the move to the village of Stretham, about 10 miles north
of Cambridge, this picture shows the famous in-house designed
and built microprocessor controlled 56 input desk, the Studer
A80 24-track, and various outboard gear. You can just make
out the original in-house 16-track hiding behind the
desk. Monitoring was on B&W 801s later changed for 808's
and augmented by a pair of JBL 4343s and Yamaha NS10s. Mastering
was onto Studer B67 1/4" using Dolby A throughout until
the PCM F1 arrived when material was usually digitally mastered.
The most complex session was Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin's
"Busy Doing Nothing" engineered by Ted Hayton when a second
Studer 24 track was synced up. Dave also produced and Ted
engineered Nigel Planer's alter ego Neil from "The Young
Ones" with his hit "Hole In My Shoe" here. In this room
Mike also co-produced the Stranglers single "Always the
Sun" and their 1986 album "Dreamtime". Notable assistants
on this album were Ted Hayton and Owen Morris. Even after
the studio was closed the Stranglers made a return visit
in 1992 for much of the recording of the album "In The Dark",
produced by Mike.
the desk lives on...
"Anyway, for those remotely interested........we,
The Waves/Katrina and the Waves...bought the entire contents
of Spaceward and installed it all in our own studio (which
still exists) NW of Cambridge just off the A14. The famous
desk eventually got replaced and it went to our engineer,
Steve Stewart (of The Enid fame) at his place. Unbelieveably
the computer section of the desk has only finally given up
the ghost in the last couple of weeks!!!!! BUT - Steve will
be rebuilding it so he can use it as a straight in/out desk.
Thing is, it definitely has a sound of its' own - pretty rock
n' roll snare and vocal sounds - and in these days of digital
recording it's even more useful than ever."
Cooper - Feb 13, 2004
This was a custom one-off device I made for Dave Stewart during the period he and Barbara Gaskin were using the studio heavily in the mid '80's.
Dave was a big user of Simmons drums, and he discovered that the drum sound generators sounded much more interesting when triggered from a more complex waveform than the "click" generated by a Simmons pad or a sequencer trigger. Although that produces the standard Simmons "dff", using a more complex trigger causes the Simmons sound module to generate an extended, weightier, sound.
Accordingly, Dave asked me if I could do something to augment the click triggers, and I suggested this idea. Each channel is basically a damped oscillator, which when triggered, generates a burst of low frequency oscillation. AFAIR it has controls for the frequency and the damping, which control the sound and duration of the extended trigger to be fed to the Simmons unit.
So it is more than just an interface, it is designed to augment the sound of the basic Simmons kit, and lend it a new, more complex and often darker character. It is only of use together with the Simmons. Anyone with an interest in Simmons drums would find this fascinating, and I suspect, irresistible. I only built one unit, so the result is, of course, a unique sound for the Simmons owner interested in getting more innovative sounds than you can get with a basic kit.