Studio Name: L’Oreille Gauche (The Left Ear)
Location: Quebec City, Canada
Key Crew: Jocelyn Bouchard (Studio Manager/ Producer/Engineer/Mixer), Jerome LaRochelle (Producer/Engineer/Mixer)
Latest Projects: The Audio Vengefuls, Edgar Bizarre, Jane Ehrhardt, Robert Lepage, Muted Screams, Saint-Pierre. Upcoming 2010 projects range from jazz quartets to heavy rock bands.
Consoles: 96-input Mad Labs Neve VR, 42-input DDA
Computers, Hardware: Intel Core i7 920; Gigabyte GAEX58- UD4 motherboard; Corsair 620HXEU power supply, 6GB memory kit; (3) Western Digital Caviar Green Power WD10EADS 500GB drive; Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 CPU cooler; Antec Take 4 rackmount chassis; MSI GeForce 8400GS 512MB GPU; LG GH22LS30RB DVD recorder
Software: Digidesign Pro Tools 8; Steinberg Cubase 4, Nuendo; Waves Mercury; and many more
Recorders: TASCAM MS-16, Otari MX5050
Preamps: (2) ADM 770; (2) Altec 1607A; (4) API 312, 550A; Avalon Vt-737sp; (2) AMS/Neve 9098; Focusrite ISA 428; Frankenstein/Mr. Potato (Neve/SSL/API hybrid); Groove Tubes The Brick; Neve 1272; Scully 280; SSL with 502 brown EQ; (2) Telefunken V672; Telefunken/Siemens V374; Universal Audio LA-610; Urei 1109; (2) Ward Beck M460; (6) Yamaha PM-1000
Compressors, EQs: (3) dbx 163X; (2) Empirical Labs Distressor EL8X; FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor; Neve VR EQ, compressor, gate, and expander; SSL 502
Mics: (2) Altec 632C; AKG C 414, (2) C 451; (3) SE 300 B, (2) CK 91, CK 92, (3) C 416; Audix D1, D2, (2) D3, D4, D6, SCX25A; Beyerdynamic M 69; Blue Baby Bottle, (2) Ball, Bluebird, Dragonfly, (2) Red Type B; (2) Earthworks QTC40; Electro-Voice RE27; Neumann U 87, (2) KM 184; Oktava MK-012 with Red Lollipop capsule; (2) Sennheiser e 609, e 835, MD 421, MD 441; (3) Shure Beta 91, (5) SM57, SM58
Effects: DeltaLab Effectron; 1959 Echoplex; Electrix Filter- Factory, FilterQueen, MoFx
Instruments: Farfisa Pianorgan; Fender Precision Bass, Stratocaster guitar; 1962 Gibson Explorer guitar; Hammond B3 with Leslie 122 amp with continuous variable speed mod; Kawai 6' grand piano; PDP drums; Pork Pie snare, Wurlitzer piano; Yamaha DX7; banjo; mandolin; metallophone; ukulele; and more
Furniture: SC Custom
Monitoring: Adam A7s, Urei 813s, Yamaha NS-10s, custom subs, FM Transmitter
Studio design: Dimensions are 20 x 30 x 12 with transparent- walls design; two isolated booths for guitars and a live drum section; specially treated walls, ceiling, and floor to transform sound waves to heat for absorption.
What were your goals for the studio upon its launch?
In 2004, the original idea was actually not to build a commercial recording facility. The idea was to put together a personal laboratory and experimental studio to develop prototypes for new audio products, with audio consulting services to help home-studio owners get the most out of their installation. But within a few years, the studio transformed into the best place in town to record an album the old analog way and hybrid. L’Oreille Gauche is like a museum of vintage gear that meets the new era of digital equipment, a peaceful environment to make an album in one of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City, with 400 years of history.
What was the process of choosing the gear you wanted to feature in the studio?
We started by doing reverse engineering on classic and vintage pieces of equipment. By doing so, we ended up with different preamp and microphone flavors that complement our Neve console and offer a great variety of tones. To finalize our picks, we looked at the different sources of information—magazines, specialized websites, and friends in the industry. We are also big fans of A/B gear testing.
How were the walls, ceiling, and floor specially treated?
We had the chance to design the studio from the blueprints. We opted for walls and ceiling assembly that let the unabsorbed residual bass and mid energy pass through the walls and fade away. The result is a control room that minimizes standing waves and related side effects such as comb filtering and other phase anomalies.
Is there a particular piece of gear in the studio that you couldn’t do without?
The Neve console: The sound is just incredible; you get that extra 3D that opens up the image and adds some magic to it. Our workflow also greatly improved since the purchase. You can mix in the box, but there’s something physical about riding faders and tweaking the knobs that a mouse can’t give you. As cheesy as it sounds, you feel that extra connection with your mix and your sound.