Show Off Your Studio: Barry Berk’s tropical-inspired The Bass Station

Behold The Bass Station, producer Barry Berk’s gorgeous warm-toned studio in Johannesburg.

Barry Berk, The Bass Station, Show Off Your Studio

The Bass Station

Studio owner Barry Berk
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Key kit

  • API 3124V
  • Neumann U 87
  • UA-powered plug-ins
  • Yamaha HS80M monitors
  • Audient ASP880

Hi Barry, tell us more about The Bass Station…

Barry: The Bass Station is a boutique studio in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa. The idea behind this studio is to provide a state-of-the-art production facility at very affordable rates. Initially, it was a modest one-room home studio which was then expanded to include a control room, tracking room, vocal booth and amp room. The expanded version of the studio has been in operation since January 2019.

Which DAW do you use and why?

I mostly work with Cubase 10. I love the look and feel, and the ease of using the software. It’s what I started with and I’ve never looked back.

Barry Berk, The Bass Station, Show Off Your Studio

What’s your favourite piece of gear?

All of my gear is my favourite, but if I had to choose it would be a toss-up between my Prism Orpheus and API 3124V mic-pre. The Orpheus gives an astonishing breadth and detail to anything it’s converting, while the API mic-pre has so much versatility. Whether you’re driving it or being gentle, it gives a delicacy to most any source you put through it. But really, this could all change when my Neve 1073SPX arrives.

How often do you use your studio?

Every day!

And how do you use your studio?

I use my studio to record bands and also vocalists/rappers. I’m also using it to record vocals for my own solo project which is in the rootsy dubronica genre. It’s also been used to record audiobooks.

Barry Berk, The Bass Station, Show Off Your Studio

So, what’s next on your shopping list?

A Teletronix LA-2A. I have the UAD plug-in version and it’s a go-to for me on almost everything. I want the hardware version in my tracking signal chain, especially for vocals.

Is there anything about your current setup that annoys you?

The 40Hz bump in the control room that results in a 80Hz null. I’m trying to tame it with Helmholtz resonators, which is working. I just need to add more. Not knowing exactly what’s going on with the bottom end is frustrating, especially when you’re making dubtronica.

Barry Berk, The Bass Station, Show Off Your Studio

What’s your dream piece of gear and why?

A Neumann U 67. Simply because, it’s a Neumann U 67.

What’s your top piece of production advice?

Don’t waste time wondering how someone did something intriguing on a record. Just figure it out and learn in the process. Always keep learning, investigating and try different things. There are so many plug-ins that come with DAWs now. So, check them out and see what they can do for whatever you’re working on.

Barry Berk, The Bass Station, Show Off Your Studio

Any advice for someone who’s starting to build a studio?

Pay a lot of attention to room treatment and tame those bumps and nulls. The more you can trust what you’re hearing, the faster you’ll be able to mix.

Can you list the main components of your studio?

2x Prism Orpheus 32 channels, Focal SM9 monitor, Yamaha HS80M monitors, API 3124V, AMS Neve 1073SPX, Rupert Neve Portico, Audient ASP880, Chameleon Labs 7622, API 2500 Stereo Bus Compressor, Universal Audio 1176, 2x Empirical Labs Distressors, Neumann U 87, 2x AKG 414, AKG D12 kick-drum mic, Royer R-121 ribbon mic, Lawson L251/L47 Tube/FET Combo, Avantone CV12, Lewitt Beat Kit Pro 7, Electro-Voice RE20, Shure SM58, Shure SM57, Fender Deluxe Reverb, JP Le Roux The Still, Roland Cube 40, Native Instruments Maschine Studio, Omnisphere 2, Trillian, Stylus RMX, Keyscape, Native Instruments Komplete 12 Ultimate, Output (Total Bundle), LA Drama Drums, LASS Lite, Orchestral Essentials, Toontrack Superior Drummer 2 (with multiple Expansion Packs), UAD-powered plug-ins, iZotope Production Suite, Soundtoys, Fab Filter (Mixing and Custom bundle), Slate Digital, Steven Slate Trigger, Metric Halo Production Suite, Seventh Heaven Pro reverb, Altiverb.

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