nicolsound recording studio

studio equipment

Nicolsound Recording Studio in Ayrshire, Scotland. Desk and outboard gear including Heritage Audio Baby RAM and Neumann KH 310 for monitoring.

Nicolsound’s studio equipment is listed below. There’s some excellent quality gear in there with the flexibility to record full drum kits requiring around twelve microphones, an excellent front end for vocalists, stereo micing, mid-side capture etc. However, all that goes on under the hood with the reassurance that Jean’s expertise and experience takes care of all that side of things to free up your creativity and performance.


Inta Audio Music audio computer

RME Fireface 802 audio interface / Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56

AEA RPQ2 preamp

D.A.V. Electronics BG1-U preamp

Audient ASP 880 8 channel preamp

UAD-2 Octo x 2

Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 16 channel firewire for ensemble recording

UAD-2 Octo Satellites x2


Additional software includes:

Melodyne Editor (advanced pitch correction software)

Lexicon PCM Native Reverb

Izotope Ozone 10/Neutron 4 Advanced (for tracking and/or mastering)

Audioease Altiverb

Oeksound Soothe 2

Various: UAD, PSP Audioware, IK Multimedia T-Racks 5, Fabfilter, Audioease,

Slate Digital, Soundtoys, East West Quantum Leap Spaces, Waves,

Sonnox Oxford, Plugin Alliance etc.

Izotope RX7 audio restoration software (noise reduction etc.)

If requested:

Photography to capture stills of your recording sessions

Nikon Z6

Video Diary footage: Sony FDR-AX100 & Sony PJ 810 camcorders

All photographs on this website are of the actual studio.


Neumann KH310as

Avantone MixCubes

Adam A77x & Dynaudio BM5As

AKG 712 & 702

Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro headphones

Sennheiser HD250 ii headphones

Audio-Technica M50x (for tracking)



Kurzweil SP2XS stage piano which has a very good ‘pianist’ feel.

This is recorded via midi using excellent quality sound samples (soft synth) within the computer software.

Also Casio Privia 560 stage piano.


All Sommer cabling with Neutrik connectors

SE Electronics Z5600a ll microphone in acoustically treated area.


Neumann U87 ai

AEA KU5A (active ribbon microphone)

Lewitt LCT 940 combined valve/FET design

Shure SM7B

SE Electronics Z5600a ll (valve/tube microphone)

Schoeps  CMC6 mk 4 cardioid capsules (stereo pair)

Schoeps mk 8 capsule for mid side

Sennheiser MKH 8040 (stereo pair)

Neumann TLM 103 large diaphragm cardioid condenser

Neumann TLM 102 large diaphragm cardioid condenser

 Beyerdynamic MC 930 (stereo pair): small diaphragm condensers

Telefunken M60 (stereo pair): omni/cardioid small diaphragm condensers

Avantone CR-14 (ribbon microphone)

Cascade X-15 with Lundahl transformers (stereo ribbon microphone)

Austrian Audio OC 818 (stereo pair): variable polar pattern condensers

M-Audio Lunar (large diaphragm cardioid condenser)

Sennheiser E865 (condenser vocal)

Shure SM58s & 57s (workhorse band mics) Shure DMK 57-52 (drum kit mics)

Various VST Plugins including Fabfilter, UAD, Pulsar Modular, Pianoteq, IK Multimedia.

Audio VST plugins are used extensively in mixing. They are what add ‘flavour’ to tracks by manipulating frequencies, keeping dynamics under control, adding reverberant space, a touch of tape saturation etc.

Pitch correction is standard practice in audio these days. Pictured is Melodyne which gently fixes the occasional stray vocal note and Revoice Pro 4 which massages all your backing vocals together to tighten them up.

Below is some video diary footage of various artists recording at Nicolsound. Enjoy!

These videos are private links and only accessible via this website.

On location recording equipment: Zoom F8, Zoom F-Control, TC Electronic Clarity M.

Recording on location in Ayrshire

Nicolsound Music Services offers remote, location recording for classical/soloist/acoustic small ensembles and choirs. Please note that this service is not for amplification purposes … only recording. And that an amplified performance is not suitable in this recording context.

Nicolsound’s compact, location recording equipment can accommodate eight microphone inputs. The microphones used are world class industry standards in classical music recording: Sennheiser, Schoeps, Telefunken, Austrian Audio and Neumann.

However! …

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… there are some considerations to take on board before booking an on-location slot:

Choose your recital space well!

The venue must sound good! If you regularly perform out and about, you’ll know the experience of walking into a venue and immediately being filled with joy because everything sounds great and you’re not ‘fighting the space’ in any way. Or, at the opposite end, being filled with dread because the venue itself sounds dreadful. Your recording will only sound good if the acoustics of the venue sound good.

For recording purposes, the venue must be noise free! As you place that final beautifully poised note, traffic speeding past outside will put paid to the moment! Same applies to noisy heating, air conditioning, nearby school playgrounds and overzealous wildlife. Microphones pick up everything!

If your on-location recording is a recital in front of a live audience, be aware that placing microphones/microphone stands around for recording purposes may interfere with line of sight somewhat. Efforts will be made to make that as inobtrusive as possible, but it should be taken into consideration.

The benefit of recording outside of the recording studio mostly applies to performers of classical music/choirs and folk groups, where a larger venue can give the music more room to breathe. Studio recording is more suited to microphones being placed closer to the musicians to give more flexibility in the mixing process. Whereas classical music (solo and ensemble) generally suits the microphones being placed a bit further away from the artist to incorporate the acoustic of the recording space into the recording itself.

On location is nice for video purposes. For example, if you a string quartet performing at weddings, video footage with great sound works well as promotional material. (Whereas great video with bad sound sucks!)

As you search around for a suitable performance space, I would suggest looking at hotels which are wedding venues and will therefore have a function room large enough. (Check for noise coming in from outside)

Local churches. The acoustics in churches are generally good. But! … is it noisy? Double glazing is not commonplace in places of worship.

Some scenarios which would suit this approach are:

String quartets/ensembles who play at wedding ceremonies and need some audio/video for promotion purposes.

Classical music singers/instrumentalists accompanied by piano (please see below)

Small ensembles: woodwind/brass/folk groups

Acoustic guitarists (solo or accompanying a singer)

Choirs/vocal groups

Poetry, storytelling performers

If you are a singer/instrumentalist accompanied by an acoustic piano (grand or upright), the piano must be top notch, well maintained and regularly tuned. If it’s not? … then use an electric piano (with apologies to the purists out there!) When push comes to shove, the results will be far superior to an old, seen better days acoustic piano that’s been round the block too many times!

Nicolsound recording studio is situated in Ayrshire, Scotland. 15-20 minutes from Ayr, Kilmarnock, Cumnock, Irvine. Approximately 30 minutes south of Glasgow.

recording acoustic guitar using mid-side recording technique. Schoeps CMC6 with Mk 4 and Mk 8 capsules.