Things have been busy at West London’s Blue Box Studios since their launch back in June 2013. The Munro-designed studios, which closed for a few months earlier this year to undertake a major restructure of the studio’s layout, have now created two, larger, control rooms by combining their four original rooms: Studios 1 and 4 and Studios 2 and 3.
So why such a drastic overhaul in such a short space of time? Studio founder Nikki Affleck explained, “We have had an excellent year but have suffered in some respects due to the fact we could not cope with the larger sessions. This will all be rectified with the refit, providing larger rooms which will be better able to accommodate bigger writing and recording sessions than were possible before.
“In addition the renovation has included purchase of some new equipment, installed by Genius Move Audio, such as Universal Audio UAD QUAD cards and plug-ins, software updates and a new Toft ATB 24 mixing console for Studio 2”. A full equipment list can be found here.
Nikki, an A&R coordinator at Sony/RCA Records and experienced studio manager (Marcus, Nomis, Westside, Townhouse) originally founded the Blue Box to address what she saw as “a lack of decent writing rooms” in the West London area due to the large number of studios that had closed. “In my work as A&R coordinator it was proving really difficult to hire a good studio where my artists could write and record,â€ she said at the time. â€œMost of the record companies are West London-based, plus many producers and engineers seem to live in this part of town, yet there are now only a couple of commercial studios for hire.â€
“Our focus has been to combine a high-end finish with top quality gear that is affordable on today’s budgets. Having worked for record labels it’s been interesting to see the business from the other side of the fence. I have a good understanding of the budgets record companies have to operate within these days, and I have steered Blue Box towards this. By offering a Munro-designed SSL studio, … we [are] up there with some of the best in London.”
Blue Box not only looks good with its stylish, boutique design but it has the spec to back it up whilst managing to maintain affordable rates. Studio 1’s SSL AWS 924 console graces the main studio together with Focal, KRK and Yamaha NS10 monitoring. Studio 2 centres around a newly purchased Toft ATB 24 mixing console with Focal 6 monitoring.
In both rooms Apple computers run Pro Tools HD and HDX, Logic Pro, Waves Platinum, and Avid Media Composer 6. There is a range of high quality outboard available including an Avalon Vt-747sp stereo EQ and compressor, UA 1176; Empirical Labs EL8X, Tube Tech CL1B, SSL X Rack, and Neve pre-amps and EQs plus a selection of AKG, Neumann, Shure and Sennheiser mics. All of these were selected from the wish list of a group of engineers and producers polled by Nikki to find out which equipment they most like to work with.
Blue Box, also offer a personal and affordable online mixing service. Simply send your stems to their experienced in-house team (engineers include Tom Hough, Edd Harwell, Fred Tucker, Sam Farr and Sam Ellison) and you’ll get back your mix together with an instrumental and an acappella. Up to three revisions to the track are included in the price.