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Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass
James Loughrey (Depeche Mode

James Loughrey (Depeche Mode, Bjork) gets the sound of the big studios with X-Desk

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James Loughrey is a producer and engineer who has worked with a large and diverse roster of artists since moving to London from his native South Africa.

“I came here after realising two things. Firstly, it's the music hub of the world. Second, I could work with great bands and producers,” says James. He's certainly achieved those goals, having recorded and mixed at Metropolis, Eden and Britannia Row studios on a huge variety of projects. Artists who have benefited from his studio skills include Page and Plant, Björk, My Vitriol, Sugababes and Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan. “Yes, I've been lucky enough to work in some great studios with some great people!” he notes.

With more freelance work on the cards, Loughrey was recently faced with a tough question: how to get that big studio sound from a home set-up. The answer: Solid State Logic's X-Desk SuperAnalogue mixer and X-Rack modular rack system.

“After working in large studios all my life I found my home set-up missed a bit of the sound I was used to,” admits James. “But summing my Pro Tools through the X-Desk gives me back the SSL sound without having to buy a large console.”

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“I love that X-Desk has a tiny footprint but does so much,” he continues. “I recently connected it [via the X-Rack] to an SSL Stereo Bus Compressor, which I can put in and out of the mix really easily with the insert button. I also really like the monitor section as I tend to mix back in to Pro Tools and monitor from there, which is what I would do at any studio.”

X-Desk and X-Rack have quickly become the hub of James' studio. He's already used them on a number of projects, including the film Lives Of The Artist and an EP for a new band called The Northwestern. He has also had the chance to compare the results directly with a big studio sound…

“I had to remix a track I had previously mixed at the Cutting Room in New York with a band I produced called Hana-b on their J-Series console,” he says. “And the X-Desk version sounds just as good.”

But for James the best thing about owning this X-Rack/X-Desk set-up is simply “being able to say I have an SSL desk in my room!”

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David Mellor

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