Studio Tour: Kings & Prophets, Aizawl
Tell us about space
We have two Studio rooms which we labeled Studio A and Studio B. Studio A has a bigger space, a Live room, Iso Booth and of course the Control room. Studio A is where all kinds of Live sessions happen. Studio B has a much smaller space with a well equipped Control room and a Vocal booth. Besides these studio rooms we have a spacious lobby and a pantry.
Take us through the process of Production
Our process starts with a proper Pre-Production, where our engineers get all the necessary information needed in order to get the best recording flow in a session. Say, for instance we’re setting up for Live Band, getting the production idea, what kind of music style, how many band members and the respective
instruments requirements are basically the first things on the list. Then once the instruments are placed in their respective stations, we start putting up the microphones which we intentionally select to match the sound & tone we are looking for. Fortunately, we have a decent microphone collections why not make use of it.
There are times we have three mics on the snare. Once that is done, we connect it to the wall panels and then send it the the patch bay and into our awesome sounding SSL & API preamps, always sound of amazing with these. After documenting everything in our Track Sheet then we finally setup our DAW that is ProTools. That would be the brief version of our session setup.
What are some of the studio essentials you would recommend?
Few studio essentials that I think are a must are, number 1 on my list would be Coffee 🙂 You need to have a good black coffee to get you started for the day after working late the previous night. You also need to have a measuring tape and a duck tape.
When miking up using a measuring tape and documenting it helps to maintain precision even if we have to come back for the session in a different day. Duck tape or any other similar materials help to adjust the tonality of certain instruments specially drums. Other than these, have tools like screw driver, Allen Wrench set, plyer, drum stick, guitar picks and guitar strings. If you have those in check you’re usually good to go.
What equipment do you use?
We have Apogee Symphony I/O, Universal Audio Apollo Firewire & Antelope Orion 32+ as our main Converter. 2 Apple Mac Pro’s and 2 Apple Mac Mini’s.
Preamps – Solid State Logic Alpha VHD, API 3124, Audient ASP 800
Monitor Speaker – Focal Solo6 Be, Monkey Banana Gibbon 8 & Yamaha HS50.
Outboard Gears – SSL Fusion, Art Pro VLA II Compressor, Dangerous Music DBox Summing Mixer &
Monitor Controller, Otari Analog Tape Machine 8 Tracks MX5050. Universal Audio UAD Plugins & many others
Guitar Amps – Vox AC30, Laney Iron Heart, Mesa Boogie Mark V, Roland Bass Amp.
Microphone – Neumann U87, Neumann TLM102, AKG C414, Blue Woodpecker (Ribbon), Rode K2 (Tube), Shure Sm7B, ElectroVoice Re20, Sennheiser MD421 many more like Audio Technica and Se Electronics.
Pieces of gear you cannot live without
As the Chief Engineer the studio myself I would say it is almost impossible for me to have a session without the API preamps, Neumann TLM 102 & AKG C414. They are my go to mics, I cannot run a session without any of these three.
They are so handy because we sometimes have three vocal sessions a day and personal projects and amateurs are really common, so the TLM 102 & AKGC414 are easy to setup, sound fantastic and with the API Preamps we can have a World Class sound quality in just 5 minutes of setup.
Describe your typical work day in the studio.
We open at 11AM. Our manager comes in to supervise the cleaning and make sure all the essentials are there for the day. After that, straight away our engineers get ready for the session, be it recording, overdub or Mixing session. Our manager usually keeps his session inventory where he checks whats pending and whats ready to be delivered. Other than this if we have free time some other day we have team training to improve our technical skills.
Take us through some of your most significant releases from your studio and why it is special.
There are so many releases that we are really proud of but this time I’ll mention just one and thats “Comedian on Drugs” album by our home town band, Avora Records, released last year 2020.
Making of this album was really special because, they were at the time the hottest up and coming band in India, they won almost all the big competitions they appeared in that year 2017 and got tons of invitations to perform. In 2018, they came in to the studio to record their debut album. I Co-produced the album, and I had real fun making it, these guys are extremely talented and incredible to work with. The band had a clear vision for the album and they already had it all planned out in their minds even before they ever come in.
So, co-producing it was more like assisting the band to make each vision of the song a reality. However I would like to mention that the process was really technical recording wise that was the best part for an engineer. We did a lot of crazy, wild experiments. In using all those techniques, all i had to do was capture their art and musical skills and make sure i get the soul of the song. It was one of the best experience I’ve had ever since I’m in the music business, almost 15 years ago.
What’s your next buy for the studio?
We’re really fortunate here in Kings & Prophets to have started out even back in 2012 with some of the best and industry standard equipments. Right now, the legendary Universal Audio 4-710 Preamps, DW Moon Mic, Yamaha Recording Custom Drum Kit & decent cymbals collection:D are already on the way, very excited about that and we’ll also be getting the Barefoot Monitor speakers and the legendary SSL-Bus Compressor as soon as possible.
Tips to aspiring owners of studios
To an aspiring recording studio owners across our country I would like to encourage them to first invest in the technical knowledge before investing in any kind of equipments specially the expensive ones. Reason one is everyone loves to have cool gears that people may admire and you might get clients who are attracted by your gears.
But sooner or later if your production is not up to the mark or expectation then you’re going to loose that client. Reason two, if you invest on expensive gears first, its gonna take you a while to become professionally good. which is usually 2 to 5 years, by this time some of your gears will wear out and you will have to reinvest.
In other words, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to learn with expensive gears while making less income which is not a wise business strategy. So, you can buy decent affordable gears and invest as much as you can on learning. Other thing is you can also first work under someone who already knows and get everything you want to know about. Get yourself together, have patience, it takes time and then when you have the experience, expertise, confidence and the professionalism and then start the big investment. All the Best.
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