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80 Hertz set to sharpen Manchester’s recording scene

Brand new recording facility 80 Hertz is due to open next month within Manchester City Council’s media hub ‘The Sharp Project’

80 Hertz is a state-of-the-art purpose-built facility just ten minutes from Manchester’s ‘Northern Quarter’ and is expected to be completed by mid-February 2011. The studios are based over two floors in ‘The Sharp Project’ and have a combined footprint of 2,650 square feet. Its massive live room is 1,000 square feet (92 sqm) with six-metre high ceilings, designed to capture the best possible natural acoustic, something co-designer George Atkins was adamant at achieving from the beginning. “Our onus on recording is getting it right at the source,” he explains. “None of this quibbling about and messing around with re-amping; so the main investment was to get the acoustics just right.” 80 Hertz will run a Pro Tools HD system coupled with either a Calrec API 1608 or similar; and, according to Atkins, will boast ‘the best microphone collection in Manchester’ including a wide range of ribbon mics as well as vintage high-end condensers and dynamics. There will also be a huge 43m³ post-production Dolby 5.1 suite which will comprise either a Euphonix or ICON system. Atkins says there is potential for a lot of work to be going on simultaneously room-to-room thanks to the studios’ multiple data networks. “We want everyone to be able to synergise with each other, so we’ve made it that every room can essentially be a control room,” explains Atkins. “We have 24k analogue going to every room through a Cat-6 headphone feed, and also CCTV in the corner of every room on Cat-6 so we can go to HD if we need to.”
Atkins is confident that the facility will be at the top of the pile, matching the likes of London’s Abbey Road and AIR Studios and appealing to top recording artists; but also to anyone that wants top quality recording without compromise. “People now realise they can’t get what they want out of their garage or bedroom; and that they haven’t got the expertise required to do the job,” he insists. “We encourage people who want to do a great job to take away material and do all the leg work that traditionally eats up studio time – such as vocal comps – at home, and then bring it to us to achieve the highest quality they can get.”