Most of the facilities of the Institute of Sound Recording are housed in the purpose-built PATS building. Unlike many competitors, the whole recording studio complex was built to the highest professional standards, rather than putting an Apple Mac in an existing room and writing "studio" on the door.
The PATS building includes three studios, three edit rooms (that other institutions might also call studios, but we're a bit more honest), as well as practice rooms and offices. The acoustic treatment of the studios has been designed by leading professionals (who have worked on studios such as Abbey Road, Angel, BBC, British Grove, De Lane Lea, SARM), so are designed for critical listening rather than putting equipment in an old classroom and making do with how it sounds.
The PATS building was built to a very high acoustic specification, with sufficient acoustic isolation so that a metal band in one studio won't ruin a harpsichord recording in another. In addition, all the studios and edit rooms are air conditioned, with quiet air conditioning and with all noisy equipment in machine rooms so that you can concentrate on the sound without distracting background noise.
The cabling infrastructure is to a professional standard, which means that the individual facilities can be connected together - for instance you can record the Steinway piano in Studio 1 live room as part of a pop session in Studio 2.
We also have over 100 microphones, which cover the main types and styles, so that you can experience how the specifications and designs of different microphones can affect your recordings.
For research, we have an ITU-R BS 1116 standard listening room (the most critical listening room standard), that we use for subjective experimentation for both Tonmeister technical projects and postgraduate research.
As part of the Tonmeister course, students are expected to make location recordings. To enable this, we have two vans and a range of portable recording equipment that can be taken to various venues around the country.
The equipment has been selected to be representative of that used in the best professional studios; including exemplary consoles from SSL, Neve and Sony, microphones from AKG, B&K/DPA, Neumann, and Schoeps, and recording devices from analogue reel-to-reel to the latest computer-based systems.
No other UK University has top-end Neve and SSL consoles. When George Massenburg visited to give a workshop a few years ago, he stated that, “Students have a fantastic opportunity here … in the world only two other Universities have a facility like this”.
As an example of student work and the possibilities afforded by the facilities, the following was recorded by a final year Tonmeister using all studios.
If you are interested in booking the studios, or having your music recorded by students, you can find out more here.