The following is an interview conducted by our Chinese distributor Eastern Edison with Chinese music producer and engineer Zhang Jia (KAKA CHEUNG). After spending time in Hong Kong and London at Abbey Road assisting on score engineering projects for films such as ‘Skyfall’, ‘Kingsman’, ‘Frozen’ and others, he opened a 4800 square foot studio in Guangzhou China, called The 101 Studio. Here, he gives us his thoughts on the Shelford Channel, and explains why he now owns eight of them.
Q: What initially attracted you to the Shelford Channel, and what were the most appealing aspects of it for you?
A：Usually, my recordings focus on classical music and pop music, and I need to record many different kinds of acoustic instruments and vocals. The requirement of my microphone amplifier is to objectively restore the signal picked up by the microphones. The Shelford Channel is the equipment that provided what I wanted. I was impressed with a demo provided by my dealer during a violin recording. The sound is very clean and very powerful, the dynamics are wide, and the sound is very natural. After recording, comparing the sound of other amplifiers with the same microphone, I found that the Shelford was much better than the others.
Q: Why did you purchase so many Shelford Channels at one time?
A：The producer (Mr. Li) of my recording studio and I expect to get as many different options as possible for a single instrument or group of instruments during recording, and we like to use the same preamps for all of them. This solves the problem of taking too much time to place the microphones during a complicated recording, and we can record all of the potentially valuable possibilities, which greatly facilitates post-production.
Q: How do you usually use them in your daily work and what role do they play?
A: When I record a symphony orchestra, I route the main microphones into the Shelford Channels, but only use the preamp section – and we try our best to record without too much coloration. But the EQ and Compressor are very important when we are recording drums. The Shelford’s EQ is very natural, and the sweet spot is very wide. The Compressor section is amazing, and to me the sound is ideal after compressing. It’s worth mentioning that the compression speed of the Shelford Channel can be very fast and can be adjusted to a fairly modern sound.
Q：What kind of music do you record with the Shelford Channel?
A: I have recorded many sources with it, and I think it is suitable for any instrument or vocal. Everything sounds very natural, very powerful, and the fidelity is quite ideal. And not only when recording. When I do mixing, I also use the Shelfords’ Line inputs, and then use the EQ and Compressor sections.
Q: Do you think that some parts of the Shelford are particularly like an old device you have used, or do you think that it has improvements compared with the vintage modules?
A: The Shelford Channel is a great modern device. Compared to some other similar vintage or modern modules, it has so many advantages that there is really no comparison. Several times I have used other companies’ modules and the distortion was far too high, which is exactly what I don’t want. I believe the Shelford Channel is one of the very best modern studio preamps.
Q: Which projects have your recorded or mixed recently with the Shelford Channel?
A: When I got the units, I mixed a whole collection of Schumann’s violin and piano from a European classical music facility (Nassos), performed by very outstanding young musicians in China, Lin Haoli (violin), and Liu Jianan (piano). This record will be issued throughout Europe first in 2020.
Special thanks to our Chinese distributor Eastern Edison for conducting and sending us this interview.