Show Off Your Studio: Francesco Nesca keeps things minimal yet powerful
The Italian studio was built from the ground up, with great acoustics in mind from the beginning.
- GIK Acoustics room treatment
- Universal Audio Apollo Twin
- Avantone Pro CV12
- Neve 1073SPX
- Adam Audio A7X
- Moog Subsequent 37
How do you use your studio?
My studio was born mainly from the need to have a professional environment where I can work on my artistic projects in the best possible way, both from the technical and from the artistic point of view. Over time I started working for professional or emerging artists such as rappers, bands, songwriters working as a producer and also performing recordings offering mix and mastering services.
Tell us more about the studio!
The studio is located in Tricase, a small town in the province of Lecce in the south of Puglia. The idea was to create a unique working environment to offer emerging and amateur artists coming from neighbouring areas a space to realize their artistic dreams, without the need to move to metropolitan areas. So, three years ago, I decided to start this project. The structure consists of a Meeting Room and the Studio where I spend 100% of my time.
Which DAW do you use and why?
I work on Ableton Live, although in the beginning, I started to take my first steps on FL Studio (who doesn’t start there?). I sincerely believe that the DAW that you use to work on a track does not affect the end product in any way. For me, it’s a matter of habit in how to move as fast as possible to write an idea that’s going through your head. For this, Ableton Live helps me a lot by having features that assist my creative needs.
How much time do you spend in your studio per week?
I feel lucky because I have a choice of when to work or when to take a break, which is why I would work every day for myself. Obviously, to be as productive as possible, you have to be able to respect a balanced lifestyle. For this reason, I follow office hours working every day, morning and evening, excluding Saturday and Sunday.
How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?
To get the right acoustics in the studio, I joined forces with super qualified people in the acoustics industry in Italy and then trusted the top quality of GIK Acoustics. Thanks to the help of my father, who is an engineer, we were able to build a structure from scratch where the problems related to the acoustics were minimal from the start. It’s easy to underestimate the power of starting with a room already prepared to become a recording studio. I can guarantee that this detail can make a real difference.
What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio?
While I work, I try to stay as focused as possible. This is why I decided to give the studio a minimal footprint that can give me zero distractions. but at the same time guarantees me to stay in a bright space even in the absence of windows and sunlight. This is why I chose to use light colours for the room which, together with adequate lighting, allow me to stay active sometimes for more than eight hours a day.
What is your favourite piece of gear and why?
My favourite piece of gear in the studio is the preamp that I almost always use in every recording session: the Neve 1073SPX. This is actually a tool I’ve owned for less than a year but have enjoyed since the first day joined my recording chain. Thanks to the NEVE 1073, my works have made a qualitative leap, just because the preamp guarantees me to get a good result at the recording stage, so as to eliminate all those post-production tweaks that only spoil an audio signal.
What is next on your shopping list studio-wise and why?
I think one of the most important purchases I have to make right now is a new computer. This is because I work mainly ‘in-the-box’ and lately, my Macbook Pro feels a bit tight. I would like to set myself the task of purchasing an iMac or Mac Pro, one that can support the projects on which I work.
Do you have any frustrations with your current set-up and why?
If there is something that at the moment, unfortunately, limits me slightly, it is to have few inputs and few outputs in the sound card I am using. Obviously it is not a big problem because at the moment I don’t really need these inputs or outputs, but if I were to buy other synthesizers or other equipment I would be forced to buy a sound card with more inputs and outputs.
What is your dream piece of gear and why?
My dream purchase would definitely be a compressor like the SSL G-Series Compressor. Today’s compression is everything, I’m sure giving the finishing touch to a mix with a compressor like that can make a difference. I already use the plugin version of Universal Audio that comes very close to the physical version, but obviously the sound that you can get from an analogue instrument is a whole other thing.
What is your top piece of production advice?
Having your own artistic vision is everything. Vision is something you can’t copy, you can’t invent, sometimes you can’t explain, just because it is that set of choices, strange or not, that can make your production something unique in the world.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
Don’t think about anything at all if you haven’t already thought about the room where you’re going to build your studio. Then think about acoustic treatment, because the foundations of a real studio start with the room itself. Create a space where you will be sure to never get tired visually and remember that collecting the gear will happen with time and it is right that it should.
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