Studio owner Zhu Chiao Chen is delighted with the flexibility and freedom the console is delivering by connecting his vintage analogue equipment to his modern digital workflow.
J.studio, a commercial recording studio in the centre of Taipei, has made a Neve® 8424 console the centrepiece of its main control room because it gives the facility the routing flexibility, modularity and freedom it needs to combine a modern, digital workflow with its extensive collection of analogue outboard equipment.
Audio engineer Zhu Chiao Chen opened J.studio (https://www.jstudiorecord.com/) in 2019 and is now offering recording, mixing and mastering facilities to all types of musical genres including Classical, Jazz, EDM, and Pop.
“We especially love working with Taiwanese indie bands as many of the bands we have worked with have had their full creative potential realized in our studio space,” Zhu Chiao Chen explains. “Our approach is to bridge old school gear and apply modern techniques to achieve sonically unique results. The studio is equipped with Urie 813C main monitors and we love collecting all types of vintage audio gear. ”
“The Neve 8424 console is what connects everything together.”
Zhu Chiao Chen’s background in audio encompasses everything from live sound to composing, producing and directing music festivals. However, his love of recording was the reason for establishing J.studio and to this end he has created a perfectly acoustically treated environment that allows him ‘to pick out every detail of the music, without compromise’.
J.studio’s new Neve 8424 replaces an older console that was reaching the end of its working life.
“We were starting to encounter a lot of problems because buttons and knobs were slowly wearing out and this was hindering our workflow,” Zhu Chiao Chen explains. “As an alternative, the Neve 8424 was an affordable option in this market segment and it allows us to seamlessly use the gear we want to use alongside it. Plus we are big fans of the iconic Neve sound.”
Zhu Chiao Chen adds that he prefers to use a hybrid workflow that delivers the best of both analogue and digital worlds.
“I initially assign all my channels, groups, sums etc to the console,” he says. “We have six Switchcraft 9625 patchbays that are connected to a lot of 500 series gear. This allows us to maximize the space we have in our studio and create a more ergonomic environment to work in. At this point, I’ll be ready to start mixing, and use a combination of outboard gear and software plugins to achieve my mix.”
The Neve 8424 console has helped Zhu Chiao Chen optimize his workflow and has integrated seamlessly with J.studio’s collection of analogue outboard equipment.
“Another benefit of the Neve 8424 is that it retains an analogue signal path, but allows digital control,” he says. “This means we can preserve a vintage tone while still benefiting from modern workflow enhancements.”
Like many businesses, J.studio has had to come to terms with the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic that has seen many sectors, especially live music, take an unprecedented hit. Determined to be part of the solution, Zhu Chiao Chen and J.studio took the innovative step of hosting a live Jazz show that was broadcast from the studio to Japan.
“The show was performed by Taiwanese musicians playing in our studio, and broadcast via the internet to another jazz band in Japan,” he says. “They performed the show in real time with the Taiwanese musicians for a live audience. Being able to connect musicians from two different countries and have them play as if they were in the same space was a very humbling experience and it was a huge honour to be involved in this project.”
The studio is also currently producing a rock band consisting of Taiwanese indigenous people, using a mixture of modern instruments and the traditional Taiwanese instruments.
“This is proving to be a really fun experience,” Zhu Chiao Chen adds.