The visionaries of Mercer University, under the direction of president William Underwood and with the hands-on diligence of Larry Brumley, Mercer’s vice president, tackled an enormous undertaking to save and revitalize one of pop music’s most iconic recording studios.
Among many important decisions that had to be made was a replacement console to the original API console that lived in the studio since the ’70s and that recorded so many legendary records, including most of the Allman Brothers catalog, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels band and so many others at the leading edge of the Southern Rock music scene.
The decision was made to acquire a new API 2448 recording console. Capricorn selected the largest 2448 frame built to date—a fully featured 40-channel version. With 40 mic pres and 40 API equalizers, each channel features two inputs, both with faders. Combining the Main Fader, the 2nd Fader and the 4 stereo returns gives the system 88 channels feeding the mix buses.
Rounding out the system is API’s Final Touch motorized fader automation system, which is now compatible with Vision, Legacy AXS and 1608-II consoles, allowing projects to move seamlessly between facilities equipped with those API consoles.
Steve Ivey, a Mercer graduate and Grammy-award winning producer/engineer based out of Nashville, was a key figure in the planning and revitalization of the studio. “For 50 years API consoles and Capricorn Studios together have made a worldwide, profound impact in music and recording,” says Ivey. “As a Mercer University music graduate who learned to record on an API console, under the direction of Capricorn producer Paul Hornsby, I am thrilled to be a part of the team taking Capricorn Studios and API into the next era of recording great music.”
Daily management and chief engineer roles are carried by Rob Evans, another Mercer graduate. Evans says that, “in 2016, when Gregg Allman was receiving an honorary degree, he told president Underwood, ‘The room is perfect. Don’t change a thing.’ He also said, ‘Get an analog console,’ so we’ve honored Gregg’s request.”
“We were honored to be a part of the Grand Opening festivities in December,” says Larry Droppa, president of API. “It is gratifying to see the original API console from the ’70s being replaced by a new API console, keeping the heritage and legend of this studio alive. We’re excited to have the opportunity to hear the new music that is going to come out of the facility. A huge thank you from the music community to Mercer University for having the vision to move forward and keep this dream alive.”