Kazbar systems have recently completed the bespoke design and construction of a new multi-room recording facility for Nicholas Lloyd-Webber.
Nicholas has been a client of Kazbar Systems’ since our involvement in his previous Studio at the Palace Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue. Due to the ongoing renovation of the Palace Theatre, Nicholas required a new long-term solution.
The host structure for the Studios is located on basement level with two adjoining smaller rooms and meeting room. The structure presented a number of challenges, including; close proximity to domestic and office accommodation, a large steel smoke duct and a number of water and sewerage pipes.
Photo 1: Control Room, Photo 2 Control Room looking towards Recording Room 1, Photo 3 Recording Room 1 looking towards Rooms 2 & 3 and Photo 4 Within Recording Room 2 looking towards Room 3.
The Design Brief
The fundamental requirement of the project was to provide the best use of available space whilst maintaining a high level of sound isolation and acoustic accuracy.
To compensate for the lack of natural daylight, Kazbar provided the Client with a light and relaxed aesthetic finish, creating a productive environment facilitating longer sessions.
Kazbar Systems’ in-house design team provided a number of layout schemes for review by the client. The final design provided an isolation booth within the Control Room and two smaller multi functional isolation booths that can be used as additional Live Rooms or as writing and production studios. The final design also integrated fire protection, access control and security systems.
Nicholas decided upon the Audient ASP8024 HE Console with the DLC option for enhanced DAW control, having used the previous model in the Palace Studio for some time. Kazbar Systems recommended the Genelec 1238A Smart Active Monitor speakers, which offer incredibly neutral monitoring at high sound pressure levels. The Control Room was specifically designed around the console and monitors to provide optimal symmetry and sonic accuracy.
Early construction work of the Control Room & Recording Room 1
The cabling specification for the Studios included analogue, digital, video and data ties to each area, including USB, CAT6 and HDMI. This allows Nicholas to send video to any area within the complex and to use each area independently or simultaneously for larger and more demanding sessions.
Custom connection panels were designed and installed into the Control Room and Isolation booths. Booth 2 and 3 interconnect so they can function as an additional independent self contained Control Room and Isolation Booth.
Connection plates for surround speakers were also installed into the Control Room.
Construction and Project Management
Dave Eccleston, Kazbar Systems Technical and Project Manager managed all aspects of the day today construction and scheduling of the project, liaising with the Client, the Designer, the Kazbar build team and Client direct contractors to ensure the project ran smoothly and was delivered within budget.
Off-Site Equipment Setup and Configuration
Offsite at Kazbar HQ, Technical Assistant Oda Holm Strand installed and soak tested the Mac Pro host computer including; Avid Pro Tools Ultimate, Waves Diamond Bundle, Sonnox Elite Bundle, Native Instruments Komplete and Arturia V Collection 6. Four LCDs Displays were also supplied and installed: one Samsung 50” Main Display, two Samsung 30” Displays and one Samsung 19” Display which was VESA Mounted to the Audient ASP8024 Console.
Further recording hardware installed and supplied by Kazbar Systems included Focal Trio Active Studio Speakers, two Universal Audio Apollo 16 MKII Thunderbolt Interfaces, a Kahayan 12K72 Dual Mic Preamp, a TK Audio BC1 Stereo Compressor, two Neumann U87 Studio Set Microphones, two Latchlake Mic King 1100 Heavy Duty Microphone Stands and various mic stands and music stands. To add a ‘close mic’ recording sound, we also supplied two Kaotica Eyeball Microphone Shields.
Photo 1 Control Room Rear Wall inc Absorbers, Photo 2 Control Room Rear Wall to Room1, Photo 3 Room 1 inc Window to Control Room and Photo 3 Room 2 Window to Room 3
On-site Installation and Commissioning
Once the Studio construction had been completed, the Kazbar team then began the onsite installation of the equipment and cabling. This included the commissioning of the Audient console, the installation of the soffit-mounted Genelec monitors, the DAW system, and outboard equipment and patchbays.
Kazbar supplied two custom-built dual 24U Racks for the Control Room, which were mounted on top of each other. For Booth 2 we installed a Zaor MIZA 61 Studio Workstation, and for Booth 3, a Zaor MIZA Junior Work surface. Nicholas also brought the equipment from his previous studio which includes two Summit TLA 100 Limiters, a Summit EQP-200B Stereo EQ, a Lexicon PCM70, 90 & 480L Digital Reverbs and a Focusrite Red 1 4 Channel Mic Preamp, all of which were included in the patchbay and cabling design.
Photo 1 Control Room, Photo 2 Genelec 1238 & Focal Trio Active Speakers and Photo 3 Recording Room 1 into Control Room
Testing and Results
Sound transmission tests were conducted between the Control Room and Isolation Booths and the entire Studio complex and residential areas. All specified isolation values were either met or exceeded by Kazbar Systems.
Genelec product specialist Andy Bensley optimized the performance of the Genelec monitors using the proprietary Smart Active Monitor system and found the Control Room to have a particularly flat response.
Photo 1 Recording Room 2, Photo 2 Recording Room 3, Photo 4 Kactica Eyeball on Neumann U87 and Photo 3 Recording Room 1 Audio Connection Panel
Training and Ongoing Support
Dave Eccleston has returned to the Studio to provide one to one training to the in-house engineering team, along with Nicholas Lloyd-Webber, to ensure that the commercial operation of the Studio runs efficiently and productively.