Pictured at Vintage King’s new VKLA headquarters are, from left: producer/engineer Ryan Hewitt; Jeffrey Ehrenberg, West Coast Sales Manager; Tom Menrath, Strategic Development; and Shevy Shovlin, Director of Partner Marketing/PR.
Photo: David Goggin
Infrasonic Sound Recording Company, a 16/24-track classic recording studio and audio and vinyl mastering facility, and Vintage King Audio, a leader in sales of high-end boutique and vintage recording equipment, have opened a new facility in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood at 1176 W. Sunset Blvd. Infrasonic is bringing a custom built mastering studio online, while Vintage King Audio has opened Vintage King Los Angeles (VKLA), a private showroom and demo studio located on the first floor. Infrasonic’s corresponding recording studio will remain at its East L.A. location, five miles away from the new mastering suites.
1176 W. Sunset was designed and built by Robert Maune of Sound and Structure (SaS), a Southern California based company specializing in studio design, acoustic treatment and modernist restoration.
“The common thread between Infrasonic Sound and Vintage King is that we’re all musicians; we all love gear—especially analog gear,” says Jeff Ehrenberg, Infrasonic Sound co-owner and head of Los Angeles sales for Vintage King Audio. “To my knowledge, this is the first facility where an artist can attend their mastering session, watch their vinyl lacquer get cut and head downstairs to demo some of the best analog recording gear in the world. This is a passion project for everyone involved and we’re excited to share with our clients.”
"Our VKLA headquarters is really a new way of giving the customer the most enjoyable buying experience," explains Shevy Shovlin, Director of Partner Marketing/PR. "We wanted VKLA to be musical, a place that working artists could appreciate. Our long-term goal is to create a real cultural center for the recording scene here in L.A." VKLA includes a critical listening room, mic locker and a main room equipped with several listening stations, affording clients the opportunity to hear their own music through any equipment on the showroom floor.
Jeffrey Ehrenberg in VKLA's critical listening room
On the design of 1176 W. Sunset for Vintage King Audio, Maune says, "I carried over the sawtooth wall design and Kubrick aesthetic from my former project for Dave Cobb, which had worked really well. I also designed a brand new rear wall treatment (the Quadratic Pipe Array) to try and make sense of the massed batteries of high-end studio monitors which VK needed me to flush mount in the critical listening room's speaker wall."
Tom Menrath, recently named head of Vintage King's Strategic Development, says, "VKLA provides an unprecedented opportunity to compare the finest gear in the world in a proper recording studio environment. Visits to the facility will be arranged by appointment, so each customer will get a personalized listening experience."
John Greenham's room at Infrasonic Mastering
Vintage King Los Angeles is displaying a variety of classic and current gear, including eight analog and digital consoles, 20 pairs of monitors, 50 microphones, and dozens of preamplifiers and outboard processors. Clients can test out consoles such as the API 1608 and the SSL 948, as well as boutique gear from Barefoot Sound, Shadow Hills Industries, Neve, Dangerous Music, Burl, Telefunken, and other top industry brands.
"We have a curated roster of the world's best recording equipment, all live and 'on the air,'" Ehrenberg says. "Guests are welcome to listen to our program material or bring their own. Playback can be either from a DAW, such as Pro Tools or Logic, or from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Our optimized iPod docks output digitally via AES, then go to professional-grade D/A converters, such as Lavry, Burl, Weiss, and others. From there, custom-made distribution amps send the signal through every piece of equipment on display simultaneously."
Under the direction of Co-Owner and Principal Mastering Engineer Pete Lyman, Infrasonic Mastering will officially open its doors at 1176 W. Sunset on Wednesday, July 18. The staff, including Grammy Award–winning engineer John Greenham and mastering assistant Phillip Rodriguez, will operate out of three dedicated mastering studios and a vinyl cutting room that is equipped with Infrasonic’s vintage Scully cutting lathe.
“Just three years ago Infrasonic’s CD and digital mastering sessions matched, if not slightly exceeded, our vinyl mastering sessions,” says Lyman. “As vinyl sales continue to rise and the niche of this industry continues to expand, we’re fortunate enough to have a client roster that’s nearly doubled in size. Infrasonic Mastering wanted to open a space that wasn’t just state of the art in terms of acoustics and design, but also someplace that local bands, clients and labels can come check out the behind the scenes process of audio and vinyl mastering."
"For Infrasonic Mastering, the challenge was to address the changing patterns of recreational listening," Maune says. "The conventional paradigm of mastering suites has been an acoustic signature somewhat resembling the 'typical' American living room. I tried to respect the fact that music is now more frequently heard in much tighter listening environments—an automobile, perhaps."
“It was important to select a space that’s centrally located and part of a thriving music scene, but also close to Infrasonic Sound Recording," Lyman adds. "We’re really proud of the community we built around our initial studio location and look forward to bringing that to the new space as well.”