Richard Archer and producer Wolsey White of triple platinum album selling band Hard-Fi travelled down to Devon to visit Malcolm Toft’s Music Mill Studio to take part in a weekend course on recording techniques.
They heard about the course from ex-Jamiroquai bass player, Nick Fyffe, and as they are due to start recording their new album very soon, thought the timing was right to pick up a few recording tips from Malcolm.
The courses are typically aimed at home studio owners. Malcolm explains: "At PMI Audio
we manufacture the Studio Projects
range of microphones and at trade shows recently I have noticed a growing number of people who come up to our stand and say they are using a so and so mic, but can’t get a good vocal or guitar or drum sound. I then question them on their recording environment and techniques and it soon becomes apparent that the choice of mic is only a small part of their problem, and that they need guidance in acoustics, mic choice and placement, monitoring, mixing, compression, EQ, and so forth.
"I then researched the types of courses available and realised that there were no courses that helped the vocational customer. That is to say, someone who holds down a job during the week, but maybe plays in a band at the weekend, or someone who sings and plays an instrument who wants to make a reasonable demo of their work. These people already have a set up, have a reasonable grasp of the software they are using, but just can’t get things to sound the way they want to.
"We keep the groups down to small numbers (no more than five), so that we can give almost one-to-one tuition and start by asking each participant what is their particular problem area and what they want to achieve. We then take them through the theoretical side on the Saturday, and on Sunday we have practical demonstrations and workshops in the studio.
"As far as Hard-Fi are concerned, I think they really appreciated some of the things we were able to show them. I’m a great fan of the band as my son bought me the Stars Of CCTV album for Christmas last year. It turns out that it was recorded on one of my Trident consoles above a taxi shop in Staines! As a bonus for me, they saw one of my new ATB consoles during their visit and are now buying one to record the new album."
The Music Mill +44 (0)1626 361999 www.themusicmill.co.uk