- Metropolis Group
Metropolis Group is a music production and entertainment industry company established in 1989 by Gary Langan, Carey Taylor and Karin Clayton. It is located in The Power House, a Grade II listed building, at 70 Chiswick High Road in Chiswick, London, England. Metropolis Group is considered one of the UK’s premier independent recording studios. Over the last twenty years the group has expanded and now consists of three principal divisions: Metropolis Studios, Metropolis Mastering, and Digital Media/Productions.
History of the Powerhouse
The Powerhouse was built in 1901 by a young architect William Curtis Green to power the trams of West London. This substantial building was conceived to be so large as to prevent any of the houses in the neighbourhood (which still tended to be large properties with influential owners) suffering from the vibration and dust caused by the steam powered generators. Due to competition from Lots Road power station in Chelsea, power was only generated until 1920 when the building was decommissioned and stripped of its equipment. Being mainly used as a storage facility, the Powerhouse gradually fell into disrepair.
London Transport (by then the owners) decided to redevelop the site. This led to an outcry and the Victorian Society campaigned for the protection of the building from the developers, which in turn led to the building being listed, one of the first Victorian buildings to be so nominated, and the first that was built in the 20th century. In 1989 after a large scale redevelopment, the building was converted into the home of Metropolis Group. The building’s great mass became a positive asset in isolating the studios from the vibration and dust caused by the surrounding neighbourhood.
Metropolis Studios was the first division to be established of Metropolis Group and is the backbone of the building. It consists of 4 recording and mixing studios and 4 production rooms and is the largest independent recording facility in Europe.
Studio A is the larger of the two tracking rooms at Metropolis Studios. The 60m2 control room houses an SSL 9072 'J' series console with Genelec1035A main monitors. It is considered to be Metropolis’ ideal room for tracking or mixing. The studio area comprises three rooms with differing acoustic properties: a main area (90m2), a stone room (15m2) and a 'dead' room (15m2), each with ceilings close to 6m high and excellent lines of sight for musicians and engineers. All of these areas have natural daylight and can handle demanding tracking and orchestral sessions of up to 26 players. Studio A boasts a self contained private lounge (with tie lines, kitchen and toilet) overlooking the live areas.
Equipment: A SSL 9072 J series console, Genelec 1035A main monitoring, Yamaha NS10, PMC or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Quad 520F amps, Three separate recording areas, largest suitable for up to 26 piece string section, Private reception area, lounge, kitchen and toilet, Custom 8-way foldback system, House sync, Protool HD 3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs & outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100(with dolby A or SR), Standard Plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Timeline Lynx syncronisation, Ampex ATR-100 1/2" or 1/4" with dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Denon CD, DVD/SACD Player, Superb sounding Fazioli 7'6" grand piano and Large surface areas for extra ancillary equipment.
Outboard: Lexicon : 480L, PCM 70, AMS : DMX delay, Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor, DBX : 2x 160, 2x 165, Roland : DimD , SDE3000x2(with analogue trigger), Eventide H3000 D/SE, Pultec : 2x EQP1A valve eq, GML 8200 stereo EQ, Urie 2x UA 1176, Neve 2x 2254 compressors with stereo link, Ensoniq DP4 multi fx, Drawmer : 3x DS 201 gates SSL rackmount stereo compressor, Panscan panner, BSS DPR 402 de-esser, Yamaha Rev7, SPX1000, SPX90, Bel Flanger BF-20.
Studio B is the second of two tracking rooms at Metropolis. The 35m2 control room features an SSL G series 4064 console with Genelec 1035A monitoring. The studio is very self contained and is most commonly used for album sessions at any stage from conception to tracking and mix. A notable feature of this studio is its private lounge and dining/kitchen area, which are incorporated into the control room environment by opening the two large acoustic doors at the rear of the control room. The space can be used more economically by utilising the mobile outboard racks, allowing efficient placement of outboard and computer equipment during recording and mix sessions as projects dictate. The live area comprises a central live area (30m2) flanked by two isolated areas (20 & 12m2) with more controlled acoustics. The dead corridor between control & live rooms has tie lines and amp/vocal space.
Equipment: A SSL 9072 J series console, Genelec 1035A main monitoring, Yamaha NS10, PMC or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Quad 520F amps, Three separate recording areas, largest suitable for up to 26 piece string section, Private reception area, lounge, kitchen and toilet, Custom 8-way foldback system, House sync, Protool HD 3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs & outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100(with dolby A or SR), Standard Plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Timeline Lynx syncronisation, Ampex ATR 100 1/2" or 1/4" with dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Denon CD, DVD/SACD Player and a superb sounding Fazioli 7'6" grand piano and large surface areas for extra ancillary equipment.
