Tag Archives: Studio

The Record Co. Takes Different Approach to Boston Studio Scene

Boston-based recording services provider The Record Co. (TRC) opened a new facility in January encompassing four recording studios and 15 rehearsal rooms.
Boston-based recording services provider The Record Co. (TRC) opened a new facility in January encompassing four recording studios and 15 rehearsal rooms.

Boston, MA (June 16, 2021)—Boston-based recording services provider The Record Co. (TRC) opened a new facility in January encompassing four recording studios and 15 rehearsal rooms.

Founded in 2010 by Berklee College of Music graduate Matt McArthur, TRC is a 503(c) non-profit enterprise dedicated to offering an affordable and equitable music workspace and providing space and resources to the entire spectrum of the city’s music makers. The new 12,500-square-foot space in Boston’s Newmarket Industrial District is expected to host upwards of 1,000 sessions and rehearsals per month, running 16 hours a day. The various studios and rehearsal rooms are outfitted with Focusrite preamplifiers and interfaces as well as Novation MIDI controllers.

McArthur says the concept of TRC came to him a decade earlier as he was looking for a business model that would allow the greatest number of users to access a highly flexible facility that could accommodate music producers of any genre and virtually any skill level. “It needed to be a shared resource that no one really owns, a community resource,” he says. “We would need space, gear, a good attitude, and an open mind about how the space is used and who uses it. A non-profit was the way to go.”

Focusrite plc Acquires Sequential LLC

Focusrite solutions in use at TRC include the Red 16Line 64-In / 64-Out Thunderbolt 3 and Pro Tools | HD-compatible audio interface; the ISA 428 MkII and ISA 828 MkII devices; the RedNet A16R 16-channel analogue I/O interface; and a number of interfaces from the Scarlett Range, deployed in some of the 15 rehearsal studios in the new facility.

McArthur also realized that the nature of how recording studios are utilized now had changed significantly in recent years, with the large battleship consoles of yore giving way to a plethora of software applications and digital control surfaces. “Music makers today all have their own ways of working, their own preferred software and plug-ins,” he says. “That makes RedNet and the other Focusrite technology we selected the best fit for a facility like TRC this because of its expansive interfacing options and compatibility with almost any DAW.”

In partnership with The Boston Foundation and more than 500 donors, TRC has distributed more than 750 low-barrier COVID-relief grants to local musicians, producers and engineers experiencing lost income as a result of gig cancellations due to COVID-19. To date, it has distributed more than 750 grants totaling more than $160,000

Focusrite Pro • http://pro.focusrite.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

A Renaissance for Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio

Legendary albums like John Coltrane’s 'A Love Supreme,' Lee Morgan’s 'The Sidewinder' and Horace Silver’s 'Song for My Father.'
Legendary albums like John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme,’ Lee Morgan’s ‘The Sidewinder’ and Horace Silver’s ‘Song for My Father.’

Englewood Cliffs, NJ (June 7, 2021)—Van Gelder Studio—the legendary facility of renowned recording and mastering engineer Rudy Van Gelder—is starting a new lease on life following a recent renovation. The Englewood Cliffs, NJ facility was once described by DownBeat magazine as “a chapel-like space with a 39-foot-high ceiling made of cedar with arches of laminated Douglas fir, which created a natural reverb.”

“All the rooms where important records were made—Columbia’s 30th Street, Media Sound, RCA, A&R—are all gone,” says Perry Margouleff. A studio owner as well as a producer, engineer, songwriter, guitar collector and classic car restorer, Margouleff has been helping owner and engineer Maureen Sickler revamp the venerated facility.

The building was designed by architect David Henken—a Frank Lloyd Wright acolyte—and Van Gelder, opening in 1959 with a single, large live room. (Previously, Van Gelder worked out of his parents’ house, which was custom-built to accommodate his record projects.) In the 1970s, Van Gelder added four iso rooms to better suit the sonic signature of Creed Taylor’s CTI label, which he worked for often.

