The Darkroom emerges into light

The Darkroom recording studio has undergone a substantial refit to enable the Willesden, north-west London facility to operate at a world-class level – and to embrace the future.

Leading UK pro audio supplier HHB Communications provided The Darkroom Engineer and owner Anthony Long (Hawkwind, Sugababes) with additional equipment, including a Merging Technologies Horus networked audio interface. Courtesy of the recently installed converter, clients can now choose to take advantage of Audio-over-IP using RAVENNA on a single Cat5 or MADI from USB.

In addition to the 48 channels of Horus conversion, HHB kitted out Long’s studio with a Rosendahl nanoclocks GL master clock generator, reference monitoring using Avantone MixCubes, a Tube Tech MEC 1A recording channel, two of the Maag Audio EQ4 – 500 Series EQ and more.

HHB also supplied a UAD-2 QUAD plug-in package from Universal Audio, which brings extra character and warmth to sessions should it be required. Long explains: “With a fully digital environment, every time I go into the analogue domain it’s got to be worth doing. The Horus is one of the best converter systems I’ve heard, and gets amazing results out of my gear, leaving me free to mix without thinking of the effects of A-D and D-A conversion. If I stay in the digital domain then I want to emulate the best hardware, so I want the best quality software and I think Universal Audio do the best quality hardware emulations bar none.”

The Darkroom was originally built as Morgan Studio 4 in 1974. The studio saw many legends pass through its doors, such as Lou Reed and Cat Stevens, followed by Music Producer Steve Lipson who catered for the likes of Annie Lennox and Pet Shop Boys and renovated the studio with acoustic consultancy Munro Acoustics in 2001. The exceptional Dynaudio M4 monitoring environment remains to this day, alongside a fully digital Neve 88 D console, which enables maximum flexibility and customisation of sessions.

The Darkroom provides a ‘unique turn up and mix service’: clients can just bring their laptop and plug in. “Anthony’s clients are able to turn up with their own DAW rig and essentially tap into the studio’s I/O, opening up endless possibilities for signal flow,” says Sean Evans, Professional Audio Sales at HHB. “We were delighted to work with Anthony for this project. His approach to digital workflow is particularly interesting.”

Long comments: “Dealing with HHB is a truly professional experience. Their sales team are fantastic and friendly to speak to, but most importantly they offer industry-leading service on their products after they’ve sold them. Every product they retail is cared for, and that is where they truly stand out from the rest.”

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