This is the second time that Sony PlayStation Studios has appeared on the cover of Mix. The first time was seven years ago, when the company began its massive build-out across two campuses in California. At the time, there was nothing like it in games, nothing that rivaled Hollywood in terms of sheer production/post-production power and capability. Since then, of course, other publishers and developers have unveiled world-class facilities, but still, nothing on the scale of what Sony has created with its brand new space in San Mateo, Calif., which works hand in glove with nearly identical rooms in San Diego and Santa Monica.
The big difference between then and now is that today we make an effort to put people on the Mix cover whenever and wherever appropriate. Engineers and producers with their artists; personal studio owners who have blazed a trail of some sort; or, in the case of Sony PlayStation Studios, a team that comes together from the creative, design and technical sides to build something truly noteworthy. Our guiding message is that with all the emphasis our industry—and our magazine—places on new products, new technologies and upgrades to networked systems, we often lose sight of the fact that creative people are the driving force in professional audio. We all love gear, no question, but talent still rules.
The sacrifice in putting people on the cover, however, is that we lose the room. Ten, 15 or 25 years ago, Mix featured a big console in a typically big (and often dark) control room each and every month. The covers often looked like something out of Architectural Digest, professionally shot to maximize the dimensions and scope of a million-dollar recording room. We include here an example of what the control room on this month’s cover would look like were it strictly a room shot. It sure does look world-class, and it gives a much better look at the width and depth required to take advantage of full-range 7.1 monitoring, but without those five guys in the shot, it somehow feels just a little bit empty.
The best facilities, like the best artists, engineers and producers, bring equal parts of technical accuracy and musical creativity. Left brain and right brain. Yin and yang. One doesn’t exist without the other. Studios can be more or less “musical” in and of themselves, but without a guitar player in the live room and an engineer at the board, nobody will ever know.