The Van Gelder Studio under construction in 1959.
The Van Gelder Studio under construction in 1959. Rudy Van Gelder

With the revitalization of the studio, a new generation of artists has an opportunity to record in the space that birthed such milestones of modern jazz as John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder and Horace Silver’s Song for My Father. “Jazz is really having a renaissance, and I think there’s a huge community of young people for whom the popular music that people manufacture is not appealing,” says Margouleff.

Sickler met Van Gelder in the early 1980s, when her musician and producer husband Don was working often at the studio. She became Van Gelder’s engineering assistant, working with him for over three decades, and inherited the building when he passed away in 2016, age 91. In recognition of his lifetime achievements, Van Gelder was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts (in 2009), the Recording Academy (2012) and the Audio Engineering Society (2013).

“Rudy always was on the side of the artist,” Sickler says, and was happy to go the extra mile even when record labels had limited budgets. “Many times, we mixed with an artist present but billed the session as if he wasn’t there. And many times, Rudy spent hours fixing, editing and refining tracks that he knew he wouldn’t be paid for, but knew needed to be done for artistic reasons.”

On one of her first sessions, she recalls, she complained about the volume from the four studio monitors. Van Gelder suggested she go and listen in the live room. “It was unbelievable out there, the volume; not like music but just noise. In the control room, it was controlled and beautiful. I learned an important lesson.”

Van Gelder was a pioneering adopter of technologies such as the Fairchild compressor, EMT plate reverb and Neumann microphones. Margouleff has brought the studio’s current complement of equipment, including vintage U 47 and KM 54 mics and a Neve 8024 desk, back to full working order. The 24-input inline 8024, launched in 1972, offers limited bussing but has a direct output from every channel.

“The desk is working perfectly and sounds really great. It’s just spectacular to put a mic up in that room and listen to it. The studio has the magic combination: the right desk, the right acoustics and a good complement of microphones,” says Margouleff.

Van Gelder fully embraced digital audio technology in his later years, recording to RADAR. To better match today’s client expectations, says Margouleff, “I installed a new Pro Tools rig with an Apogee Symphony Mk II [converter]. And I want to get a 24-track analog tape machine back in there.”

Margouleff, who worked with Weezer on its new Van Weezer, recorded the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra’s woodwinds, strings and brass for the album at Van Gelder’s studio last year. And in November 2020, the Sicklers, with producer Phil Coady and talent agent Sam Kaufman, launched Live from Van Gelder Studio. The live streaming series has presented jazz luminaries such as Ron Carter and Joey DeFrancesco.

Margouleff has also been helping the Sicklers to add the studio to the National Register of Historic Places. “What happened between those four walls was pivotal for the jazz community and Black America,” he says.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Alclair ESM 13 and Studio4 In-Ear Monitors – A Real-World Review

Alclair’s flagship ESM 13 in-ear monitors.
Alclair’s flagship ESM 13 in-ear monitors.

While Minneapolis-based Alclair has been actively manufacturing its IEMs since 2010, the company has only recently gained the attention it deserves in pro-audio circles. No stranger to audiology, Alclair has been a primary player in that field for more than six decades, developing and manufacturing the material audiologists use to make ear impressions, and its Minneapolis retail shop also provides hearing aid fitting services. Alclair has a strong artist roster so I’ve been aware of the company for quite some time, but it was only with the release of its electrostatic driver-equipped ESM model that I knew I had to give its IEMs a try. A bit more research revealed that a handful of models are focused on studio mixing, which made me even more excited. After spending time at Alclair’s Nashville headquarters auditioning universal versions of their IEMs (a dozen models ranging from $349 to $2499) I opted to audition the ESM 13 and Studio4 IEMs for my review. Title

Alclair’s flagship ESM 13 ($2,499.00) incorporates 13 drivers and is the picture-perfect amalgamation of balanced armature and electrostatic drivers. The heart of the ESM is four proprietary balanced armature woofers, four balanced armature mid-range drivers, one balanced armature tweeter and four electrostatic drivers accompanied by a 4-way crossover. The four bore 30Ω IEMs include premium silver-plated copper cable, provide -26 dB of noise reduction and have a 110 dB SPL input sensitivity. Meanwhile, the Studio4 model ($949.00) incorporates four balanced armature drivers accompanied by a 3-way crossover. The three bore 32Ω IEMs provide -26 dB of noise reduction and have a 110 dB SPL Input Sensitivity.

