London's AIR Studios, Founded by Sir George Martin, Up For Sale

As Financial Times reported earlier today, the legendary AIR Studios is officially up for sale.

Founded in 1969 by the late "fifth Beatle" Sir George Martin, Associated Independent Recording Studios' facilities have spread over multiple locales in its almost five-decade history.

Sir George Martin with the Beatles (Photo from thebeatles.com)

A sister location was opened by Martin in 1979 on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, which hosted a series of major acts from the 1980s before being destroyed by a hurricane in '89.

In '91, its main location moved from central London to Lyndhurst Hall—a Grade II-listed converted church and missionary school in Hampstead, North London, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed the Natural History Museum in South Kensington and the Prudential Building in High Holborn.

The roster of musicians that have recorded at AIR is as long as it is diverse, sporting names like Adele, Coldplay, Dire Straits, The Police, Michael Jackson, Mumford & Sons, Katy Perry, Duran Duran, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones.

And because of its most recent move to the converted church, with its live room cavernous enough to house a full symphony orchestra and choir at the same time, AIR has become a go-to studio for film composers, too. Recent big-budget Hollywood blockbusters like Alien: Covenant, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wonder Woman, Interstellar, and Darkest Hour all feature scores recorded there.

The sale—which is being conducted by London Bridge Capital—is sure to attract trade buyers and wealthy investors charmed not only by the studio's history, but by the roughly $4 million USD worth of gear that comes along with it.

Lyndhurst Hall (Photo from airstudios.com)
Lyndhurst Hall (Photo from airstudios.com)

The Lyndhurst Hall control room features one of the world's largest Neve consoles—a 96-channel automated Neve 88R with SP2 film panel and 48 channels of Neve "AIR Montserrat" remote mic preamps—while Studio 1 is packed with a 1980 72-channel Neve/Focusrite desk with more AIR Montserrat mic preamps and GML automation.

Studio 2 and Studio 3 are mix rooms, with Studio 2 housing an 80-channel SSL 8000 G plus with Ultimation and Munro/Dynaudio 5.1 monitoring and Studio 3 housing a 48-channel AMS DFC Gemini digital film console.

Neve 88R (Photo from airstudios.com)

Co-owners Richard Boote and Paul Woolf have distilled their reasons for selling down to it simply being time for a younger generation to take over.

"We're a pair of old farts, basically," Woolf told Billboard, adding, "We’ve worked very hard over a number of years to get the business in really solid shape, but there’s always a future path and it’s time to go. There’s someone out there who’s younger and who has got the tenacity that we had when we were 40. There comes a point in time when you need to hand it over to someone else whilst it’s in the Premiership."


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