'Silent' Studio: A new jamming experience at library@esplanade


New member
The ‘Silent’ Studio at library@esplanade

The National Library Board’s premiere performing arts library, library@esplanade, which boasts the largest music collection in Singapore, has unveiled a rehearsal studio, or jamming studio as it is more commonly known - the latest in a growing of performing arts services hosted in the niche library.

At $6.50 per hour and with the high-end equipment (e.g. Guitars sponsored by Gibson) the 'Silent' studio provides, it is the most affordable jamming studio in Singapore, a real value for money for the budget conscious musicians. You can even record your jamming session for free, all you need is an SD card and you can use the built-in recording function on the JamHub mixer to record your jamming session in CD quality sound.

No gimmicks! Can't believe what you are reading here, find out more by visiting the studio at library@esplanade or simply visit this link here for more information on this new innovation in band jam, booking details and equipment list included:

Last edited:
wah lao, this kinda thing why you reveal. now price sure go up.. haha!!
Bad experience with the "Silent Studio"

I just tried this place out. Just hearing about the idea told me that it would be a bad experience, but I cannot claim it until I have actually tried it. It is an idea that was conceived without any consideration for user experience, unless you count the Librarian as the user.

My first clue that it will really be bad was when I looked at the connection console and saw there was no EQ, just volume. The next thing I noticed was that there was no differentiation between input sources, so effectively a bass and a guitar was going through the same un-EQ peramp.

True enough, when my guitarist plugged in his Gibson LP, it farted all over the place. It was peaking at the slightest provocation. The same when I plugged in the Epiphone Blackbird (Thunderbird) there, instant overdriven bass (through what sounds like a 15w 8" driver), and there was absolutely nothing I could do, there was only a input volume knob, no, it was not a gain knob.

My guitarist utter gave up on his sound and tried the provided acoustic and classical guitars there. Word of warning, when plugging in instruments, make sure the rest of your band members remove their headphones. Oh yeah, neither the acoustic nor classical guitar's jacks worked, but no problem, they sounded pretty good through the mic.

Whoever selected the bass is utterly incompetent. It is Nikki Sixx's Epiphone Blackbird, anyone familiar with the instrument would know it has no volume or tone knobs, only an on-off switch. Anyone familiar with playing a Thunderbird sitting down also knows that you don't. I know it is likely to be sponsored by Gibson, but they could have at least provided an Epiphone EB-3 which is more ergonomically designed for sitting down. Oh yeah, the instruments are not setup. I could fly a jumbo jet under those strings.

The sound problems might be solved if you brought your own amp head with an XLR. That is what I would suggest to the people who manage the studio. Even the cheapest amp XLR out would be better than whatever preamp or lack thereof in that device.

My drummer thoroughly enjoyed himself. The Roland electronic drumset was one of the top of the line models. It sounded great and played great. My singer too enjoyed herself, the clarity of the drums and vocals straight to headphones is great.

Shhhh. This is a Librarian's idea of a jamming studio. Did not sound like a good idea on paper, is not a good idea in practice. It is at best a gimmick, and at worse a white elephant and hopefully not too big a waste of our tax-payer's money. Definitely a marketing mistake by Gibson. If I was to judge the Epiphones based on what I heard through those headphones, I would not buy one.

It is pretty reasonably priced at $6.50. Any more and I would cry daylight robbery. I think the ideal use of the place is one for acoustic jam (sans bass, unless you like your acoustic jams with constant bass overdrive), or a fairly cheap place to do song writing. Since no one else uses the place, you could potentially block book it for hours.
Thanks for the thorough review. You should consider writing in to them as, like you said, the sponsor most likely just dropped off the guitars without testing/setup and the people running the place are librarians first and not musicians either.

I'll probably still go and try it out considering the low cost and the novelty factor. Maybe bringing my own DI/EQ might help.
Last edited:
yea, i know they have no amps there, i would guess that my pod hd direct into it would be perfect just like what i usually do studios and for live. i'm aware that many people are not familiar with such ampless setups. but yes will definitely need a amp and a cab simulator for the inputs. both for bass and for guitars.

the cheapest you can go is the vox amplugs, but i don't have very good reviews for that. =P
I think the problem with the place is that unlike most jamming studios, it's run by people who know how to maintain their in-house instruments.
so this adds a reasonable (financially) compromise of the usual jamming rate of $16-$18/hr , having a -$10 discount for hiring someone who does these stuff.

the other thing is, I thought Jamhub mixer had its own cab simulation, so it really is just a pure direct input mixer which is pretty pointless for the guitarist and bassist because for those who are familiar with DIed raw sounds, it really is as raw as salmon sushi. those expecting smoked or deepfried will be disappointed.

so those who would gain the most out of this gotta have at least any digital pedal with cab simulation unless you're playing clean and also some decent knowledge of digital recording setups to get the best sound worth possible and I assume it would work well something like that if "live mixed balances properly" , using my audio interface + DAW as a "Jamhub"

(the vocals is not miked in. it was "outside of headphones")
the other thing is, I thought Jamhub mixer had its own cab simulation, so it really is just a pure direct input mixer which is pretty pointless for the guitarist and bassist because for those who are familiar with DIed raw sounds, it really is as raw as salmon sushi. those expecting smoked or deepfried will be disappointed.

