Pressure Point Recording Studios, Studio A
Chicago is booming right now. Millennium Park is up and ready for the summer season, Trump Towers is a go, and condos and commercial development are springing up everywhere. And now, right in the heart of the booming South Loop along the famed Record Row, Pressure Point has opened a world-class recording space, label and talent arm to revitalize the city’s music industry. After purchasing the building two years ago, Pressure Point principals embarked on a massive undertaking for the second and third floors, adding to the studio’s Amek room on the first floor. Kierkegaard and Associates designed the space, which includes two studios (the main room on this month’s cover, featuring a tunable isomorphic wall and plenty of natural light), a 5.1-ready SSL 9000 K control room with Neve 1073 sidecar and custom Augspurger monitors, five iso spaces and a lounge fit for recording royalty. Exotic woods, hand-dyed silk, glass tiles, and granite and marble fixtures all contribute to the Moroccan-Indian motifs throughout.
The studio bau:ton — designed Magnolia Studios (Burbank, Calif.) was upgraded and remodeled, introducing raised ceilings, new acoustic interiors and three studio suites — each with tracking and mixing capabilities. Other upgrades included translucent corrugated Fiberglas wall finishes, a large skylight, velvet drapes and black Ardex concrete-finished flooring. The A room features an SSL 9000 J Series console, a Pro Tools|HD system, TEC:ton sound systems main monitors and subwoofers with dual TAD TL1601b woofers, and a series of Bryston amps.
Cedar Rock Studio
Designed and built by Alan Drake, Cedar Rock Studio (Shelburn, Ind.) strikes a balance between down-home comfort and technical savvy. The 4,000-square-foot facility features 32-foot-high cathedral ceilings, large windows, and cedar and stone design elements throughout. Focusing on rock, pop, country, blues and Christian music, the facility comprises a main tracking room offset by four large iso rooms that feature Auralex Metro and DST acoustical treatments. The control room features a 48-frame Trident Series 80 5.1-capable console with Uptown 2000 automation, Dynaudio 212 and Tannoy 215 monitors, and iZ RADAR Nyquist 24/192, Nuendo software and 2-inch analog 16-track recorders. The studio’s private living quarters are network-equipped and video-capable. Other amenities are in-house graphic design capabilities, a photo studio and a roomful of vintage guitars and amplifiers.
The Miami-based Icon Sound, designed by Ross Alexander (of Synergetic Services), owned by producer/songwriter Steve Morales and opened in March 2004, offers amenities such as a lounge, complete movie theater, living accommodations and a pool. The studio has been insulated, and custom wood wall box LF traps and slat diffusors have been installed for live end/dead end effect. A large window lets natural light into the studio, which is home to a Pro Tools|HD system, an SSL 9000, custom three-way Alexander Monitor System with TAD components, and a combination of Bryston, Chevin and BGW amps. The iso booth is separated from the tracking room by floated wood floors and multilayer wall construction.
Beach City Studios
Located near Orange County’s idyllic beaches in the hills of San Clemente, Calif., is Beach City Studios’ state-of-the-art recording and mastering facility. Opened in April 2003 and designed by Chris Pelonis, the facility features both a 48-channel API Legacy Plus console and Yamaha DM2000 console, and Pro Tools|HD3. The studio boasts a blend of high-end gear that ranges from Pelonis Signature Series monitors and amps to Mackie HR-824 and Yamaha NS10 monitors, a slew of outboard gear — including from manufacturers such as Avalon, Manley, dbx, API — to a mic closet full of B&K (DPA 4006 and 4011), Neumann (M150, M149, U47 and U48), Manley (Stereo Gold Reference and Mono Reference Gold) and Shure (SM57) models.
