EBS has been steadily evolving since it was opened by owner, Simon Hopkinson back in 2012, and the studios’ setup has changed significantly over the years. Building the studio within a warehouse from the ground up, Simon and his business partner Jared Harding constructed a second production studio with a vocal booth to the rear of Studio I which opened in November 2019.
They’ve worked their way through a fair number of consoles in that time too, including one “with a power supply that I can only describe as a nuclear reactor”. Simon speaks fondly of Elton John’s old desk, however. “It was our first inline console and one of the best investments we made as a studio to improve workflow.” So when it came to finding a new one, it was important that it too was an inline desk. “During the refurbishment we were looking to improve and futureproof the console. Our weigh-up included price, preamp quality, EQ versatility, routing options and technical support from the manufacturer. For us, Audient topped the chart on all of these.”
Since the trouble-free install – “the Audient was so much lighter than our old desk!” – Simon and his team have had a variety of solo artists and bands through the doors. The new desk is even encouraging him away from the computer. “I’ve had more delight mixing on this console than others. I feel like I want to push each channel back through the long faders to actually mix the track out on the console, rather than in the box. I trust the console and know that if I send something down channel 14 then it’s there without any noise or issues ready to be printed back through the mix.
“I’ve already tracked/mixed several projects on the console and have had clients show their excitement of how the mixes are sounding,” he adds. “Having a great console to work from is certainly motivating me to improve my output!”
Staying on track to “create the best records within the constraints of budgets, equipment and timescales”, EBS continues to attract clients from all over the world. Current projects include the third album from Hung Like Hanratty, four singles from For The Girl, a second EP for Vortex Town and production for Ria Barkr in Nashville.
The EBS desk comprises 24 channels, a producer’s desk, patchbay and extended meter bridge to allow monitoring to sit on top of the console. “After using the ASP8024-HE for a few months and comparing it to previous setups, I’m most impressed with how quiet the desk is at all stages. The PSU is fantastic and practically unnoticeable,” he says, a far cry from the ‘nuclear reactor’ of Electric Bear’s early days. “You get no residual noise from any part of the desk including faders, pots and switches.”
He is also blown away by the EQs. “I was amazed at how different, clean and musical the channel EQs are. If you want to crank the high shelf, go for it! There we go: we have a smooth top boost with plenty of headroom for more.”
Along with a highly spec’d studio space including a great-sounding console, Electric Bear Studios likes to ensure clients have clear, manageable goals from the start. “Having some goal is key for motivation and potential success.”
Audient couldn’t agree more. Wishing you all the best in your new space!