Coldplay’s Beehive studio, run by engineer Rik Simpson in North London, has become the latest recipient of an SSL Matrix desk, writes Dave Robinson.
The band recorded the majority of the multi-million selling Viva la Vida album at the Beehive with Simpon as engineer. The eponymous title single went on to win three Grammys while Simpson went on to co-produce (as well as engineer) Coldplay’s fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, at the Beehive last year. He tried out the Matrix in the process – “and kept it”, reports SSL.
Simpson says he wanted a nimble console that could recall settings between sessions. “We had another console which wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do so I was looking for a small footprint console that I could sum through and have control over all my balances internally in Pro Tools. I didn’t really need any mic amps because we have a whole load of boutique and valve mic amps that we’ve accumulated. I found out about the Matrix and also found about the ability to use the faders as a DAW controller, which means if I’m mixing I can do, for example, all my vocal levels with the faders and it writes the automation into Pro Tools, which is great.
“So you get a clear transient signal path that isn’t coloured much but is just punchy and full, with the added bonus of being able to do all your fader moves and rides and automation actually on a work surface as opposed to just using a mouse. It’s a very well thought out desk and there are options that you don’t really have on any other desk. I got it in to try out and it stayed here.”
The Matrix is the now the centerpiece of the Beehive and sits in the middle of the large hall, which has no control room.
Mylo Xyloto went platinum in the US after two months and was nominated for Best Recorded Album at the BRIT Awards last week (but was between by the all-conquering Adele). Coldplay’s more-than-adequate consolation on the night came in the form of the award for Best British Group, the band’s seventh BRIT.