The Pool ranks alongside the very best recording studios in London, and the UK. With nearly 2000 sq ft of creative space, towering ceilings, natural light, modern interior design, multi-coloured hue lighting and of course a spec fit for a studio king, we’d like to think it has everything. Throw in a Central London location and a very competitive rate, and we know we’re onto something quite special.
The Pool recording studio has been in evolution for several years. Launched in 2006 under a partnership between Miloco and producer Ben Hillier, it was at first a completely open, no-separation tracking room. In Summer 2009 it underwent a reconstruction that saw a new control room and drum booth built above its vast live space, which was also aesthetically revamped and acoustically improved. Two years later in Summer 2011, music entrepreneur Johan Ekelund joined the partnership, moving his huge collection of vintage outboard in to enhance Ben’s own impressive choice of rare analogue gear. The combination of Ben and Johan’s collections, with a few extra toys courtesy of Miloco, has resulted in one of the largest and highest-quality equipment specs you can find across the industry.
The control room sits at the front of the studio. Its centrepiece is a rare 30-channel EMT console, but it’s the multiple racks of outboard that really stand out. There is a total of 52 mic pres and EQs including 18 vintage Neve preamps, a stack of APIs and countless other popular models. You can get stuck into a variety of Dynamics, Reverbs and Delays, or make use of the extensive list of plug-ins. The Pool’s monitoring includes Augspurger Treo 812 CFM Close Field Main Monitors, Yamaha NS10s, Barefoot MicroMain 27's, and Adam S3A's. The NS10's are powered by a choice of Quad and Yamaha amps. The studio runs on a Protools HDX rig, however tape fanatics have the option to book a 24 Track Otari MTR 90 2” machine.
The control room looks out over 1120 sq ft of powerful, punchy and dynamic live space equipped with an enormous collection of backline. We have four drum kits: a 1963 vintage Premier drum kit, Slingerland kit and a fantastic Hayman and Yamaha 9000, with additional snares by Ludwig and Mitchell, and countless cymbals by Istanbul, Paiste, Pearl, Sabian, Zanki and Zildjian. Pick your kit and then choose your space! We have a custom-built drum booth measuring 3 meters high and capable of yielding all sorts of interesting sounds, or, you may wish to go all out in the main live room using a selection of acoustic panels to fine-tune your drum sound.
The rest of The Pool’s backline consists of Timpani, a vibraphone, glockenspiel, bongos and congas plus an assortment of other percussive treats. And then… over 20 keyboards and analogue synths, an immense range of guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers and pedals, and a Yamaha Baby Grand piano, all of which can be recorded by a total of 40 different microphones. A bespoke amp box large enough for an Ampeg SVT is also at your disposal.
We have then turned our attention to making The Pool’s creative atmosphere worthy of such a great equipment spec. We've given the entire floor space and lower-walls a striking coat of bright blue paint, refurbished the long sidewall with tall pinewood beams and added some large panels which not only enhance the acoustics but also add to the eye-catching interior design. During the day, thanks to the large skylights in the roof the studio is beautifully lit, but when the sun goes down the hue coluoured lighting can be turned on and create a completely different night-time vibe ambience. Any bulb can be any colour so the vibe is yours to be set.
Lastly, we should mention the studio’s versatility. 2009’s reconstruction saw a conventional control room incorporated into the space, however we took care in designing the new-look Pool to also cater for those who’d like to continue with the room's original open-plan theme. The live room is large enough for us to move the control room gear into, creating a completely different working environment; one which is more intimate with no separation between the artists and producer / engineer. This system then frees up the control room to be used as another isolated recording area.