Rocket Science Recording Studios in Glasgow has installed an SSL XL-Desk,
purchased through UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd.

Michael Bannister and Ross Hamilton started Glasgow’s Rocket Science Recording
Studios in August 2010. Located on the West side of Glasgow, the studio’s clients
are spoilt for space with the large control room and three live rooms. “Originally we
just opened it up for ourselves,” says Bannister. “It was somewhere to put our gear
and somewhere to work on our own music. But within the first two weeks someone
phoned up and asked to book in! It has grown steadily ever since.’

Prior to purchasing the XL-Desk, Rocket Science had been replying on a more basic
summing mixer. According to Bannister, a big part of their deliberations was
whether the SSL could really make a difference to the existing signal path. “It has
made a massive difference,” he notes. “…We were looking for that punch and clarity
that we couldn’t find anywhere else. The desk has brought that to us. The built-in
Mix Bus Compressor has been a big thing – it does something special, to bring a
commercial sound to the music – especially that version of it with the high-pass
filter sidechain… The bottom end that we’ve been getting is so different from the
bottom end we were getting before…’

The SSL XL-Desk has an 18-slot 500 format rack built-in, accessible from channels
or mix busses. The Rocket Science console’s rack is populated entirely with SSL’s
500 format E-Series EQ – an easy way for the studio to make a big jump. “We’ve
got quite a lot of outboard,” explains Bannister, “But probably the one thing we
were lacking was outboard EQ. Obviously many people have had these EQs as plug-
ins, but when you get the real one the difference is incredible.”

Hamilton and Bannister have kept to the original summing arrangement for the
most part, but have also started to explore some of the flexibility that XL-Desk can
bring to that role. “We use the first eight channels, which have the VHD preamps,
for tracking, and we use 9 to 24 for summing the returns.

Putting their discerning approach to technology to one side for a moment, it’s
Bannister and Hamilton’s wide range of talents – engineering, song writing,
producing, and playing – that give Rocket Science a unique edge.

The pair has even put their skills to use on more than just straight music recording
and mixing, having completed a number of high-profile advertising projects and
broadcast mix projects: “We’re lucky,” says Bannister. “People come to us because
they want us to play on stuff and produce more than anything. We don’t get many
people just wanting to record…. Quite a lot of our clients are individuals; so Ross
and I, between the two of us, track everything and do a lot for them… But the SSL
does make a big difference – even people who don’t know about music, know about