South Korean PoCheon Music Factory invests in Neve 8424 console

PoCheon Music Factory (PCMF), a dedicated studio and community centre in South Korea, is now home to a Neve 8424 console.

In recent years, K-Pop has become one of South Korea’s most significant exports. The global success of the genre stems back to a decision made in the late ‘90s to centre the Korean economy around creativity. The government made a conscious decision to invest in the arts with music creation as a central tenet.

One of the beneficiaries of this ongoing policy has been PoCheon Music Factory (PCMF).

“In Korea, we have 14 recording studios that are government-involved, including PCMF,” explains David Lee, chief engineer at PCMF. “Considering the costs of recording, mixing and mastering music, the government involved studios provide more reasonable pricing. We also provide educational services including a local music school, master classes and music production services at low cost.”

Lee was recently hired by the government to build and run the music production studio in Pocheon. A self-confessed audio geek who started in the industry as an intern when he was 18, Lee still likes to get his hands dirty with tasks like soldering and assembling power cables. This gives him a unique and deep insight into every aspect of the studio’s technical setup.

When it came to designing the PCMF facility, he worked closely with Neve partner ANK on the signal flow for the live room, two isolated rooms and a vocal booth. “I designed the signal flow with Mr Park, from ANK,” explains Lee. “When designing the signal flow and patchbays, Mr Park was my lifesaver.”

The rooms at PCMF are all connected to allow all audio and video signals to be shared between spaces, enabling the facility to accommodate film scores or large-format sessions if required. To ensure the ultimate audio quality for every recording, Lee decided to invest in a Neve 8424 console to be the heart of the system.

“I always wanted to include a large console at PCMF,” says Lee. “I started my career with a large-format console. I love the sound that consoles produce, and it’s a familiar format for me to work with. I’ve always chosen to work on a console, but If I just do my work in the box, I design my master channel in a similar way to a console’s master section.”

The reason behind the selection of the 8424 was the quality it brings to the mix. “I chose the 8424 because it has the 80 series’ master section, and I love the way it sounds,” explains Lee. “I can’t imagine my mixes without them passing the 8424’s master section. The 80 series’ master section sounds brilliant, and always helps me to make proper decisions.”

I can’t imagine my mixes without them passing the 8424’s master section.

The console in use at PCMF also features Neve’s DAW control upgrade, which has made a major improvement to the studio’s workflow. “It’s a huge difference,” says Lee. “Having a DAW control on the desk makes the engineer’s work even faster. Also, Thanks to active fader control on the 8424, I have no worries on recall!”

A further benefit from the 8424 is the remote-control app. “The biggest advantage of the remote control on the 8424 desk is that I never have to leave the sweet spot to operate it,” explains Lee. “I can always stay in the sweet spot, and make sure everything sounds perfect.”

While the 8424 is at the heart of the studio’s workflow, it is not the only piece of Neve gear put to use at PCMF. The studio also invested in a 33609 stereo compressor which works in tandem with the console.

“It should be defined as Hybrid mixing,” says Lee. “The 8424 console and 33609 are always engaged either in a tracking or mixing process. The 33609 is brilliant. I use it more like a dual-mono compressor for vocals or kicks and snares.”

In addition to this, the studio also uses the 1073OPX remote controllable preamps for tracking. “I can track 32 channels one at a time, and the combination of the 8424 console and 1073OPX always helps,” states Lee. “The 1073OPX is great, and the integration with 8424 makes my life so much easier.”

The result of this setup is the characteristic Neve sound that Lee describes as “cosy like home”, which gives the chief engineer reassurance that every mix will sound great. “The 8424 is the core of my studio and it always helps me to be more confident,” he surmises.

Thanks to government involvement, Pocheon has a top-of-the-line studio that is accessible to its local community and can help support up and coming artists. Thanks to its solid technical setup, PCMF will be a perfect starting point for Korea’s next generation of global stars.