AIR Studios began its long and prestigious history in 1969 when George Martin left EMI to establish an independent recording complex in the heart of central London. It became one of the most successful studio operations in the world.
AIR’s first facility was on the fourth floor of 214 Oxford Street, containing four studios, and later a MIDI programming room. The facility included two large studios (one 58×32 feet, the other 30×28 feet) and two small ones. The studios contained two Bösendorfer pianos, many soundproof booths, and a 56-channel mixing console, custom-designed by Neve to AIR’s specification. During 1987 they also purchased two Fairlight CMI III models (at a cost of £35,000 each) for the burgeoning Midi Suite. They also were early adopters of then new fully Midi integrated ATARI STf for Midi control and sequencing using the grand-daddy of modern day Cubase – Steinberg’s Pro 24 III. This setup was used often as a stand-in during the frequent Fairlight CMI downtimes.
The Oxford street studio was where Climax Chicago Blues Band recorded A Lot of Bottle in 1970 which was produced by Chris Thomas. Being the first band to record at Oxford Street Climax photos were used in some of the initial promotional material for the studio.