Metropolis Group is a music production and entertainment industry company established in 1989 by Gary Langan, Carey Taylor and Karin Clayton. It is located in the Powerhouse, a Grade II listed building, at 70 Chiswick High Road in Chiswick, London, England. Over the last twenty years the group has expanded and now consists of three principal divisions: Metropolis Studios, Metropolis Mastering, and Digital Media/Productions.
Metropolis Group was bought out on 31 May 2013 by MLML (Metropolis London Music Limited) by Ian Brenchley.
History of the Powerhouse
The Powerhouse was built in 1901 by a young architect William Curtis Green to power the trams of West London. This substantial building was conceived to be so large as to prevent any of the houses in the neighbourhood (which still tended to be large properties with influential owners) suffering from the vibration and dust caused by the steam powered generators. Due to competition from Lots Road power station in Chelsea, power was only generated until 1920 when the building was decommissioned and stripped of its equipment. Being mainly used as a storage facility, the Powerhouse gradually fell into disrepair.
London Transport (by then the owners) decided to redevelop the site. This led to an outcry and the Victorian Society campaigned for the protection of the building from the developers, which in turn led to the building being listed, one of the first Victorian buildings to be so nominated, and the first that was built in the 20th century. In 1989 after a large scale redevelopment, the building was converted into the home of Metropolis Group. The building’s great mass became a positive asset in isolating the studios from the vibration and dust caused by the surrounding neighbourhood.
Metropolis Studios was the first division to be established of Metropolis Group and is the backbone of the building. It consists of four recording and mixing studios and four production rooms and is the largest independent recording facility in Europe.
Studio A is the larger of the two tracking rooms at Metropolis Studios. The 60-square-metre (650 sq ft) control room houses an SSL 9072 'J' series console with Genelec1035A main monitors. It is considered to be Metropolis’ ideal room for tracking or mixing. The studio area comprises three rooms with differing acoustic properties: a main area (90 square metres (970 sq ft)), a stone room (15 square metres (160 sq ft)) and a 'dead' room (15 square metres (160 sq ft)), each with ceilings close to 6 metres high and excellent lines of sight for musicians and engineers. All of these areas have natural daylight and can handle demanding tracking and orchestral sessions of up to 26 players. Studio A has a self-contained private lounge (with tie lines, kitchen and toilet) overlooking the live areas.
- A SSL 9072 J series console, Genelec 1035A main monitoring, Yamaha NS-10, PMC or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Quad 520F amps, three separate recording areas, the largest suitable for up to 26 piece string section, Private reception area, lounge, kitchen and toilet, Custom 8-way foldback system, House sync, Protool HD 3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs and outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100 (with Dolby A or SR), standard plug-in set includes: Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Timeline Lynx synchronisation, Ampex ATR-100 1/2-inch or 1/4" with Dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Denon CD, DVD/SACD Player, Superb sounding Fazioli 7'6" grand piano and large surface areas for extra ancillary equipment.
- Lexicon : 480L, PCM 70, AMS : DMX delay, Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor, DBX : 2x 160, 2x 165, Roland : DimD, SDE3000x2 (with analogue trigger), Eventide H3000 D/SE, Pultec : 2x EQP1A valve eq, GML 8200 stereo EQ, Urie 2x UA 1176, Neve 2x 2254 compressors with stereo link, Ensoniq DP4 multi fx, Drawmer : 3x DS 201 gates SSL rack-mount stereo compressor, Panscan panner, BSS DPR 402 de-esser, Yamaha Rev7, SPX1000, SPX90, Bel Flanger BF-20.
Studio B is the second of two tracking rooms at Metropolis. The 35-square-metre (380 sq ft) control room features an SSL G series 4064 console with Genelec 1035A monitoring. The studio is very self-contained and is most commonly used for album sessions at any stage from conception to tracking and mix. A notable feature of this studio is its private lounge and dining/kitchen area, which are incorporated into the control room environment by opening the two large acoustic doors at the rear of the control room. The space can be used more economically by utilising the mobile outboard racks, allowing efficient placement of outboard and computer equipment during recording and mix sessions as projects dictate. The live area comprises a central live area (30m2) flanked by two isolated areas (20 and 12m2) with more controlled acoustics. The dead corridor between control & live rooms has tie lines and amp/vocal space.
- A SSL 9072 J series console, Genelec 1035A main monitoring, Yamaha NS10, PMC or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Quad 520F amps, Three separate recording areas, largest suitable for up to 26 piece string section, Private reception area, lounge, kitchen and toilet, Custom 8-way foldback system, House sync, Protool HD 3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs & outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100(with dolby A or SR), Standard Plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Timeline Lynx synchronisation, Ampex ATR 100 1/2" or 1/4" with Dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Denon CD, DVD/SACD player and a Fazioli 7'6" grand piano and large surface areas for extra ancillary equipment.