To reduce distortion and increase clarity, Alclair employs a single tube and port for all of the drivers working in the same frequency range. This allows the sound to combine in your ear canal rather than the tubes making for a better resulting sound quality (this is true for all of Alclair’s IEM models).

All of the Alclair IEMs include a cleaning tool, ¼” adapter, and custom leather case by Haiti Made. It’s worth noting that besides being rugged and beautifully made, the cases support a noble cause as Haiti Made was born out of the desire to see the Haitian people (who typically live on less than $2.50/day) empowered by sustainable and dignified employment.

I’ve been living with the ESM 13 and STUDIO4 models for the past couple of months and during that time have been utilizing them daily. My critical evaluation listening was completed via Tidal, my streaming platform of choice, where I auditioned my staple reference albums, including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon; Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; James Taylor’s Hourglass; The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds; Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. I also spent ample time mixing with both sets of IEMs as well as time referencing several of my own mixes from past projects. Both IEM models impressed me!

PhantomFocus System Studio Monitors – A Real-World Review

The electrostatic drivers in the ESM 13s work by applying a static electrical charge to a thin film floating between two perforated metal plates. As an audio signal is applied to the plates, the film membrane moves backward and forward because of electrical attraction and repulsion. To simplify, armature drivers work much like a dynamic microphone, while electrostatic drivers work like a condenser microphone. Electrostatic drivers are exceptionally fast, making them perfect for tweeters; the purpose of the electrostatic drivers in the ESMs is to emphasize the detail of the audio signal and add to the imaging.

The ESM 13s are a pleasure to listen to. Although they have a slight top-end and bottom-end boost, it’s just enough to make them fun without feeling overly hyped in those areas. The soundfield of the IEMs is impressively wide, laying out the perfect sonic space for the precise placement of every mix element to be clearly identified. The ESM 13’s electrostatic drivers provide amazing detail, allowing the most subtle mix elements to be heard. This was especially noticeable when listening to Hourglass, as I heard reverb trails on this album sink far deeper into the mix than I had ever noticed previously, and I’ve spent a lot of time with that album. The bottom end is full, tight and punchy. On some tracks, there is a perception of a slight bass boost, but never to the point of being overwhelming (drummers and bass players typically enjoy this type of performance in an IEM). The mid-range clarity is smooth, and the top-end is detailed and crystal clear. The headroom on the ESM13 seems nearly uncapped and there is no perceivable distortion, even at extremely loud listening levels.

The Studio4 IEMs were ideally flat for studio mixing.
The Studio4 IEMs were ideally flat for studio mixing.

Although perfectly suited for stage, the Studio4 is ideal for studio work. Think of it as a precision, uncolored pair of high-end studio monitors. Listening to the Studio4s is the closest I’ve felt to having ATC monitors in my ears. In my experience, it’s nearly impossible to mix an entire project solely with IEMs, but once I get 10% of the way into a mix, I’m completely fine moving to Studio4s and staying there until I’m ready for my final tweaking. With more and more people doing serious studio work in their homes, a flat IEM is the best solution for musicians and engineers needing to isolate from their housemates.

The Studio4 provides a tight, punchy bass with mid-range clarity and a smooth, natural top-end. Like the ESM 13, it is extremely detailed throughout, but in contrast, there isn’t quite as much headroom and there is no slight top or bottom boost (They’re not quite as fun to listen to but they are accurate as hell).

On an entirely different note, I’m a big vinyl fan and historically I haven’t been fond of listening to vinyl with IEMs. It has just never translated in a musical way, as any clicks or pops sucked me right out of the listening experience. The natural sound and flat response of the Studio4 has changed this completely. It is the ultimate IEM for vinyl listening and I can finally enjoy my vinyl collection when my wife and kids are sound asleep.

