Jan 01, 2001

Musicians & Bands

Sarah McLachlan Sees a Ghost in Her Studio

--Three-time Grammy Award-winning musician and Lilith Fair tour organizer Sarah McLachlan has just had a new 1,800-square-foot personal recording studio built in the Vancouver area, the centerpiece of which is a 56-input Soundcraft Ghost console.

“My first experience with a Ghost was in Los Angeles working on a small project with a friend,” recalls Ashwin Sood, McLachlan’s husband and drummer. “After spending a couple of hours behind the desk, I found the Ghost to be quite warm and lovely sounding. It had a nice, punchy EQ and was very user-friendly - comfortably sized and not at all intimidating. Our keyboard player, Vince Jones, also owned a Ghost and raved about it. So when we were in the process of building this studio, I had Chris Potter, our technical assistant, check out the Ghost to see if it would meet our needs. Chris confirmed my suspicions that it was perfect for us, and so it is.”

Potter, who provided the studio’s acoustic design in addition to consulting with McLachlan and Sood on the choice of recording equipment, comments, “I sat down with Vince’s Ghost for a bit and found that I really enjoyed its sound. The EQ was nice and fat, and I didn’t have to fight with it like I do on some other mixers. Plus the Ghost includes so many thoughtful features as standard that a lot of other analog console manufacturers in its price range leave out, such as balanced stereo returns, phase switches and an on-board oscillator. I’m definitely impressed with it.”

The Ghost - a 32-channel model with an attached 24-channel expander module - is housed in a striking surround case of aluminum and oak, custom built by Potter, and equipped with an elaborate eight-row, 800-point patchbay. In addition to the Soundcraft board, McLachlan and Sood’s studio sports a Digidesign Pro Tools|24 MIX system, complete with a ProControl console and Apple Cinema Display, as well 24-bit Tascam DA78s for storage. Racks feature a variety of outboard microphone preamps and processors from Focusrite, SSL and several other high-end manufacturers, while near-field monitoring is accomplished via pairs of KRK E8s and Yamaha NS-10s.

The studio, itself, features a very open design concept that allows for an endless variety of equipment setups depending on the situation. Most of the gear, including the Soundcraft desk, is mounted on wheels permitting everything to be rolled around between the main recording room and a large overdub booth - big enough to set up two complete drum kits - which can also serve as a control room.

Designed primarily for musicians in project studios, as well as for small production rooms in commercial facilities, Soundcraft’s Ghost has the ability to simultaneously control a video or tape machine (or hard disk recorder) from its integral machine control section, making it ideally suited for composers and editors working to picture. The Ghost’s powerful EQ and competitive price have also helped it find favor in many live and broadcast applications. Offered in 24- and 32-channel sizes with an optional 24-input channel expander, the console is also available in a Ghost LE version for users not requiring transport control or MIDI facilities.

Soundcraft, a leading British manufacturer of high-end mixing consoles serving live, broadcast, theatre and recording markets, is distributed in the US by Harman Pro North America, a subsidiary of Harman International.

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