Show Us Your Space: Sydney's Everland Studios

Welcome to the latest installment of Show Us Your Space, a Reverb series that explores and celebrates the unique music-making environments of studio owners, independent builders, and musicians at all levels.

Throughout the last few years, we've had virtual tours of recording spaces from all over the world—from Árbol Naranja in Bogota, Colombia to Bern, Switzerland's Influx Studios. Today, we're heading far south to Sydney, Australia, where Everland Studios' beautiful yet affordable space plays host to all kinds of musicians.

Keep reading to hear straight from Ben Worsey, Everland's owner and head engineer. Check out Everland Studios' website here to learn more or to see about booking some time there for yourself.

Have you assembled a great practice space, project studio, or music workshop? Be sure to drop us a line at [email protected].

Welcome to Everland Studios, a recording studio located in Sydney, Australia. My name is Ben Worsey and I'm the owner and head engineer. I've been in the audio industry in various capacities for the last 20 years, and I've been recording and mixing records in this space for seven years now.

The space is not huge but it works really well. The live room is approximately 6m x 4m. Although it looks rectangular, the walls are actually angled slightly to avoid resonances. It has relatively low ceilings but still works really well for tracking drums. Drummers often comment on how good their kit sounds in this room. During the day there's a little bit of natural light through a glass-brick 'window'.

The control room is comfortable and great to mix in. As it's my own personal space I've tried to keep it quite informal-feeling. I don't like spaces that feel sterile, with hospital lighting, as I feel like it's antithetical to creativity. There's a big bookcase with plenty of little percussion instruments and other knick-knacks… and even some books.

The Akai reel-to-reel recorder is there purely as decoration, but it does remind me of my recording roots. My dad bought it in the early '70s and held onto it. When I was about 12 or 13 I dug it out of the shed and started playing around, layering myself playing guitar. That machine more or less birthed my interest in recording, I would say.

The studio is hybrid digital-analogue (what studio isn't these days?). I don't use a console, as console-mixing really isn't compatible with the type of workflow most bands expect now. Instead I have a range of outboard preamps feeding into Pro Tools 10HD through two Lynx Aurora interfaces, a 16 and an 8, giving 24 simultaneous inputs. Pro Tools runs on a 4-core Hackintosh that I built myself.

At the time I was looking at buying a new Mac, but I realised that for around $1,000 I could build the equivalent of a $5,000 computer. It's also rack-mounted, which makes it nice and neat. It also has UAD Quad and Solo cards installed, and I use a lot of UAD plugins.

There are also two amp isolation booths with tie lines to the control room and live room.

In terms of pre-amps we have most flavours covered. There are four channels of the Warm Audio 73EQ, which I have found to be great value for money.

There are four channels of API 3124+ and eight channels of clean gain with the Millennia Media HV-3D. I also have a pair of custom-racked RCA BA-1A preamps for a little bit of vintage goodness.

My preferred method of recording is to EQ quite a bit into Pro Tools, so to accomplish that I have four of the Great River Harrison 32EQs. I find it to be an amazingly musical EQ that's able to make quite heavy boosts without sounding unnatural. If I need something a bit more surgical I might reach for the SSL 611 or the Focusrite Red 2. Of course I also use the EQ on the Warm Audio 273EQs.

I've also been getting back into a bit of DIY lately and have built a couple of preamps from a great company called DIYRE. Their preamps are based on a clean gain design, but you have the ability to colour the sound with little swappable modules that slot into the circuit board, like an analogue plugin.

I currently have two of these with a 15IPS tape module that I will often use on drum room microphones. I recently purchased another eight-slot 500 series case that I'm looking to fill, and I'm sure that at least a few spots will go to some more DIYRE products. I'm also keen to try building one or two of the CAPI preamps.

I don't compress a lot on the way into Pro Tools—the exceptions being vocals and bass, and perhaps a drum mic here and there. I would have to say my go-to vocal compressor is the Daking FET III. I also have the Anthony De Maria Labs ADL 1500 if I'm looking for that LA2A style compression.

On bass I will usually reach for the Daking again or, if I'm after a little bit more grit, I have a pair of UREI LA4s. If I'm looking to squash a drum mic I'll probably use the Warm Audio WA76.

My monitors are Adam A77Xes. I have had them since I started this studio and they have served me very well.

To me, at the end of the day it's more about putting in the hours with whichever monitors you choose and learning them like the back of your hand. I also like to listen periodically through a pair of the ubiquitous Beyerdynamic DT770s, as I find that gives me another perspective on the mix.

In terms of guitar amplifiers, I have to say that I typically lean towards Fender sounds. I have a Fender DeVille 2x12", which is insanely loud (I don't think I've ever turned it up beyond 4 and even then it's in ear-bleed territory). I also have a hand-built clone of a Fender Champ circuit design, with added low, mid, and high tone controls. I love the look of this amp with its exposed tubes and transformers. The cabinet was built by myself, following a design I found on the internet. The Champ clone is only five watts but it sounds great.

I would have to say that drums are my favourite instrument to record. There's something about the challenge of mic'ing up a kit with 10 or more mics and getting everything in phase and working together that I love.

The studio drum kit is a Pearl Masters MMX with a finish called Mocha Tamo. I love the look of it and it sounds great. It has 10", 12", and 16" toms, and the bass drum is 22". I don't have a matching snare for it but I have a Pearl Sensitone Steel Snare, which is surprisingly great for the price, and a Gretsch 5.5x14" walnut with maple inlay.

I don't have an insanely huge mic locker but definitely have the tools available to cover any recording job that comes through the studio. My go-to vocal mic is the Peluso 22 47 SE, which seems to sound great on a wide variety of voices. I swapped out the stock tube that it came with for an RCA NOS tube. I feel like it has mellowed the top-end in a really nice way. I also sometimes use the 22 47 on the outside of the kick drum.

My favourite dynamic microphone is the Beyerdynamic M 88. I only have two, but I would like to acquire more, as I feel they are so useful. I love the M 88 on the inside of the bass drum, on the snare top, and on guitar cabinets. On electric guitars I will often combine it with my Rode NTR. I'm not a fan of leaving too many decisions to mix time, so I will use the SSL X-Desk to buss it down to one track to record into Pro Tools.

Another pair of mics that I love are my sE Electronics RN17s. These are the mics that were designed by Rupert Neve for sE. They are sort of funny-looking, as they are a pencil condenser, but they have a bulky transformer hanging off them. Since I bought them I have never not used them as drum overheads. I don't know what it is but they just sound right. They are also great on acoustic guitar.

For overheads I will pair them with the WA73 EQ and for acoustic guitar they go through the Millennia HV-3D.

To contact Everland Studios, find its website here.

We'd love to see your studio, practice space, or gear lair too—whether it's a professional outfit or a weekend retreat. Contact us at [email protected].

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