While all of the Alclair IEM’s have their place and purpose, the Electro 6 Driver Electrostatic is the perfect blend between the Studio4 Quad and ESM 13 models that I evaluated. Users attracted to Electrostatic drivers but lacking the funds for the ESM 13’s price-tag should give the $1,499 Electro 6 Driver Electrostatic consideration.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Creation X Recording Opens Doors Despite Pandemic

Inside Creation X Recording
Inside Creation X Recording

Wokingham, UK (May 26, 2021)—Nikki McGuinness had been planning for a while to build a new hybrid studio to house her music production business, Creation X Recording. Unfortunately, the construction project kicked off in March, 2020—just in time for the first UK COVID-19 lockdown. Undeterred, she forged ahead despite the pandemic and a literal fall along the way.

“As a recording artist turned producer / engineer, I know only too well how important the feel and position of a studio is.  Acoustics are a given, but you also need to be in a location that both sparks and conceives ideas – and we think our family farm does just that,” said McGuinness.

Outside Creation X Recording

The new room-within-a room studio, based in the grounds of 100-acre Birchin Inhams Farm in Wokingham, took 12 months to construct. McGuinness learnt what materials to purchase and built the whole thing, including all the internal acoustic treatment, with the support and expertise of her friends and contacts. Halfway through the project, however, she fell off a ladder while putting the bass traps in—the result was a 10-day stay in hospital and three months’ recuperation at home to let her broken leg and fractured foot heal.

Calrec installs Van Damme ethernet cables in UK demo facility

The 21 x 14-foot space is now up and running, offering flexibility for musicians in part through its VDC Trading custom-manufactured cables VDC built D25 multis made with Van Damme Blue 8 Pair, as well as both speaker and microphone cables of various length.

VDC created custom cabling for the facility based around its Van Damme Blue 8 Pair cables.
VDC created custom cabling for the facility based around its Van Damme Blue 8 Pair cables.

The various cables—Van Damme Blue Series 2 Pair, Blue Series 2×2.5mm and Purple and Black Quad—were chosen for their performance and toughness, and then hand-assembled at VDC using Black and Gold Neutrik connectors. All of the cables were custom-labelled to aid day-to-day use. “Once I had spoken to the team, I trusted them and it was obvious that I had to have Van Damme cables in my studio,” said McGuinness. “I am thrilled with the sound– it has a sonic quality to it and I know the cabling will last well into the future.”

“We believe that great things can be created here,” she added. “Building it was a labour of love and passion – and a lot of pain!  I did a massive amount of research into the best leads on the market and was subsequently introduced to VDC by a well-known pro-audio engineer.

VDC Trading • www.vdctrading.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Harvey Mason Unveils Harvey Mason Media

Harvey Mason Jr., a five-time Grammy-nominated record producer, songwriter and movie producer, has unveiled the new home of Harvey Mason Media
Harvey Mason Jr., a five-time Grammy-nominated record producer, songwriter and movie producer, has unveiled the new home of Harvey Mason Media. ©Chris Schmitt Photography

Burbank, CA (April 30, 2021)—Five-time Grammy-nominated record producer, songwriter and movie producer, Harvey Mason Jr., has unveiled the new home of Harvey Mason Media, which includes the former Evergreen and Enterprise music recording facilities.

The Evergreen Stages building started life as a movie theater in the late 1940s before being repurposed as a multi-room music recording complex in 1979. The main live room measures over 3,000 square feet and includes four isolation booths. The studios, which have hosted sessions by some of the biggest names in the business during 40-plus years as a premier music studio, will also serve as the new home of Harvey Mason Media, which offers a wide range of services for record, film and television projects.

