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58 l May 2012


www.prosoundnewseurope.com industrytalk


AS WISSELOORDenters its brave new era, the prime mover behind its renaissance finds himself full circle in the town that saw him grow up, take his first steps as a radio producer and then brew a career as the in-demand recording and mixing engineer of Europe’s rock and pop cognoscenti – beginning with the tea at Wisseloord Mk1 from March 1980 and later including a 10-year residence at Belgium’s Galaxy Studios. Satisfying all of his finely honed requirements of both digital and analogue recording, Prent’s Wisseloord also finds itself at the cutting edge of 21st century media culture as the music industry rises to multiple channels – and multiple challenges.


Last month’s studio opening was a great success. Did you get on Dutch TV? No, but we got a lot of national press and online coverage. On YouTube you’ll see some 60mm, black and white clips of the original studio from way back, plus some documentary about building the new one – in Dutch, of course. It was great to see so many people here.


What’s the main interest? Business-to-business events, including video shoots. In the first week we did some big live events: a full-service gig for radio broadcast; an artist press launch; and a live- streaming internet concert – an hour of live audio and video. The multimedia dimension works really well here.


But of course it’s still a music studio… Absolutely, but the music business has changed. Right now in Holland we have two new TV talent shows that are bringing back musical quality, but in a connected, multimedia context. One is searching for the best new ‘acoustic’ artists and the other is searching for the best new writers. So as well as making sure people are playing real instruments, they’re literally putting people in the studio and putting the cameras on them as


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“[Wisseloord] has the history, the acoustics – and so many building regulations have changed that I don’t think you could create anything like it any more” Ronald Prent, Wisseloord


ones that allow you to be so flexible that you can navigate both worlds at the touch of a button.


Ronald Prent, the man behind the renaissance of the Netherlands’ Wisseloord Studios, talks to Phil Wardabout the changing music business and why he’s happy to be coming home


they write songs. The producers are considering Studio One here for some of the shows.


The well-equipped recording studio can be a media hub… Yes, and that’s not a TV studio. We’re a place where filming can happen, but with all the advantages of a proper music studio. It’s all about media integration for projects in which music is still the main thing, in a space where everything can be rolled in and out very easily.


It’s also interesting to see that Studio Two, with the api Vision console, is getting interest from music projects precisely for ‘sound’ reasons – the audio potential.


Does the Avid-Euphonix console have its own specific attractions like that? For the live media events it’s perfect, with the snapshots and recall. It has the advantage of being so much more flexible than an analogue console. If you want to work digitally, its operational layout is


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Loord of the manor


fantastic. But don’t forget that, with our Prism Sound converters, it can run at 96kHz all the time – right now I’m mixing a live concert on the Euphonix, up-sampling and down-sampling from a 48kHz recording in real time. That means that all the analogue processing is at 96kHz, while still having all the automation at your fingertips.


Maybe Wisseloord is a giant A-D/D-A converter? That’s why I chose Prism. As well as sounding great, they’re the only


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At what point did you feel it was time to move on from Galaxy? I had a great 10 years but gradually the facility was evolving into a sound-to-picture scoring and audio post-production specialist. That’s a different business model to a music-orientated facility. Plus I had my own feeling that if I was going to do something else – I didn’t know what – I had to do it now. At some point I dreamed up a plan for the ideal facility for today’s market and shared it with close colleagues like Paul Reynolds. I was thinking of a new-build, but then Wisseloord became available. Renovating Wisseloord was better – although more expensive! – because you just couldn’t build something like that, in such a location, from scratch. It has the history, the acoustics – and so many building regulations have changed that I don’t think you could create anything like it any more.


How do you see the future of surround? Auro-3D, a Blu-ray format, is being developed by Wilfried van Baelen at Galaxy. That’s a domestic format, but people in broadcast are also looking at 9.1 already. Our control rooms are set up to do 10.1 and even beyond. As pictures go 3D, the audio will go that way – not just in cinema but in broadcast, home entertainment and computer games. That’s a huge business.


How does it feel to be home? It feels great. After school I became co-producer of a radio breakfast show in Hilversum, but I always wanted to be a sound engineer in the music business. I couldn’t get a place at the official radio technician centre because I’d already picked up enough from the radio station, so it was tea or bust right here. You know, I’m kind of glad they built Wisseloord the first time round… www.wisseloord.nl www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbyR 0pih4jw


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