POSTED ON – 12.08.15

SSR Manchester - SSR Manchester – Facilities Upgrades 2015
SSR Manchester – Facilities Upgrades 2015
Every summer we upgrade our facilities as part of our long standing commitment to invest in the latest and most industry relevant technology for our students. We liaise with the industry, speak to our tutors, and gather valuable student feedback throughout the year to create our upgrade plan.

This summer has been a particularly busy one - every facility has been upgraded. We’ve undertaken significant construction work on our premises, building new rooms and suites for some existing facilities and creating some brand new facilities too. We’ve also invested in new equipment, not only so we can teach the latest technology used in the industry but also to replace equipment coming to the end of its life; ensuring high levels of reliability and student satisfaction.

Here’s a run-down of what we’ve been up to:

Avid S6 Suite
We’ve almost finished the construction of a brand new suite for our Avid S6 M40 console. This new suite has been professionally designed and built by Studio People and will be ready for courses starting this September.

The new facility will feature a dubbing suite layout where the mixing position is two thirds back within the room. A new custom-built Exigy 7.1/5.1 monitoring system is being installed (due September/October) and the front channels will be positioned behind an acoustically transparent Screen Research projector screen. We’ve also installed a new Apple Mac Pro, Blu-Ray player with 7.1 Dolby output, and a bunch of new plugins including Nugen VisLM-H, Waves UM226 Stereo to 5.1/7.1 Upmixer and Phoenix Verb Surround Reverb.

We’re also installing a pan-tilt-zoom camera which will be mounted to the ceiling of the studio to aid delivery of lectures. This - in combination with a picture-in-picture video switch – will allow the tutor to display live footage of any part of the Avid S6 Console on to the projector screen at the same time as a Pro Tools session (or any other DAW), Blu-Ray reference footage, and video interface output.

New Apple Mac Suite

Also being constructed this summer is a new Apple Mac suite. This Mac Suite will have a different workstation layout than our current rooms, opening up collaborative and group learning options during lectures. As it is located above our Charlie Jones Live Venue, the suite comprises of a fully isolated, room-within-a-room construction. The design and build is also by Studio People.

This new Mac Suite will have 21 x Apple iMacs (16GB RAM, 1TB HDDs) with M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI Keyboards, a 1080P projector, studio quality audio monitors and a Promethean ActivTouch smart board. Software includes Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live, Reason, Native Instruments Komplete and much more.

New Suite for Mac Suite 2
A new suite for Mac Suite 2 is being built on the floor below its current location. This will have the same collaborative workstation layout and sound isolation as the new Mac Suite. All equipment from Mac Suite 2 will be transferred to this room, except the projector which is being replaced by a 1080P model.

The old Mac Suite 2 room will be used as a traditional classroom before being upgraded to a new PC Suite in 2016 to support our growth into film and games. We’ve replaced the projector with a 1080P model.

PC Suite 1
PC Suite 1 will now mostly be dedicated to our Film courses. All the Avid Certified workstations are being formatted and the software reinstalled, including Media Composer 8, Movie Magic Budgeting & Scheduling Software, and Final Draft. Frameforge Previz Studio Stereo Edition is to be upgraded to version 3.5 and film finishing software (TBC) will also be installed. The projector has also been replaced by a 1080P model.

Einstein Studio / Audient Studio

Our trusty and long-serving AMEK Einstein Super-E console has been replaced with a brand new Audient ASP8024 console (pictured). The ASP8024 is a 36 channel console with integrated patchbay and producer’s desk. The producer’s desk is located to the left of the master section and houses the Apple Mac’s keyboard & mouse, as well as the Pro Tools control surface. This creates a much more ergonomic environment. Furthermore, we had the mix bus of the console upgraded to provide additional headroom.

We’ve installed a 40” LCD screen behind the console to aid lectures, along with a brand new TC Electronic M3000 Studio Reverb Processor.

Charlie Jones Live Venue
In addition to the existing seven consoles already located in our Charlie Jones Live Venue, we’ve just taken delivery of two more; a Midas M32 (with DL16 stage box) and a Behringer X32. These purchases reflect an increased use of these consoles in local venues, allowing students to familiarise themselves with them before heading into the workplace.

The Charlie Jones Live Venue now has its own, dedicated drum kit and a replacement PC for the Avid VENUE rig.

