Dj Dexter’s Hammersmith based
studio is located behind the world famous Hammersmith Apollo within the Pierce Entertainment complex. Dexter has been upgrading his studio with Kazbar Systems
over the past two years, starting off from a spare room in his house then
gradually growing until the move to his current location.
Recommended to Kazbar from a
fellow engineer, Dexter’s first purchase was an audio interface. After scowling
the internet for reviews and opinions on the various options available Dexter settled on the Apogee Symphony 8×8 due to the quality of its converters and the
expansion options too.
Since then Dexter has added a
plethora of analogue hardware including a Thermionic Culture Little Bustard Summing Mixer, Crane Song Ibis Stereo EQ, Eventide H7600 Multi Effects and Bricasti M7 Reverb. Dexter decided on adding a summing mixer to add definition
and space to the different elements of his mix. The Little Bustard was a great
choice due to the quality of sound Thermionic Culture products bring to any
studio plus he did not need any insert send or returns within the actual
Summing Mixer as his outboard is wired directly to his Symphony and then set up
as inserts within Logic Studio.
It is difficult to choose
one Stereo Compressor to be the answer for all audio applications as different
buss Compressors can all be technically excellent but will have different audio
characteristics which you may feel suit different elements of your mix, for
example you may feel an API 2500 might suit the sound you are looking for with
Drums or Guitars but a Thermionic Culture Phoenix is the best choice for
Vocals. Of course any of these Compressors can be used for any audio
application but it is great to be able to blend and get the most from your
mixes. Dexters chose a Thermionic Culture Phoenix, a Kush Audio UBK Fatso and
last but not least, an API 2500.
Monitoring is a highly important
factor too, up until this point Dexter had been using his trusted Yamaha NS10’s but felt he needed a broader sound reference to compare. Again, after receiving
various opinions plus trying different speakers too, Dexter decided on the Focal Twin 6BE Active Studio Monitors which he felt worked best for him in his
studio room plus translated his mixes outside of his studio too.
Alongside all this fabulous
recording equipment, Dexter loves hardware synthesizers as no matter how good a
synth plugin is, in reality it cannot equal the actual sound quality of
hardware synthesis. Tom Lewis, Synthesizer expert for Kazbar System talks
through Dexter’s synth choices and what they bring to a mix:
Dexter owns a superb mix of old
school drum machines and analogue synthesizers, the most notable of which are
the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 taking pride of place in he’s workspace, both of
which are sampled into and sequenced by a custom MPC3000 which opens up the
TR’s to a whole different set of programming & sequencing options. The
sound of hardware can’t really be matched by software recreations; this ethos
is true throughout Dexter’s gear choices.
A Moog Voyager sits neatly atop of
a mountain of exquisite synthesizers, Dexter mainly uses the Voyager for bass
sounds and also has the onboard filter routed into he’s patchbay through the
synths external input, allowing him to filter anything he chooses through the
onboard Ladder Filter, unlike some other Moog synths, the voyager will allow
you to store presets which is great if you need to leave the studio midsession.
Underneath the Moog sits a Korg
Poly 800 with Moog Filter Mod, this quaint little machine from 1984 literally
embodies the sound of the 1980’s electronic movement, with a huge bass
replication and a sound that cuts through any mix. Dexter has had a moog filter
added to the poly since it doesn’t (by factory default) have an onboard filter.
It’s hard to find anything with as much character as much flexibility as this
and it’s really not hard to hear why Dexter chose this synth.
The next synth in this excellent
collection is a Roland Juno 106 that’ compliments the Poly 800 perfectly, a
classic Roland masterpiece that can’t be touched by modern synthesizers. With a
great range of polyphonic tones and a really individual sound, Dexter uses
this synth to create stabs and pads that sit perfectly in the mix.
A brand new addition to Dexters
collection is a Casio CZ-1000, this cool little synth from 1985 will sound
familiar to anyone that listened to dance music from 1985 to 1994. With it’s
authentic retro sound and a great bank of (well abused) presets this synth
brings a whole load of cool blips and percussive tones to Dexter’s productions.
Whilst this stash might seem like
a collector’s wet dream it actually comes across as a well thought out
procurement plan with the end goal being a “sick” synth sound.”
Pierce Entertainment where Dexter’s studio is located is a hotbed of activity too, with multiple
production studios plus a mixing and mastering studio.
Pierce is steeped in history as
its mastering facility was formerly Townhouse Mastering, Townhouse was a
legendary studio located on the Goldhawk Road and where countless bands
recorded and mastered their albums.
When the Townhouse closed its
doors for good in 2008 the entire mastering facility moved along with the
equipment and crew to Pierce and has continued to thrive since.