Twenty-three years ago, I converted my freestanding two-car garage into a studio. The Carport, as I called it—there was another studio in town called The Garage—became my home-based workspace. I anticipated being there for five to 10 years before moving on to my next studio digs and never dreamed I'd spend nearly a quarter of a century making it my sonic home. My former partner Steve Taylor and I had a studio called The White House on Music Row for four years where I tracked Sixpence None The Richer’s platinum-selling self-titled album and part of Wilco's critically-acclaimed Summerteeth. These days, I do most of my tracking at a studio I co-own in Nashville’s Berry Hill area called The Brown Owl. But through it all, The Carport has been my home.
Originally an ADAT studio, the constant frustration of working in that format quickly moved me to update to Tascam's DTRS format. My six DA-88s were also frustrating, though significantly less so than the ADATs, so I kept them around for several years before being lured away by the amazing iZ RADAR. The RADAR was joined for a short time by a Studer A80 2-inch 24-track machine (which I snagged from The White House after its doors closed), but then I made the jump to Pro Tools and I've never looked back. Over the years, I've seen dozens of mic pres, compressors and EQs, and well over 100 mics come and go. Though I've regretted selling some stuff—my Neve 33115 broadcast console and RCA 77DX ribbon mic are at the top of the list—I've been glad to see a lot of it gone, and of course, I still have tons of gear.
I moved out of the house where The Carport is located in 2001 and since then, I’ve commuted to the studio. This has simplified my moonlighting job of being a landlord as I continue to rent out the house while working out of the studio. As Nashville has grown, so has its traffic and my 15-minute commute has turned into a 45-60 minute drive during rush hour. In order to spend more time with my family, more time mixing music and less time in my Telefunken-green Fiat 500—which gets great mileage but gets cramped rather quickly—I've decided to build a new mix space at my current residence. My new tenant, Tony Esterly, is taking over The Carport and I'm going to be studio-less while I build my new place.
Join me over the next few months as I go through the craziness of designing and building a new mix room while setting up shop in a temporary workspace where I can be close to home to keep an eye on the construction.
Russ Long is a Senior Contributor to Pro Sound News and a longstanding contributor of studio product reviews to Pro Audio Review.