The Russ Berger — designed Based in Ossining, N.Y., BiCoastal Music (Ossining, N.Y.) was built in a wooded residential area close to Manhattan. Warm, natural light permeates the space. The control room features an SSL C200 console with 96 analog and 128 digital I/Os, and a custom Russ Berger Design Group 5.1 monitor system. Recorders include Pro Tools|HD3 with an SNS Fibre Drive System and MCI analog 2-track machines. Notable outboard gear includes pieces from Daking, Manley, Millennia, Vintech, TC Electronic and Chandler. The tracking room boasts a 22-foot vaulted ceiling, while separate drum and piano alcoves (inset) are home to a DW drum kit and Steinway Model A Grand Piano, respectively.
JA Castle Recording Studio
The Walters Storyk Design Group developed JA Castle Recording Studio (Utica, N.Y.) over a two-and-a-half year period, transforming the historic building (originally a Church of the Nazerene built in 1926) into a fully functional recording facility. The studio features natural acoustics in its 42×42-foot live room, with 35-foot ceilings, wood surfaces and floors that act as a giant bass frequency absorber. The Castle offers a mix of vintage and modern outboard gear, Yamaha DM2000 console (with meter bridge), Apple PowerPC G4, Genelec 1038A main speakers, 1031 near-field monitors and 7070A subwoofers, Alesis Masterlink recorder and a full mic closet.
Todd-AO Hollywood, Stage 2
From senior VP of engineering Bill Johnston and the Todd-AO staff comes the newly renovated Todd-AO Hollywood Stage 2, featuring 7.1 theatrical surround mixing, HD video and film dubbing capabilities and dual Todd-AO 70mm projection screenings. The main stage renovations added a dual-engine AMS DFC console, six Tascam MMR-8 recorders, eight Tascam MMP-16 players, six dedicated Pro Tools systems, Soundmaster synchronization, JBL theatrical monitoring and Bag End ELF subwoofers with bass extension. The stage also features in-house — designed custom furniture, a new lighting design, two new producer’s workstation booths and modified sidewall diffusors to even out reflections and update the design motif.
Studio B Mastering
Studio B Mastering (Charlotte, N.C.), designed by the Russ Berger Design Group within an existing warehouse space, houses a Crookwood custom console and Pro Tools system, Dunlavy SC V monitors powered by Cello Performance II amps and outboard gear that ranges from Manley to Tube-Tech to Millennia and Ampex. Distinctive acoustic treatments, such as the pyramid diffusers (pictured), have been illuminated with accent lighting, while sound isolation walls support a cap isolating ceiling.
Randy Ezratty Home Mixing Suite
Located in a secluded brownstone in New York City’s Chelsea district, the Francis Manzella — designed Randy Ezratty Home Mixing Suite is a private work environment that opened in August of 2003. Engineers Kevin Killen and John Harris have been in working with a list of loyal clientele spanning various genres. Featuring Pro Tools|HD with ProControl, ADAM S2A monitors and ADAM 1 subwoofers, the studio is equipped for 5.1 SACD production. The front wall features heavy bass traps and RPG Abfussors for early reflection control.
Sonoma Mountain Studio Estate
Located in Sonoma, Calif., on the grounds of an exclusive gated compound, SMSE opened in July 2003 with a very specific client in mind: artists looking for privacy, absolute luxury and a high-end experience. Designed by Art Kelm and owner Bill Zabit, and located in California’s wine country, the studio features 20-foot cathedral ceilings with maple, black walnut, cherry wood and natural stone accents. The main room and its two large iso rooms are all visually connected. The vintage Neve 8048 console is complemented by a host of gear, including PMC BB5A monitors, Studer A827 24-track recorder, Digidesign Pro Tools|HD3 workstation and Apogee converters, while a Grotrian grand piano, extensive guitar collection and custom Sonor drums stand by. The five-building estate includes a main house, two guest houses, tennis court, pool and entertainment suite, with a sports yacht in nearby Sausalito.