Outboard: Lexicon : 480L, PCM 70, AMS : DMX delay, Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor, DBX : 2x 160, 2x 165, Roland : DimD , SDE3000x2(with analogue trigger), Eventide H3000 D/SE, Pultec : 2x EQP1A valve eq, GML 8200 stereo EQ, Urie 2x UA 1176, Neve 2x 2254 compressors with stereo link, Ensoniq DP4 multi fx, Drawmer : 3x DS 201 gates, SSL rackmount stereo compressor, Panscan panner, BSS DPR 402 de-esser, Yamaha Rev7, SPX1000, SPX90 and a Bel Flanger BF-20.
Studio C is one of the three studios on the top floor at Metropolis. Built around a 72 channel Neve VR console, it is fitted with PMC main monitoring. The control room (55m2), which looks out into the atrium and enjoys natural daylight, is particularly suited to mix sessions involving a lot of additional equipment with its large worktop area (6m2) behind the mix position. At the back of the room is an overdub booth (10m2), ideal for percussion, vocals or guitars. The control room has been designed with a machine bay that will accommodate up to three multitrack machines and is positioned to allow for full visibility of all DAW systems and/or multitrack metering from the console.
Equipment: NEVE VR 72 channel console, Flying Faders v3.1 automation, PMC BB5/XBD active main monitoring system, Yamaha NS10, PMC, or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Quad 520 F/Bryston 3B amp, Overdub booth, Custom 8-way foldback system, Prism AD1 / DA1 converters, House sync, Protools HD3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs & outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100(with dolby A or SR), Standard Plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Timeline Lynx syncronisation with system supervisor, Ampex ATR 100 1/2" or 1/4" with dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Marantz CD, Comprehensive analogue and Z systems digital routing., 32" Plasma Screen and a Sony DVD Player.
Outboard: Lexicon : 480L, 224X, PCM 70, T.C. M5000, AMS : DMX delay, RMX 16 reverb, Yamaha REV 5, SPX 900, 2x SPX 1000 multi FX, Roland : DimD, SDE3000x2(with analogue trigger), Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor, PULTEC : 2x EQH 2, 2x MEQ 5 valve eq, Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, DBX 160 x2, Urie 3x UA 1176, GML 8200 stereo EQ, NEVE 33609 stereo compressor, FOCUSRITE : 2x ISA 131 compressors, K H : custom mod.UE 400 2 channel eq, Panscan panner, Drawmer : 2x DS 201 gates, Eventide H3000 D/SE, Bel Stereo Flanger BF-20, T.C. 2290 Digital Delay, Empirical Labs : 2x Distressor EL8-X (with British Mode) and EMT 244 reverb.
Studio E is the room most often utilized for 5.1 mixing and as a sound to picture room. An SSL XL 9072K series console running in conjunction with the 5.1 PMC main monitors and M&K nearfield monitors makes this room sought after for large mixing projects and overdubbing. Enjoying views of the atrium with its natural daylight, the 55m2 control room has an overdub booth (9m2) with outstanding line of sight to the console. A separate machine bay and two large plasma screens complete studio E.
Equipment: SSL XL 9072 K series console with Ultipan 5.1 panning, PMC BB5 / XBD / MB1 active 5.1 main monitoring system, Yamaha NS10, PMC, or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Bryston amps, 4x Prism A/D1 and D/A1, Comprehensive Z systems multi-channel digital routing, N-Vision house sync, 2x 42" Plasma Screens, Overdub booth, Protools HD3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs & outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100 multitracks (dolby A and SR) / MTR 90 mk 2, Timeline Lynx syncronisation, Standard Plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Ampex ATR 100 1/2" or 1/4" with dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Denon CD, VHS/DVD/SACD Player and a Custom 8-way foldback system.
Outboard: Lexicon : 480L, 224X, PCM 70, T.C. M6000 multi channel reverb, AMS : DMX delay, RMX 16 reverb,Yamaha REV 5, SPX 900, Roland : Dim D, SDE3000x2(with analogue trigger), Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, Tube Tech : 2x CL1A valve compressor, 2x PE1B Valve EQ, Neve : 33609 stereo compressor, DBX : 2x 160 compressors, Urie 2x UA 1176, Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor, GML 8200 stereo EQ, K H : custom mod. UE 400 2 channel eq, Panscan panner, Drawmer : 2x DS 201 gates, Ensoniq DP/4 multi-fx, BEL BF-20 Flanger (1u grey), Eventide H3000 D/SE, Empirical Labs : 2x Distressor EL8-X (with British Mode), Summit : 1x TLA50 tube leveller, Chandler : Germanium Mic Pre/DI.
