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Articles March-April 2021

Step Inside the All New Mondosonic Studio

The all new Mondosonic Studio, located in Ottapalam, Kerela, is a custom Music Production Facility and Studio. With Recording Equipment, Workflows..... read more

Bishwadeep Conceptualizes Sound Design in the Box

Having spent most of his career in Song and Music Recording, Bishwadeep Dipak Chatterjee was constantly toying with the idea of getting involved in designing sound for films..... read more

Celto Acoustique

Established in 2011, CELTO Acoustique is a premium manufacturer of professional audio products for the events and install industry. Founder, owner and CEO - Arthur Felix first displayed his entrepreneurial skills at the age of 14 when he built..... read more

Acoustically OdBle

With Vijay Benegal and Mujeeb Dadarkar

Vijay Benegal and Mujeeb Dadarkar have between them more than 4 decades of extensive experience in the audio industry in India. They have done it all, from recording and mixing for ad films, to doing live sound for renowned artistes..... read more

All About Music, the Marantz Story

In conversation with Joel Sietsem and Alankara Santhana

Marantz has established a strong foundation in the industry with their High fidelity audio systems since the 1970s. Marantz designs products that have intricate detail..... read more

Acoustic and Audio System Design for Small Rooms - PART 6

By - Rahul Sarma, CEO, Menura Acoustic Labs in collaboration with Sound Wizard

We started this series with the definition of a small room, and went on to discuss wave interactions. We continued onto sound isolation, absorption and diffusion in parts 2 and 3. Parts 4 and 5 covered system design goals and finally how to optimize a system..... read more

Studio Showcase

If you had a sign above every Studio door saying ‘This studio is a Musical Instrument’ it would make such a different approach to recording.” - Brian Eno..... read more


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Studio Install Case Study

Step Inside the All New Mondosonic Studio




Varun Krrishna - Music Producer and Owner, Mondosonic Studio


The all new Mondosonic Studio, located in Ottapalam, Kerela, is a custom Music Production Facility and Studio. With Recording Equipment, Workflows and an amazing Recording stage that are exclusive to their unique Music Production techniques, this private studio has collaborated with artists on a global level.

In an interview with PT, Varun Krrishna - Owner - Mondosonic Studio, talks about his passion and how his musical influence led him to create a studio inspired by Abbey Road Studios.


A Beginning

Varun Krrishna’s musical inspiration and influence has been the great pianist Yanni and the Liverpool based English rock band The Beatles. Varun started showing interest in music at a very early age. He started taking piano lessons at the age of six, however could not continue his classes. After six months of taking piano lessons he stopped. “I couldn’t let my interest go away. I practiced myself by ear and being a self-taught pianist “YANNI” was a great inspiration.” Varun later got interested in Music Theory and composing music and made film scoring his strength. “Being a music producer, I have read many cases studies of Western Classical Composers and their musical works and that has greatly influenced me.”

Some of Varun’s favorite classical pieces are: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Summer, Edward Grieg’s In the hall of the mountain king, Bach’s Orchestral Suite No:2 and Toccata & Fugue, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Turkish March, Johann Strauss II’s The Blue Danube, Jacques Offenbach - Overture to “Orpheus in the underworld, Richard Strauss - Also sprach Zarathustra to name a few.

A Shot of Rhythm and Blues

Varun started his first studio under the same brand name in 2013. After completing a Masters Certificate in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music he went on to further study advanced Music Production, Mixing and Mastering at Point Blank College, London where he also learnt room acoustics and developments. After completing his studies, he visited a number of studios in the United Kingdom and realized that he needed to rearrange his studio’s nature and workflows. “The British studio vibes drive me crazy always. They still have a very classic approach in their workflows which changed my vision towards music production. That’s how I turned mostly into the Analog domain.”

Varun needed a colossal plan because going that route would be an extensive task. He took a long break from the industry to do a case study of British Studios and the various preferences they had with them. While visiting the studios in the UK, the picture started to become clearer for Varun and he started to understand what was it that he needed for his own studio. “As a Music Producer, I have my own sounding, and I needed a more outstanding design to accommodate them. That’s how it started. The all-new Mondosonic Studio.”

Varun, has never considered analog superior to digital or vice-versa. “How about saying “Different”? Digital is much easier to work, but too many tools on the digital domain make it less engaging and less challenging. In the analogue domain, it’s all about trusting your ears. I prefer that.”

Varun enjoys old school methods. Artificial Intelligent algorithms which do audio corrections by themselves according to Varun, hinder the creative minds and relying on such things is the last thing he will ever do. He primarily uses plugins to cut the frequencies, and most of the boosting are done using outboard gears.