- Lexicon : 480L, PCM 70,
- AMS : DMX delay, Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor,
- DBX : 2x 160, 2x 165, Roland : DimD, SDE3000x2 (with analogue trigger), Eventide H3000 D/SE,
- Pultec : 2 × EQP1A valve eq, GML 8200 stereo EQ, Urie 2x UA 1176, Neve 2x 2254 compressors with stereo link, Ensoniq DP4 multi fx,
- Drawmer : 3 × DS 201 gates, SSL rack-mount stereo compressor, Panscan panner, BSS DPR 402 de-esser, Yamaha Rev7, SPX1000, SPX90 and a Bel Flanger BF-20.
Studio C is one of the three studios on the top floor at Metropolis. Built around a 72-channel Neve VR console, it is fitted with PMC main monitoring. The control room (55m2), which looks out into the atrium and enjoys natural daylight, is particularly suited to mix sessions involving a lot of additional equipment with its large worktop area (6 square metres (65 sq ft)) behind the mix position. At the back of the room is an overdub booth (10 square metres (110 sq ft)), ideal for percussion, vocals or guitars. The control room has been designed with a machine bay that will accommodate up to three multitrack machines and is positioned to allow for full visibility of all DAW systems and/or multitrack metering from the console.
- NEVE VR 72 channel console, Flying Faders v3.1 automation, PMC BB5/XBD active main monitoring system, Yamaha NS10, PMC, or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Quad 520 F/Bryston 3B amp, Overdub booth, Custom 8-way foldback system, Prism AD1 / DA1 converters, House sync, Protools HD3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs and outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100(with dolby A or SR), Standard Plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Timeline Lynx synchronisation with system supervisor, Ampex ATR 100 1/2" or 1/4" with Dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Marantz CD, Comprehensive analogue and Z systems digital routing, 32-inch plasma screen and a Sony DVD player.
- Lexicon : 480L, 224X, PCM 70, T.C. M5000,
- AMS : DMX delay, RMX 16 reverb, Yamaha REV 5, SPX 900, 2x SPX 1000 multi FX, Roland : DimD, SDE3000x2(with analogue trigger),
- Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor,
- PULTEC : 2 × EQH 2, 2x MEQ 5 valve eq, Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor, DBX 160 x2, Urie 3x UA 1176, GML 8200 stereo EQ, NEVE 33609 stereo compressor, FOCUSRITE : 2x ISA 131 compressors, K H : custom mod.UE 400 2-channel eq, Panscan panner,
- Drawmer : 2 × DS 201 gates, Eventide H3000 D/SE, Bel Stereo Flanger BF-20, T.C. 2290 Digital Delay,
- Empirical Labs : 2 × Distressor EL8-X (with British Mode) and EMT 244 reverb.
Studio E is the room most often utilized for 5.1 mixing and as a sound to picture room. An SSL XL 9072K series console running in conjunction with the 5.1 PMC main monitors and M&K nearfield monitors makes this room sought after for large mixing projects and overdubbing. Enjoying views of the atrium with its natural daylight, the 55-square-metre (590 sq ft) control room has an overdub booth (9 square metres (97 sq ft)) with outstanding line of sight to the console. A separate machine bay and two large plasma screens complete studio E.
- SSL XL 9072 K series console with Ultipan 5.1 panning, PMC BB5 / XBD / MB1 active 5.1 main monitoring system, Yamaha NS10, PMC, or Auratone nearfield monitoring, Bryston amps, 4 × Prism A/D1 and D/A1, Comprehensive Z systems multi-channel digital routing, N-Vision house sync, 2 × 42-inch plasma screens, overdub booth, Protools HD3 with Prism ADA-8 interfaces configured to 24 inputs and outputs (expandable) or Otari MTR 100 multitracks (dolby A and SR) / MTR 90 mk 2, Timeline Lynx synchronisation, standard plug-in set includes : Waves Gold, Autotune, Serato Pitch n Time, Soundtoys, McDSP, Sonnox EQ, Ampex ATR 100 1/2-inch or 1/4" with Dolby A or SR, Panasonic 3700/3800 DAT machines. HHB CDR / Denon CD, VHS/DVD/SACD player and a Custom 8-way foldback system.
