Pioneer launch at Air Studios

Yesterday, Pioneer revealed a new range of AV and hi-fi products at Air Studios. Being ahead of the game, we’ve covered most of it here, but there were new speakers unveiled and a chance for Pioneer to explain the links between themselves and the famous studio.

Based in the middle of Hampstead, Air Studios is located in a converted church. To get there, we were greeted with a Pioneer branded rickshaw (below) which swiftly transported us to the studio to the station on a very wet Tuesday morning.

Once inside, we met studio staff and ran through the history of the studio which was opened in 1969 by George Martin. Originally based in Oxford Street, the studio moved to Hampstead in 1991.

Since then, movies and music have flowed through the studios – from classical music to Bond film scores to albums from Paul McCartney, Oasis, Coldplay and George Michael. We’re talking both recording and mixing and we’ve erased the thought that we ate in the same staff canteen that Robbie Williams did when recording.

Talking about the future of Pioneer after the exit from the plasma market with the legendary Kuro, Pioneer were keen to stress that the Kuro represented a small part of the business and that the company was, first and foremost, an audio company. Yoshitaka Yaeguchi (pictured) said “audio is in our DNA, It’s our core – we’re serious and passionate about sound”.

Showcasing the new range of AV and hi-fi products, Bertrand Mellot explained that the development and planning of products starts at Pioneer HQ in Japan before heading to France for design input and then to Air Studios for tuning.

It’s worth noting that all products with an Air badge are the same all around the world and not tuned for individual markets. Mellot also proudly pointed out that Pioneer speakers are featured as design icons at MoMA in New York.

Finally, we spoke to Studio man Tim Vine from Air Studios and we were given a tour of the studio from grand recording rooms to the mixing desks which produced the impressive sounds you hear in Quantum of Solace, a favourite Blu-ray test disc of ours.

In terms of kit, we spotted quite a few pairs of modified Dynaudio M4s and a £50,000 pair of giant Pioneer speakers (below), used to test vinyl re-masters of classic albums like Highway to Hell.

Needless to say, with AC/DC vinyl remasters on the menu, we selected the album of the same name and began to turn the giant green volume knob to the right...