Pioneer DJ Booth

The Rane Booth is no more. This year will see all equipment in this room being replaced and the room renamed as the Pioneer Booth. New toys are:
  • Pioneer DJM-900NXS mixer (with Serato supported firmware)
  • 2x Pioneer PLX-1000 Turntables
  • 2x Pioneer XDJ-1000
  • 2x Pioneer S-DJ60X Speakers
  • Pioneer DDJ-SP1 Controller
  • New Apple Macbook Pro with laptop stand
  • Serato Software
  • Ableton Live
  • Ableton Push
  • New custom-built furniture
Allen & Heath DJ Booth
The Allen & Heath booth will also have an upgrade. New custom-built furniture will be installed along with a new Apple MacBook Pro, a third Technics 1210 MK5 turntable and a pair of Pioneer S-DJ60X speakers. NI Traktor, F1, X1 MK2 and Allen & Heath Xone92 mixer all remain in place.

ICON Studio

The ICON Studio is moving to the current S6 suite (see above for new S6 suite plans). The D-Command will be replaced by a 16-fader D-Control ES (pictured). We’ve purchased a second Avalon VT-747SP to assist with mastering practical work. Monitoring will be provided by Dynaudio 5.1 and PMC twotwo.6 nearfields.

Edit Suite 1
The old Edit Suite 1 has been demolished to make way for the new Mac Suites. Edit Suite 1 will now be located on Floor 2 with new furniture and a MOTU Audio Express audio interface.

Radio Studio / Edit Suite 2
The old Edit Suite 2 has also been demolished. This will now share the same room as the Radio Studio. An iMac has been installed on the editing desk, along with an M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI Keyboard, Native Instruments Maschine and a MOTU Audio Express audio interface.

Edit Suite 3
A new Edit Suite for our film students is being created next to our Film Studio. This will have an Avid Certified HP Z840 workstation with 2x 10-core processors, 64GB RAM and 8TB hard disk capacity. Avid Media Composer and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve will be installed.

Green Room
We’ve installed two additional Apple iMacs into the Green Room, totalling 5x iMacs and 3x HP AIO PCs. Additional workstation space is also being installed so we can add more workstations in the future. The iMacs are now dedicated for Audio use and the PCs for Film and Games.

Ghost Studios
New 27” Apple iMacs have been installed in all five of our Ghost Studios. This will allow us to further integrate Apple Logic training in lessons taking place in these studios.

Spirit Studio

We’ve installed a brand new API 5500 Stereo/Dual Mono EQ into the racks of Spirit Studio and added a pair of Neumann KM184 microphones (pictured) to its dedicated microphone cupboard. Genelec 8030 monitors are wall-mounted by the Machine Room viewing window/projector screen to assist delivery of lectures in this studio and for room monitoring.

The TL Audio EQ previously located in Spirit Studio is now installed in the C|24 Studio. We’ve also replaced the projector.

Charlie Jones Studio
The PC in the Charlie Jones Studio has been replaced by an Apple Mac Pro. A 40” LCD screen is now mounted on wall behind the console.

Film Sign-Out Equipment/Film Studio
Our film sign-out equipment - which can both be used in our Film Studio and on location – is also being expanded. We’ll have a brand new 3D camera setup consisting of BlackMagic Design URSA Mini Cameras and a Marshall portable field monitor.

Audio Sign-out Equipment
We significantly added to our instrument and backline collection this summer. This includes six new guitars, two new amplifiers and three new drum kits:
  • Gibson USA LP Studio
  • Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar
  • Fender Standard Precision Bass
  • ESP LTD Surveyor-4 Bass Guitar
  • Martin 000X1AE Electro Acoustic Guitar
  • Fender CD-320AS Acoustic Guitar
  • Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III Guitar Amp Combo
  • Fender Rumble 500 Bass Guitar Amp Combo
  • Tama Silverstar Custom VP52KRS Drum Kit
  • 2 x Yamaha Stage Custom Fusion Drum Kit, Natural
  • 3x Zildjian Cymbal Sets (inc. China)
We’ve also purchased a number of microphones (2 x Beyerdynamic MC840, 2 x Audio Technica 2050 and a Rode K2) and general sign-out equipment including new Beyerdynamic microphones stands and headphones and BSS DI boxes.

Pro Tools 12
We’re excited to announce we’ll be upgrading to Pro Tools 12 school-wide over the coming weeks. We’ll be liaising with Avid and our tutors as to when each facility will be upgraded.

Cubase 8
All of our Cubase workstations will be upgraded from v7.5 to v8 by the end of August.

Other upgrades
There are many more upgrades taking place this summer, from expanding our Avid ISIS network infrastructure down to replacing chairs in our studios and computer suites. We’ll announce some further upgrades on social media in the coming weeks too. Keep an eye on our #‎SummerUpgrades2015‬ hashtags to find out more.

#SummerUpgrades2015 on Facebook
#SummerUpgrades2015 on Twitter
#SummerUpgrades2015 on Instagram

(SSR London’s facilities upgrades will be announced in a separate news story soon)
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