By the Music Maker Association
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VIP Lounge

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Since opening in 2001, The VIP Lounge has become one of the premier studios in the South West. Its relaxed, comfortable ambience combined with its consistently high standards ensures it is the number one choice for bands and artists in the area. The studio is based in Penzance, a fascinating town steeped in history. Surrounding the town is Penwith, with its beautiful beaches and quiet coves, its idyllic Cornish fishing villages and its ancient monuments.

Run by engineer/producer Dare Mason (Placebo, the church, The Blow Monkeys, Soul II Soul, Thirteen Senses) the VIP Lounge specialises in recording live music, from rock to jazz to classical to folk and all points in between. Dare tells us “I was trained at the Townhouse Studios and worked with top producers and engineers from all over the world but at the same time I continued to write and perform my own material. My philosophy is to bring out the best in my clients’ music, not impose my own sound. The most important thing for me is that the band or artist walk out of the studio beaming from ear to ear, delighted with the results of the recording and having had lots of fun. Time in the studio should not be stressful – it should be one of the highlights of your life!”

The studio itself consists of three main rooms :

A spacious control room centred around an apple mac running either Logic or Cubase and a lovely, warm sounding Toft ATB32 analogue desk. Monitoring is via Richard Allen and Yamaha NS10’s and there is a copious amount of outboard gear including effects and processors by Lexicon, Neve and Urei.

A live “stone” room which gives a bright tight sound. Mics are by Neumann, AKG, Rode, Shure and Beyer. There are also three intage Vox AC30’s, two Orange amps and a collection of acoustic and electric guitars available for use at no extra cost.

A music archive consisting of a collection of over 30,000 vinyl records and CD’s all in a comfortable spacious room equipped with a sofa and coffee table. It’s the perfect space to chill out in while the guitarist is recording his lead parts!

Many former clients have been offered record deals on the strength of tracks they have recorded at the VIP Lounge and songs produced by Dare are regularly played on local and national radio. Recently Dare was presented with a gold disc for an album he mixed for a Norwegian band on Warner Bros.

Because of its location in the heart of West Cornwall, many clients combine a recording session with a holiday. Dare takes up the story : “There’s so much to see and do in this area. In the summer there are the beaches of course, but many people come here out of season for the South West Coastal Path, the galleries and the profusion of megalithic features. It’s also a World Heritage site due to its history of mining. Clients often bring their partners, spend a few days recording and the rest of the time they are out exploring the area.”

Due to low overheads, rates at the studio are surprisingly affordable and accomodation can be easily arranged. Three compilation CD’s have been released so far, so if you want a taster of the kind of sound that can be achieved at the VIP Lounge, just request a copy.

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