Free As A Bird

“My style of work is not something that can be done in a span of one day. I produce Music for artists with a proper understanding of their musical requirements and its always time-consuming.” Varun has seen cases where artists who play guitar come one day, finish their work and go. Then the other artists within the band come after a few days and do the recording and so on. This strategy is something that he avoids. According to Varun, if he is involved in a project, he needs to finish it in its continuity without going to other projects which are entirely different in terms of sounding. “To me, all the concerned artists in the band should be available during the whole recording process. That is very important to me.” The new studio has been developed so artists can stay close by, work efficiently and interact with nature as well. “It’s more productive.”


The Walnut and Blackash Wood finish Audient ASP8024 - HE Analog Mixing Console is the pride of Mondosonic Studio


Roll Over Beethoven - Acoustics

Varun took a long time going through a lot of acoustic development case studies. According to him there is no such thing as a perfect sounding room. “Some people prefer dry rooms, and I prefer something more balanced. I never wanted a space which is too dry and boring.” Varun designed the rooms in a way that its reflections were carefully distributed using calculated diffusers. Since the rooms were big enough, he did not have much room mode issues, and as the console room had pressure based absorbers which are tuned membranes, Varun was able to get rid of the problematic low-end frequencies. He took help from the Portugal Company Artnovion Acoustics who helped him in supplying products that were needed to fulfill his design requirements.

Recording Hall

The Recording Hall has got that Barn/Countryside atmosphere. The 600 sq. ft. hall has a lush yet controlled sound, the sidewall has been done with a combination of absorption and diffraction techniques to bring in some liveness to the room. Not a dead sounding room it has got its own tonal characteristics. The ceiling is with a combination of diffusion arrangements specifically set for the drum area to get vivid and shimmering textures out of Cymbals. On the front wall facing the drums, the recording hall has an array of tuned membranes to make the low end on the room tighter and balanced. The upper region of the Hall is set with natural stones so that the partially reflective surface will maintain the overall liveness inside the room more balanced and interesting. The wiring to the Microphones, Guitar Amps etc. has been directly connected into the Console from the Recording Hall without any junction boxes.

Since Varun uses high-end microphone and speaker cables, he prefers to get the cables directly to the microphones from the console.

Control Room

The Control Room is 600 sq. ft. dark and luxurious. It has tuned membrane-based pressure absorbers in combination with diffusers on the rear sidewalls and ceiling. The Mixing console is set in approximately 38% from the front wall, and for the Atmos Preview Theater projections, the seating arrangements are set on the 38% from the rear wall.

With A Little Help from Friends - Inventory

Varun decided on all the equipment that he would require for his new studio. “I have my own sounding, which is more on the vintage side.” A huge fan of Abbey Road Studios and The Beatles, Varun has a complete equipment chain which includes their renowned REDD Console and TG Console section.

For his studio, Varun procured his inventory from Europe and India. Chandler Ltd, Solid State Logic, Genelec and Reference from Italy with cables provided by Shiv Sood from Sound Team, in Mumbai. “We have been in touch with Varun since 2015 supplying gear for his earlier studio. The new studio includes equipment from Sound Team that include Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone, Solid State Logic Sigma Analogue Mix Engine and Solid State Logic Fusion Audio Processor, Chandler Ltd. Curve Bender EQ and Zener Limiter and the Chandler Ltd. vacuum tube based RS124 Compressor (Matched Pair) and REDD47 Preamp,” says Shiv Sood of Sound Team. The main field monitoring solution includes Genelec 1238DF Three Way Active Smart Active Monitoring with Genelec 7380A Smart Active Subwoofer System using the setup & calibration features of Genelec Loudspeaker Manager software, he adds further.

One of the important pieces in building an audio studio is the selection of the loudspeaker systems. Shiv had a discussion with Varun in this regards. “Varun was looking at a high powered three-way active monitor but didn’t want to flush mount the monitors. The Genelec 1238DF Monitor was perfect; as its cabinet depth is around 10 inches and coupled with the 7380A makes it a perfect full range monitoring solution,” informs Shiv. He further informs, Varun prior to ordering the system had questions about calibration, phase alignment, level matching etc. of the loudspeaker system and they were able to explain how effective the Genelec Loudspeaker Manager software would be in this vital setup process.

Shiv and his team had custom cables made off-site using Reference Labs, Italy cables as per the lengths and connectivity specified by Varun.

“It was a joy working with Varun and to be a part of his dream project. He set out to maintaining very high standards to the facility he was building; right from the choice of cables being used, outboard processing selection and reference Monitoring requirements; Sound Team is glad to have been able to offer him these solutions,” says Shiv.

