WSDG designed The Vault Mastering Studio in Phoenix, AZ for engineer Nathan James
Phoenix, AZ (April 17, 2013)—Nathan James, a Manhattan-based mastering engineer know for working with The Fray, jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato and comic Louis C.K., recently hired the Walters-Storyk Design Group to design his new studio, The Vault Mastering Studio, in Phoenix, AZ.

After establishing a reputation at his Manhattan studio, Vault Mastering, James decided to move his family and business back to his hometown in Phoenix.

“My clients were very happy with the quality of the various rooms I worked out of,” James says.  “But, for several years early in my career, I assisted Scott Hull at the WSDG-designed, Classic Sound in NY. I always dreamed of having my own John Storyk Room. Our move to Phoenix was the perfect opportunity to make that happen. My conversations with John convinced me it was doable, both financially and physically. We started the ball rolling as soon as we were settled in.”

WSDG Project Manager Matthew Ballos flew to Phoenix to access the site, take measurements and perform acoustic tests. “Nathan had purchased a handsome three-level house,” he said. “The lower floor presented a perfect location for a 300-square-foot studio. We had an eight-foot ceiling height, and a large window capable of providing natural light, and a sense of connectivity to the outside world. Windows are rare in studios, but given the option, we take advantage of them.”

Ballos and WSDG principal/architect/acoustician John Storyk, collaborated on the studio designed to maximize the existing space and provide ceiling and wall isolation to eliminate sound leakage.

“While it wasn’t necessary to ‘float’ the room, we incorporated a 2mm thick, rubberized mat beneath the hardwood floor to reduce sound transmission,” Ballos said. “During design, we envisioned a front-wall treatment comprised of three overlapping curved, stretch fabric-wrapped absorptive panels,” Ballos reports. “We developed a corresponding ceiling cloud and rear wall panel which complimented the aesthetics and completed the room tuning requirements.”

WSDG also built a 6-foot wide, absorptive acoustic window treatment using Clearsorber Deamp perforated transparent panels. The treatment is hinged to open the window and provide James and his clients with breezes, when work issues permit. The studio also incorporates a custom-designed wall sleeve, which houses the sliding glass acoustic studio door when it’s not in use.

“The new Vault Mastering Studio meets every one of my specific equirements, and when you walk in, it’s got that WSDG wow factor,” James said. “I migrated my entire mastering setup from New York, from the Custom DM console to the Duntech Sovereign/Cello amp monitoring combination that I’ve relied on for well over a decade. I brought all my trusted processing tools as well. Everything I need to get the most out of every recording is available at my fingertips. This is the studio I’ve always dreamed about. My original NYC Vault was aptly named because it radiated a sense of total sonic security. The new studio sounds and functions in a totally natural way. Sunlight enhances the creative vibe of the room during the day, and in the evening, it takes on an entirely different atmosphere.  When I say I’m totally at home in my new Vault, I mean that both literally and figuratively,” James said.

The Vault Mastering