750mph launched in 1998 with three studios on the South-West corner of the iconic Golden Square in Soho, as a talent-led business. Over time the business has grown organically driven by the demand for their award-winning audio services. In 2003, 750mph expanded by taking an additional floor and adding two more studios one of which was a cinema room for theatrical mixing. In 2014, 750mph took on more space in the building’s basement and added four more studios and now run eight main recording studios with a ninth used more as a music studio. Sitting alongside 750mph is Twenty Below Music. Twenty Below Music was launched in 2018 to support 750mph’s advertising work with music supervision, search, licensing and bespoke composition and re-records, supported by 750mph’s audio engineers.
BEN MASON, PARTNER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, 750MPH
Client service is our priority at 750mph, we go out of our way to make their jobs and productions easier and get what they need done at any cost. We generally run an average of three sessions a day in our eight main suites, running on short turn-arounds from booking to delivery. It can often be only two or three days from initial brief. Speed and flexibility are important components of what we offer.
We first looked at migrating to Avid Pro Tools in 2014, but DAW familiarity won the day at the time. Sam Ashwell has long been an advocate for Avid Pro Tools based on there being more ways of designing and mastering audio. Pro Tools is both a lot more flexible and a lot more intricate.
Pro Tools flexibility of application became all the more apparent when Lockdown started as we could work at home on Avid Pro Tools which we couldn’t with our existing DAW. We had already made the commitment prior, but this certainly supported our decision.
Migrating to Avid Pro Tools represents a step change for us. It impacts the workflow across the whole building. HHB had been discussing Avid as an alternative for many years. It was mid to late 2019 that we started the conversation in earnest, and we had a demo Avid S6 on loan to trial. Sam Ashwell was keen to drive this forward and HHB set out a route map with full proof of concept and specifications.
SAM ASHWELL, PARTNER & HEAD SOUND ENGINEER, 750MPH
We have an equipment cycle of about 5 years and during that time we’re always keeping tabs on how companies are progressing or advancing their products; what new features are coming out.
It was increasingly obvious that a switch to Avid Pro Tools was our best option from both a craft and a workflow perspective. This was magnified when the pandemic hit as Pro tools came into its own in the remote working world.
Over the last ten years I found myself using a range of DAWs to get my job done. With Avid Pro Tools I can get 90% of my work done within the single application, as the feature set and application flexibility are so comprehensive. The handling of plugins is great. And the track count and routing are very powerful.
I’d been using Pro Tools for some time prior to the switch which made it relatively pain free. We also gave all our engineers copies 18 months before we installed our first room, plus we also had a training system set-up from six months before we went live.
The Avid S6 console integration is slick. The visual representation of data is hugely useful (including plug in and waveform). It makes Pro Tools a better programme. And it looks amazing, especially with the furniture we reconditioned with Guy at AKA to house them.
I think the biggest impact of the Pro Tools and S6 combination has been on our Dolby and surround work. The speed we can now implement creative decisions is frighteningly fast, which gives us more time to play. This is what you need in such a deadline driven industry.
Has it changed the way we run as a business? We’ve used freelancers for the first time in 20 years which has helped us manage some of the over flow and we haven’t had to turn any work down this year. It’s a lot easier finding people who can already use the equipment. Having people join who can be up and working within a week is an amazing plus for us. That would literally have taken three months prior to the migration.
I’ve also been able to take a few of the longer format and complex design projects home to work on. So much of my sound design is done at night or at strange times. It’s great to be able to work at home rather than always be in Soho which has helped maintain some life/work balance.
We work on a lot of US and Asia projects where we just provide the sound design (and not the client attended final mix). There have definitely been advantages there for sharing work and protecting the pre-mix, whilst also leaving flexibility for the mix engineer to be able to tweak the plug-in chains. The universal adoption and familiarity with Pro Tools is the key.
I love the flexibility of Pro Tools and how I can go deeper into the mix while meeting tight deadlines. It feels like it’s always been my main DAW.
The majority of the installs were completed between March and July this year. We spent a month converting the first studio and then looked to run a timetable migrating one studio across every fortnight. We took a cautious approach over a long period to ensure that we could maintain our service levels with our customers, and continue to offer our core competencies.
Another important element was the desire to retain our beautiful, hand-built desks. It would have been a real loss not to keep them. Guy Wilson at AKA Design took one of the original desks back to his workshop and then built the first desk up around having the Avid S6 consoles with a new surface.
We were working with HHB from a very early stage. John Johnson came in and we looked at everything we had and what we could re-use. It was a painless install; much easier than I thought it was going to be from a technical perspective. It all came together very quickly. There wasn’t much wiring to do.
After we’d found our rhythm with the first install, Guy would come in with the new corian surface and spend a couple of days changing the metalwork and refitting the new top. Then the technical install itself would take perhaps half a day. Guy would then come back and make some final adjustments to the furniture.
HHB even helped us with the management of the financial paperwork making the whole process painless. We talked to the other resellers, but the depth of relationship with HHB won the day. We talked to our friends in other audio post houses and they all confirmed that HHB would give us the best service and crucially the best support further down the line. It was a resounding confirmation and one that we have found to be true.