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Nottingham University unveils new White Mark facility

Acclaimed acoustic design consultancy has created a new recording studio and live room, which is now being enjoyed by a wide range of degree and post grad students.

Nottingham University has expanded its Music Technology provision by building a new recording studio and live room in a space formerly occupied by three offices.

The studio is now the focal point for the University’s recently launched Music and Music Technology degree programme, which was established as a direct response to the rise in the number of students taking A-Level Music Technology.

International studio design consultancy White Mark handled the acoustic design and technical specification for the project, while project management was provided by the University’s Estates Department.

The studio is situated next to the University’s 200-seat Djanogly Recital Hall, which was opened in 1994 and subsequently listed as one of the UK’s top ten venues for chamber music (Classical Music Magazine). Tie lines between the two facilities mean that performances in the Hall can now be recorded to a professional standard.

White Mark’s design involved de-coupling the studio and live room from the building’s structure and setting them both on a neoprene-mounted floating floor. The extensive acoustic treatment offers a performance space that is tonally interesting yet balanced across the frequency range and with no resonant frequencies or untoward standing waves in the audio spectrum.

“It is always rewarding to work with clients that know exactly what they need from a project,” said White Mark director David Bell. “Here, a strong wish was for a flexible recording space to allow realistic voice over recording and close miked music sessions. Also required was a volume and response that would give a good acoustic to chamber-style projects with air around the microphones and, consequently, the need for a balanced and smooth reverberant field.”

Simon Paterson added: “The larger end of the live room is suitable for chamber music, acoustic guitars, drums and other ensembles, while the smaller end is more acoustically dry and therefore best suited for vocals or voice overs. In terms of equipment, we have an SSL Matrix 2 console with an SSL X-Rack system offering total recall of analogue signal path alongside comprehensive DAW control. The University already owns some high-end microphones and mic pre-amps, although we will be stocking up on more in the future.”

Paterson, who joined the University’s Department of Music in 2013 and has already introduced successful modules in Digital Composition, Sound Design and Synthesis and Music Production, says students are delighted with the new recording facility.

“Alongside Music Technology degree students, the studio is also being used by students on the existing Music BA course, as well as post-graduates who specialise in electronic composition and/or sound recording,” he explained. “The students love the space and everyone who visits the department is thoroughly impressed with these new facilities. Currently, our Music Production students are recording a wide variety of ensembles made up of Music degree students for a festival of music composed for silent films. They are also recording more traditional band set-ups for their portfolios.”