In 2002, mix engineer Roy Hendrickson (pictured) returned to Avatar Studios and designed his own mix room, Studio R, located on the fourth floor with a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. The room’s centerpiece is a Yamaha DM2000VCM digital recording console and its latest add-on effects package.
“Several years ago, an engineering team from Yamaha Japan visited Avatar and brought some add-on effects in for us to try out,” states Hendrickson. “I was very impressed with the development team’s deep knowledge, talent and feel to manufacture what we as end-users need in professional audio products. They really listened to the market, and produced some great sounding effects. I never thought that all of the suggestions would make it to market, but they did.”
The Yamaha DM2000VCM software is backward compatible, which is helpful for working on multiple projects on an earlier version of the console. “When I could finally take the time to load in the new software, I was extremely pleased with the sound character,” says Hendrickson. “The compressors are so impressive; I wish I had more! The classic compressor, EQ, analog tape deck and stomp box effect simulations are exceptional.” Hendrickson says that every card slot on the DM2000 is full and that the console is his main workhorse. “Quite a departure, sonically,” he adds. “Combined with the creative freedom that the automation affords me, the Yamaha DM2000VCM is such a great mixing experience.”
In addition, Hendrickson holds the title of chief engineer for all seven rooms in Avatar Studios, including the world-renowned Studio A, mentoring young engineers, maintaining the studios’ vintage gear (some of which he personally purchased from the Power Station and often uses with his digital audio gear) and heading up the technical department.
Other equipment in Studio R includes a UREI LA-3A, Pultec equalizers, Neve 1073 channel modules, Eventide SP 2016, Ampex ATR-102, Studer A80s and Studer A800, Pro Tools HD, Lipinski L-707 monitors, and Hendrickson’s own custom-designed large monitors. The room is tied into two dedicated EMT-140ST analog reverb units located in the basement.
“I hold the Yamaha design team in high regard,” Hendrickson concludes. “They had the foresight to create processors that sounded better than anything an engineer would expect from a digital processing system; plenty of sonic character and true sound quality.”