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WSDG Redesigns University of Michigan’s Studio

University of Michigan control room

John Storyk and the Walters-Storyk Design Group (WSDG) recently renovated the University of Michigan’s (Ann Arbor, Mich.) recording studio. The facility is an essential component of the University’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance and handles a variety of projects.

First built in 1995, the 1,800-square-foot complex features a control room, live recording room and iso booth. The original sound lock, which doubled as a machine room, has been moved to the control room for increased efficiency and to maximize space. Jason Corey, assistant professor of audio engineering, reports that WSDG enhanced the “live” quality of the original recording space by adding acoustically reflective surfaces including variable wall panels and a wood floor. “The wall treatments have wooden and absorbent sides so that we can quickly retune the room to change reverberation time.

“This flexibility is essential to teaching sound engineering,” Corey says. “It enables us to demonstrate the role the studio environment plays in music the students record—whether solo artist, ensemble, jazz, rock or classical, etc. By varying the room acoustics, students quickly learn to appreciate its effect on the sound of the music.”

The facility’s upgrade includes a new 48-channel API Vision surround sound mixing and recording console. “Using an analog console is a more effective teaching tool than a digital desk because it provides students with a straightforward method for learning the fundamentals of studio signal flow,” says David Greenspan, coordinator of audio resources at the University’s Duderstadt Center and the Digital Media Commons. “We are also very pleased with the moveable producers desk, which can shift from its position at the center of the control room for working sessions to the rear of the room to accommodate larger groups of students.”

David Greenspan (left) and Jason Corey

Greenspan points out that a six-week course in studio production is available to all members of the student body as part of their standard tuition, and that the facility is available for students who have been trained in its use.

“The UM facility was designed to provide students with an environment that will prepare them for real-world jobs,” Storyk concludes. “They are already producing professional level work for Block M Records, the University’s recording label, which makes performances available worldwide, primarily through Internet streaming or fee-for-download. The facility is also used for the University’s Internet Publication Project, which promotes the publication of music recordings, scholarly writing and video production. We are very pleased to have contributed to this project, and I look forward to lecturing here again in the future.”

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