Coeur D’Alene, ID (December 15, 2004)–To escape the endless precipitance of Los Angeles, recording engineer and producer Chris Phillips selected a picturesque setting just north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to build his dream recording facility, Cider Mountain Recorders. Upon recruiting audio expert Chris Pelonis to design his studio, Phillips began developing an all-inclusive recording retreat situated on over 240 acres of land. The centerpiece console in Cider Mountain’s Studio A is a 64-input API Legacy Plus analog console, currently loaded with 40 channel strips.
“I wanted to give artists (and myself) the chance to get out of L.A. to get creative,” said Phillips. “And this area has so much to offer. We’re skiing in the winter and wakeboarding and fishing in the summer. Privacy, beauty, peace… it’s just a great place to make music. The hassle of the city doesn’t have to be part of the process, and many times works against it.” Phillips believes he found the best person to help him realize his dream, noting, “Chris Pelonis just gets it. His control rooms are awesome and his signature series speakers are great. He saw my vision, stayed open to ideas, and pounded it out until every inch of the space was right. Then he stayed on board while the construction crew, Bullseye, put it together. It just turned out awesome.”
Pictured at Cider Mountain Recorders are Chris Phillips (standing front right) with Virgin recording artists and recent Cider clients, the Explosion, who were reportedly thrilled with the killer drum sound they got out of the live room.
Cider Mountain offers two control rooms, an editing suite, multiple ultra-flexible recording spaces, an impressive collection of vintage recording gear and instruments, client accommodations, a commercial kitchen, and much more. Because of this, Phillips can clearly–and honestly–assert the following to his clients: “The only thing you need to bring is your toothbrush.”
Most recently, Phillips selected the API Legacy Plus, the console he feels is the ideal centerpiece for Cider Mountain’s spacious and acoustically exceptional Studio A. The Legacy Plus will replace Studio A’s current desk, a Trident TSM console, which will be relocated to Cider Mountain’s Studio B.
Phillips’ selection of the Legacy Plus was endorsed by Pelonis and galvanized by his own enjoyment of using various API products over the years. “At Maple Studios, Cameron Webb has a lovely vintage white refurbished API. I fell in love with it. Next, I worked on a Legacy Plus at Maranatha, a Pelonis-designed studio in San Clemente, California,” recalled Phillips. “I really liked how it sounded–it was beautiful. I also have a lot of API gear–512 mic pre-amps, 525 compressors, 550a EQs–and I love that stuff. Basically I needed a killer tracking board with punchy, beautiful sonics that would attract a lot of people. Since there isn’t really anybody else making boards like this now, choosing the API allowed me to be comfortable with my decision.”
Wanting a classically styled analog console for a remotely located recording facility also added to Phillips’ Legacy Plus preference. I’ve been working on my vintage Trident and it’s great, but I wanted something reliable and consistent from channel to channel. “I did look at old Neves where they would rebuild it, give you a warranty and everything,” he admitted. “I’m in the middle of nowhere, though, and my big concern was what would happen if I was in the middle of a session and had something go wrong? This way, I’ll have spare modules around, API’s support, schematics, and the whole shebang of buying a new console. It’s just a lot safer.”
To Pelonis the ‘destination studio’ concept of Cider Mountain made the Legacy Plus a judicious purchase. “The Legacy Plus was always what I felt would be the best choice,” he affirmed. “Obviously it has great mixing capabilities but, being a recording retreat, the tracking lockout is obviously a main focus of their business. They have so many great recording spaces that you can stay there and do the entire record–including the mix. With the Legacy Plus they have a quality, musical console. For my taste the API is the preferred choice.”
As with all Pelonis-designed recording facilities, Cider Mountain was a complete acoustical concept, from the capacious tracking spaces, to Studio A and Studio B’s premiere Pelonis Signature monitoring system. According to Pelonis, unlike most facilities he designs, Cider Mountain had no problems with needed space. “Typically people come to me and say, ‘I have ‘x’ amount of square feet and I want these particular needs served,'” Pelonis explains. “Usually there isn’t enough room to serve all of those needs, so I have to become quite the magician. At Cider Mountain it was as though there were no limits. As a result we were able to create a generous, spacious tracking room with very high ceilings and a really involved trapping and diffusion system.”
Cider Mountain also offers a comprehensive equipment list to woo potential clients. Phillips brought his large collection of vintage outboard gear and microphones, Studer A80 and A827 Gold Edition 24-track analog recorders, a new Pro Tools|HD rig, and a plethora of musical instruments. “We have a 1901 Steinway nine-foot concert grand piano, lots of guitars, basses, amps, and vintage keyboards,” Phillips added. On his mic selection, Phillips commented, “A vintage pair of Neumann M49s with consecutive serial numbers and a matched pair of M269s are the ones I’m most fond of. Also, I have tons of mic pre-amps–22 API 512s, four Neve 1057 germaniums, two Neve 1073s, RCAs, Altecs, four Trident B Range, two Trident A Range, four Telefunken V672s, two Manley dual mono tubes, two Millennia, and many Ampex tube pres and mixers. We do everything–rock, punk, country, jazz, classical–but with what I have equipment-wise, I have been hosting a lot of rock.”
Cider Mountain recently hosted Virgin recording artists the Explosion, whose producer, Jason Carmer, is also a fan of Pelonis-designed rooms and speakers. “He said that our live room was by far the best sounding room he’s ever tracked in, and he’s been in a lot of studios,” boasted Phillips. “We get a killer drum sound out of this room.”
The ATI Group is the parent company of Audio Toys Incorporated, API Audio, Uptown Automation and the newly formed ATI Group Distribution Division, which now distributes the full line of Audient products including the newly introduced Aztec console.