Central to the operation of a new studio, designed and equipped by Miloco Builds for musician and composer Andy Huckvale is a Nero desktop monitor controller – Audient had released Nero only weeks before the studio was finished – happily for Huckvale as, up until then, ‘there wasn’t one on the market that ticked all the boxes’.

Andy Huckvale The set-up is optimised for Huckvale’s work writing music for TV commercials: ‘The main reason I chose the Nero was how configurable everything is,’ he explains. ‘I can punch the sub in and out individually, add up to two alt speakers and set different cues for my other headphone feeds when I’m recording piano or drums. I’m not entirely sure how my workflow will change over the next few years, so this covered all bases without costing the earth.’

Admitting that he had a substantial wishlist of gear for his new studio, including Audient’s ASP800 8-channel mic preamp, the monitor controller was ‘a really important piece’ for him. With the Nero in place, he says, ‘It feels really solid, has a nice, chunky volume knob, sounds really clean and fits within easy reach on my desktop.’

Indeed, the whole studio has turned out as he imagined. ‘I basically wanted a space that I would feel inspired to work in,’ says Huckvale, who bought his Grade II listed home a couple of years before, earmarking the basement for this project. ‘A home studio has an opportunity to reflect the character of its owner. For me that was having a warm colour scheme – and lots and lots of wood.’

Regularly involved in larger projects such as Paul Epworth’s studio at The Church or international projects for Amazon, Miloco Builds stepped up to the challenge. The studio is based around a main wooden desk with a sliding 88-key controller keyboard drawer and a widescreen monitor and Huckfield is surrounded by his synths and pedals for easy access.

‘I wanted an area where I wasn’t looking at a screen and could get a bit more hands-on and just leave it on record whilst I experimented. There’s also an upright piano and a drum kit to the rear of the studio. These all have tie-lines to the main patchbay, so everything is connected and ready to record.’

Enter the ASP800, which handles all the drum mics. ‘I needed a bunch of quality preamps with the option of a couple of them having some additional colouring for the kick and snare,’ he explains. ‘I also try and leave everything miked up, so I can get ideas down quickly and not be mucking around with mic stands.

Apart from the studio build, which involved digging out the basement in the 19th century building to serve its acoustics and isolation from the house above,Huckvale has also found time to branch out into a number of other fields, including music for podcast themes, online book catalogues and computer games. ‘The latter was a real challenge – I was putting together music for the Over the Alps game on the new Apple Arcade platform and ended up doing all the sound design too, so I had to juggle the creative and the technical parts of my brain a bit.’

With the studio finished, he is fired-up to work on his third studio album under his Huckvale moniker, where he is certainly in his element: ‘It has involved a lot of nerding about making tape loops with old four-track recorders and Dictaphones. I also want to mix in some live orchestral instruments and hardware synths and then somehow infuse that all with a pop sensibility! I’ve given myself a bit of a conundrum I think, but I’m enjoying just tinkering with things in the new studio to see what sounds come to the surface.

‘I’ve been working out of here for about six months and I love it,’ he adds. ‘When I go downstairs to the studio, I’m at work for the day, so even though I’m working from home there’s still enough of a barrier to not get distracted. Saying that, I’m also really lucky that I’ll be around to witness any milestones if our new baby starts taking his first steps during the daytime.’

More: https://audient.com

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