- Lexicon : 480L, 224X, PCM 70, T.C. M6000 multi-channel reverb,
- AMS : DMX delay, RMX 16 reverb,Yamaha REV 5, SPX 900,
- Roland : Dim D, SDE3000x2 (with analogue trigger), Manley variable MU stereo valve compressor,
- Tube Tech : 2 × CL1A valve compressor, 2x PE1B Valve EQ, Neve : 33609 stereo compressor,
- DBX : 2 × 160 compressors, Urie 2x UA 1176,
- Maselec Prism : EQH-2 eq, MLA-2 compressor, GML 8200 stereo EQ, K H : custom mod. UE 400 2 channel eq, Panscan panner,
- Drawmer : 2 × DS 201 gates, Ensoniq DP/4 multi-fx, BEL BF-20 Flanger (1u grey), Eventide H3000 D/SE,
- Empirical Labs : 2x Distressor EL8-X (with British Mode),
- Summit : 1 × TLA50 tube leveller, Chandler : Germanium Mic Pre/DI.
Sam Wheat - Madness, Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, Angel Haze, Hotei, Ed Harcourt, White Lies, The Drums, The Maccabees, Foals, Ellie Goulding, James Morrison, Manic Street Preachers
Xavier Stephenson - Eric Clapton, The Who, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, U2, Elton John, Dizzee Rascal, Mark Ronson, Katherine Jenkins, Paloma Faith, Miles Kane, Cheryl Cole, Amy Winehouse, Beyonce, Talib Kweli, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Mika, Razorlight, Lil’ Wayne, Corey Taylor, Duffy, Rihanna, Lana del Rey, Example, David Guetta, Rita Ora, Carl Barat (Eyes on Film), King Charles, Editors, Joy Formidable, The Maccabees, White Lies, The Coral, The Bees, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Drums
Liam Nolan - Jimmy Page, Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Girls Aloud, Cheryl Cole, M.I.A., Florence & The Machine, Katy B, Wretch 32, Susan Boyle, Angel Haze, Rudimental, Scott Walker, Rita Ora, Chase & Status, Swedish House Mafia, Tinie Tempah, Example, Paloma Faith, Russell Watson, Eyes On Film, Ne-yo, will.i.am, Black Eyed Peas, Joy Formidable, Clock Opera, King Charles, Ren Harvieu, Madness, Ayumi, Professor Green, Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson, The Gossip, Supertramp, Damian Marley, Far East Movement, Mumford & Sons, Bombay Bicycle Club, Laura Marling, Sway, Kylie Minogue, Roger Daltrey, Mika (Machine Management), Conor Maynard (Parlophone), Jessie J, Dizzie Rascal, The Bullits (Sony), Jay Electronica (Roc Nation), K-Koke (Sony), Clean Bandit (Warner UK), Angel Haze (Universal Island) and Ryan Leslie (RCA).
Paul Norris - Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, The Fall, Il Divo, James Morrison, Magnetic Man, Mika, Morning Parade, Neil Diamond, Nitin Sawhney, One Direction, Snow Patrol, Mark Ronson, Paul Butler, Paul Epworth, Rodney Jerkins, StarGate, Will.i.am, Rihanna, David Guetta, Little Matador (Snow Patrol side project).
Aaron Ahmad - Will.i.am, Nero, Mika, Chip, Eliza Doolittle, Edward J ‘UK’ Nixon, Wretch 32
Ben Rhodes - Vangelis, Rihanna, Mark Ronson, David Guetta, Will.i.am, Mika, Cheryl Cole, Miles Kane, Marina & The Diamonds, Jay Electronica, K-Koke, Robert Wyatt, The Coral, Kid British
Metropolis Groups’ engineers and technical support team cover all aspects of mastering from vinyl mastering to catalogue restoration and 5.1 surround sound. The department is adaptable by embracing all release formats from vinyl and CD to DVD-A, DVD-B, SA-CD, digital download, Blu-ray Pure Audio, and 7.1.
Listed below in alphabetical order by surname are the current engineers and some of the artists that they have mastered for:
Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin: Chris de Burgh, The Orb, KT Tunstall, Free
Ian Cooper: Oasis, The Verve, Nick Cave, The Fratellis
Tony Cousins: Genesis, Adele, Crowded House, Massive Attack
John Davis: R.E.M., Led Zeppelin, U2, The Prodigy, White Lies, Zabranjeno Pušenje (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Stuart Hawkes: Amy Winehouse, Mutya, Alesha Dixon, Nil (Turkey)
Mazen Murad: Jazz Icons DVD, Mika DVD, Muse, Earth, Wind And Fire
Tim Young: The Beatles 5.1, The Killers, The Clash, Elbow
Metropolis Group launched a production division in 2002 allowing film/DVD projects to be completed entirely in-house. Since then, the department has grown into what it considers to be a one stop shop in the truest sense by providing a spectrum of services for music, film, video and non-entertainment purposes. The complete design agency was launched from the DVD division and operates as a fully fledged digital media and productions organisation. Bringing together a large group of experienced and award winning creative industry professionals, the team utilises industry standard software (Sonic, Avid, Final Cut Pro, etc.) and a passion for innovation and creativity to provide a plethora of services:
Blu-ray, DVD and CD authoring, motion graphics, illustration and animation, video and audio encoding, digitisation and digital delivery, format development, packaging and merchandise creation, promotional artwork and videos, television adverts, trailers, EPK’s, Live concert, studio and documentary shoots and photography.
