Producer Max Gilkes has taken a Darwinian approach to his latest equipment upgrade by allowing natural evolution to influence the changes he has made to his studio monitoring.
With his diary filling up with more and more post production work – particularly mastering and stem mixing to master – he decided to invest in new monitors that would give him more confidence in sub frequency realisation. To this end he has installed a stereo pair of PMC IB1SA monitors that are better suited to the size of his room and his current workflow.
“My studio is a stereo set-up and I have been using PMC twotwo8 monitors for some time,” he explains. “I really loved my twotwo8s but the IB1SA monitors give me more confidence in sub frequency realisation. They also give me incredible stereo imaging, which is important for what I am doing, day in, day out. With IB1SA’s, my work in the studio is more assured and efficient. There’s less double checking and doubting my instincts, which is where you want to be, working so you can follow your musical gut and allowing the technology to effectively disappear out of the way.”
Gilkes adds that his long relationship with PMC – one spanning more than 12 years – was another reason for choosing to upgrade within the same company’s product ranges.
“What’s been great is that PMC has always had time to listen to my requests and needs – regardless of how small I started off,” he says. “They have always made me feel part of the family. It’s not just about having good kit – you need to know about it and be able to feed back – and feel like you are listened to. It’s all about listening!”
Based in Brighton where he runs 1Sonic, a facility he set up in 2007 to primarily handle mixing and mastering work, Gilkes is house engineer for Ninja Tune and has worked with a large number of the label’s artists. Mot recently he mastered the forthcoming Little Dragon album and stem mixed radio edits for the singles Hold On and Are You Feeling Sad. He was also involved with Cinematic Orchestra’s album To Believe and has mixed tracks for Jayda G, Mild Minds, Frenship, Jordan Rakei, TSHA, Laurel, Chris James and Roots Manuva. His latest mastering credits include Marie Davidson, Bonobo, Odesza, Cold Cut, Maribou State, Big Wild, Fink, Giraffage and Kate Tempest.
In terms of equipment, 1Sonic is always evolving and currently has at its core an SSL Matrix 2, assorted outboard gear and Prism Sound and Focusrite RED conversion. The facility has been in its current location since 2010 and has a small live room that is large enough to record drums.
I predominantly work in the music industry where I have a mixture of roles,” Gilkes says. “My specialisation is stem mixing but occasionally I do full production and I also get involved with some film work as well as original music that I write and perform as an artist.”
Most recently this has included film score work with Emmy Winner Andrew Phillips and On Phillips’ project Grasscut, whose forthcoming album has just been mastered at the studio. Gilkes has also mixed and mastered an The Rewilding EP for the Turin Brakes spin off project OKPM and mastered Mama Ode, the new Reggie Omas Mamode album.
“I am also involved with fantastic project called InHouse Records, which is the first record label set up in prison with a mission to reduce re-offending,” Gilkes adds. “Working with artists who have little opportunities or resources to access music production in the normal way has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my career.”
PMC is a UK-based, world-leading manufacturer of loudspeaker systems, the tools of choice in all ultra-critical professional monitoring applications, and also for the discerning audiophile at home, where they provide a transparent window into the recording artist’s original intentions. PMC products use the best available materials and design principles, including the company’s proprietary Advanced Transmission Line (ATL™) bass-loading technology, cutting-edge amplification and advanced DSP techniques to create loudspeakers that present sound and music exactly as it was when first created, with the highest possible resolution, and without coloration or distortion. For more information on our clients and products, see www.pmc-speakers.com.