Audeze talks about the creation of Ten87 Studios with founder Rob Burn

March 09, 2024

Rob Burn is founder of Ten87 Studios, a 50-strong complex of studios based in Tottenham, North London. Home to some of the most exciting Independent producers and artists in the UK and beyond.

Rob wearing Audeze LCD-X headphones

"The headphones have become a real feature in our day hire studio. We use them as a point of reference when mixing, but equally for tracking and in writing sessions." - Rob Burn
Here's our chat with Rob:

Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

That’s hard, but I guess as a starter, I would say our long term studio members (aka our community). We're currently home to around 150 of the most important and inspirational creatives in the music industry here in the UK. Myself and the team have to pinch ourselves everyday - we feel so blessed that they have chosen our studios as their home. I'm super proud of our tracking, day-hire space, with incredible acoustic design from Nick Whittaker. The studio is centred around an SSL E series console, with some incredible outboard and monitoring, it's a real vibe to create or track. It's been open just over two years, and already welcomed some insane talent.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I started out in bands at school/college, this progressed into DIY record production at the age of about 18. I would record local bands at people's houses, community centres (anywhere really...). Growing up I was listening to bands like Radiohead and Brian Eno. But at the same time it was an incredible time in UK underground electronic music. UK Garage and later Dubstep made a big impact. I took a music degree and really got into electronic production. After I graduated, I got into working freelance in commercial studios and for labels. To get by I had to have a lot of different strands to my hustle, at the same time, I was working for major labels producing music for film and tv, as well as creating / realising my own electronic productions and DJing. Throughout this time I hired / shared various studios in London. I couldn’t understand why there were so few well designed / managed facilities, considering how important London was/is on the world music stage. Our surroundings and workflow have such an impact on creativity. In the same way, people and networks can have a profound impact on a person’s career. This in essence was my reason for starting Ten87.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

So many, I remember playing gigs/shows at uni, with my friend Ahad (Ahadadream), those nights really helped shape my taste in music. Later on in life watching his career build and grow has been hugely inspiring. Having members join our long term community that we are big fans of. Recently that included Sherelle and the Beautiful Music label, Quantic, Jasper Tygner and also Wolf Alice to start writing their new album. In the past few years Leon Vynehall, Mount Kimble and Sbtrkt have chosen to base themselves at Ten87. In the early days I was introduced to Mos Def after a session. This was a bit of a moment, as he was a childhood hero. It made me realise that what we were building was important for UK music and culture.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

Before Covid we housed a live venue at the centre of our largest building. Unfortunately the operators went bankrupt during Covid. It was an important venue for London (there’s not that many small venues left here. The closure of the space was a huge disappointment, not just for us, but for the wider electronic scene in the capital. This all happened during Covid, and we just couldn’t find another operator to run the venue. However that meant we could convert the majority of the space into studios. We built a large tracking space (which we named ‘the club’, in honour of its history). Today the space acts as the perfect front door for the studios, and has become an amazing addition to our roster of recording spaces we have at Ten87. We also built a cafe space whcih is now run by Bradley Zero and the amazing crew at Moko its an incredible listening bar and restaurant, 'celebrating the sounds and flavours of the African diaspora'. 

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favourite tools/instruments recently?

Yes.. I hate to say It but nowadays I'm mostly creating in the box - Ironically I don’t get much time in our studios, so when creating, I have to make do in the box, with headphones, stealing time wherever I can. I tend to build up a body of work, and then head to the club for the last part of the process. We have a refurbished SSL 6032E, with a selection of the 242/243 EQ’s, which is amazing for finishing a mix. The room has a pair of ATC - 25’s and a pair of PMC 8-2’s which are beautiful. I will also always reference on our pair of LCD-2s - I just know them so well (these were one of the first serious purchases I made when we started Ten87).

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work?

The (LCD-X and MM-500) headphones have become a real feature in our day hire studio. We use them as a point of reference when mixing, but equally for tracking and in writing sessions. We pair them with the RNHP amp from Rupert Neve (which really makes them sing). Over the last few months they've been used on sessions with Unknown T, AJ TraceyIlla J, Jay-O, Tom Misch and Wolf Alice, among others.

Audeze LCD-X headphones on mixing table