Inside The Miloco Pro Audio Gear Showcase 2022

From immersive product demos, in-depth masterclasses and a raft of eye-popping new gear peppering the corridors, booths and studios, the return of Miloco’s gear showcase at their jaw-dropping London HQ brought sights and sounds to remember…

First held back in 2017 at their SE1 studio complex, Miloco’s Gear Showcase was on the way to becoming a bright new fixture in the calendars of the UK’s music technology industry. With the pandemic sadly putting pay to the event in recent years, the re-launch was met with a high degree of enthusiasm from attendees, exhibitors and industry pros alike.

Having evolved into one of the world’s biggest studio and production-related companies, Miloco currently oversees 170 studios across the globe, as well as offering studio construction via Miloco Builds, a huge array of gear via Miloco Gear and a bespoke sample library outlet via Drumdrops. Connecting with the industry is essential to Miloco’s ethos, making the return of the open-door Gear Showcase something that had clearly been expertly planned.

Upon entering, our first port of call was the central live room of The Pool studio. Within, the likes of Sony, KMR, Trinnov, Flare Audio, Chandler, Help Musicians and Source Distribution were eagerly presenting their latest wares…

The Pool and The Vault

Flare Audio’s E-Prototype and Calmer distortion-reducing earphones were the first products to take our interest. The E-Prototype in-ear ‘phones boldly claim to change the internal shape of the ear canal so sound quality heard by users is dramatically increased. This ‘Mirror Image’ sound technology is startlingly innovative. “What we’ve discovered is that we’re able to create two flat surfaces inside the earphone, a bit like a periscope, and we can produce a mirror image of the impulse and the driver onto the surface of the eardrum. It’s unlocked a whole new world of sound quality.” Flare explained to us. Calmer, Flare’s initial foray into in-ear technology, uses a similar ear-canal-adjusting philosophy to reduce stress-inducing, peaky sounds that people might hear in their day-to-day lives. They’ve become a big seller.

Sony’s brand new entry-level C80 microphone took a central position in the space (and would later be road-tested in The Bridge studio). Alongside its legendary brothers, the C-100 and C-800, the microphone features a two-part metallic anti-vibrational body structure, dual-diaphragm and Noise Elimination Construction which minimises vibration.

Up in a separate vocal booth, Source Distribution had a plethora of astounding synths set-up and ready to play, including the Moog Matriarch, Arturia’s analog polysynth the PolyBrute and ASM Hydrasynth. This gave us our first chance to explore the Polybrute’s new in-built multi-axis MPE performance controller, the Morphée, allowing X, Y and Z axis navigation of sounds. We might have spent a little too long getting lost in its five dimensional universe…

KMR Audio presented a multitude of wares. From outboard, microphones to some choice speakers – namely the jaw-dropping NNNN Comium 30 speakers. Sporting a distinctive, fan-like appearance, these full range 2-way monitors harness your room’s boundaries, turning them into an amplifier to generate higher SPL. It also does away with back wall reflections. Elsewhere, choice hardware from Gainlab Audio, Universal Audio, Cranborne Audio and an always-staggering Shadow Hills mastering compressor stocked the racks, while a Townsend Sphere L22 microphone could be modelled to any other microphone voicing at will.

In the Pool’s Control Room, a pair of Genelec’s state-of-the-art 8351Bs were wowing ears via their incredible, precise power. This latest addition to ‘The One’ family, delivers exemplary point-source monitoring. With newly elevated SPL, room calibration and further-reaching high frequency response.

In the smaller Vault area, Audient’s ASP 4816 Heritage Edition desk was being demonstrated. This in-line, completely analogue mix console brings large-format multi-channel dexterity with a much smaller footprint. Audient were keen to explain the range of clever things the 48 input console is capable of; “This is available in two configurations, there’s the Standard Edition and the Heritage Edition. It contains the recording and monitor paths in just one channel strip, this halves the space required yet has the same functionality as a larger desk.”

The Bridge and The Red Room

One of the most fun parts of the evening came when Sony demonstrated the new C80 mic with a live vocalist. “The C800 was a classic in the studio world, but very hard to get hold of in Europe and the UK.” Sony explained to a studio-full of enthusiasts. “What we did about ten years ago was bring out the C100 as a new flagship studio mic. As of yesterday, when they arrived in the country, we’ve now got the C80. Sony’s first studio mic that’s less than £500.”

Singing a two minute section of a song, the guest vocalist, Sophia, put Sony’s world-class family of mics to the test. While differences were detected between all three during the shootout, the overall quality bar was extraordinary, particularly for the ultra-affordable C80.

Elsewhere, numerous other engaging experiences were on offer, with an Atmos Demo in the Red Room, revealing the full scope of the space’s Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 setup. Harnessing the power of the ATC SCM45A as the left, front and right speakers, four ATC SCM25A’s overhead and dual Augspurger subs, the Atmos experience in this gold-standard mixing studio is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Later at The Red Room came the event that many people had been waiting for, a production masterclass with the acclaimed Charlie Hugall. The producer and mix engineer’s credits included Ed Sheeran, Florence and the Machine and Celeste. Hugall was talking us through his approach to the arrangement of Tom Grennan’s huge hit, Found What I’ve Been Looking For. “I thought I’d talk through this tune because basically, a lot of it was done on a bit of a shoestring budget, and it’s really the sum of the parts. Some of those parts are a bit ropey, but that’s part of the charm.” The MPG-award winner explained. “Tom came in with this amazing, gravelly, gritty voice. So one of the main things that I believe in with production is to just try and support the vocal, and facilitate its feeling.”

Opening up his original Pro Tools project, Charlie divulged how he had taken the original demo and gone away and added instrumental and rhythmical life to it, experimenting with quite freeform ideas (including some ‘obnoxious’ piano and ‘dodgy’ strings). He told the attendees how some of those basic recordings wound up in the final mix. “When I opened the project up after five years, I was like ‘Oh my God, what was I doing?’” Laughed Charlie, “But I wasn’t thinking about the solo’d tracks as individual things when I was arranging it, if things felt good for the song overall. They stayed.”

While the packed studio looked on in awe, Hugall isolated each of the huge-sounding track’s constituent parts, and explained that when it comes to production, often questing for things that sound too ‘perfect’ in isolation can be detrimental to the feel of the song. Once a vision is secured, Charlie told us that he needs to inhabit that song’s world “I wanted to create a feeling where the listener felt like there was too much going on. It was an intentional kind of thing. It informs my conduct on a personal level as a producer too. I’m not going to be sitting back being low-key. If I want the track to be lively, I’m going to be up on my feet, hyping up the artist. I want to match the energy of the artist and bring energy to a session that I want to get in the track.” It was a fascinating and inspiring masterclass.

It’s fair to say that those in attendance at Miloco’s Pro Audio Gear Showcase gained much from the evening. Whether by testing out mouth-watering pro-end gear, learning from the wisdom of seasoned pros, or just taking in the incredible surroundings of Miloco’s extremely cool HQ. Next year’s event can’t come soon enough.

Check out for more information, and stay tuned for information about next year’s event.

Welcome to issue 7 of Audio Media International