Metropolis Mastering has been trading for 16 years, and is world renowned for its audio mastering, said to ‘offer possibly the best mastering services in the world’. With six mastering suites and a dozen or more mastering engineers, Metropolis is the largest independent mastering house in Europe.
Metropolis Groups’ experienced and award winning. engineers and technical support team cover absolutely all aspects of mastering from Vinyl mastering to catalogue restoration and 5.1 surround sound. The department is completely adaptable to its clients by embracing all release formats from vinyl and CD to DVD-A, DVD-B, SA-CD, digital download and 7.1.
Listed below in alphabetical order by surname are 11 of the current engineers and some of the artists that they have mastered for:
Frank Arkwright: The Coral, Arcade Fire, The Smiths, The Dandies
Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin: Chris de Burgh, The Orb, KT Tunstall, Free
Ian Cooper: Oasis, The Verve, Nick Cave, The Fratellis
Tony Cousins: Genesis, Adele, Crowded House, Massive Attack
John Davis: R.E.M., Led Zeppelin, U2, The Prodigy, White Lies
Stuart Hawkes: Amy Winehouse, Mutya, Alesha Dixon, Nil(Turkey)
Mazen Murad: Jazz Icons DVD, Mika DVD, Muse, Earth, Wind And Fire
Giovanni Scatola: Jimmy Scott, Rhino catalogue
Miles Showell: Underworld, Dido, Beth Orton
Noel Summerville: Boards Of Canada, Squarepusher, Maxïmo Park, Flying Lotus
Tim Young: The Beatles 5.1, The Killers, The Clash, Elbow
The department boasts a truly international client list including all of the big labels, artists and companies from Germany to Japan. In no particular order, listed below are some recent international acts mastered at Metropolis:
Ebeni’s Brothers, Nina Pastori, Orange Range, Mumiy Troll, Jean Michel Jarre, Maya Barsony, Detlef Zoo, Ivri Lider, Camille, Westernhagen, Herbert Groenemeyer, Van Belle, Da Weasel, Renato Zero, Gianna Nannini, Cerena, Jacques Villeneuve, Geece Yolculari, Rolf Ebitsch, ERA, Melendi, Dover, Damien Saez, Herman Dune, Cabas, Asha Puthli, Presuntos Implicados, Vanessa Paradis, Julio Iglesias, Zazie, Johnny Hallyday, Nazen Oncel, Pascal Obispo, Sertab Erener, Mika Nakashima, Rip Slyme, Poni Hoax, NIL, Sugizo, Ozcan Dniz, Renan Luce, Rosso, Whyte Seeds, Ive Mendes, Die Toten Hosen, Wise Guys, Myrto, Sara Tavares, Starla, Sto Zvirat and Youssou N’Dour.
Metropolis’ 6 mastering rooms are all built around the same technical focus. Although the rooms are not identical, they share common technical specifications. Analogue equipment includes:
Digital equipment includes:
Weiss EQ’s, tc electronic M6000’s, Waves L2’s and SADiE DAWs. In addition to this equipment, Metropolis prides itself in using its own, in-house built EQ’s, filters and mastering consoles.
Established in 2005, iMastering is Metropolis Mastering's’ web based, low cost professional online mastering service. Irrelevant of where when or how tracks were recorded, the iMastering service provides quick results and easy access to Metropolis’ engineers and mastering services at a fraction of the cost.
Metropolis Group launched a production division in 2002 allowing film/DVD projects to be completed entirely in-house. Since then, the department has grown into what it considers to be a one stop shop in the truest sense by providing a spectrum of services for music, film, video and non-entertainment purposes. The complete design agency was launched from the DVD division and operates as a fully fledged digital media and productions organisation. Bringing together a large group of experienced and award winning creative industry professionals, the team utilises industry standard software (Sonic, Avid, Final Cut pro etc.) and a passion for innovation and creativity to provide a plethora of services:
Blu-ray, DVD and CD authoring, motion graphics, illustration and animation , video and audio encoding, digitisation and digital delivery, format development, packaging and merchandise creation, promotional artwork and videos, television adverts, trailers, EPK’s, Live concert, studio and documentary shoots and photography.
