By Barbara Schultz
Crew Studios (crew-studios.com) is a state-of-the-art hybrid facility built in the former Bakerstreet Studios location. Crew owner Sergio Cocchia enlisted the help of engineer Mike Cashin and Vancouver-based studio designer/mastering engineer Chris Potter to develop a new layout and workflow for the space, and after a two-year design and build-out, the new facility opened in 2012.
“They took this down to cinder blocks and rebuilt the entire thing,” explains Crew chief engineer Andre Doucette. “Originally, there was a skylight in the live room, but they flipped the studio so the room with the skylight is now the control room. The skylight is redesigned with numerous panels of glass, all reflecting at different angles, and two pockets of air so you don’t hear rain. Any engineer who’s sat at a console for years is going to appreciate having natural light above them.
“Another brilliant part is the visual sightlines,” Doucette continues. “There are visuals between all the rooms [main tracking room, piano room, two iso rooms]. And no expense was spared: room-within-room design, river-rock walls to diffuse, bamboo flooring, floating floors, and we have the first API 1608 on the west coast of Canada.”
The studio also offers Pro Tools with Avid D Control , Genelec 8040 and Yamaha NS10 monitors, and a collection of new and vintage outboard gear: “Our Teletronix LA-2A is one of the originals. It sounds really sweet,” says Doucette.
Crew caters mainly to regional musicians, but last year the studio hosted Elvis Costello and engineer/producer Steven Mandel, when they were tracking vocals for the upcoming Costello/The Roots collaboration Wise Up Ghost. For more about that project, check out the October issue of our sister publication, Electronic Musician.
Number 9 Studios: Three Albums for Charity
George Rondina at Number 9
Giving to those in need has been a focus of George Rondina, managing director/owner of Number 9 Studios in Toronto. He recently spearheaded three benefit projects: World Jazz for Haiti, Maple Leaf Sun Rising and Christmas on Seaton Street, the first of which addressed the earthquake in Haiti.
“I was very moved by this horrible tragedy and felt that my own personal contribution would be small compared to rallying the musical community in Toronto and creating a much larger contribution,” Rondina says.
World Jazz for Haiti is a double-CD compilation of 23 original songs—12 vocal and 11 instrumental. All of the compositions on the album are either brand new or variations on recent works, and have been written and recorded by Canadian artists living in Toronto. Koller and associate producer Jesse Capon put together an eclectic mix of talent for the album, including industry veterans David Clayton-Thomas, Holly Cole, Guido Basso, Jane Bunnett and John McDermott.
For more information about Number 9 Studios, visit number9.ca.
Desert Fish Studios
Multiple Juno Award-winning engineer/producer Jeff Wolpert and longtime assistant, now business partner, Sydney Galbraith created Desert Fish Studios in the eco-friendly “401 Richmond” building in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district. Opened in April 2012, Desert Fish Studios is a 1,500-square-foot space divided into two control rooms, two live floors and a lounge.
An SSL 900+SE hybrid console is at the heart of the studio, allowing flexibility when working on multiple projects across genres, formats and mediums, including recording, music mixing, mastering, film mixing and post-production.
“The idea behind the technical design of the studio was to be able to integrate both analog and digital processing into our everyday workflow with ease and convenience,” Wolpert says. “It’s been my experience that a primary advantage of recording with an analog console is that it allows you to process while recording, fundamentally shaping and enhancing the sound early in the process while simultaneously providing an inspiring monitor mix. It’s the best of both worlds—digital recording with an analog front end followed by hybrid mixing using the most appropriate processing, digital or analog, at any time.”
The latest addition to the studio is the vintage keyboard room, opened in collaboration with Lou Pomanti Music. Keys include a 7-foot Schimmel Concert Grand, Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes 73, Hohner Clavinet D6, Wurlitzer 200A and a Minimoog.
Check out Desert Fish online at desertfishstudios.com.
A boutique studio specializing in vintage gear, Montreal’s Studio Frisson has recently been playing host to a number of artists, including klezmer music group Kleztory. The group has been recording and mixing its upcoming album at Studio Frisson, and studio owner/musician/producer/engineer Michel Pépin is producing the project, while house engineer Don Murnaghan is recording and mixing, along with Pépin.
“We often work as a team on projects, complementing each other’s sonic soundscapes,” Murnaghan says. Both Pépin and Murnaghan have worked with Emmylou Harris, Rufus Wainwright, and Kate and Anna McGarrigle. You can also hear Pépin’s guitar work on many Sarah McLachlan recordings produced by Pierre Marchand. “For Kleztory, we recorded the band—consisting of violin, clarinet, cimbalom, accordion, acoustic guitar and upright bass—live off the floor as much as possible.”
The studio is equipped with an array of vintage mics and compressors, including original 1953 AKG C-12s, RCA DX-77s and 44s, a Neumann original KU 80 Dummy Head, original Teletronix LA-2As, RCA BA6As, and a Collins 26W tube compressor. The studio has a custom Neve 8034-8014 console and a McCurdy AU 300 tube console. For more information, visit studiofrisson.com.