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AES Expands Technical Tours of San Francisco Area Studios

Due to popular demand, the Audio Engineering Society has expanded the number of technical tours it’s offering during the upcoming AES convention in San Francisco from November 4 to 7, 2010. The additional tours serve an inside look into some of the area’s hottest recording facilities and provide not only facility walk-throughs, but several are also including onsite learning seminars on different aspects of recording technology as well.

For example, the tour of Sausalito’s famed Studio D (which now adds a look at the nearby Loudville facility as a bonus) includes studio owner Joel Jaffe doing an interactive demo on surround sound mixing and different ways to mix a track. The Studio 880 tour includes a discussion with John Lucasey on the ambience and aesthetics of studio design and the only post-production sound for film workshop/talk in the series, the Outpost Studio tour features Dave Nelson talking about Foley and post-production sound.

Detailed information on the entire program of technical tours (and the AES convention, as well) can be found on the AES Website, but meanwhile, here are glimpses at some of the added tours.

Studio A in Fantasy Studios

Fantasy Studios (November 4, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.)
Fantasy Studios in Berkeley’s Zaentz Media Center is one of the Bay Area’s largest recording and post-production facilities, with a rich history in nearly 50 years at this location. Noted artists ranging from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Will.i.Am have recorded acclaimed albums at Fantasy Studios; sound and scores for Oscar-winning films such as Ratatouille and The English Patient have been produced in this landmark building. The studio manager will lead this tour, featuring all three recording studios and one of the building’s mixing theaters.

CBS Interactive (November 4, 3 to 5 p.m.)
CBS Interactive is the digital division of CBS Corp. and includes CNET,,,,, GameSpot, Chow, The, Money Watch and BNET. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s South of Market (SOMA) district, the headquarters includes media production and distribution facilities for the entire content distribution network.

Studio Trilogy (November 6, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Studio Trilogy was designed by John Storyk of WSDG and includes three state-of-the-art control rooms, four integrated isolation booths and one of San Francisco’s most versatile large tracking rooms. Located in the creative heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district, the facility features the only commissioned SSL 9000 K console in Northern California, Pro Tools HD 3 systems, Studer analog 2-inch decks and a full complement of vintage and modern instruments and gear. The newly re-opened studio is owned and staffed by veterans of the Bay Area studio scene, having held positions at Different Fur, SF Soundworks, Crescendo! Studios, Russian Hill Recording, Nu-tone, Studio 880 and Talking House.

Studio D Recording and Loudville (November 6, 2:30 to 6 p.m.)
Studio D: The 5.1 surround sound enabled Pro Tools HD 3 Accel system and collection of classic preamps, compressors and EQs makes Studio D Recording a perfect balance of cutting edge and vintage, attracting artists like Carlos Santana, Train and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. During the tour, studio owner and head engineer Joel Jaffe will conduct an on-site demonstration of surround mixing and different ways to mix a track, examining placement, mics used and overall mix results.

Loudville is a step in the future, with combined professional audio and video for live streaming or archival and editing. With an oversized audio control room that can double as a live performance sound stage, and robotic HD video cameras from every angle, this world-class recording studio is able to stream live at any time. The Avid D-Command console is wired to talk to the video control room for smooth sound-to-picture integration. Loudville plans to stream its portion of this technical tour live through its Website.

Hyde Street Studios (November 7, 1:15 to 2:30 p.m.)
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Hyde Street Studios will open its doors for a tour of an historic San Francisco location that has been capturing music artists such as Jefferson Airplane, the Dead Kennedys, Tupac Shakur, and George Clinton since 1969, when Wally Heider helped create the city’s early music scene. Shortly after Heider left in 1979, Hyde Street Studios took over as one of San Francisco’s premier recording studios, and is still going strong as it enters its third decade. The tour will begin in Studio A with its vintage Neve 8038, continue to Studio D with its Amek APC1000, and end at FreqLab Recording, which recently installed a SSL 9064 J Series console.

View a preliminary calendar of events for the 129th AES Convention.

Find out more about the 129th AES Convention.

Register for a free VIP exhibits-only badge until October 22, 2010.

George Petersen is the executive editor of Mix.