John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

Lou's Studio - Construction Phase
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Author:  Edo Peters [ Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

A-w-e-s-o-m-e ...

Author:  Lou [ Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

Ah cheers Edo, much appreciated! Glad you like it. :D

Lou. 8)

Author:  Edo Peters [ Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

Lou, I just couldn't find the [like] button :-)

Let me add one more thing. I was specifically thrilled by the atmosphere of the mix. I have had numerous discussions with engineers and mastering people about what defined the vocal structure within that 'bigband crooner sound' that guys like Sinatra made famous. Apart from their devine sense of "non-timing" (they hardly ever follow the exact bars and tempo's) it's the sole fact that the orchestra almost always comes in at 5-8 dB below the lead vocal especially in the mono era. Drums seem extremely loud in regular pop music, but in a horn environment it seems to play a less important role. Horn sections really are very loud in real life. And in the early days they had to rely on the concert hall acoustics and careful placement of instruments, to get that tighter than tight unity sound. This is where your magic worked. And that of the skilled players you worked with.

The mixing, however complicated, remains "the easy part" so they told me. The true sparkle happens when you're trying to achieve the 'openness' where trumpets, clarinets and slide trombones are no longer in the way of the vocals. EQ'ing the heck out of the horns is sometimes vital to provide enough clarity and space to sit the vocals on top of the mix. And I don't know whether this has been a factor for you in mixdown, but the sound is really impressive. Some aspects of the vocals have the same tonality as the presence part of horns has. You kept it well separated, hence my previous comment. "Well done" is quite an understatement, especially if this has been your first go at building big band sound from scratch. It is really VERY VERY GOOD. I could think of no reason whatsoever why this track should not be released right away...

Compliments where compliments are due. Great studio, great approach, great sound. I think you can be extremely proud.

Author:  Lou [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

No point in you kind chaps having to read the same reply from me twice!

Don't know how that happened!

Lou. 8)

Author:  Lou [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

Blimey Edo! Thank you so much! :oops:

Not sure where to start, but the 'like' button is just to the right of the Control Room picture on the Studio's page, and above the five thumbnails that appear below it!

As for the recording / Mix / Mastering process? Well, my goal was to achieve a live sound, and to avoid (at all costs) everything sounding in the middle! I used Gordon Goodwin's Phat Band as a reference point! :D

From there, I simply had the idea of a 'ridiculous kiss-ass, tighter than tight' band playing Simon's wonderful arrangement, with Eddie floating around all over the top!

Now, they're all great players, he's a great singer, and my rooms are designed to give me what I wanted in the first place - Just the natural sound of whatever is being recorded! Hence double bass was done in the iso booth and drums and brass in the live room!. So, I have to say that there is absolutely NO eq on anything in the brass, nothing on double bass, nothing on drums, a little on the piano, and again a little on the lead vocal!

Because I also 'read', and had Simon's score in front of me, I was able to follow every phrase! Bass Trombone and Baritone Sax were regularly in unison, so getting the Saxes and Trombones to 'sit' together, yet still be able to hear both instruments was indeed a challenge and, yes, whilst I've recorded 'pop brass' several times, this is indeed the first Big Band project in here!

Now, another thing that is important to say is that on my Dad's side (he's up here btw - much earlier post) I was brought up with the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton et al! So, I kinda knew where I was aiming - But - For me, I've never viewed the stereo image as one dimensional i.e., Left to Right, but instead as two dimensional to include (of course) front to back! I've lost count over the years of the number of times clients have asked for more reverb because they think it will make them come 'forward in the mix'!

You, clearly understand, that exactly the opposite is true, and it's real nice not to feel lonely on this point! Haha! :D

As for
"...the mix is the easy part"
Ha! Funny as hell, and you know that's not the case! My 'arrid' sense of humour loved that one buddy! :yahoo:

Those guys are mates, 'top drawer' players, and have lovely 'tones' when playing. Therefore NO compression, NO limiting, and definitely NO gating! If you want to get rid of foot taps, chit-chat, fidgeting with instruments between phrases - you gotta get your ass on the chair and go through and cut all the crap you don't need mannually! You've seen the screenshot. :shock:

It's arduous, time consuming, but L'Oreal! (If you get my point) :wink:

You take care buddy, and if you 'like' the Studio page, it would mean so much if you were able to maybe edit, copy and paste your very kind comments above! Plus, since you're on Facebook, feel free to send me a friend request - I'm the only Lou Stonehill up here! :lol:

Best wishes to you and yours dude!

Lou. 8)

Author:  Edo Peters [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

The like button in this here GREAT forum I meant... but I'll make sure to hit the appropriate one on your studio page soon. ;-)

Again, great job!

Author:  Lou [ Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

Hi chaps - Hope this finds you and your loved ones well, and that you've had a good Easter!

Here's the next track from the E.P.

Please feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter Soundcloud, whatever!


Lou. 8)

Author:  Antonios [ Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

Hello everyone!

Nice one mate. Good work.

Author:  andy_eade [ Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lou's Studio - Construction Phase

I know that this is a super old thread now bit just to say that I found this by way of the rabbit hole (started looking for an answer in another thread and ended up here) and became glued to my seat for the day as I read about your journey Lou. Absolutely amazing! I'm so impressed with the entire thing; the finished studio, the audio samples (your drums sound is sick - and the way it should be - totally natural), the aesthetics, but most importantly your attitude and kindness as a human being.

The journey can be grueling, but it means nothing if we archive our goals at the expense of those around us, and you my friend appear to know just the right balance (something all mixing and mastering engineers should be naturally skilled at :)

Anyways just wanted to say hi as a fellow Brit who went through a similar journey a few years prior to yours, and is about to undertake another studio build project this year, and say thanks on behalf of all those who will learn so much from what you shared here; in such incredible and picture-laden detail.

Wishing you and the family an amazing 2014 and beyond.

Best Wishes,


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