Vicoustic VIP Jon Cohen is the UK’s leading producer of Classical Crossover music. He has produced records for all UK major classical labels and has written and produced for artists such as Vanessa Mae and Operababes. With an impressive track record of over three million album sales, including seven Number One classical albums, Jon produced the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards’ album Spirit of the Glen – Journey during 2008, which was awarded Classical Album of the Year at the 2009 Classical BRIT awards. Other recent projects have included Faryl Smith, The Kenyan Boys’ Choir and remixes for Leona Lewis, Lady Gaga and Enrique.
During 2009, Vicoustic worked with Jon to help improve the acoustics of his production studio. He told us …
My studio is a single room and not that large either. I have the usual collection of computer equipment, speakers and instruments. The room always had a fairly distinctive (and unpleasant) boxy sound to it. Lots of flutter echoes and a fairly unflattering sound. This was a problem when it came to recording demos in the room with singers, unless they were doing very close pop vocals.
By treating the room, what were you hoping to achieve acoustically?
My intention was to improve the overall sonic characteristic of the room, both in terms of its use as a recording space and also as a mixing room. I previously had to work very hard in there to create mixes that translated well elsewhere. This was because the room was not providing anything like an accurate monitoring environment.
How did you hear about Vicoustic and what information did you need to supply about the room?
I heard about Vicoustic through Systems Workshop (their UK distributor), with whom I have a close connection. I supplied the exact dimensions of the room and also some photographs.
How much were you involved in the actual choice of product?
I was happy to go with the products recommended by Vicoustic to give the best results. Although the aesthetics were a consideration, I was more interested in how the sound of the room could be controlled and was happy to let the experts make their recommendations.
How long did the actual installation take? Did you encounter any problems when fixing the panels?
I did the installation in phases. I received the Wave Wood panels before the rest of the stuff and had those up on the walls in two days. When the Cinema Rounds and the rest arrived, it took about another two days to get it all done. It was actually very easy. I used Velcro strips to attach the panels to the walls and ceiling. That way, when I move it will be simple to take it all with me.
How have the panels changed your workspace and its acoustic?
The room is now much more neutral acoustically. I can record demos in there without it sounding like a small honky room. More importantly, my mixes are coming together much more quickly, as what I hear from the speakers is much closer to what’s actually going on in the music. The Vicoustic panels have also helped me to create the right impression when I have had record company people come to the studio. It’s just a room in my house, but now that it’s been treated, it looks and feels much more like a professional workspace than it did before. This in itself has a huge value.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the fourth Voices of The Valley album for Universal with The Fron Male Voice Choir (which I will be mixing entirely in my studio) and am also starting the follow up album with Faryl Smith.
(Interview August 2009)
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