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Trinnov Pro User Interview: Rik Simpson

12 July 2023
Case Studies

Rik Simpson is a British multi Grammy Award-winning music mixer, producer, musician, songwriter...a jack of all trades as he likes to say but an expert still in those fields.

He's been making records for the past 30 years and is mostly recognized for his production work with Coldplay.

We got to interview Rik inside his studio, which he set up himself. Being an ST2-pro user, Rik explains how the Trinnov brought depth and space to his sound, enhancing the immersion feeling.

If he had to build the studio all over again, the Trinnov would be one of the first things he buys.

Can you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Rik Simpson, I am a record producer, songwriter, musician, a jack of all trades. I've been working on making records for the last 30 years. I guess I am most known for my work with Coldplay, who I've been working with since 2002. I was very lucky because when I was 15 I got a job in a big studio in London. They had massive Quested speakers, really well tuned and they just sounded amazing. So I learned very young that monitoring is very important.

Tell us more about your studio space 


The room was purpose built for my studio. I was restricted by the size of the room because the shape is a little bit of a box, even though it had to be. Obviously, it's got panels on the ceiling, on the walls, but it still isn't perfect due to the size of the room and it's squareness. 

I was using a software solution for room management at the time, and it did make a difference. The first time I heard it, there was a bit of a frequency build-up in the back of the room and a hole in the middle. At the listening spot it was fairly good. I did some great mixes of the back of that.

What was your introduction to Trinnov like ?


I reached out to one of the companies that was making the software speakers management. They helped me to get set up in Coldplay's room when I was based there. I used that for a few years and it was very successful. When I moved here, I brought the software with me and again it made a difference. 

Then, a friend of mine told me about the Trinnov system. How much easier it is to have a hardware solution because a software solution is taxing the computer, the CPU and my mix sessions were always maxed out. I am always fighting for just a little bit more headroom on the computer's processing power. So being able to take that out of the equation and use it for mixing just made sense to me. Also, it sounds really good as well, definitely a step up sonically.

What did you think of the calibration process ?

With the software solution, you move around the room and it takes different readings for the different places. The Trinnov one is centric about where it's important. I made it a little bit more complicated personally, because I've got Barefoot speakers here with 3 switches: a flat curve, a smiley curve and an Auratone curve...I got Paul to do models for each one, but the only one I am using is the flat one. He must hate me right now :)

What was your reaction hearing your room optimized for the first time ? 


I was in this room probably for 9 months before I got a calibration system in. I was doing a mix at the time, can't remember what it was. I remember thinking how tight and focused everything was sounding. I was halfway through the mix, so I had the comparison in my head between before the system came in and after.

It was not only focused, it was also deeper, like immersive depth which to me is very important. The whole 3D thing and throwing things farther back by use of reverb or EQ just to make things go away from you to leave space for the things that nead to be right here in your face. That for me was one of the main things I noticed with the Trinnov. 

The center felt more isolated because everything else was pushed away from it. There was like a cluster of stuff in the middle that was fighting for attention. I can position things a lot better by spreading them out and deeper.

I thought there might be an issue with latency, as I do a lot of playing in here. Luckily enough, it turned out there hasn't been any problem at all, it made no difference. The latency is so small, it's been great!  

Has it improved your workflow ?


I do think it influences my workflow, it makes decision-making easier and quicker. Particularly as I put the studio together myself, it's not a professionnally made room that's been there over 20 years and all these great records have come out of it.

If you are taking sound seriously, I think monitoring is very important. What you are hearing coming out the speakers, it's the most important thing. Beyond any sound sources, beyond any synth, make sure your room sounds good, even if it's egg boxes and cartons. You've got to get the sound of the room right before you can make any creative decisions.

If I was starting again in the studio, the thing i'd buy first would be: my speakers, the Trinnov, the panels on the walls and ceiling, and my couch!

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