UK loudspeaker manufacturer PMC has scored a hat trick in Hamburg by having its groundbreaking products installed in all three rooms at the recently opened Chefrock Studios.
The facility’s main control room and second control room are both equipped with PMC IB2S monitors, while a smaller third studio/writing room has a pair of PMC AML2 monitors with an SB100 subwoofer.
“All our PMCs sound amazing,” says Tilmann Ilse, who set up Chefrock Studios with his production partner Peter Keller. “The first time I heard PMC was many years ago at Galaxy Studios in Belgium and I was blown away by the sound, but I didn’t acquire my own PMCs until 2013 when I bought the AML-2 and SB100 set up that we now have in our writing room. They sound great and were perfect for the room I had at the time. When we set up Chefrock Studios we realised we needed something bigger, especially for the main control room, so we chose wall-mounted IB2s. They have great imaging, no distortion, tonal clarity and sound the same at every level, even low levels. The Advanced Transmission Line makes an additional Subwoofer obsolete.”
Located in Hamburg Altona, near the city’s famous Reeperbahn, Chefrock Studios is a commercial facility housed on the top floor of an old industrial building. Designed by Studio Magazine’s owner and editor in chief Fritz Fey, Chefrock Studios has a main control room equipped with an analogue Neumann console and a vast range of analogue outboard equipment. It also has a large recording room, a vocal booth and a client lounge.
“It’s a brand new build with state of the art soundproofing and no compromise acoustics,” Ilse explains. “Every room has natural daylight and there is also a 20 meter balcony with great views over the city.”
Ilse adds that, when it comes to essentials, his PMC IB2 monitors are top of the list because they make mixing so much easier and quicker.
“They save me several hours on every mix because what you get is what you hear,” he explains. “Some people might consider monitors of this calibre to be a luxury product, but for me having such great quality is a compelling necessity. They cover the complete frequency spectrum, so it’s a full range system without the need of an additional subwoofer. I love these monitors and think they are the best product PMC makes. The 10” flat piston driver is key to the sound they deliver, which gives you extremely low distortion, a very accurate centre and a super stereo image. Most importantly, they don’t change the sound when you listen at very low volume. With PMC 1B2 monitors I know exactly what I am hearing and I don’t have to guess.”
Chefrock Studios is undoubtedly a major achievement for Ilse and Keller, who work together as a producer/engineer duo and have long dreamed of opening their own commercial facility.
“We were looking for a proper location for years, but couldn’t find anything suitable,” Tilmann Ilse says. “Everything we saw was either too expensive, in the wrong area or not strong enough to carry the weight of a complete room-inside-a-room construction.”
During this time Peter Keller had a small studio, which was where the pair did most of their work. When the floor above his studio became available, Ilse and Keller decided it was the ideal location and took it over. Chefrock Studios is the result and is now one of the biggest recording and mixing studios in Hamburg.
“We know this is a hard time for the music business, but people will always want to listen to music and if you want that music to sound good it needs to be recorded in a great sounding room,” Ilse says. “Our goal was to build the best room possible, and that’s exactly what we have done because the studio sounds incredible. We did a lot of thinking before we decided to make this financial investment. We already had most of the equipment so our biggest expense was the cost of construction and acoustics. As a result, we are able to keep costs low for clients.”
Since opening Chefrock Studios at the end of the summer, Ilse and Keller have been working on an MTV Unplugged DVD for Peter Maffay, which coincidentally was recorded, edited and mixed on PMC monitors in three different locations. They have also hosted a mix session for MPG Award-winning producer/engineer Sylvia Massy and are soon to embark on the sound for an animated children’s movie based on Peter Maffay’s fictional green dragon Tabaluga.
“This Project has existed since the 1980s and has sold several million records to date,” Ilse says. “However, this will be the first time it has been made into a movie and it will also be mixed on PMC speakers in an Auro 3D 9.1 set up at Wisseloord Studios.”
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PMC is a UK-based, world-leading manufacturer of loudspeaker systems, the tools of choice in all ultra-critical professional monitoring applications, and also for the discerning audiophile at home, where they provide a transparent window into the recording artist's original intentions. PMC products use the best available materials and design principles, including the company's proprietary Advanced Transmission Line (ATL™) bass-loading technology, cutting-edge amplification and advanced DSP techniques to create loudspeakers that present sound and music exactly as it was when first created, with the highest possible resolution, and without coloration or distortion. For more information on our clients and products, see