Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Good Times

All good things will come to an end. And we have been honored to be work with so many wonderful and talented music souls in the studio. All the hard work was translated well with our carefully selected gears and equipment throughout the years and they have been very well respected and had a very special place in the studio and also in our hearts.

There is one particular brand that has really helped us grow throughout the years and we couldn't thank them for making such good and robust equipment, innovative nonetheless and always hit the right spot where music making( or audio) concerns. All the way from Hampshire, England- the guys that makes Audient. (although we didn't really have any contacts, but the support from our local dealer-Soundbuz was superb )

Audient ASP 008
It all started with a purchase of a 8 channel pristine, clean mic pre-ASP008 with AES/EBU option. Paired with our then Digidesign 003, it opened our horizon to take on larger track counts in live recording ( which is still what we do best). The mic pres are amazing on almost everything we put them through, and they were one of the few that has impedance matching that means a lot to us in getting the best signal into our recordings. Operation wise is easy and rock solid. Never had any issue with the clock, either with ADAT or AES/EBU. Just a flick of a switch and press of a button, it'll lock onto any sources given or taken from other units.
This unit was never replaced throughout times of studio upgrades and they always hold a place in our rack.

Audient Centro
With the confidence we had with the ASP 008, we then took a step up into getting the  Audient Centro, a really good monitor controller that has all the things we look for, clean signal, unhyped sound, multiple analog and digital sources (DA is surprisingly good). It has mute, remote controlled talk back. This made the studio more complete in our monitoring end. (bye bye extra aux for talk back)

This too serves us well, giving us more opportunities in learning especially when AB-ing speakers, converters, comparing mixes/ sound sources.. we had learnt and grown a lot since the arrival of the Centro. Better recordings, translated to better mixes hence more jobs and better value gigs were all coming in and finally one day, our dear friend Ganz from Soundbuz drop us news about the Audient Black Series.

Audient Black
The mic pres (love their led meter), offering a vast palate of sound shaping, thanks to their amazing HMX that you can have it clean without or crank it all up to have a rich and colorful tone, and it supercharged everything that has been put through it. Then we paired it with the Black EQ that has all the bells and whistles of high pass and low pass filters, their own "air" control which we love it so much when you need the sound to shine in the big lots of sounds in the mix, and the possibility is endless!
Comes our favorite fet dynamic leveler, which has fast response on attack and release," smooth "and "overcomp" feature which we find when engaged all it can give us the "thrust" character that is so much loved in tracking guitars, drums and forward vocals. To top it all, the illuminated VU meters are accurate and we can just stare on the moving needles the whole day.
To complete the box, we had the black ADC with master clock, which are instrumental in giving us additional 4 more AD into our working environment.
The Black Series Casing is robust and comes with a 2 U  Power Supply. As we know for similar 500 series lunch boxes, the power supply is the most important to all and Audient has got it covered!

Audient Zen
We were all excited with the Audient line of products and once the Zen Mixing Console was out, we were the first one in Malaysia to get them into our studio! Nonetheless, it looks good and fits right into our audio habitat, improving our workflow instantly. Finally we were able to do real analog mixing and summing on the board, with all the input and output options available, beautiful calibrated led meters on all channels including group busses too. The stereo buss compressor we called "magic button" made wonders to our mix buss. All the glue and width that we once longed for was right at our fingertips. Paired with HUI controllers from PTHD, 16 moving faders with full recall of automation can be done in real time for track preps and mix downs. The sheer joy of touching the responsive and well made faders brings wide grin on the face every single day.

As much as we love all the gears, it has come to the time that we have to let go these precious working tools.

Audient ASP 008                                            RM 3000 (approx. 750USD)
Audient Centro                                               RM 2500 (approx. 600USD)
Audient Black Series                                      RM 8000 ( approx. 1930 USD)
Audient Zen 16 channels mixing console       RM 30000 ( approx. 7220 USD)

We felt that this configuration will definitely help others, especially startup studio to have a total peace of mind to have a complete setup, hopefully learn and grow much faster in the field.
Feel free to drop us an email at info@starmountstudio.com. All are still in pristine working conditions and you can hear them in action and them home.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

HEDD Type07 at StarMount Studio

StarMount Studio is really fortunate to be one of the few to experience the first things that reaches our shore (Malaysia)
Dennis Tan of  Roland Asia Pacific (RAP) offered us a trial to listen out to new speakers and without much hesitation and with great pleasure we got a pair of Heinz Electro Dynamic Design HEDD Type 07 active monitor speakers in the studio.

 1:1 box for the HEDD Type07

To be honest, this pair is not a show stopper. It appeared to be under powered when it was fired up alongside with ATC SC25, Solitaire 6a (which sounded very close to ATC SC25 at a fraction of the price) or even Axis Voicebox S passive ribbon speakers. We are used to a more open sounding, class A amps rather than enclosed bass reflex active speakers. Thus the underpowered impression was made when they were lined up together.

We always believe in 2nd chance, so we took great length into sweeping frequencies, adjusting speaker angle, and finding the best distance from the wall and to the sweet spot etc.

Here are some things we figured. The speakers sounded best in the studio when its about 1ft away from the wall, spaced in between is around 5m and about 3m to listening spot. The speakers are very directional, and we manage to widened the listening sweet spot with this arrangement. And listening to 78dB is quite comfortable as well. The mids and highs are very well presented without much hype or in your face especially on those sensitive 7k, 10k region. Its not muffled but much more comfortable to use and encourages explorations on the high frequency regions in tone sculpting.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Taking a closer look at what we have around us.

We've picked up some cables around the studio and decided to look further into the details of how they would work with different instruments, in general we patched them up with Keyboards, Bass guitars and Electric guitars for a quick comparison. 

   1.    Klotz Titanium -Germany
   2.    Lava (Retro Coil) - USA
   3.    Lava (ELC) - USA
   4.    Vovox - Switzerland

At first glance

These cables look robust for serious audio work. The cables are of thick construction, so we can be confident that they have ample conductor volume to minimise losses and noise pickup while recording. The jackets also feel durable and robust which ensures that these cables will remain physically unharmed for many years. 

Klotz Titanium
The connector heads are also well constructed and provide good contact with the majority of inputs out there. The Klotz and the Vovox use Neutrik connectors. The Lavas use connectors from G&H Industries. Experienced purchasers of audio cables know that these manufacturers  of connectors are some of the best there is in terms of quality and reliability.

Each cable has its own interesting feature. The Lava Retro Coil is already visually distinct from the others. The real sweet feature is that the retro coil is  the most flexible among the others, providing a lot of mobility for the player should they be using it for guitar and bass. The way it is coiled also allows it to be stretchable, allowing less clutter should the player not require a lot of distance from the amp of interface. 

The standard Lava and Klotz are the most visually discrete among the group, with a basic smooth jacket which gives it a standard industrial look which serves its purpose. The Vovox cable uses a woven jacket and has a braided groove along its length, making it aesthetically pleasing.

How does it sound?

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Midnight Express @ StarMount Studio

StarMount Studio started as the "24 hours convenient store" for recordings. We would get recording sessions at 3am in the morning, or go around the clock from midnight until the next sunrise for bands/ musicians that were so inspired to capture the spark of magic after a great gig (sometimes redemption after a bad gig works too)

StarMount Studio is Turning 10

We're celebrating our milestone with giving out BeyerDynamic DT770M headphones for every 10 hours of studio time. To make it a sweeter deal, you can choose between DT770M 80 ohm or 250 ohm, or even DT770 Pro 80ohm/250 ohm.

It has been such a wonderful journey, making friends along the way and most importantly growing and sharing experiences together with the music community are just priceless!