Cube Studio B with 32-channel Origin console

A short distance from Truro in England’s west country, Perranporth’s Cube Recording Studio has opened a new room, brining equipped a 32-channel Solid State Logic Origin analogue in-line mixing console to the Cornwall recording community. Opened in early 2021, Cube Recording’s new Studio B includes a live room and vocal booth, with 48 analogue tielines connecting the control room to the larger Studio A live tracking space.

‘I decided to build a studio during lockdown – which was hilarious,’ says studio facility owner, Gareth Young.

Having begun a songwriting career in his late teens, Young now has more than three decades of the music business under his belt and moved into his present studio location in 1997. He mothballed the facility for a time when he moved to London, but reopened Cube Recording in 2006 and has been building his clientele and studio facilities since.

Young has been operating the facility for the past eight years with Ross Rothero-Bourge, a recording and live sound engineer and a former touring and session drummer. Cube Recording’s songwriting and production credits include projects for Sugababes, All Saints and Dannii Minogue, library music companies De Wolfe Music in the UK and Australia’s Mushroom Group, and advertising projects for Discovery Channel, Nike and Pepsi.

The pair regularly visit the Namm Show in Southern California and saw the Origin when SSL launched the desk at the convention in 2020. Young had previously installed an 80-input SSL G+ at Cube Recording, later replacing it with an SSL AWS 900 when he decided to downsize.

Cube Studio B with 32-channel Origin consoleHowever, the AWS lacked the inline configuration that Young had found valuable on the older console… ‘As soon as I saw the Origin, I thought, that’s exactly what I need,’ he recalls. ‘It takes us back to the G Series structure and the G Series workflow, which I loved, being inline and with the small faders. But the Origin draws less power and is simple to maintain,’ he says. ‘So the first opportunity that arose, I acquired the Origin.’

Young has already put the desk through its paces in the short time it has been installed. ‘We really love the Pure Drive mic preamps,’ he says. There are other brands of mic preamps in the racks for visiting producers, he says, ‘but I love the SSL sound and the Pure Drive adds a subtle but definite vibe, particularly on drums and bass, we’ve found.’

And Origin’s EQ section ‘takes me back to the E/G series and is aggressive but sweet. It has the classic SSL sound you’d expect. Filters-wise, we tend to use the high-pass and it does exactly what’s you hope in reducing clutter in the low end.’

Cube Recording’s new Origin incorporates an SSL UF8 studio controller in the centre section, supporting the hybrid DAW-based workflow to which the pair had become accustomed on the AWS 900. ‘If there is any automation then we can ride it,’ Young says.

He and Rothero-Bourge had been using a similar DAW controller in Studio A’s desk: ‘I found it really useful, before we got this one, where you could get your hands on a few channels rather than mousing around.’ Studio B’s outboard racks also house a new SSL Fusion analogue processor.

A further reason for installing the Origin was that while Cube Recording had been running well as a single-room facility, because Rothero-Bourge has been picking up more of his own engineering projects it was time to add a second studio, says Young. ‘Before lockdown, I was on a laptop in my house trying to do the work I had coming in while everyone else was working at the studio. I thought, this is ridiculous. So we decided to build this room, which is perfect for the stuff that I do, because 90 per cent of it is production-based rather than bands.’

Studio B live areaUltimately, Studio B will be more of a mix room, says Young, while Studio A, with its attached large live room, will be used more for tracking. ‘But we can record anywhere in the building from here in Studio B. The ideal scenario – and we’ve done it already – is to run two sessions at once with two bands, so we can double up on clients.’

Young had considered adding a digital network to connect the rooms but, he says, ‘We’ve got Apogee converters in here, so we thought we’d stick with the old-fashioned analogue tielines.’

Rothero-Bourge, whose clients include several drum and cymbal brands, such as Zildjian, spent Britain’s first lockdown mixing audio for those manufacturers’ marketing and promotional materials. ‘We just isolated together and got on with it,’ says Young. ‘The second lockdown, we were allowed to stay open as an essential service. Now it’s going mental and the diary is starting to fill up again.’

‘There were some clients we wouldn’t have got had the pandemic not happened,’ says Rothero-Bourge. ‘Bands from London had been locked down in London, so as soon as they were able to get out, they didn’t want to go to a London studio. We’re only three miles from some incredible beaches so it’s a nice place to get away. We ended up with some great clients because of that.’

Recent clients have included The xx and former Kasabian lead singer Tom Meighan.

For those artists looking to work away from their hometowns for an extended period, says Young, ‘We’ve just converted some shipping containers into funky accommodation. It’s pretty much turned into an Airbnb; people are coming from far afield because they just want to get out of the city. And Cornwall is pretty.’

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