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Big In Texas


Ron Rutledge brought his experience and ideas to Maximedia Studios last year.

Ron Rutledge had been talking about getting out of L.A. almost as long as he’d been managing A&M/Henson Recording Studios. Even with that plum job, after 12 years at Henson (following seven years managing Precision Mastering), Rutledge and his family were tired of high stress, bad traffic and troubled public schools. So when his wife got a great job offer in ’06, the Rutledges packed up and moved to Dallas. Rutledge didn’t have a job lined up, but it didn’t take the high-end studio veteran long to find one.

Rutledge landed at Maximedia Studios, a multiroom complex that opened in 1999 and added a Russ Berger-designed SSL room in 2002. “The idea was for me to come in here and see what I could do for the studio, and take it to the next level,” Rutledge explains. “This building used to be a TV studio, so it’s quite large. We recently turned a 5,000-square-foot space into a venue where we have concerts, band rehearsals, live DVD video shoots, parties and showcases. Maximedia Design Group is the newest addition to our facility. The Design Group offers services ranging from CD art to MySpace design, making us a true ‘one-stop shop.’ We don’t do CD duplicating here, but we can coordinate that. Our complex and business are both built so that anything a band or artist needs, they can do here.”

Meridian West onstage in The Max

Currently, Maximedia’s three recording studios comprise the Berger-designed SSL Suite (4072 G+); the API Suite, which is centered around a custom 48-channel console, classic API outboard gear, a Studer A827 and Pro Tools HD; and the Neve Suite with its 8108 board; the Neve is soon to be replaced with an SSL Duality.

“That room has a large window that looks into our Soundstage — the venue I talked about — and we need to be able to use it for live DVD shoots. The idea is that for any band that plays here, we can do on-the-fly 2-track recording of their shows, or do a full multitrack recording and mixing, 5.1 DVD shoot. I love Neve consoles, but this Neve isn’t the right tool to do this. We need something more versatile and flexible.”

Rutledge’s idea is that the venue will feed the studio, and vice-versa. “Young bands and fans come in and they see that this venue is a lot bigger and nicer than most local clubs,” he says. “We have a 700-square-foot stage, a custom-built P.A., and they find out we’re a studio and we get calls from them to come back and record.”

Recent visitors: Mary J. Blige and John Legend.

Maximedia mainly serves local hip hop and rock acts, but thanks to Rutledge, the studio’s brochure now also boasts some very big names. “About a month ago, the girls Aly & AJ were performing here in Dallas, and Randy Jackson wanted them to sing one of the tracks on an album he was producing. He knew I was here, so he flew in for the day and they came in to record. Not everyone is coming to Dallas to make records, but they do come through town, and they might want some rehearsal time or recording time after a party or after a show. Just last weekend, the band Saliva happened to be in town and wanted to record, so they flew their producer, Bob Marlette, in from L.A. to come in and record a track.”

Other high-profile artists on Maximedia’s client list include R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Michael Bolton, Insane Clown Posse and others.

“I’m proud of how far we’ve come in the past year: ramping up the business, having people know about us, getting the live venue up and running,” Rutledge says. He’s also pleased in general with the move from L.A. to Dallas: “I love it here. My family loves it. My daughters love their school. My wife loves her job. People say, ‘Oh, it must be culture shock. It’s so different.’ But mostly it’s different in a good way, because things are a little more laid back and people are more easygoing. It’s a smaller music market, but that also means less stress.”