Mason, who has also served as the chair of the board of trustees and interim president/CEO of The Recording Academy since the start of 2020, says both facilities will feature Solid State Logic Duality Fuse 72-channel SuperAnalogue mixing consoles. The Duality Fuse console installed at Evergreen is the first to be installed anywhere in the world and will soon be joined by a second at its sister facility, the original Enterprise recording studios, just across the street. Duality Fuse is the latest model of Duality, featuring a fully integrated Fusion analog processor in the center section.

Teaching Musicians Production Tech with SSL

“The goal in rebuilding this historic building was to make it the most elevated, high-end, large format room in the city,” says Mason. “The live room sounds amazing and is one of the largest in L.A.; we can record an 80-piece orchestra here. Couple that with the sound of the Duality Fuse console and the flexibility it gives us, and we’re in a unique position in L.A.,” he says. “It gives us the opportunity to do great things here.”

The refurbishment of Evergreen Stages included an acoustic redesign of the control room, which is configured for 5.1 mixing and now features an ATC speaker system. “We worked with George Augspurger…who has designed three or four rooms for me over the years,” says Mason. “We reconfigured the front wall, built an entirely new back wall, added new ceiling treatment, repositioned the console and built a new credenza. The control room sounds much, much better and is more ergonomic.”

Additionally, the team led by Paul Cox of technical design and integration firm Paul J. Cox Studio Systems replaced the facility’s wiring infrastructure, says Mason. Cox and his team will also integrate the second, identical Duality Fuse across the street. The former Enterprise Studios was founded in the 1980s by Craig Huxley, who also owned the Evergreen Stages building for a period, operating it as Enterprise 2.

Solid State Logic • www.solidstatelogic.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Zoe Thrall Joins The Hideout Recording Studio

Zoe Thrall
Zoe Thrall Sal Wait

Las Vegas, NV (March 22, 2021)—Recording industry veteran Zoe Thrall has taken on the role of director of studio operations at Las Vegas’ The Hideout Recording Studio. Thrall brings decades of experience in studio management to The Hideout, from being an artist and engineer herself, to running Las Vegas’ Studio at the Palms for the past 15 years.

Beginning her career at the famed Power Station Studios in New York City, Thrall spent years as both an assistant engineer and in studio management. It was at Power Station where Thrall met producer/musician/actor Little Steven Van Zandt who hired her to work for him as an engineer and as a musician in his band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. Thrall went on to become president of Power Station Studios, as well as the manager at Hit Factory Studios in New Year City, before arriving to Las Vegas in 2005 to oversee the opening and operations of Studio at the Palms.

“I’m thrilled we get to join forces during a really exciting time for the studio,” said Thrall. “We’ve been friendly competitors for years and I’ve always admired the work that has come from The Hideout; now I get to be a part of the evolution of the studio so it’s really exciting.”

Pro Audio Gets Proactive on Piracy

The Hideout Recording Studio is a full-service recording and production facility near the Las Vegas Strip. The studio features Ocean Way sound systems, Solid State Logic (SSL) consoles, Avid Pro Tools HD and a collection of notable outboard gear and vintage microphones.

Owner Kevin Churko noted, “We’ve been a family-run business for all these years, but as we’ve grown, my daughter Khloe Churko also grew into an entrepreneur; managing me, taking on the role of C.F.O. for my various companies, as well as running a few of her own. We needed someone to take the reins of the studio and run. I’ve known Zoe for more than 15 years, so she feels like a member of the family, so it’s a great match.”

It’s a busy time for Thrall as she’ll also be serving as co-chair of the upcoming2021 151st Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, taking place in Las Vegas this October.

The Hideout • www.hideoutlv.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Abbey Road Acquires Audiomovers

AudiomoversLondon, UK (March 17, 2021)—Under its Abbey Road Red “innovation arm,” legendary studio Abbey Road has acquired audio software house Audiomovers, aiming to make use of its namesake remote production product.

Founded in 2017 by Igor Maxymenko and Yuriy Shevyrov, Audiomovers’ subscription-based remote recording solution allows music professionals to stream, listen to and record high resolution multichannel remote audio in real time, with multiple collaborators, anywhere in the world. The solution includes the Listento and Listento Receiver plug-ins, as well as mobile apps; beta desktop software is currently in development.

