Studio owner and chief engineer Misha Kachkachishvili says, “I went to the NAMM Show a few years ago, and I met Josh [Thomas, of Rupert Neve Designs]. He showed me the new Shelford modules. I was really considering two other consoles, but he sent me a couple of modules to listen to, and the comparison wasn’t even fair – the Shelford modules had so much tone and depth, and the Silk feature is just amazing. It’s so great. Horns, for example – they’re could be harsh and big sounding. In the past I would use tube preamps or tube EQ to tone the sound down. Now, with Silk, I don’t have to do that anymore. The blue setting of SILK does add tone and harmonics resembling vintage valve equipment. I haven’t used a tube preamp since last February. I pretty much retired all my tube preamps, and I had quite a collection.”
“I also like the simpler layout. The older board used to hurt my back reaching for the controls – I need a very easily reachable EQ, preamps, and aux section. Some of the other boards were just so much more involved…I don’t need so many auxes or busses. It’s just a simpler design, and of course the sound is just incredible.”
Despite its roots in jazz and orchestral recording, Esplanade has seen a substantial pop presence in recent years. “Since we opened up in 2012, every major artist that passed through the city – Iconopop, Metric, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, Rickie Lee Jones – they all end up coming here. Mostly for the space, and the vibe. They’re in a historic city, and they want to be part of it. I see that keep happening. New Orleans is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country right now – people getting tired of New York, and California. New IT work, film industry, tech companies, they’re coming here. How does this translates to music? I don’t know yet, but we do a lot of large scores here – I do want to take advantage of the Louisiana movie business, and that was definitely a deciding factor for me here.”
Esplanade continues to expand with a second mixing room, and a new 3000 square foot basement room for “live in-studio” audio and video recording sessions.