Show Off Your Studio: Parallells’ House of Klassified
The electro-acoustic duo’s Amsterdam studio is designed to feel organic and inspire collaboration.
- Midas Venice F32
- Petrof Baby Grand Piano
- Sequential Prophet-6
- Selmer Saxophone Alto
- Korg Minilogue
- Adam S3X-V
Tell us more about the studio, Parallells!
We recently opened our music label’s Headquarters in Amsterdam West “The House of Klassified” which also includes our music studio. It was designed in Mexico City by architect Piero Demichelis Dema, engineered by sound engineer Xicoténcatl Ladrón de Guevara, and crafted by Amsterdam based design company TWO-O. We wanted to have a studio spacious enough to feature a grand piano and be able to welcome all kind of musicians.
How do you use your studio?
The studio has no boundaries. We record mostly ourselves but, depending on the project, we collaborate a lot with other musicians – we love to dive into different cultures and different soundscapes. We usually start a project by jamming on the Petrof Grand Piano to find the chords and melodies that will define the vibe. We then try to add as many organic elements we have in the studio; egg shakers, claves, marimba for instance and then add the synths. We usually like to use the Korg Minilogue for basslines and the Prophet-6 for nice progressions, arpeggiators and sequences. Julien being a saxophonist and Thomas a singer, we try to add these elements at last to give the final touch.
What are the six main pieces of kit in your studio?
It’s hard to choose six! We have a Venice F32 mixer that records and controls everything, but to pick six we would say the Petrof Baby Grand Piano, Sequential Prophet-6, Selmer Saxophone Alto, Korg Minilogue, Adam S3X-V speakers. And not to forget the most important: our box of small rhythmical instruments from all over the world from egg shakers to African bells!
Which DAW do you use?
We work on Ableton because of its clip mode arrangement that allows us to really jam and play live. The software is also linked to our real work station, the 32-channel Midas Venice F32 Mixer where each element is connected to, and where the first sound editing is done.
What is your favourite piece of gear?
The Petrof Grand piano has such a pure sound and it was a gift from a close friend ours so it has quite a special part in our heart. The Petrof is usually the starting point of a track. Thomas finds chords and melodies, and then the jam session leads to the recordings.
How much time do you spend in your studio per week?
When not on tour, we are there all day and night (from 11 am to 1or 2 am). As we’ve built a soundproof studio, we do not have any neighbours complain.
How did you achieve good acoustics in your studio?
We’ve built a room in a room with walls filled with acoustic foam. We then placed 4 bass traps in each corner of the room and 3 different types of moveable diffusers on each side of the room. Our glass window is inclined to lead the sound towards the diffuser on the ceiling that breaks and blocks the remaining sound. And of course, a tool that we recommend to everyone, is the Sonarworks Reference 4 that allows you to measure and calibrate the room in order to remove unwanted sound colouration from the speakers.
What is next on your shopping list?
The Nord Stage 3, that combines the Nord Lead synth engine, the Nord Organ Engine and an advance piano section, plus easy access to hands-on effects. We always play it for live shows, but we don’t actually own one. It really has everything you need for a stellar performance in any setting.
Do you have any frustrations with your current set-up?
As it is a new set-up we are quite happy for the moment, and the acoustics are extremely good. But set-ups are meant to be changed, challenged and adapted. And details are infinite; we do miss mixing with analogue gear, and using effect pedals or external compressors. Things come in time, the more you explore the more you want to continue exploring.
What is your dream piece of gear?
I think the list can be very long, the search for new sound is infinite; there’s so many powerful synthesizers, drum machines and instruments. But picking one, it would have to be an original Rhodes piano, it’s one of the most orgasmic sounds in our opinion.
What is your top piece of production advice?
Less is more, and sophistication is key.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
The gear is important, but the space itself is far more important. We would advice to acoustically treat your studio room, with proper bass traps, diffusers, killing symmetries, the elements will sound much purer.
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