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The Boiler Room Steams into Wicker Park

Boiler Room is based in a 100-plus-year-old, three-story brick building in Chicago’s Wicker Park

Chicago, IL (February 18, 2020)—After years of saving and planning, mastering engineer Collin Jordan purchased a 100-plus-year-old, three-story brick building in Chicago’s Wicker Park District and called WSDG Walters-Storyk Design Group to create his new facility, Boiler Room.

Jordan first met WSDG founding partner John Storyk at an AES Convention in 2003. Impressed with Storyk’s genuine interest in his initial Boiler Room studio build out, Jordan put WSDG on the list for his next studio project. By 2013, his client list had grown to include work for Chicago-based artists Buddy Guy, Alkaline Trio, Common, Local H, Pelican and The Wachowskis. Worldwide clients include the YouTube Rewind series with over 1 billion views a year.

“I’d been looking for new space for years, and immediately knew this building met all of my needs, including two floors primed for renovation into rental apartments that would cushion my monthly OOP,” says Jordan. “I called most of the major studio designers but still got the best feeling from WSDG. Their balance of technical acoustics and artistic design was spot on, and they were very accommodating to my somewhat unusual vision for the new studio.”

WSDG project manager Joshua Morris, now partner/COO, flew out for an initial site visit in 2014. “He made a series of recommendations that were much in sync with my thinking, and we began a lengthy but ultimately hugely successful collaboration.”

“The ground floor of his building was a virtual sound lock,” Morris says. “Eleven-foot-high ceilings and a solid slab floor made it unnecessary to float the room even in such an urban setting. We carved out a spacious 600-square-foot section at the rear of the building for his mastering studio and included a roomy ‘sweet spot’ client listening area. Positioning the studio back there also eliminated concerns about street noise.”

The remaining 900 square feet were earmarked for a lounge, kitchen and business office. The solid construction of the second and third story apartments provided additional assurance of complete isolation, as the mastering room is located in a single-height space. “This building was ideal for a mastering studio,” says Morris.

“When we fired up the system in my WSDG-designed room I was astonished at the difference in the sound quality. The Dunlavy speakers sounded completely different. The room’s acoustics gave my system a remarkably enhanced level of clarity and resonance; the phase coherency and frequency balance create a three-dimensional space where the sound is present in the room in an almost physical sense,” says Jordan.

“Of all the things I’ve learned in this process, the key lesson is the importance of room acoustics in that chain. My advice is stop buying equipment and get your room in tune.”

WSDG Walters-Storyk Design Group •