Said to be the largest recording facility in Europe, London’s Metropolis has been celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2009. The list of stars who’ve passed through its four studios reads like a who’s who of popular music – Metropolis churns out hit albums at a frankly alarming rate. Future Music popped in and took the guided tour.
Studio A live room
The highlight of Studio A is this cavernous live room; it’s primarily wood but also has an optional stone section. “It’s big. You could have a gig in here for 150 people,” says Metropolis Managing Director Ian Brenchley.
Studio A rack
Predictably, Studio A has some extremely well-stuffed racks to sit alongside its SSL 9072 J desk. Highlights of this one include the GML 8200 EQ, which is often used on the mix buss, and the Manley Variable Mu limiter/compressor, which is frequently put to work on backing vocals.
Studio A lounge
When the stars want a bit of ‘chill-axation’ time away from Studio A, they head up to its plush lounge room. It’s soundproofed and comes with its own kitchen and bathroom (you could practically move in), but for those who want to stay in touch, monitoring and talkback from the control room below are also in place.
Studio B desk
Over in Studio B, there’s a 20-year-old SSL 4064 G desk that delivers a tough and grainy sound (those who use it also like to overload the input channels). Leaving aside the obligatory Yamaha NS10s, monitoring comes via a pair of Genelec 1035As, which deliver a tight, punchy and compressed sound.
Studio B rack
You’ll find more classic outboard in Studio B. To the right, for example, you’ll notice vintage units from Urei and Tube-Tech.
Studio E desk
Studio E is notable for its SSL 9072 K desk, which supports the surround sound features that are required in this room. Off to the side there’s a decent-sized vocal booth: “[In case] the artist decides that they do want to re-record a line, I always make sure there’s a mic set up,” explains engineer Dan Parry.
As well as its recording, mixing and mastering facilities (you can actually have your own work mastered at Metropolis via the iMastering service), the studio also has a multimedia department and video rooms. Here, you can see a member of the team working on the front-end for a Stevie Wonder live DVD.