Featured Story - Universal Music Publishing
One morning, a little while ago, an email found its way into Source's inbox. It was from a Rick Baxendale: none other than the Studio Manager for Universal Music Publishing's in-house studio at their flagship London Fulham Broadway building. Here is the email we received, in Rick's own words:
"We recently added an extra live room to our studio and decided to upgrade some of the equipment at the same time. Iíve always liked the functionality of Pro Tools HD hardware but never really been a fan of the audio reproduction of their interfaces, so when we bought a new Pro Tools HD Native card we were looking at other manufacturers for the A/D D/A part of the equation.
In the end it was a shoot out between a Lynx Aurora and an Apogee Symphony. The Lynx Aurora 16 won - partly due to the cost, but also due to the fact that I found the Apogee had more bells and whistles than I needed or wanted.
I REALLY, REALLY love the sound of the Aurora 16 and find it the perfect partner to the HD native card. It does everything I need seamlessly with no fuss Ė thatís how it should be!
I find the Aurora sonically superb with a different more creamy flavour compared to an Apogee and would seriously recommend anyone looking at an Apogee or any of the Avid interfaces to check the Aurora out instead."
It transpired they'd bought their Aurora (and indeed many more bits of kit) from Lynx reseller Kazbar Systems. Keen to learn more, we headed down to Universal's studio to meet Rick and put such high praise into context. Passing posters of Lily Allen, Coldplay, The XX and Robbie Williams, Rick brought us to their very well presented in-house studio and the Pro Tools system in question. There, sat below a PreSonus Central Station, was the Aurora 16.
What do you do here, whatís the function of this facility?
Well primarily it's a demo studio for recording acts that A&R are interested in signing. But it's also used for signed songwriters and artists to come and do whatever they want.
So will you just rent the studio out to people who A&R think are promising?
Yes. Generally if it's someone that's not signed and there's some interest there, we'll let them use the studio.
And established artists come through here too?
Very much. We had Lisa Marie Presley in with Richard Hawley doing some co-writes a couple of months ago - they were lovely people. We've had Kylie Minogue in here, and more recently chart acts like Example. He was in doing some writing. So people from right across the board.
Can you tell us about the setup in here, the facility you have?
Well, we've got the desk we're sitting next to. The Mac 8-Core, which has got a Pro Tools HD native card in it, and that's linked up to the Lynx Aurora.
We've got three different mic preamps feeding into the Lynx. There's the Avalon 737, the Audient and the Focusrite ISA 428. That gives us, sonically, a few different pallettes to work from. The Avalon gets used for vocals pretty much exclusively - occasionally the Focusrite. Drums sound great through the Audient. But everything sounds great through the Lynx...which I'm a big big fan of.
Your email to us was a bit of a lynx love letter! We wanted to ask you a bit more about getting it. What's the selection process for you? How do you make the decision?
Well I've used HD systems with Avid's own interfaces and not really been that impressed. They've been OK - but not blown me away. So when the time came for us to upgrade from our previous system, I didn't really want to go down the DigiDesign route as far as the interfaces were concerned. Because we have such a wide ranging group of people using this studio we need to be able to run Logic and Pro Tools on the same system.
A lot of the people coming over from America will be using Pro Tools. Whereas the British writers are pretty much exclusively on Logic. So for that reason we wanted to get Pro Tools into the equation. I love the way that Pro Tools works, I like using the software and I love the way, functionally, it works. But converter wise, I thought we could do better.
So we were looking at a Lynx and an Apogee Symphony. The Apogee was great, and it was neck and neck between the two, but I just liked the Lynx...and it was less expensive! So we went with it.
And so between trying it out, and actually having the unit here, I was quite surprised - because it was actually better than I'd originally thought. Once I got a band in here and were tracking them up I was like "Oh...yeah! That's...really good!"
And everyone who's come in here and used the place has said exactly the same thing. It's very popular.
And has it behaved itself?
It's been really good.
I also like the fact that it's got plenty of functions on it that you would need. Different clock rates, that kind of thing. It's got easy access to everything you'd need to get to - but nothing else. There aren't loads of extra bits that you might use but probably won't.
And that you inevitably pay for.
Yes. Exactly. So simple is great. And it's simple and works extremely well. I've already recommended it to other people and they're going to be checking it out.
Many thanks go to Rick for taking time out of his schedule to talk to us. We look forward to hearing more beautifully recorded work coming from Universal Music Publishing's studio soon!
For more info on Universal Music Publishing: http://www.umusicpub.com/
...And for more info (or demos of Aurora) from Kazbar Systems: http://www.kazbarsystemsinc.com/
For more information, contact:
Unit 6, Pembroke Buildings
Cumberland House Business Park
London NW10 6RE
T: 020 8962 5080