm sure it will still be fine.

From my point of view, a studio should have an atmosphere that is conducive to recording (working). The Chocolate Factory gets about 85% of the way there. The other 15% gets taken up by the kitchen, TV and pool table being on the way to the control room from the front door. Sometimes you don't make it any further than the TV but that's the way the chocolate cookie crumbles.

It's a 24-track and as far as the studio rates go, it's very competitively priced. Very competitive. The standard rate is £35 per hour, but if you pay on the day, it's only £25 per hour. Gasp. Now that is bloody cheap for a master quality 24-track. And the same deal applies for a daily block booking, or should I say daily lock out situation. £500 per day lock out (that doesn't mean you pay £500 to get locked out of a studio) — if you pay on the day, you get locked out for only £350. That's brilliant.

As far as I know, the studio doesn't have a resident engineer. They don't even have one who lives with his mother. So you have to bring your own or they (the studio) can get Casey Jones down if you need him. That's probably why the studio can charge so little to hire the facilities. And here they are; a Studer A800 (great machine); Quested monitors (gasp) powered by Yamaha PC2002 amps, which in my opinion are one of the best power amps available; Yamaha NS10 speakers. In all I found the control room very accurate. I don't know who designed it, but they did a really good job. A very good complement of microphones also makes The Chocolate Factory a good place to record in: Neumanns, Beyers, Sennheisers, Electro-Voice, AKG's — need I go on?

There's a little gem of an addition to the outboard equipment there, and that's the 32 channels of Drawmer noise gates. If you get even a dozen of those somewhere you're doing really well. That brings me nicely to the mixing board (as it is sometimes called). It's an oldish Trident mixer. Robot Chef. By all accounts paid or unpaid a very musical mixing desk.

The extra outboard goes something like: a 1.6 sec AMS stereo digital delay with harmoniser cards; AMS digital reverb; EMT gold foil analogue reverb; Lexicon DDL; dbx and Drawmer compressors; a dbx rack with de-essers, etc; a Rebis rack as well. And a funny little entrance at the end of Old Kent Road. Too much.

I liked the Chocolate Factory. I'm a big fan of chocolate. Yum.

The Chocolate Factory (Contact Details)

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Fostex 260

International Musician & Recording World - Copyright: Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.


International Musician - Nov 1986

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Recording World

Feature by Russell Webb

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