Most notable recent clients/projects include: Stevie Wonder Live at Last DVD and Blu-ray, Kaiser Chiefs and AC/DC Blu-ray and DVD releases, KT Tunstall Live Lounge pilot, Depeche Mode and John Martyn TV adverts and forthcoming U2 and Beatles releases.
Albums and Artists
Whether they have been fully recorded, mixed or mastered, many famous albums have been made at Metropolis Group. Some of the most notable releases include: The Verve Urban Hymns, The Stone Roses Second Coming, Queen Made In Heaven & Innuendo, U.N.K.L.E Psyence Fiction, Scott Walker Tilt, The Libertines The Libertines, and Grammy Award winners Amy Winehouse Back To Black & Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as well as the massive Live Aid & Live 8 DVDs.
Recent US artists & producers include Jimmy Iovine, The Black Eyed Peas, Timbaland, Chris Cornell, Lady Gaga, Ron Fair, Akon, Anastacia, John Legend, Michael Bolton, Kelly Rowland, Usher and The Game.
Metropolis Group’s various facilities have been used by a wide range of artists including:
50 Cent, Adele, Akon, All Saints, Amr Diab , Amy Winehouse, Avril Lavigne, Babyshambles, Beyonce, Bjork, The Black Eyed Peas, Black Kids, Blue, Bon Jovi, Brian Wilson, Celine Dion, DJ Shadow, Duran Duran, Elton John, Erykah Badu, Estelle, Faithless, Garbage, George Michael, Goldie, Green Day, Groove Armada, I Am Kloot, Iron Maiden, James Morrison, Jamiroquai, Jay-Z, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Katherine Jenkins, Keith Urban, Kelly Rowland, KT Tunstall, Kylie, Ladyhawke, Lauryn Hill, Led Zeppelin, Lemon Jelly, Lily Allen, Madonna, Mark Ronson, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Mis-Teeq, Moloko, Nas, New Order, Nick Cave, Paolo Nutini, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Placebo, Pulp, Queen, Richard Ashcroft, Robbie Williams, Roisin Murphy, Scissor Sisters, Scott Walker, Simply Red, Slipknot, Snow Patrol, Starsailor, Stereophonics, Sting, The Clash, The Cure, The Game, The Kills, The Libertines, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, The Stone Roses, The Verve, The White Stripes, The Who, Timbaland, Tina Dico, Tom Jones, Tricky, U.N.K.L.E, U2, Underworld, Usher, Van Morrison, Vanessa Mae, Will.I.Am, Yusuf Islam,
Alan Moulder, Bill Price, Butch Vig, Chris Potter, Dave Stewart, Gary Langan, Gus Dugeon, Marius DeVries, Mark Ronson, Michael Kamen, Nellee Hooper, Phil Spector, Sir George Martin, Timbaland, Tom Elmhirst.
- ^ Future Music Magazine, ‘Studiofile- Metropolis Sudios’ April 2009, p. 20
- ^ Music Tech Focus Magazine, ‘The Masters of Metropolis’, February 2009 p 66
- ^ Tim Young won a Grammy and Music Tech Award for the Beatles “Love” Album, and worked on Elbow’s Mercury Award winning Album “The Seldom Seen Kid.”
- ^ 2004 BVA Best British Authored DVD – You Can Sing (Granada Ventures) 2006 HEW Award of Excellence:
- DVD Creative Award – Qi (Warner Home Video) (Interactive Winner)
- Programme Award (Childrens Winner) - The Snow Queen (BBC Worldwide)
- Programme Award (Music/Stage Show) – Punk Attitude (Fremantle Home Entertainment)
(1) Future Music Magazine, ‘Studiofile- Metropolis Sudios’, April 2009, pp. 20–22
(2) Music Tech Focus Magazine – Mastering. ‘The Masters of Metropolis’, February 2009 pp. 66–69 http://www.musictechmag.co.uk/files/Focus/Mastering/MTF05.p060.pdf
(3) 'Metropolis Studios' http://www.recordproduction.com/metropolis.htm
(4) ‘Metropolis creates one stop shop’, November 10, 2008 http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1036124
(5) ‘Brenchley Joins Metropolis’, 6 November 2008 http://www.recordoftheday.com/www/news/article.php?aid=257
- Metropolis Official Website
- Metropolis iMastering Website (online mastering)
- Metropolis YouTube Channel
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