Most notable recent clients/projects include: Stevie Wonder Live at Last DVD and Blu-ray, Kaiser Chiefs and AC/DC Blu-ray and DVD releases, KT Tunstall Live Lounge pilot, Depeche Mode and John Martyn TV adverts and forthcoming U2 and Beatles releases.
Albums and artists
Whether they have been fully recorded, mixed or mastered, many famous albums have been made at Metropolis Group. Some of the most notable releases include: The Verve Urban Hymns, The Stone Roses Second Coming, Queen Made In Heaven & Innuendo, U.N.K.L.E Psyence Fiction, Scott Walker Tilt, The Libertines The Libertines, and Grammy Award winners Amy Winehouse Back To Black & Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as well as the massive Live Aid & Live 8 DVDs.
Recent US artists & producers include Jimmy Iovine, The Black Eyed Peas, Timbaland, Chris Cornell, Lady Gaga, Ron Fair, Akon, Anastacia, John Legend, Michael Bolton, Kelly Rowland, Usher and The Game.
Metropolis Group’s various facilities have been used by a wide range of artists including:
50 Cent, Adele, Akon, Ahlam All Saints, Amr Diab, Amy Winehouse, Ashley Roberts, Avril Lavigne, Babyshambles, Beyoncé, Björk, The Black Eyed Peas, Black Kids, Blue, Bon Jovi, Brian Wilson Bruce Dickinson, Celine Dion, DJ Shadow, Duran Duran, Elton John, Erykah Badu, Estelle, Faithless, Garbage, George Michael, Goldie, Green Day, Groove Armada, I Am Kloot, Iron Maiden, James Morrison, Jamiroquai, Jay-Z, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Katherine Jenkins, Keith Urban, Kelly Rowland, KT Tunstall, Kylie Minogue, Ladyhawke, Lauryn Hill, Led Zeppelin, Lemon Jelly, Lily Allen, Madonna, Mark Ronson, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Mis-Teeq, Moloko, Nas, New Order, Nick Cave, Paolo Nutini, Paul McCartney, Paul Wassif, Paul Weller, Placebo, Pulp, Queen, Richard Ashcroft, Robbie Williams, Roisin Murphy, Scissor Sisters, Scott Walker, Simply Red, Slipknot, Snow Patrol, Starsailor, Stereophonics, Sting, The Clash, The Cure, The Game, The Kills, The Libertines, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, The Stone Roses, The Verve, The White Stripes, The Who, Timbaland, Tina Dico, Tom Jones, Tricky, U.N.K.L.E, U2, Underworld, Usher, Van Morrison, Vanessa Mae, will.i.am, Yusuf Islam, Zabranjeno Pušenje (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Alan Moulder, Bill Price, Butch Vig, Chris Potter, Dave Stewart, Gary Langan, Gus Dudgeon, Marius de Vries, Mark Ronson, Michael Kamen, Nellee Hooper, Phil Spector, Sir George Martin, Timbaland, Tom Elmhirst.
- Music Tech Focus Magazine, ‘The Masters of Metropolis’, February 2009 p 66
- 2004 BVA Best British Authored DVD – You Can Sing (Granada Ventures) 2006 HEW Award of Excellence:
- DVD Creative Award – Qi (Warner Home Video) (Interactive Winner)
- Programme Award (Children's Winner) - The Snow Queen (BBC Worldwide)
- Programme Award (Music/Stage Show) – Punk Attitude (Fremantle Home Entertainment)
(1) Future Music Magazine, ‘Studiofile- Metropolis Sudios’, April 2009, pp. 20–22
(2) Music Tech Focus Magazine – Mastering. ‘The Masters of Metropolis’, February 2009 pp. 66–69 http://www.musictechmag.co.uk/files/Focus/Mastering/MTF05.p060.pdf
(3) 'Metropolis Studios' http://www.recordproduction.com/metropolis.htm
(4) ‘Metropolis creates one stop shop’, November 10, 2008 http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1036124
(5) ‘Brenchley Joins Metropolis’, 6 November 2008 http://www.recordoftheday.com/www/news/article.php?aid=257
(7) Boško i Admira, sarajevski Romeo i Julia, oživjeli u spotu Zabranjenog pušenja