Astoria (recording studio)
Astoria is a grand houseboat, adapted as a recording studio by its owner, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. It is moored on the River Thames near Hampton, Middlesex. Gilmour purchased the boat in 1986, because he "spent half of [his] life in recording studios with no windows, no light, but on the boat there are many windows, with beautiful scenery on the outside".
The boat was built in 1911 for impresario Fred Karno, who wanted to have the best houseboat on the river. He designed it so that there could be an entire 90-piece orchestra playing on deck.
Parts of each of the last two Pink Floyd studio albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, were recorded on the boat, as were parts of Gilmour's most recent solo album, On an Island. It was also used for mixing the Pink Floyd live albums Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse as well as the Pulse film, Gilmour's Remember That Night DVD and his 2008 live album, Live in Gda?sk.
Bob Ezrin has mentioned, however, that the floating studio posed a few problems when it came to engineering guitar sounds for A Momentary Lapse of Reason:
A video of Andrew Jackson, sitting at the mixing console of the Astoria Studio, is available online.
Dara Ó Briain, Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath visited the Astoria while on a trip down the Thames for the BBC television programme Three Men in a Boat.
According to an interview with Phil Taylor (Gilmour's guitar technician), the Astoria was originally equipped with UREI 813 studio main monitors with Phase Linear amps. The UREI 813s were replaced around 1990 by ATC main monitors. Currently, customized ATC SCM 150 ASL active speakers are used for the main left and right channels with a standard ATC SCM 150ASL active speaker used as the centre channel. The centre channel sits above an ATC SCM 0.1/15 subwoofer. The surround monitors are two ATC SCM 50ASL. A variety of near-field monitor speakers are used including Yamaha NS10s and Auratones depending on who happens to be working at the studio. The acoustic design was done with the assistance of Nick Whitaker, an independent acoustician, and much of the equipment was recommended by James Guthrie and Andrew Jackson. The Astoria currentlyTemplate:When includes a Neve 88R mixing console, as well as three Studer A827 multi-tracks and ATR 100 tape recorders, which were modified by Tim de Paravicini. The conversion to a studio also required 23 kilometres of cables, which were sourced from Van den Hul cables of Holland. There are various compressors from Pye and EAR 660 tube designs, as well as EAR 825s for EQ.