Blackberry Hill, a new, 3,200-square-foot studio in the southwesternhills of Eugene, Ore., owned by acoustic guitarist Justin King, hasopened its doors with a 60-channel, all-analog Amek Media 51 console atits helm.
Pictured: Justin King (left) and studio manager Jesse Fittipaldi
Although Blackberry Hill is a traditional commercial studio, King,who has released three solo albums (S/T, Opening andLe Bleu), as well as toured with the likes of James Taylor, B.B.King, Steve Winwood, Diana Krall and Nickel Creek, is christening thenew facility by recording demos and tracks for his upcoming fourthalbum.
King commented on the new console: "Even though the desk was justcommissioned a few weeks ago, I've already completed quite a fewrecordings on it. Several of the pieces were tracked out with a fullband, so I've had the chance to hear not only acoustic guitar, butpiano, drums and all sorts of other instruments through the desk now.The highest compliment I can think to pay the Media 51 is to say thateverything sounds like itself. I'm definitely from the school ofrecording where you first get a beautiful sound from an instrument andthen preserve that as accurately as possible, rather than have to use alot of EQ to try and make it sound natural. The Amek almosteffortlessly makes everything sound terrific.
"In particular," he continued, "I've found that the Media 51provides a wonderful clarity and separation between instruments. TheRupert Neve-designed preamps are incredibly pristine, and I often findmyself tracking things through them despite the fact that I have tonsof outboard gear. And, of course, the famed British EQ is equally nice,too."
Officially celebrating its grand opening in early October,Blackberry Hill affords stunning panoramic views of the Three SistersMountains and Willamette Valley from 1,500 feet above sea level. Thestudio facilities, located on the first floor of the uniqueround-shaped two-story building, comprises a 1,300-square-foot trackingroom, two large isolation rooms, a machine room and 500-square-footcontrol room. The studio is also equipped with Studer A80 and MCI JH242-inch 24-track machines, a 12-channel Neve 5106 sidecar, Pro Tools|HD,and a wide selection of both vintage and state-of-the-art mics,outboard preamps and processing. The studio boasts three well-appointedapartments on the second floor, full on-site meal preparation, aprivate jet service, sailboat, and unlimited access to miles of trailsfor hiking, among other amenities.