The Magic Room

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The Magic Room at LITTLE BIG BEAT is a sumptuous listening space with stereo and multi-channel audio-visual systems, a vinyl cutting lathe, tape machines and an amazing collection of nearly 50,000 LPs. It’s where we check test pressings, evaluate mixes in a more domestic setting, entertain guests, listen to records (for fun!) and cut lacquers.

From day one, we wanted LITTLE BIG BEAT STUDIOS to be more than just a link in the production chain, we wanted to think outside of the box that is “record, mix, move on”. Besides our live studio sessions – each one a unique event with the artists performing surrounded by the audience – the Magic Room stands as one of the best examples of our mission to unite all aspects of music making and enjoyment under one roof.

The Magic Room is equipped with a custom version of the Bauer Audio dps turntable, fully balanced amplification from Ayre Acoustics and Bauer Audio LS 3g three-way sealed-box loudspeakers, serving as a high-quality domestic-style music system.

For a more analytical take on things as well as mastering we use a pair of Neumann KH 420 monitors, a pair of KH 750 active subwoofers and nine KH 80 auxiliary loudspeakers. Multi-channel duties are fulfilled by a Marantz receiver with Dolby Atmos and flexible channel-routing capabilities.

Cabling is supplied by Klotz of Munich and Neutrik, the latter based just down the road from us in Schaan. From time to time we have other audio products “in residence”, for example in cooperation with Lehner Akustik.

If you are interested in a demonstration or purchase of products from our partners, please get in touch with us at: magicroom@littlebigbeat.com.

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The Music Systems

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The Studer Tape Machines

Analogue technology is alive and well at LITTLE BIG BEAT, as evidenced by a number of Studer reel-to-reel tape machines. We have two A820s (2”, 24 channels), one A800 (2”, 24 channels), one A80 (¼”, stereo/mono), one C37 (¼”, stereo) and one A812 (¼”, stereo) at our disposal which can be wheeled into the Magic Room if required.

The acquisition of a vintage Neumann AM-32b cutting lathe enabled us to cut our own lacquers. Lacquer cutting is the very first step in getting recorded sound onto vinyl records: the audio signal is “engraved” into a nitrocellulose layer on an aluminium disc which is later copied to make the stampers that press the grooves into vinyl records. Our lathe is from the early 1960s, but it has been lovingly restored, is in great shape and a useful tool at LITTLE BIG BEAT.

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The Neumann Cutting Lathe

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History

When LITTLE BIG BEAT STUDIOS moved to the current premises in Eschen in 2013, we had the luxury of being able to choose between two control rooms. The smaller one was more practical and became home to our SSL console and Studer tape machines; the larger room turned into a storage space – and a rather unglamorous back-stage area.

Years later, in 2021, Little Konzett was sitting in the middle of the large room, in-between a bunch of cardboard boxes and a huge pair of Tannoy speakers, when inspiration struck: couldn’t he make better use of this space by turning it into a dedicated listening area, with a vinyl-based music system, comfy lounge chairs and thousands of books? From playing drums in front of bookcases, he knew that masses of paper can have a positive effect on acoustics.

Little relayed his plans to Arthur Gassner, a music lover and friend of the studio’s. Arthur was intrigued, and when he stopped by a few days later he said, “Look, I’ve amassed so many LPs that my listening room is bursting at the seams. How about I lend you part of my collection for this project?”

Little loved the idea! After some considerations of feasibility and extensive planning with architect Thomas Burtscher, construction began under the working title “Magic Room” (obviously, the name stuck). Custom-made LP shelving with HUE®-controlled LED lighting from Austrian LED Works was installed covering almost the entire wall area. Beautiful solid oak flooring was laid and various music systems and loudspeakers were installed. Then, over the course of several days, nearly fifty thousand LPs from Arthur’s collection were hauled into the building.

Considering that, among other things, the room was meant to be used as a “serious” listening space, an acoustician told us that walls lined with thousands of LPs would never work. But Little had a gut feeling that it would! Complemented by concealed absorption, bass traps and ceiling diffusors, Arthur’s vinyl collection provides great acoustics and a wonderful setting to relax, browse LPs and delve deep into the music.

Even before the finishing touches were completed, the Magic Room became a natural extension to all of the other facilities at LITTLE BIG BEAT. It instantly felt right, as if it was always meant to be there. We use the Magic Room every single day to check test pressings, listen to masters, cut lacquers, or simply chat with guests and enjoy some music. A large, sound-proof window looks into our main recording area, so a pane of glass is all that separates the art of music production from the tradition of music reception. The Magic Room is where all of our work at LITTLE BIG BEAT comes full circle.

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The Arthur Gassner Collection

The charm of the Magic Room at LITTLE BIG BEAT stems, in large part, from a massive collection of vinyl records. On loan from Liechtenstein entrepreneur Arthur Gassner, nearly 50,000 LPs adorn the walls of the Magic Room, lending the purpose-built listening space both an inviting atmosphere and great acoustics.

Arthur started buying records as a teenager, fuelled by a voracious appetite for music and, to some degree, obsession! Decades later he is still at it, which thankfully means that we are able to house a large part of his musical treasure in the Magic Room.

The collection comprises a multitude of styles and genres, from classical box sets pressed during the heyday of LP production in the 1960s to rock and pop staples from the 1970s onwards to recent titles and, of course, all of our own productions on the loEnd Recs label.

In the summer of 2022 we started the gargantuan task of cataloguing the collection with plans to open a virtual or brick-and-mortar records shop.

 

Stay tuned!