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looked at it from an acoustic point of view. London’s bigger rooms are dwindling and certainly the ones that are affordable are not so great.” Although he would prefer to

use more classic recording techniques, the control room is based around the industry standard Pro Tools HD. “It’s a tool and that’s it

really,” states Phillips. “I’m not overly enamoured with working with software but there’s no way around it. Budgets and time constraints mean that it’s a necessity.” For the live room, Phillips

tried to keep the space as open and live sounding as he could. “There are definitely sweet spots for microphone placement but overall you’d be surprised just by how much separation you can get.” A reverb chamber is in

progress with Phillips experimenting with three diesel tanks that run along the middle of the ship, while an isolation booth has been built in one corner. Phillips is also planning to build an extension on the front deck, which in time will be a second studio. “We’re too busy really and we need a second space to move into,” he adds. “It makes a lot of sense to use the space better. Originally there would have been a larger wheelhouse on the front deck, so it’s kind of reinstating it but it will be bigger than it was.”

BUILDING AN AUDIENCE Fairly early on in the life of his floating studio Phillips invited international recording studio group Miloco down to have a look at his space. “We’ve gotten really busy by ourselves, and because many of Miloco’s clients are major labels looking for a one-stop shop, booking fairly short notice we don’t do as much work with them as we’d like. To be associated with them is a really good platform for being advertised because they’re a very professional organisation and great to work with.” The majority of Lightship95’s work is repeat work, which is why it has built and built in the past few years. According to Phillips it is

getting clients in the first place, particularly producers, which is the tricky part. “When looking for a studio

you look for the safe bet, you don’t look for something that might cause a problem. So until you go somewhere it’s difficult to know. The word of mouth has worked really well for us as well. The whole of February is booked, most of March is booked, and half of April is booked.” Phillips’ most recent

sessions in the studio include psych/jazz band Melt Yourself Down, carrying out two or three sessions to make up an album, and prog/electronic geniuses Teeth Of The Sea.

Gear list Console •API 1608


• Quested VS3208 active three-way monitors

• Tannoy Hafler Pro 2400 • Yamaha NS10M Studio

Dynamics/Mic Pres/EQ

• AEA RPQ500 • API 525 discrete compressor

• API 550A discrete three-band EQ

•API 560 • D.A.V. Electronics BG501 mic pre

• Drawmer DS201 • Empirical Labs EL-8 distressor

• Great River Harrison 32 • Helios Type 69 • Lindell PEX-500 • Lindell 7X-500 • Neve 1073DPA • Purple Audio Action 1176 Compressor

• Standard Audio Level-OR

DAW hardware • Apple Mac Pro 2x 3GHz Dual-Core

• Avid 96 I/O (HD interface) • Avid Pro Tools HD3 • Lynx Aurora 16 16-channel A-D/D-A converter


• Apple OSX 10.5 • Avid Pro Tools 10 • Various plug-ins

January 2014 31 GETTING SHIP SHAPE

While the ship’s exterior maintains its vintage appeal, inside Phillips has specified a combination of classic and modern gear to satisfy the needs of the modern recording process. The 300sqft control room features an API 1608 as its centrepiece along with a small amount of outboard and monitors including Quested VS3208s and Yamaha’s classic NS10Ms. The jewel of this sea- bound studio, however, is the 520sqft live room, which is naturally lit, large enough to fit a whole band, and finished in a ‘classic’ 1980s style. The room’s acoustics have garnered it with a reputation as an

affordable option for high- quality drum recordings and it now sees steady work from those unable to squeeze into the time constraints or budget of London’s larger commercial studios. Live recordings are where the studio excels and both the rooms are littered

with gear from Phillips’ personal collection including Sonor and Yamaha kits from the early ’80s, guitar and bass amps from Fender, Orange, Marshall, HiWatt, and Vox (among some of the other, more esoteric options), as well as various synths and effects.

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