It has simulation of the size of the venue which is applied to the final mix. There is no controls for individual inputs (other than volume), as far as I could tell.
arsie : so if they don't have any distortion pedals, jamhub doesn't simulate distortion/gain. if they do have something like a Boss DS-1, it's gonna be all fuzzy?
haha i would think so. really need something like vox amplug, behringer GDI or any of the 101 multi effects to get some sort of cab simulation / modelling thing between guitar to input.

For guitar/bass, best to use a multi-efx board that will output a nice signal into the Jamhub.
Just went to try the studio out today, pretty cool experience, had a blast even though there were a couple of things that could be improved on.

So here's my review (I've actually brought my laptop and a webcam to record the session but my video capturing software messed up! ARGH damn pissed! Will definitely get the next session down if possible)

Ok so its just 3 of us, 2 guitars and a drummer, we are using just 1 Pod X3 live into the Jamhub mixer, using the Gibsons there.

The Studio
The room is looks pretty spacious in the photos but it is actually very "cramped" due to a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the Jamhub is located in the middle of the room with chairs and music stands surrounding it. The Jamhub is fully connected (mics, instrument cables and headphones out on every channel) and this is one heck of a mess due to all the frakking cables tangling around.

The headphone cables can be a little short and it might end up being in the way of your guitar unless you sit facing away from the Jamhub. Another thing to take note is that the headphones are not labeled, but they should be hanging on the music stands which is labeled according to which channel they belong to, but apparently its kinda messed up so you have to trace the cable to the various channel.

Guitars (Gibsons + Epiphones)
Theres a Gibson SG Goddess and a semi-hollow electric there. Did not try the Epiphone acoustics there though.

I played the semi-hollow Gibson there and all I can say is that the playing condition is pretty bad! The strings are sticky as hell, which makes it extremely hard to play. Oh, I happen to broke the high E string while tuning it (someone wounded the string in the wrong direction at the tuning heads), apologies for that :( so do remember to bring your guitar along!

However this wasn't the case for the SG there, that one is in a better condish and both guitars actually sound decent (I liked the SG more though!) Also do note that the guitars don't come with strap and this pose as a big hassle when you have to keep standing up to adjust the mix on the Jamhub, then sit down, play something and then mix again.


My drummer complaint that the kit was rather small and it was rather awkward to play around and try to trigger the different sounds from the ride properly. He was using a double pedal on the kick trigger, so yeah you can bring one and use it there. The drum mix was kinda soft even though we had the levels on the modules maxed (perhaps we're not doing it right)


Ok this is where things get better, the sound quality is just awesome :p. It was awesome to be able to hear yourself and other so clearly in the headphones (the one i was using was a Audio Technica M50). This is something that cannot be achieved in normal jamming studios and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the jam session (although I played like crap). We had the guitars panned about 70% apart, and we set the levels of others using our very own mixer in our particular channel.

There's USB connectivity and an option to record onto a SD card. I had no idea on how to adjust the levels for the output through USB. It was constantly maxed out in the control panel. Oh, bring your own USB cable cause they don't supply one there. After plugging in, it should install itself automatically and you will be able to see a new device under control panel>sound>recording. Weird thing is that this recording device has only 1 channel according to the properties.

In conclusion, if your guitarist has a good modelling unit, you're in for a treat. Sound quality is amazing and being to monitor yourself so clearly is clearly a good experience! I will definitely go back and jam there again, 1 hour might not be enough as you'll probably spent more than 10mins setting things up. I spent around 13mins setting up the pod, guitars and my laptop+Webcam.

This isn't a good review as we did not have a bassist or vocalist with us, we just played a couple of songs instrumentally.

Edit: this is the USB cable that you'll need, get something thats pretty long or you'll have no space to put your laptop.
yep, and you get to have great drum sounds from the e-kit.

I'm still not getting the USB levels thing after reading a couple of threads, I remember having all of the knobs on the R section turned to 0 and its still too hot, I might be doing something wrong though.

Do record some clips when if you're to try it out :p
haha yea i figured it should be quite awesome. during dream theater's audition for new drummer, a system similar to this was used. i'm pretty certain this is how they do their normal jam sessions too. only diff is a real acoustic drum is mic'ed up and petrucci was using an axe-fx ultra.