Abbey Road Opens U.S. Institute

The remote software supports lossless multichannel audio, up to 7.1 surround, and allows users to adjust both latency and bit rate. Designed with an eye towards aiding collaboration and adoption into existing workflows, the solution is said to be scalable from one-on-one distance-based recording to a large scale, scoring post-production facility streaming multichannel audio to multiple teams and listeners at the same time.

The software is available in week-, month and year-long subscriptions, supports iOS and Windows, works with most major DAWs and plug-in formats, and supports sample rates from 44.1 to 96 kHz.

For Abbey Road, the acquisition is strategic, allowing it to expand its purview and services beyond the walls of its famed studios. The start-up will continue under the Audiomovers name, with product and technology led by the founders.

Isabel Garvey, Abbey Road’s Managing Director, says: “In the past year, we’ve seen 100% of studio sessions requiring some level of remote access, and the name Audiomovers being repeatedly mentioned. We believe the shift to remote music production is here to stay and we want to be part of this new world, supporting music making in all its forms, no matter where creators might be located. It’s a natural extension for Abbey Road, enabling creativity beyond the physical building.”

Audiomovers • www.Audiomovers.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Graphic Nature Audio Relocates

Will Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio recording studio is relocating to a rural property in Kinnelon, NJ.
Will Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio recording studio is relocating to a rural property in Kinnelon, NJ.

Kinnelon, NJ (February 19, 2021)—Will Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio recording studio is relocating from its current home in Belleville, NJ to a larger, rural property about 20 miles west in Kinnelon. Putney, a metal/hardcore producer/engineer, mixer and musician has worked with bands such as Every Time I Die, Body Count, Knocked Loose, The Amity Affliction, Stray From The Path, Counterparts, Terror and Northlane

Putney has long mixed using a hybrid setup: “I would mix out into pieces of gear that I’ve collected over the years and sum everything together back into the computer. The setup ended up getting more and more complicated. Over time I was basically building a console piecemeal, with different summing mixers, and creating ways to do parallel sends and analog-style routing to get to my compressors and EQs.

Getting Heavy with Will Putney

As a result, the new facility is centered around a newly installed 32-channel SSL Origin analog in-line mixing console, acquired from Vintage King.“ I decided that if I could find something streamlined enough that would give me the routing functions that I want and without too many components, and that had a small enough footprint, I would probably be better suited to working on something like that,” he said.

Putney's new facility is centered around an SSL Origin  console.
Putney’s new facility is centered around an SSL Origin console.

The transition from his former multi-component workflow to the new setup incorporating the Origin has been seamless, he stated: “It all just feels super musical, and it’s fast and easy for me to get mixes going on. What I do in the computer doesn’t really change at all, so it’s business as usual; I still work how I always did.”

The complement of gear installed with the Origin mimics Putney’s previous setup and includes a pair of Amphion Two18 nearfield monitors, which he switched to several years ago, along with Universal Audio Apollo interfaces for tracking and overdubbing into his Logic Pro DAW. “We still use Pro Tools for editing,” he says, “or if I travel to another studio.”

The Origin desk has been installed in a room at the new location in Kinnelon, where the next stage of construction will begin in the coming months. “I’ve got two control rooms set up here. The goal for the future — we’ll start construction in the spring — is to do an updated version of my old drum tracking room but with a more traditional control room. That will be my A room where I can do everything — recording drums and mixing. I will be able to do an entire record there, start to finish, as opposed to working in the modular rooms in the other facility,” says Putney.

Graphic Nature Audio • www.graphicnatureaudio.com

Solid State Logic • www.solidstatelogic.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Music, Etc. – Lee Ritenour: Turning Devastation into Dreamcatcher

Lee Ritenour recently released Dreamcatcher, a solo guitar record on which he personally tackled all the writing, production, engineering and playing
Lee Ritenour recently released Dreamcatcher, a solo guitar record on which he personally tackled all the writing, production, engineering and playing. Alex Solca

Marina Del Rey, CA (February 18, 2021)—In late 2018, Grammy-winning guitarist Lee Ritenour and his wife lost their Malibu home and recording studio to California’s devastating Woolsey Fire. Temporarily housed in Marina Del Rey while everything is being rebuilt, Ritenour recently released Dreamcatcher, a solo guitar record on which he personally tackled all the writing, production, engineering and playing — a career first.

