Developing a new studio would be a long, arduous journey for anyone in the current climate, but even by these standards Andy Bramhall has faced some remarkable challenges on the road to completing his new facility in the Cheshire town of Runcorn. However, after more than four years’ work, Analogue Baby is finally getting ready to greet the world.
The founder and owner of prominent northern English haulage firm Bramhall Commercials, Bramhall has always maintained a passionate interest in music, playing guitar professionally and experimenting with loop and sampling technology. He created his first studio – primarily for use by his own band – in the late 1990s, but it was only much more recently that he decided to take the not insignificant step of developing a full commercial facility.
The departure of a long-term project manager was just one of the challenges that confronted Bramhall as he went about shaping a studio that he feels is “really unique outside of the M25. The specification we have here – based around the AMS Neve 88RS – means that for mixing, in particular, I think we have no competition outside of London.”
The current drift away from using commercial studios for rock bands means that Bramhall has limited hopes for that demographic – “although clearly we would love to have some great projects like that here”. He is more hopeful of being able to attract orchestral overdubbing sessions for film and gaming projects, not least because Analogue Baby falls within a handy catchment area for several internationally respected ensembles, including the Liverpool Philharmonic and the Manchester-based Hallé Orchestra.
But it is mixing and mastering where Bramhall thinks he could “really make an impact”. Celebrated recording and mix engineer Geoff Foster is set to be one of the first clients to make use of a 500sqft daylight-lit control room that includes a 60-channel AMS Neve 88RS with SP2 scoring panel, stem maker and 5.1 ATC main monitoring system.
Expect a more detailed examination by PSNEurope of the new studio later in the year, but for now Bramhall is understandably delighted to have finally completed a studio that he believes “brings something fresh to the studio scene in the north of England. We have a great team of engineers from LIPA that we can call on, and we are all looking forward to getting started.”