In honor of Electric Lady Studios' 45th birthday, we're taking a look back at their recent renovation and studio buildout in 2011. While the folks at Electric Lady have come to Vintage King for all kinds of recording gear over the years, the vintage Neve 8078 that we restored for them is certainly one of the studio's centerpieces.
Originally built in 1970 by Jimi Hendrix and designed by architect and acoustician John Storyk, Electric Lady Studios in New York City hardly needs an introduction. Vintage King Audio Co-Owner Mike Nehra recently worked with the legendary recording space on the commission and Premium Vintage King Service of a Neve 8078 recording console.
Electric Lady Studios has worked with Vintage King on a variety of recording equipment for the past four years. Over this time period, Studio Manager Lee Foster and Nehra developed a kinship that led to their search for a vintage Neve recording console. The process was kicked into full gear in October 2010 when Nehra found the exact console to meet the studio’s requests.
Looking to meet the high level standards set at Electric Lady's outset and expectations of audio recording at its peak, Foster and his team were searching for an extremely specific Neve console. Previously belonging to Clinton Recording Studios, Vintage King Audio acquired the console after Clinton closed its doors in July 2010. Shortly thereafter, the wheels were in motion to install this piece of musical history into Electric Lady’s illustrious Studio A.
"Studio A is a classic live room and naturally asks for 'classic Neve’ on its own,” says Foster. “We wanted to make it whole and give our clients what they would expect inside Electric Lady’s flagship tracking room.”
Replacing an SSL J9000 (Electric Lady still has two other J9000s in operation), Electric Lady was understandably concerned with how quickly the Neve 8078 could be completely refurbished and installed in order to eliminate downtime. Nehra had Vintage King’s renowned tech department on the case immediately, who began an ambitious VK Premium Service straight away.
The Vintage King Tech Department completed rigorous tests on the Neve in order to determine what sonic, technical and aesthetic changes had to be made in order to restore the console back to its original luster and 1970’s factory specifications. After tests and re-tests, all faults were corrected to ensure that the console would operate perfectly. Vintage King replaced the capacitors, cleaned the desk by hand inside and out, re-painted and re-screened worn panels. To ensure the Neve 8078 looked as good as it would sound, the shop commissioned a custom woodworker to completely re-create the custom-built mahogany producer’s desk.
"In this day and age, most studios are moving forward to mix in the box and rely primarily on computers with their artists,” says Mike Nehra. “In Electric Lady’s case, they’re reviving history and breathing life into the premium, classic and sonic perfection of the Neve 8078. They challenged the industry standard and purchased the best that money can buy with this vintage desk. We can’t wait to hear the musical history the continue to make in Studio A.”