You’ve likely heard Ritenour, whether you realize it or not. He’s played on thousands of sessions, beginning with the Mamas and the Papas at age 16 (he turned 69 on January 11). He’s on Pink Floyd’s The Wall and George Benson’s Give Me The Night. He’s played with Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin and many, many others. Since 1976, he’s produced dozens of solo albums, plus a few with ’90s jazz supergroup Fourplay, garnering 16 Grammy nominations in the process.

As Ritenour celebrates six decades of playing guitar, he talked to PSN about the challenges of completing an album in temporary quarters, and during a pandemic.

On Fleeing the Fire:

When the fire was coming through the valley to Kanan Dume Road, I had that old timer’s thing: “It’ll never cross the highway.” We were totally wrong. I said, “We’ll just take a few things.” We packed an overnight bag and I put seven guitars and my Mac Pro in the car. I left almost 100 guitars there, 40 amps and a Trident Series 80 board I’d had since 1984. That was the end of Starlight Studio.

Because I thought I was going to be back the next day, I didn’t take all the A guitars—although I like to think they’re all my A guitars. I took the ’49 Gibson L-5 jazz guitar that my dad got me when I was 13 and I first became a fan of Wes Montgomery. My dad used to take me to the Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach to hear Wes. I grabbed my Ramirez classical guitar and two Les Pauls that Gibson made for me. I grabbed an inexpensive Yamaha NCX3; it plays very easily and was the guitar I was composing on the most.

Music, Etc.: M.A.G.S. Moves Forward

Music Etc. – Back in the Cups with Ace Of Cups

On Getting Back to Work:

I didn’t want to get bogged down in the technical thing; there was so much other stuff going on in my life at that point. Art Kelm, my longtime buddy and tech, helped set up a temporary room. I had Logic Pro and the Apogee Symphony I/O, which I’d also had in Malibu. I bought a couple of Schoeps mics for the acoustic guitar.

The Apogee people and the Genelec people were fantastic. I ended up purchasing stuff from them, but they were the first up to bat. Mesa/Boogie, Fender and Ladner, a custom maker out of Mississippi, helped out with amps. Yamaha, Gibson, Taylor and Exotic helped out with guitars.

My engineer of 40 years, Don Murray, couldn’t come over to help get sounds. He tweaked the mixes and balanced things at his house. I used seven different guitars and different approaches. Some songs were solo, some layered, some had a little more production. By the time I got to mastering in May or June, Eric Boulanger at The Bakery said, “We’ll have to do it remotely because nobody can come onto the Sony lot.” A couple days later, he called back and said, “You have a fan in high places here at Sony; they’re going to let you on.”

On Music and Experience:

When I told some people that I was going to do a solo record, they thought I was going to pick out one guitar and do one sound and a bunch of songs. But I found myself producing it like I would any Lee Ritenour record: composition, arrangement, style, different tempos, different sounds. It was basically up to me. On some of the acoustic guitar tracks, I had more string noise than I would normally let go, but the imperfections weren’t as important as the music and the overall tone. I had a great studio career, then did 45 of my own projects, so my experience is tremendous at this point. It was put to the test, but in the end, it still comes down to music.

Link: Lee Ritenour • www.leeritenour.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Studio Spotlight: Noise Nest Invests in the Future

Noise NestHollywood, CA (January 20, 2021)—Nick Gross, drummer, producer and entrepreneur, is a busy man, recording and performing with a variety of bands while also overseeing Gross Labs, his growing entertainment, media and investment company. Amidst all that action, Gross found the time over the past year to expand his Noise Nest production complex in Hollywood.

