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The Class of 2009


On the Cover: L.A. Sound Gallery BURBANK, CALIF.

Photo: Ed Colver

Producer/composer Matt Salazar’s projects had outgrown his small SSL G+-equipped production studio, and he was looking to acquire a facility big enough to fit a new SSL Duality console. “I demo’ed the Duality and really liked its open sound and the workflow, but there was nowhere to put it,” he says.

He found plenty of room all right. As of September ’08, Salazar has relocated to the former Evergreen Studios space, which includes a 4,000-square-foot scoring stage that received its last major building redesign in 1998. For several years, the studio had been barely touched, and according to Lee Bartolomei, who handled the technical redesign in ’97/’98, it was rarely ever used for its intended purpose. Salazar and his partner and brother, Jason Salazar, opened up the walls and completely replaced the studio’s wiring/infrastructure. “There had always been a studio going on here since the late ’70s, and improvements had been made gradually since that time, but the wiring was very disorganized. We replaced it with Mogami 110-ohm digital cabling, and the studio now operates at a much higher spec,” Matt Salazar says.

The new owners retained much of the late-’90s design — including the unique, diamond-shaped diffusers, George Augspurger 5.1 monitoring setup and all of the control room treatments — but judiciously employed additional baffling in the live room to “soften” the acoustics. “The shape of the room is conducive to having a big cathedral-esque sound,” Salazar explains. “We tuned the high end and the decay for clarity because we didn’t want to lose the depth of the room. We just tried to soften the upper-midrange frequencies so that, if you have a 30-piece string section, for example, and then you bring brass in, the brass won’t ring within the room and overpower what the strings are doing. It’s very balanced.”

Salazar, whose own projects have included original music for the Hannah Montana show and artist development for Warner Bros. and Interscope, consulted with veteran film sound mixers Dan Wallin and Armin Steiner on the implementation of the redesign, and the reworked studio has been booked solid with film and TV gigs. Recent projects have included music for Fox-TV series Fringe, The Simpsons, Family Guy and King of the Hill; live source Source Connect sessions with composer Mark Isham and producer Mutt Lange; and the featured title for the upcoming Tim Allen/Alisha Cuthbert film My Dad’s Six Wives, arranged and produced by Salazar.

However, now that L.A. Sound Gallery is running full-speed, it’s not always easy for Salazar to get time in his own studio. So, he’s adding a B room with a Digidesign ICON console. “Even when I work on film soundtracks, it’s more in the pop genre,” Salazar says. “The B room will have eight channels of everything that’s on our SSL Duality, in X Racks, along with a healthy amount of outboard inspired by our A room’s selection. This will suit most of my production needs, and we’ll be able to bounce back and forth seamlessly.”

Photo: Witold Wnuk

Alvernia Studios ALVERNIA, POLAND

Andy Munro of Munro Acoustics (London) designed Poland’s first full-scale film production facility. This fantastical, futuristic-looking complex features a scoring stage large enough to accommodate a 100-piece orchestra, and a flown “pine cone” that opens out for variable absorptive/reflective acoustics. The scoring studio offers a 72-fader Neve 88R console; Munro Acoustics M4+P, Westlake and Yamaha monitoring; Pro Tools systems; a Studer 2-inch 24-track machine; and more. The post-production studios employ two AMS-Neve MMC 300 boards, as well as Genelec stereo and Dynaudio 5.1 monitoring. Alvernia also has a dubbing theater equipped with a 96-fader Neve DFC console.

Photo: Shigeto Miyata

Downtown Music NEW YORK CITY

The studios at Downtown Music are part of a larger one-stop business that includes music production, as well a record label, music publishing and licensing. Pilchner Schoustal International (Toronto, Ontario) designed the 3,500-square-foot studio facilities. Pictured here is the live room connected to Studio A, which is centered around a Digidesign D-Command linking Pro Tools HD and Logic 8, and Tannoy DMT-215 main monitors powered by mono-bridged Bryston 4Bs. Acoustical treatments in the A room include custom Canadian maple diffusers and fabric-covered flutter-free panels. Studio B — which employs D-Command, a Pro Tools HD3 rig and 16 channels of Apogee conversion — was designed with a Balinese motif featuring a custom ceiling-mounted rosewood diffuser and hand-carved reflective woodwork.

Photo: Alise O’Brien

Shock City ST. LOUIS, MO.

Shock City serves as the home base for production company Shock City Music Works, operated by musician/co-owners Doug Firley and Chris Loesch. Kurt Kerns of the Lawrence Group (St. Louis) designed the studio around an SSL 6060 G/G+ console, Pro Tools 8 and Augspurger main monitors. The wall of windows in the live room is broken into small panes that serve as diffusers, all angled for varying pitches and depths. Custom tunable panels attached below the window wall can be removed from the wall and used as acoustic scrims. A 22×23-foot control room includes RPG Omniffusers and Golterman & Sabo acoustic panels.

audioEngine NEW YORK CITY

Photo: Philip Jensen-Carter

Pictured is Studio E, one of two new audioEngine Studios designed by John Storyk of the Walters Storyk Design Group (Highland, N.Y.). Based around a Digidesign D-Command working on an Apple Mac Pro and self-powered KRK V4 near-fields, this 29×17-foot studio is dedicated to 5.1 theatrical/advertising sound mixing. Studio F features dark, rough-hewn wood flooring, exposed wood walls and a stone “fireplace” (with a 65-inch Sharp flat-screen display in place of a hearth) designed to create a log-cabin feel.

Pressburger Theatre, Pinewood Studios BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, UK

Photo: Tara Atkins

The refurbished Pressburger Theatre at Pinewood Studios was redesigned by Andy Munro of Munro Acoustics. After reopening last spring, this prestigious room hosted Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp’s Academy Award-winning sound mixes of Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire. The studio is equipped with a Euphonix System 5 EuCon Hybrid console, 35mm and large-screen video projection and Pro Tools.

