The site of Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia.
Photo: Google Maps
Philadelphia, PA (March 3, 2015)—The building that houses historic Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia has been sold for $1.55 million, with the intention of renovating the space for office, retail or residential use. A key part of “The Sound of Philadelphia,” the facility recorded countless hits that helped define R&B and disco throughout the late 1960s and most of the 1970s.
Over the years, the 210-214 N. 12th Street studio founded by Joseph Tarsia in 1968 recorded hits for the likes of Whitney Houston, Madonna, Lou Rawls, The Trammps, Billy Joel, The Roots, Boyz II Men, the Jacksons, Bonnie Raitt, Village People, Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle and more.
The facility included three studios, featuring multiple SSL consoles, a 2,300-square-foot multi-use soundstage and a sizable mic locker sporting Neumann, RCA, Scoeps, Shure, EV, Bock, Crown, AKG, Shure, Sennheiser, Altec, Beyerdynamic and Sony mics.
While the building’s sale marks the end of an era, the historic work created there lives on, as most of the facility’s 6,200 tapes were donated in 2005 to Drexel University for preservation. There, The Sigma Sound Studios Collection in the Drexel University Audio Archives is overseen by Toby Seay, project director of the Audio Archives and associate professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Seay is currently building a database to catalog the vast archive’s contents, which includes unreleased songs from David Bowie’s Young Americans album, recorded at Sigma in 1974.