About our studio
I've spent the last 20+ years producing and recording hits for the likes of The Manic Street Preachers, Idlewild, Ash, Kylie & Tom Jones so when Neil Utley asked me to build a studio for his label NUA Entertainment it was a great opportunity to bring all that experience together and build the kind of classic style studio that just doesn't get built any more!
NUA Entertainment Studios is built in a barn on a farm in the beautiful Essex countryside just far enough from the distractions of London but just a 45 minute train ride away. It is a stunning setting with it’s own pub for a recreation area and a tennis court and golf tee just outside the control room door!
I’ve never liked studios that look like the Starship Enterprise where you’re afraid to put you coffee mug down, and since Rockfield Studios has always been my spiritual recording home and that was also built in a barn on a farm, I felt like all the raw ingredients were there and I based what I built on everything I love about that amazing place.
I would never have believed how great the studio has ended up - from the very first moment I heard a pair of ambient mics set up in front of a drum kit I was astounded by the tone of this room! It’s one of those magical flukes that all the best recording spaces are - it’s not designed, it’s just ‘right’!
We were very fortunate to find the MCI 500revD that used to belong to John Entwhistle of The Who and it perfectly complements the classic sounding live space with it’s velvety but open vintage tone - that desk just sings when you push it! The acoustics of the control room were designed by John Flynn who has worked for 25 years with Sam Toyoshima so I can always trust what I hear coming out of the speakers.
The ethos of the studio from the very beginning was all about performance - gearing the space towards being able to capture the magic of people playing together, so to this end we had 3 very large guitar amp booths built enabling us to have a whole band playing at full volume whilst recording everything without spill - it really is remarkable the level of separation we’ve managed to achieve! The room is large and very live sounding but we have a dry booth and loads of screens to adjust the ambience to fit exactly what the music requires - this is a very ‘tuneable’ room. The extensive mic collection which covers all bases from classic ribbon mics to Neumanns and everything in between helps too!
I have always had a large collection of vintage and modern guitar amps and some choice guitars and when I joined my collection to Neil’s we really have got pretty much every base covered. With a big collection of guitar pedals, some choice synths old and new plus a fantastic sounding Yamaha grand piano I really feel that no sound is out of reach in this studio!
It’s always been important to me for the feel of a studio to be welcoming and relaxing not sterile or laboratory like so I've made sure the lighting and the general ambience is creative and fun - having our own pub next door is the icing on the cake! This is a studio that never forgets that a record is a snapshot of a moment in time for a band and wants to make that moment creative & memorable!