Fenix, one of the largest and most well equipped recording studios in Scandinavia, has undergone a significant redesign to ensure that it´s new PMC QB1 XBD-A monitoring system perfectly complements its control room acoustics.
Located in Varnhem, a small Swedish village within easy reach of Gothenburg and Stockholm, Fenix is owned by musician Lars Hallbäck who opened the studio in 2010. The control room was originally designed for a 5.1 system, but when Hallbäck decided to upgrade the monitoring to PMC’s flagship QB1 XBD-A system he recognised that changes to the control room construction were needed to achieve the best sound.
“I knew the control room has some acoustic issues partly due to the fact that it was once designed for surround that we don´t do anymore and that my original monitors were not giving me the sound I wanted,” Hallbäck says, “so I investigated an alternative and that led me to PMC. I was well aware that we could not just change speakers brands but that a rebuild was necessary in order for the new speakers to perform at their full potential”
Hallbäck contacted PMC’s UK supplier SX Pro and arranged to demo a QB1 XBD-A system. SX Pro’s sales Director Dale Chapman also took him to visit Metropolis Studios in London and Westminster University, both of which have these groundbreaking monitors, and he was so impressed by their sound that he placed an order. Chapman then introduced him to Chris Walls, of Level Acoustic Design, who worked with Hallbäck to resolve the studio’s acoustic issues and prepare the control room for the installation of the QB1 XBD-A system – a re-engineered version of the QB1-A Active system, which incorporates an XBD cabinet per channel and is the largest, most powerful system PMC has ever made.
“The QB1 XBD-A system is perfect for Fenix because the transmission line design of PMC monitors allows you to hear the full frequency range of the music at all levels without losing any detail,” Hallbäck says. “Fenix has quite a large control room and it needs a monitor system with great low end. The work Chris has done has also made a lot of difference to the sound and I am really happy with the results. I am very happy with the new monitors and we have accomplished what we set out to achieve. Simply turning up the volume wasn’t the solution – I actually didn’t want just loud; I wanted clarity.” Now with the PMC´s I can mix or track and be sure of that what I´m hearing is correct and it has also helped me reduce the number of different speakers needed for a good mix or when tracking.
Fenix, which means phoenix in Swedish, is aptly named given that the studio is built on the site of a major fire that took place in 1979 and destroyed 24 residential properties. Housed in a 650m” building that was a furniture and antiques emporium before Hallbäck acquired it, Fenix has two studios, a large control room with a 72-channel SSL Duality console, an editing room and an extensive lounge. Nearby is also a guesthouse that can offer Fenix client’s residential facilities and full catering.
Fenix is run as a commercial studio and attracts a wide variety of clients. The appeal of a large studio has attracted bands that want to track in a big room with great acoustics. The last years has been mostly Progressive-Rock bands like Jon Anderson/Roine Stolt, Flower Kings. Bands that track live and appreciate our large studio.
Fenix also provides a base for Hallbäck’s own artistic endeavours. When he is not producing and engineering, he is a songwriter and the guitarist for Crossfade, a rock-jazz project/band that has just released its third album, Carousel, which was recorded and mixed at Fenix. Two more albums Innocent days and Falling upwards are recorded with the same musicians and will be released as a trilogy.
Finally Hallbäck comments: “With the rebuilding of the studio and the PMC mains we hope that our clients , both old and new, will appreciate the precision, detail, power and depth of the sound that only the QB1 XBD-A speakers can offer.”