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The pursuit of passion at Beliefspace Studio

After two years of building, recording engineer Stu Welsh is just about ready to open his own Beliefspace Studio in the south of England, centred around an Audient ASP4816 console.

Many of us end up in the recording industry because we get our hands on a piece of kit at a young age, fascination takes hold and just never lets go. Stu Welsh is no exception. In his case, it was a Yamaha MT-150 four-track tape recorder he discovered at the age of 15. He pursued his passion, studying Media Sound at Cornwall College and then MediaLab Arts at Plymouth University. While at university, he applied for and received a grant from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust to set up an affordable studio, of which there were few in Plymouth at the time, based around two SVHS ADAT machines and an Allen & Heath GS3 console. After graduating, Welsh was offered a job teaching audio engineering at dBs Music (formerly Deep Blue Sound), where he now leads the Foundation Degree in Audio and Music Production that he himself wrote. Fast forward a few years and Welsh’s passion, or as he calls it, his ‘obsession’ remained unabated and he found himself looking for a residential property with enough space to build a studio. After “endless meetings with estate agents and more viewings than (he) can remember” he found the perfect property: a house with a basement spanning an entire floor, and its own access. Nearly completed, Welsh’s Beliefspace Studio has been a two-year self-funded labour of love, centred around an Audient ASP4816 console. Welsh decided on the Audient desk after trying it at a workshop at dBs Music: “I knew Audient from their excellent reputation and the ASP4816 fitted my needs exactly,” he said. “If I were to design a console, this is exactly how I would do it. The routing is absolutely key for me. The console needed to be able to handle both a DAW signal path and a purely analogue signal path, which it does with ease. The I/O on the ASP4816 is phenomenal, especially for a console in this price bracket and, if the routing hadn’t swayed me, the fold back and monitoring sections would have.” Beliefspace studios’ current monitor setup is a pair of Tannoy Lancasters “but I will be adding NS10s and either Adam A7 or PMCs in future” said Welsh, who is grateful to colleagues Ray Hendriksen (who has worked with Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Mick Ronson, John Entwistle and Greg Lake) and Leo Brown from dBs Music for encouragement, support and the generous donation of recording gear. “We now have one the best microphone collections in the South West boasting over 40 microphones, new and vintage. We also have Ampex MM1200 24 track 2″ machine,” he adds, and a Studer A810 2 track, 1/4″ tape machine is on its way. In total, Welsh estimates that over the course of the build, he’s invested “around £35-40K including the building process and all the equipment”. Beliefspace Studio will officially open in mid-September, as both a teaching and commercial recording facility, though its first ‘client’ is already tracking: “It’s my wife’s group, The Lena Smith band,” said Welsh. “it’s going excellently so far.”