The Burl Mothership B80 and Thermionic Culture Swift was provided by Darshan Kwathra from KK-Sound Planet. Nagamouli provided Varun with all the Neumann and Sennheiser products. The Audient Console was provided by Tanseer, Owner, The Inventory in Chennai.

Inventory Listing


The next big thing Varun needed in his studio was an analog console. After trying out a bunch of different consoles, he settled in a for a Custom Heritage Console from Audient. Varun was looking for a clean yet punchy sounding console as he uses more colored outboard gears. “I went on the roots of Audient. David Dearden, who is the brainchild of Audient and his close connection with Eddie Veal building consoles for John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, connected my studio with the Beatles in a meaningful way.”

“The console is the best decision I have made. It’s built so well. The Walnut and Black Ash wood finishes make it visually stunning. The workflow is amazing. All my outboard gears are flawlessly connected into the console.” The Audient console has made an impression on Varun. The switchable “Retro Iron” mode is so good that he keeps the button ON for most of his mixes. The EQ’s are very transparent yet musical. The master compressor channel is punchy and has a fine texture. The preamps are clean yet warm sounding, the in-line architecture is useful to start mixing during tracking and gives an idea of how it goes in the final stage of song productions. With the help of DLC module, Varun can switch between the DAW control and Analog automation so easily and even patch anything into the DLC. “I use many outboard preamps with different colors, but I am fond of using the console’s in-built preamps. It does feel great when I can do things just within the console range. The analog automation is efficient in situations where we need gain controls post compressions without affecting the input signals going into the compressor.”

The team at Audient were helpful and quick to respond which was very important to Varun. “The owner of Audient Simon Blackwood is a great personality. He regularly contacts me personally to make sure that I am having a great time with the console. Such things feel great, and I am really proud to have that console.”

Other gears from outside India includes Andertons, SXPro, and KMR Audio from UK and Thomann from Germany.

The Audient Console was supplied by Tanseer, from The Inventory. “We supplied Mondosonic Studios with Audient’s latest flagship ASP8024 Heritage Edition Analog Mixing Console. The ASP8024-HE carries all the roots of David Dearden’s original large-format analog console into the twenty-first century. It delivers world-class sound and its preamps exhibit a clean, punchy, musical character that breathes life into every recording. The ASP8024-HE delivers everything from transparent warmth to retro-style punch making it the ultimate analog mixing console for modern studios,” informs Tanseer.

Varun reached out to Tanseer with one goal in mind - No compromises on the quality of sound and a viable recording, mixing & mastering solution for his investment. “It was a great experience interacting with Varun. He is an example of a perfect modern-day sound engineer & entrepreneur who is always forward-thinking, ambitious, and had a clear vision for providing a fantastic end-to-end recording experience by making world-class studio equipment available and accessible to us in India. We are really glad and proud to support Varun in achieving his dream,” says Tanseer.

Wade Goeke and his company Chandler Ltd supplied Mondosonic Studios with a built-to-order matched pair RS124 Mastering grade compressors, REDD Preamp, TG Zener Compressor and TG Curve Bender EQ.

Since adopting the analog workflow, Varun did not need a transparent conversion, rather he wanted something with a sonic footprint and he finally settled for the BURL MOTHERSHIP B80 ADDA Converter. “With all those BX transformers, I was able to get those vibes that of a tape machine. It defined the sound of my studio to a whole new level.”

In conjunction with the console, Varun uses two other mix buss such as SSL Sigma and Dangerous Music 2 Bus Plus. On the EQ side, he uses the console’s in-built EQ for sculpting sound. Other EQ’s include Chandler Ltd. Curve Bender (Solid State) and Thermionic Culture Swift EQ(Tube). For Preamps, there is the REDD Tube preamps, Chandler TG2 and A Design Audio Pacifica.

For compression, the studio uses Chandler RS4, Dangerous Music, Chandler Zener and Heritage Audio Successor, Chandler REDD are used for Vocals, Bass and final Master. The Heritage Successor is a Diode-Bridge compressor which is used as a replacement to the classic VCA style compressor. Varun uses Chandler Zener for parallel Mix duties and Drum Room channels. “All the gears I use have a unique workflow: the secret sauce of Mondosonic Studios.”

See the box for the complete inventory list at Mondosonic Studio.

Conclusion

Most of the work that comes out of Mondosonic Studio is outsourced work from the UK. With his love to collaborate with artists on a global level, it helps Varun to learn more about different types of music. From now onwards, Varun intends to be more involved in regional music productions and he already has a series of in-house productions lined up for this year.

“I am also involved in a film to do the Original Score. Pretty much excited about that too.”

Through his in-house record label, Varun is bringing in a few talented artists to help them in the production and release of their music worldwide.

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