ICON becomes the master.

03 August, 2023

Or more so, the mastering studio... The second studio to get a makeover this summer was ICON which has now been transformed into a dedicated mastering studio.

Side view of mastering desk in studio

Our beloved Avid D-Control has seen its fair share of work at Spirit, being the centrepiece in one of our studios since 2011.

As the control surface is no longer officially supported by Avid, compatibility with the latest versions of Pro Tools and Apple workstations is coming to an end.  Its lack of support with other DAWs, particularly Logic Pro, has always been a hindrance for some of our students too.

So, it’s time to say goodbye. Rather than simply replace it with another control surface, we went back to the drawing board and considered how we could repurpose the room.  Through conversations with tutors and staff, the idea of creating a mastering studio immediately gathered popularity, and would naturally compliment other facilities available here. Out came the D-control and outboard racks, and in their place some beautiful new furniture that positions key outboard equipment right in front of you.  No more leaving the listening position to dial in the Manley or Avalon.

We completely rewired the studio, making better use of the Prism Sound and Avid audio interfaces available in this studio, as well as incorporating the new monitor controller.  This also gave us the opportunity to greatly simplify the facility, stripping out the Blackmagic Design ATEM, numerous switches and splitters and a wheelbarrow of now unnecessary cabling.


The ICON studio was a 5.1 surround sound facility.  This has now been reduced to a stereo and 2.1 capable facility, utilising the existing PMC TwoTwo.6 and Dynaudio BM6A monitors, along with the Dynaudio BX30 subwoofer.  All monitoring was analysed using Room EQ Wizard and then calibrated.


Whilst this studio has a primary focus on mastering, it remains multi-purpose. Microphone and foldback tie lines are available to the live room next door to facilitate any recording. There’s a range of legendary mic preamps at your disposal too, including Neve 1073, Amek 9098 and Avalon.

The precise monitoring, racks of outboard and software plug-ins mean it’s a fully capable facility for mixing too.  We’ve even normalled most of the outboard processors to the Pro Tools HDX audio interface, so you can quickly utilise them in your mixes without the need to patch them in.

We also added a 2″ 24-track tape machine (previously owned by Rick Astley!) and CD, DAT and Cassette recorders to facilitate any transfer or digitisation tasks.

Feng shui

Finally, we gave the walls a fresh lick of paint, added a sofa and plant, and generally made the studio look and feel much more welcoming.  Welcome, Mastering Studio.

Initial feedback from tutors and students that have used it so far has been overwhelmingly positive.  We can’t wait to see it fully in action from September.

Click here for a full breakdown of the facility.

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