By Strother Bullins. The story of NightBird Recording Studios is just about as rock and roll as it gets: producer/writer Jed Leiber was collaborating with legendary guitarist Jeff Beck in a guest room at the Sunset Marquis Hotel. Complaints about the ensuing noise prompted the hotel’s manager to offer the pair a room in the basement to continue working—and Leiber never left.
By Strother Bullins. Housed in an old garage space in the Gowanus neighborhood, Douglass Recording opened in May after a half-decade of planning and development. The studio was designed by Vincent Van Haaff and Jacques LaCroix, and features a 450-square-foot live performance space with 15-foot high ceilings, dual iso booths and a console-free control room. Packed with a wide range of analog frontend flavors, the studio is centered around a comprehensive Pro Tools|HD rig, and anchored by a monitoring system featuring the Grace m905 Reference Monitor Controller and Barefoot MicroMain 27, ADAM Sub12 subwoofer, and Yamaha NS-10M nearfield monitors powered by a Bryston 4B-ST amplifier.
By Strother Bullins. GSI Studios is a new music recording studio located in Midtown Manhattan—something that is increasingly a rarity, offers co-founder and saxophonist Daniel Rovin, who partnered on the facility with co-founders Austin White, a bassist, and multi-Grammy nominated drummer Eric Harland in 2014.
By Steve Harvey. Contrary to the popular misconception spread by Dave Grohl’s 2013 documentary chronicling the purchase and relocation of the studio’s iconic Neve desk to the Foo Fighters’ private facility, Sound City is far from dead. True, the studio has been closed to the public since producer and label owner Kevin Augunas moved in and renamed it Fairfax Recordings in 2011. But now that Augunas has moved out and left the music industry, Sound City Studios has been relaunched as a commercial enterprise.
By Strother Bullins. Behind 11th Street Records, a vinyl store at the corner of 11th and Fremont streets in downtown Las Vegas, sits National Southwest Recording—a self-professed “rock and roll recording studio,” featuring classic and proven gear alongside the modern conveniences bands have come to expect from a commercial studio. Its story is one of urban revitalization and the unique powers wielded by scene musicians.
By Strother Bullins. JUNO Award-winning producer, engineer, songwriter and mixer Siegfried Meier owns Beach Road Studios, a private recording, mixing and mastering facility overlooking lovely Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada on a sprawling farm. At the age of 5, Meier moved with his large family from Germany to this Canadian farmland; having learned over the years to appreciate the attributes of rural life, he decided to build a destination facility where his clients could enjoy the pastoral views through its large windows and overall comfortable, inspiring pace. This setting provides balance for Meier, who has also spent considerable time working in Los Angeles, too.
By Strother Bullins. Based outside of Wilmington, North Carolina in New Hanover County, Big Rude Recording was founded by Chase O’Neal, an energetic young engineer keenly aware of the importance of vibe in recording environments. As such, Big Rude was conceived to have plenty of it.
With Mexico City’s Valenzo Recording Studio truly thriving a year from its opening, Horatio Malvicino, designer and managing director of Malvicino Design Group—an architectural, acoustical and technical systems design and consulting firm based in New York City—has much to celebrate.
BEXLEY, OH—With the construction of its first academic building in a half-century, Capital University of Bexley, Ohio has gained the Convergent Music Center (CMC), which will host multi-disciplinary curriculum and real-world experiential learning courses for programs including Music Technology, Radio, Digital Media, Communication and Business.
Console designer David Dearden’s latest version of the audient aSp8024—the aSp8024-He, or the Heritage edition—was recently installed at the London-based institute of Contemporary music (iCmp), where new studios have been christened for its burgeoning music production program.
Studio owner Keith Asack, who graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Production and Engineering from Boston’s Berklee College of Music in 2010, must have been paying particular attention on the day that his instructor discussed the value of diversification.
Preparing audio engineers and multimedia content creators for the future at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication, the faculty and facilities of the School of Media Arts & Studies (MDIA) demonstrate a great deal of forward thinking, attests Kyle P. Snyder, Lecturer and Outreach Coordinator.