Now spanning an entire block in the heart of Hollywood’s media district, Noise Nest began more modestly under another name about eight years ago. “We leased the smaller space for the first three years for a production team that I had at the time; we used it as a songwriting facility,” says Gross. “We later built it out to be more of a recording studio facility where other managers, publishers and labels could use the space.”

When his neighbor’s larger building became available, Gross snapped it up, gutting the structure and calling in Peter Grueneisen’s nonzero\architecture to design a three-room complex with lounges, kitchen and other amenities. He then had designer and acoustician Chris Owens of F.C. Owens revamp the two production rooms in the original, smaller building.

Noise Nest's Studio A is centered around a split API 1608 console and a Slate Raven system.
Noise Nest’s Studio A is centered around a split API 1608 console and a Slate Raven system.

“It started as this sort of punk-rock, grungy little studio and it’s turned into a multi-purpose, multi-use content factory,” Gross says. His vision for Noise Nest was inspired by pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek’s now-defunct Fantasy Factory in downtown L.A., which he calls “a cool and creative way to think outside of the box.”

The initial two rooms catered to outside clients while Gross was growing his business, but Noise Nest now focuses on in-house content creation. “I host a lot of our internal publishing and label clients; they each get to use the space for free,” he says. “We’re doing all kinds of things: music production, live streaming, gaming. It’s an epic live event space; we built two basketball courts.”

The Gross Labs umbrella company, launched in 2018, encompasses record label and music publisher Big Noise Music Group, Noise Nest Animation, e-sports organization Team Rogue, and philanthropic education and self-discovery platform Find Your Grind. Gross co-founded Big Noise with Vagrant Records co-founders Jon Cohen and John “Feldy” Feldmann, the man behind SoCal ska-punk band Goldfinger; signings include The Used, Ashley Tisdale and The Wrecks. Gross still sometimes plays with Goldfinger, as well as his own bands, Half the Animal and girlfriends. His many investments range from consumer products to new tech ventures.

Studio B sports an SSL Nucleus.
Studio B sports an SSL Nucleus.

A common thread throughout Noise Nest is PMC speakers. “The choice of PMC was a no-brainer,” says Gross, who first heard the monitors at the studios of his friend, producer and songwriter Dr. Luke. “They’re incredible. We’re super stoked to have them.” Studio A features PMC’s flagship QB1-A in-wall main monitors, while various IB1S-A, twotwo.6 and twotwo.8 models provide near field coverage there and in the other rooms.

There is a consistent aesthetic between rooms. The largest space, A, is dominated by a massive console supporting a split analog API 1608, with the main desk to the left and 16 more channels to the right, plus a Slate Raven system. “It’s a one-of-a-kind desk that I wanted to build out with a cool mixture of analog and digital. The outboard gear that sits behind it is pretty special as well,” he says, and includes SSL and Neve mic preamps.

The live room in Studio A has ample space for artists.
The live room in Studio A has ample space for artists.

The tracking space is just the right size, he says: “It gets the job done. We wanted to be smart with the space and be as effective as we could, knowing that we wanted to build three studios in a 4,500-square-foot building,” he says.

Studio Showcase: Asheville’s Vinyl Answer

The B room, equipped with an SSL Matrix2 and soffited Genelec 1238A SAM main monitors, transforms into an indoor/outdoor space. “People can be playing basketball outside and see what’s going on inside the room at the same time,” he says. The console in Studio C, the smallest room, overlooks a small booth and houses an industry-standard vocal chain—Neve 1073 preamp and Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor—with ATC SCM25A Pro monitors and a rack of additional outboard gear.

Studio C adjoins a small vocal booth
Studio C adjoins a small vocal booth

“All three studios have their own vibe. I wanted to take the feeling of old recording studios, whether that was old brick or old wood or analog gear, and give it that high-end, digital, 2020s modern vibe. So we have white brick everywhere and polished concrete for all the floors,” says Gross. “It’s just a fun hang and a good vibe. You don’t want to leave.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com