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Interview with Frank Lee, Acoustic Designer for Leo Studio

Please introduce yourself, your background and your scope of work in Leo Studio.
My name is Frank Lee. 
My company is called Munich Group and we specialize in acoustic design and construction.  We were engaged by Leo Studio to design and build the studio, install the recording system in the control room and also the playback system in the rehearsal room.
First and foremost, I am a recording / mix engineer by profession. Studio design is a subset of this.
The reason why producers and musicians hire me to design their studios is because of my experience with the 'engineer' side of things - I approach the design of the studio based on the workflow requirements of a real world sound engineer rather than only focusing on things strictly from an acoustic engineer's perspective.
Munich Group has been involved in the design and build of studios such as Atomic Studios back in the late 80s, and more recently Yellowbox and Victoria Concert Hall's recording studio.
Please introduce Leo Studio.
Leo Studio was originally designed primarily to cater to the rehearsal studio market. With the increase in music concerts in Singapore and the region, Leo Studio has seen the likes of Jackie Chan, Kit Chan and a list of many musicians and artists who have been involved in the recent SG50 concert. 
The studio is also set up as a fully equipped commercial recording studio. 
Precisely when did Leo Studio open? 
1st April 2015.
What makes Leo Studio different to other facilities?
The approach to the studio design was based around the concept of a high-end rehearsal room with really good musical equipment and a cosy environment.  The recording aspect was actually a secondary concern - the original plan was to have a basic DAW, keyboard and mouse system.  However, midway through the construction process, the owner decided that since he had already invested in such excellent quality guitars, amps , drums etc.  he 'might as well go all the way' with the recording side of things. He decided to equip the recording studio with high quality mixing console, microphones and monitor speakers.
There were 3 main requirements for the rehearsal room - playback system through speakers, in-ear monitoring system and recording system. This is essentially combining the requirements of a live sound venue with that of a recording studio and traditionally you would have 2 mixing consoles, 1 for recording and 1 for monitor mixing. However,  Munich Group decided on a console that was capable to do all 3.
What kind of projects / clientele does Leo Studio attract?
Musicians, arrangers, composers, singer/songwriters, producers - anything to do with music production really.
Please tell us about the acoustic design within Leo Studio.
The rehearsal room was designed to be more 'live' sounding, where you have a healthy amount of reflections coming back to the musicians. Using a combination of diffusion and absorption material, we managed to keep a good amount of energy in the room. This is especially useful during jamming sessions - the interaction with the room makes it such that the musicians do not need to use their in-ear monitoring system to hear each other.
I noticed the use of stage lighting in the rehearsal room...
Yes! The idea behind the moving lights was to provide a unique space for the musicians to shoot their own promotion videos. It makes the musicians feel as though they are performing at their own concert venue.  This is something different from most other recording studios.
How did the SCM25A monitors help you to achieve the results you wanted?
Besides being a studio designer, I am also a recording and mixing engineer - throughout the years I have worked with a lot of different brands and models of monitor speakers.  As an engineer, for the purpose of mixing, making changes to the vocals and hearing clearly what I am doing when I am EQ'ing, the ATCs are the ones that really make my job much easier. This 3-way system reproduces the mid-range frequencies very accurately - this is especially important to me because this is where the vocals reside.
When other engineers come into the studio to work on the ATCs, not only do they they feel comfortable working with the speakers, they are also confident that the material they have recorded and mixed is accurate and will translate well to other playback systems. This makes the studio more attractive to them.
Was is easy for you and your team to get accustomed to the SCM25A speakers? 
90% of the engineers that came in found it easy to start working on them. The comments received have been very good. Don't mention this in the interview, but when you switch to the Ad*ms, you can hear the 'scoop' where the crossovers are!

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