Reflexion Arts, 20 years ahead on ACOUSTICS.
Reflexion Arts was originally founded in 1980 by Alex J Weeks, an Anglo-Russian, whose intention was to commercialise the operations of Albert Cooper, whose world famous gold and silver flutes are used by people such as James Galway. In 1983, Alex Weeks was introduced to acoustician and famous engineer Philip Newell, whilst both were involved in a concert by the ex-Eurythmic, flautist Tim Wheater. As a result of this encounter, Newell and Weeks joined forces to expand the work of Reflexion Arts into studio design, the first result of which was The Court Studio of Jacobs Studios in Farnham, England, in 1984.
Philip Newell's return to studio design was two years after he had sold his shares in Virgin Records recording division, for whom he had spent ten out of his eleven years with them as technical director. During this time with Virgin, he was a founder of The Manor Mobile, and the designer of their first two trucks. His involvement with mobile recordings had begun in 1970, whilst working with Pye Records, and spending much time with their mobile recording studio.
The Manor Mobile was the world's first purpose-designed 24 track recording vehicle, and during Newell's time with it, he recorded many world famous artistes and ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) Queen, the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Mike Oldfield, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (in Warsaw), Jethro Tull, Genesis, Little Feat, The Small Faces, and countless more.
In 1975, in conjunction with the Californian designer, Tom Hidley (the founder of Westlake Audio), Philip Newell re-built The Manor. In 1978, the same pair were responsible for The Townhouse, in London. To this day, Hidley and Newell are great friends, and co-collaborators in much research work. During the construction of the Townhouse, Newell designed the stone room in Studio 2, made famous by the drum sounds on Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight"
During 1985, Sergio Castro was looking for a designer to build his proposed studio, Planta Sonica, in Vigo, Spain. He was recommended to speak to Philip Newell, so flew to London to meet him at the office of Alex Weeks. Reflexion Arts had just begun the design and production of monitor systems, and after hearing them, Sergio ordered a pair for Planta Sonica. The studio opened in 1987, and created an excellent reputation for itself. It also had a stone room, but this time made from granite, unlike the sandstone which had been used in The Townhouse. This room also created much interest, until the studio was destroyed in a severe flood in 1990.
After the flood, Castro again contacted Newell, this time for an insurance quotation. Philip Newell had resigned from Reflexion Arts in March 1988, to become an independent consultant, and from mid 1987, had been sponsoring research at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) a department of Southampton University in England. Research was being carried out on new horn designs, and their implementation in new types of control rooms which had heavily borrowed from Tom Hidley's "Non-Environment" concepts.
Sergio Castro again flew to England, in early 1991, and was so impressed by the prototype combination of the Reflexion Arts 234 and the new concept of control rooms that he acquired the Reflexion Arts name from Alex Weeks, and set up a company in Portugal with his old partner from Planta Sonica, Alvaro Azevedo. Since that time, Philip Newell has been acting as the company's consultant on acoustic matters.
Portuguese bureaucracy was, however, by no means the most practical, and with the growth of international business, the company base was moved to Vigo, Spain, where Sergio Castro had been living since 1984, and in January of 1997, Reflexion Arts S.L. was formed with new partner Dr. Maria Santarém, to continue the work which had continued since Jacobs Studio in 1984.
.: Philip Newell is a member of both the AES and the Institute Of Acoustics (MIOA) and has recently published his fourth book “Recording Studio Design”, through Focal Press, following the excellent acceptance of his other three books “Studio Monitoring Design”, “Recording Spaces” and “Project Studios”. This book features updates on the “Non-Environment” concept of control-room construction, resulting from recent research at the ISVR, University of Southampton, supported by the author and Reflexion Arts. A new book on loudspeakers is soon to be released.
Countless articles have been published in the last two decades by international specialised magazines such as Studio Sound, Audio Media, Resolution, ProSoundNews, Speaker Builder or Home & Studio Recording (apart from other Russian, Spanish and Portuguese magazines), whilst some of his books have been translated into Russian or became recommended literature at many universities around the world.
.: Sergio Castro has been a musician, composer, record producer and a recording engineer for well over 30 years. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Oporto between 1972 and 1975, he also studied flute at the Oporto Music Conservatoire and has been awarded the third degree of Music Pedagogy with professor Yos Wytak, a Carl Orff disciple.
Between 1974 and 1990 he founded or had been a member of successful bands such as Psico, Arte&Oficio, Trabalhadores do Comercio and Stick, in Portugal and Semen Up and Bombeiros Voluntarios in Spain, with whom he recorded/produced over 30 records.
In 1979 he started MUSO, the very first professional PA company in Portugal, which between then and 1986 was responsible for sound reinforcing events for several organizations such as RTP (the national TV station) or FITEI (a national independent theatre festival organization) as well as for concerts by Serrat, Alvin Lee, Tom Robinson Band, Jose Afonso, Sergio Godinho or Gary Burton.
It was in 1986, when he participated on the construction of his own studios in Vigo – Planta Sonica – under Philip Newell’s direction, that his interest in acoustic phenomena and the design of spaces for musical events arose, as well as a full time dedication to the recording industry.
During the 90s he wrote about related subjects in several specialised magazines such as Studio Sound, ProSoundNews and Audio Media. In 1994 he attended a course of Acoustics for Sound System Engineers at the Institute of Acoustics, by the late Peter Barnett, and in 1998 he was admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute (AMIOA) by a board of eminent authorities, being Member of the Institute (MIOA) since 2010. He is also a member of the Directors Board of the Spanish branch of the AES.
In November 1999 he co-authored with Philip Newell and Dr. Keith Holland the paper “An Experimental Screening Room for Dolby 5.1”, presented at the Reproduced Sound 15 of the IOA at Stratford on Avon. In 2002, during the “Reproduced Sound 18”, he co-authored with P.Newell, K.Holland, J.Newell and M.Ruiz a definitive paper on the behaviour of cables for high frequency audio transmission, entitled “The Effects of Various Types of Cables” to be followed by the presentation of “Loudspeaker Cables for High Frequency Transducers – a Further Assessment” by the same authors at the “Reproduced Sound 19 Conference in Oxford”. Lately he has been involved with some of the same authors in articles on the subject of Cinema Rooms and Dolby Equalization.
He has been responsible for most of the art work on Philip Newell’s latest books and articles.
.: Maria Santarém, also a Portuguese citizen, completed a degree in Pharmacy, from the University of Oporto, after which she spent a few years at the Cancer Research Institute of the same town (Instituto de Oncologia) and then 10 years teaching Immunology at the Biomedical Institute Abel Salazar, still in Oporto.
During the first half of the 80s, and simultaneously with her career, she worked in the management, production and tour logistics for two top Portuguese bands.
In 1989 she moved to Vigo and got dedicated herself full time to the Immunology of the Marine Environment at the Instituto de Investigacións Mariñas. She finished her PhD in Immunology in 1995 at the Uiversity of Santiago de Compostela, with the highest mark.
Twenty months later she resigned from the Institute and gave up her scientific career to join Sergio Castro in the foundation of the 3rd reincarnation of Reflexion Arts.