On the Path
Designed by Chris Pelonis and owner Alan Kozlowski (co-founder of Santa Monica, Calif.’s POP Studios), On the Path’s meditative and organic feel lends itself as a live performance venue, 5.1 mixing stage, recording studio, multimedia art gallery and event center. The facility features a line-up of high-end gear from manufacturers such as Digidesign, Studer, Lexicon, TC Electronic and Neumann. The space also features Pelonis Signature Series monitors and Tannoy AMS10 near-field monitors. Architecture services provided by Bret Thoeny (BOTO Designs).
Underdog Entertainment’s The Underlab
The Underlab was designed by duo R Squared (aka Reeck & Rietveld) and Steve “Coco” Brandon for the J Records — affiliated R&B and pop-focused production team, Damon Thomas and Harvey Mason Jr. The Hollywood facility comprises Studio A, which boasts an SSL C200, Pro Tools HD|3, Logic Version 6 and custom Augspurger monitors. Studio B and C house Euphonix consoles — a CS 2000 and CS 3000, respectively — Mac G4s and Pro Tools MIXPlus, and are supported by custom Augspurger monitors and a slew of high-end outboard gear and mics. Studio A has direct line of sight with the piano booth, while Studio B features line of sight to the vocal booth. An additional four writing rooms are in the facility.
Sound Storm Cloud 9
SoundStorm Cloud 9 (Burbank, Calif.) has a main structural shell that features a prefabricated modular isolation system and acoustical interiors. Designed by Lawrence P. Swist and engineered by Bruce Black and Carl Ware, the stage features a Euphonix System 5-F console, two 48-channel Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel systems, four Tascam MMR-8 digital recorders, JBL ScreenArray Cinema Loudspeaker System with matching surrounds, Crown CT Series amps, Stewart 9×16-foot microperforated film screen and a JVC D-ILA projector.
NYU Clive Davis Room
The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music and its Clive Davis Room are the newest addition to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (New York City). The space was designed by Troy Germano (Studio Design Group, N.Y.) and Dave Bell (White Mark Ltd., England); all equipment was supplied by Dave Malekpour of Pro Audio Design (Boston). Gear includes an SSL XL 9024 K Series analog console, Studer A-827 24-track analog recorder, Pro Tools|HD 3 with ProControl and a 22-inch Apple Cinema screen. Other equipment ranges from KRK E8 monitors and S12 subs for 5.1 monitoring, Eventide DSP7000, Tube-Tech EQ, TC Electronic M4000, GML 8200 EQ, Universal Audio LA-2A and 1176 limiter/compressor, Avalon 737, API mic pre’s, Sony DAT recorder, HHB CD recorder and a variety of microphones.
Conservatory for Recording Arts and Sciences, Studio D
The Conservatory for Recording Arts and Sciences’ (Gilbert, Ariz.) new Studio D features a Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel workstation, including Digidesign 192 I/O and 96 I/O, and TC Electronic System 6000 and Focusrite Control 24. The (Jeremiah & Associates) Jerry Davis — designed space houses M&K 2510P speakers, MPS-5410 subwoofers and LFE-4 bass management controller, a Martinsound MultiMAX EX monitor controller, SRS Circle Surround encoder/decoder and Summit Audio Element 78 Mic Pre/EQ. Studio D also boasts twin 45-inch Panasonic HDTV rear-projection TVs and Stewart 11×7-foot THX electric roller Cinema perforated screen.
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Designed by Bob Alach (Alactronics), the multipurpose recording/critical listening/surround mix space at UMass Lowell features a main room, an iso booth and a small guitar closet. The room includes 48 mic lines, a Furman 6-channel cue system and variable acoustics via sliding wall panels. The facility’s aligned mains include SLS S1266 three-way monitors, Bag End D18E-I Dual 18-inch ELF subwoofer systems and a Bag End ELF-1 8Hz 2-channel low-frequency integrator. Mixing and mastering is accomplished via mobile production system using Yamaha DM2000, Steinberg Nuendo 32 I/O DAW, Genex GX9000 HD recorder and Merging Technologies Pyramix 8-channel DSD workstation.