Playground’s Studio A features a 1,500 square-foot live room with five isolation rooms, one large enough to include a Yamaha C7 grand piano. Historically, Playground has hosted many string and orchestral dates, something that Coyle decided to nurture and augment upon his arrival. Through a series of carefully chosen upgrades and improvements, Playground hosts a wider range of sessions today, smartly playing to Nashville’s recording scene and Playground’s own interesting share of its business.
Rock and roll recording is about community, ultimately.
Mills College is a century-old, all-women’s undergraduate and co-ed graduate liberal arts college with a unique approach to musical collaboration in its Center for Contemporary Music (CCM), a leader in experimental music creation.
By Strother Bullins. Prolific pop and hip-hop craftspeople Nate ‘Danja’ Hills and Marcella Araica had long dreamed of a unique production space in the Miami music community. Now, working with studio design team Walter-Storyk Design Group, they’ve created it with Dream Asylum.
MUSIC ROW NASHVILLE, TN—Now operated (again) solely by the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Historic RCA Studio B serves the public as a hands-on educational facility hosting tour groups, students and fledgling musicians.
By Strother Bullins. Since 2006, Jonell Polansky has owned and operated DaCapo Music Studios. The California transplant’s bustling, west-Nashville music production facility is balanced on her experience as a musician and her background as both an EE and an audio engineer.
What is now Bikini Atoll Studios lured its owner, audio engineer Grant Goddard, from his former home of Los Angeles to the creative environment he always wanted, nestled in the rolling hills between Nashville Metro and Franklin.
by Strother Bullins. In 2009, audio engineer and educator Owen Curtin gathered a team of former students and colleagues to relaunch Cambridge MA’s Fort Apache South— a classic recording facility in the greater Boston area—as the Bridge Sound & Stage. However, this was no mere renaming and reopening. They turned the main control room on its ear, placing an 88-key hammer- action keyboard where its analog console used to be.
by Kelleigh Welch. When it comes to designing a new building in the heart of Boston, fitting everything you need into a small footprint can be a challenge. That was the case for Berklee College of Music and Walters-Storyk Design Group when they developed the new educational compound at 160 Massachusetts Avenue, which opened its doors in the summer of 2014. “Our biggest challenge with this project was definitely the layout,” explained John Storyk, principal, WSDG. “It was like figuring out how to fit 120 pounds into a 100-pound sack.”
LOCATION—What is a facility to do when the recording studio right next door goes up for sale?
The talents of Jim Wirt give him perspective on nearly every angle of the music recording business—musician, artist, writer, performer, engineer, producer and record company owner—and his career path translates his unique vibe of rock and roll authenticity with a solid academic base.
NASHVILLE, TN—If Music Row is largely selling out, Zac Brown isn’t buying it.
While noted as the USA’s top online/catalog retailer of professional audio and musical instrument gear in the USA, Sweetwater Sound is also home to a unique and multi‐faceted suite of studios, with an equally versatile staff.
PHILADELPHIA, PA—At age 13, he started building computers; at 16, he began designing speakers and established a business custom-configuring PCs; and by age 20, he was restoring vintage analog mixing consoles and other studio equipment.
Chris Lord-Alge has installed Barefoot Sound MicroMain27 monitors for critical listening at his Mix LA! recording studios. "I need monitors that are non-complimentary," says the music producer and recording/mix engineer. "I need monitors that don't make it sound better, that make it sound accurate, with no hype."
SAE Institute has followed the careers of its graduates since it started in 1976, most recently with 2009 graduate Shaul Dover, the owner of Sweatshop Studios in Katonah, NY. Originally launched as a music production studio, Sweatshop has recently expanded its business by making its services available to creative professionals in the film, streaming web, and commercial production industries.
MIAMI, FL—Miami Beach’s famous Collins Avenue, lined with nearly thirty blocks of restored Art Deco hotels dating back to the 1920s to 1940s, attracts thousands each year to the area’s warm sandy beaches, exciting nightlife and eccentric cultural atmosphere.