Blue Rock Studios' Billy Crockett (right) and Rupert Neve]
A 19th-century garrison near Austin has been reborn as Blue Rock Studios, a retreat and recording facility for selected producers specializing in Texas folk artists and music for film. Blue Rock's integrated hybrid digital/analog control room combines 16 Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5032 Mic Pre/EQ modules with a digital audio workstation and controller.
According to owner Billy Crockett, Plus, "We just like the Rupert Neve Designs team. Everybody over there is qualified, kind and extremely diligent to deliver what they promise."
As Crockett explains, the summing mixer is also key to his facility concept, which surrounds digital control and recording capabilities both physically and electronically with discrete analog components. "The restrictions of an old-school console are clear enough now that we decided to go with the Digidesign ICON D-Command controller and Pro Tools HD3, integrated with an analog, Rupert Neve-designed front and back end."
Crockett continues, "In music production, simple elegance is what speaks to me, which is why I love the simplicity of the Portico modules. There are no soft knobs; they all do something dedicated and wonderful. Part of making music is decision-making and reducing options, selecting something wonderful and saying 'no' to everything else. Part of what I love about Rupert's modules is the ability to say 'yes' to something great and not worry about the rest."
Located on nearly 20 acres overlooking the Blanco River in the Texas Hill Country, Blue Rock Studios offers 4,000 square feet of production space, including two large live rooms—one with a vaulted ceiling and large beams—constructed of native rock and woods. Architectural design was by Lou Kimball of Austin, with the control and iso rooms designed and built by Michael Cronin of Acoustic Construction (Nashville).
A total of 100 tie lines interconnect the recording spaces with the 32-input, 40-output Pro Tools system. Patching is available for alternative recorders such as RADAR and 2-inch tape machines.
The facility, which will be a retreat not just for musical artists but also for those creating visual arts and the written word, will be available by invitation only. "We have an expanding circle of creative folks that will be invited to participate," offers Crockett.