Clatter & Din SEATTLE

Photo: Eric Johnson

The Russ Berger Design Group (Addison, Texas) designed several rooms for this 6,000-square-foot music/audio/post-production facility. Two 5.1 surround recording/monitoring studios connect to a large live room and two iso booths. These studios were relocated to the top floor of a century-old brick building. Installed improvements include floating floors and space for wire management. SpaceCouplers by pArtScience provide overhead diffusion in the control room, which features Pro Tools 8, Digidesign C24s and Genelec 1031/7070 monitors.

Nettleingham Audio VANCOUVER, WASH.

Photo: Robert Weller

Busy recording/mixing/mastering engineer Kevin Nettleingham has moved his studio operations into a new ground-up facility designed by Chris Pelonis of Pelonis Sound and Acoustics (Santa Barbara, Calif.). The live room features a large, exposed-brick wall diffuser with 18-foot modified cathedral ceiling; there’s also a vocal booth just off of the control room. The control room is equipped with Pro Tools HD3, extensive Crane Song gear, Digidesign D-Command and Pelonis’ Signature Series PSS110 monitoring with PSS212 subwoofer.

Vanquish Studios DAVIE, FLA.

Photo: Jorge L. Pease

Situated just outside Fort Lauderdale, Vanquish was designed by Horacio Malvicino of the Malvicino Design Group (New York City) with assistance from the Blank Design Group (San Francisco, CA) to accommodate hip-hop, R&B, jazz, alternative and remix projects. Variable acoustics allow for a 0.6 to 1.2-second reverb time; treatments include ceiling clouds with RPG Flutter-Free moldings. The studio is equipped with an SSL Duality 48-input console, ADAM S-5VA Mk2 main monitors, an Apogee Symphony system and Pro Tools HD3.

Odds On Recording LAS VEGAS

Photo: Ed Colver

As Las Vegas continues to grow as an entertainment Mecca, the owners of Odds On Records & Studios have made the most of opportunities in their market by adding a top-flight recording studio to their audio production/duplication operations. Designed by Carl Yanchar of Yanchar Design and Consulting (Foothill Ranch, Calif.), three new rooms include Studio A, which boasts a 96-input SSL Duality board, Pro Tools HD, Studer A827 tape machine and Ocean Way main monitors. Its large B and C rooms include SSL 9000 K and Matrix boards, respectively, as well as Pro Tools rigs. Situated 15 minutes from the Strip and McCarran Airport, Odds On Recording caters to both visiting and local artists.

Photos: Jozef Richelieu and Steve Donato

Night Sky Sound SAN DIEGO, CALIF.

Longtime New York-based engineer/studio owner Steve Donato relocated his studio business to a Mediterranean-style estate in sunny San Diego last October. The facility was designed by Frank Perez-Perez of Dauntless Designs and the late Louis Altuna. The 800-square-foot Grand Live Room features a nonparallel design with 17-foot vaulted ceilings, custom woodwork, tile flooring and views of the rolling hills of San Diego County. A second, 450-square-foot live room includes custom fabric panels and bass traps, and stage-style lighting. Equipment includes a custom Allen & Heath Sigma console; Dynaudio Air 25 5.1 monitoring; vintage Neve, UREI and dbx processing; a large collection of vintage synths; and more in a control room that features floating floors, custom absorptive panels, bass traps and diffuser arrays, and the studio’s trademark starry “sky.”

Rocking Horse Studio PITTSFIELD, N.H.

Photo: Nivea Howard/LocA PhotO

Designed by Michael Blackmer of Blackmer Sound (Cambridge, Mass.), Rocking Horse centers on a Trident Series 80B console and Pro Tools HD3. Monitoring is via ADAM S3As, Genelec 7070As and Yamaha NS-10s. Acoustical room features include Brazilian koa hardwood over floating floors, birch-panel spatial deflectors, broadband frequency absorbers and 20-foot cathedral ceilings. Among the studio’s big attractions are its large live room and collection of vintage keys (Mellotron, Hammond A100 with Leslie, Optigan, Wurli, etc.). The studio also offers B&B accommodations in an 18th-century farmhouse.

Life Studios ROME, ITALY

Photo: Marco Del Bene

GGD Productions and recording artist Gigi D’Alessio own Life Studios, which was designed by Francis Manzella of FM Design. The live room is suitable for recording string sections and pop ensembles, and includes three iso areas with differing acoustic signatures. The control room is set up for 5.1 mixing with a custom Griffin monitor installation and projection system, as well as an SSL Duality console and Pro Tools HD. The rear of the control room also looks outdoors through a custom, clear acrylic RPG Diffusor.


Photo: Marco Resendes

This production studio is owned by indie label Alexus Records (Toronto, Ontario). Designed by Marco Re sendes and Chris Tedesco of Rectech Rooms Inc., the facility includes a stereo control room, machine room, iso booth, tracking room and residential accommodations. Acoustical treatments include fabric panels to complement natural stone and wood sections, and a large diffuser wall in the high-ceiling live room. Alexus is equipped with an SSL 4056 G/G+ console, Pro Tools HD, custom Kranis K12 main monitors and Yamaha near-fields powered by Bryston amps.

Lime Studio South SANTA MONICA, CALIF.

Photo: Hanson Hsu

Hanson Hsu of Delta H Design Inc. designed the latest addition to one of Santa Monica’s favorite post-production facilities catering to the film, television and advertising industries. Adjacent to the large, theatrical-style control room is an ADR/Foley booth as well as a visually appealing screening room for clientele. The 2,200-square-foot addition centers around the latest gear from Digidesign, Mackie and Genelec.