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The Class of 2011


Each June, we canvas the studio scene to find the hottest new facilities to open in the past year. This year’s survey brought in more than 50 great rooms, making for some very tough decisions. Here, then, are the top 20 studios to come online since June 2010. For a look at all submissions and more detailed descriptions, go to for an extended photo gallery.

Photo: Fredjonny

Ocean Sound Recordings
(Giske, Norway)

Date Opened: February 2011

Designer:/Acoustician: Ric Vaughan Audio Designs

Console: Neve VR60 with Flying Faders

Monitors: Dynaudio M3s with Chord SPA 1032 mono blocks, ProAc Studio 100

At-a-Glance: “The design criteria was to build an ambient room with controllable acoustics,” says Vaughan. “The control room is an even natural space so there is good imaging frequency response, no matter where you sit.”

Photo: Lou Johnson

Red Door Studio
(Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

Date Opened: January 2011

Designer: studio bau:ton

Acoustician: Carl Tatz Design

Console: Yamaha DM2000

Monitors: CTD Dual PhantomFocus System: pair of custom TEC:ton Engineering mains with double 15-inch TAD woofers and Sony compression drivers; multiple Bryston 7B amps; Event Opal near-fields

At-a-Glance: Middle Tennessee State University professor and Grammy-winning producer/engineer John Merchant’s new space houses a large control room where he will teach advanced master classes. Other features include massive bass trappings in walls and soffits, diffusive stone-front monitor wall and louvered monitor ceiling.

Photo: Diana Lynn Ring,

Media Right Productions
(New York City)

Date Opened: January 2011

Designer/Acoustician:: Joe Salvatto

Consoles: Vintage Neve discrete 40-channel console 
featuring 33114s (40), Euphonix System 5

Monitors: Barefoot

At-a-Glance: This new 15,000-square-foot studio environment was built for composer/producer Doug Maxwell and a select clientele. It also serves as a teaching facility where Visionary Media, a charity founded by Maxwell, trains and employs blind musicians and audio professionals.

Photo: Amanda Myers

Stonewall Studio
(Cantonment, Fla.)

Date Opened: January 2011

Designer/Acoustician: Jeff Hedback

Console: Euphonix MC Mix, MC Control (3)

Monitors: Blue Sky System One 2.1

At-a-Glance: This private-use facility 
features a control room that uses hallway spaces and membrane characteristics of 
wallboard systems to balance isolation and 
an accurate LF response. Shown: live room.

Photo: James F. Wilson

Wire Road Studios (Houston)

Date Opened: March 2011

Designer/Acoustician: Russ Berger Design Group

Consoles: Euphonix DSP S5 Fusion 40-fader, Avid C|24

Monitors: ATC SCM200ASL, SCM150ASL, SCM0.1/15 Pro, SCM25A Pros; Focal Twin6 Be near-fields

At-a-Glance: This 5,000-square-foot, ground-up, 
two-story facility features Control Rooms A and B that 
share a central machine room. Studio C on the second 
floor serves as a video-editing studio. Control A looks 
onto a live room with 18-foot ceilings and two iso booths. Control B has a production iso booth.

Photo: Steven Klein

audiomachine (Burbank, Calif.)

Date Opened: January 2010

Designer/Acoustician: Steven Klein’s Sound Control Room

Console: 32-channel Rupert Neve Designs

Monitors: Barefoot MM27

At-a-Glance: Private facility for composer/producer/
owner Paul Dinletir. Composer’s 
workstation is also the primary mix position in all of the rooms. “Critical monitoring at all volume levels with room for guests and the ability to conduct meetings were the fundamental control room requirements,” says Klein. “I designed the front part for proper ratios and widened the rear of the room. The result is an accurate control room with a spacious living room feel. Adding to the comfort of the back of the room is the absence of boundary walls and bottom-end anomalies that normally occur in a more traditional design.”

Photo: LP Swist

Eastman East Wing Media Production
Suite (Part of Eastman School of Music;
University of Rochester, N.Y.)

Date Opened: December 2010

Designer/coustician:: Lawrence P. Swist Designs

Console: Euphonix System 5

Monitors: Guzauski-Swist GS-3a 5.1 monitor system

At-a-Glance: “This new 5.1 control room was designed as the audio hub [connection via MADI] for all the major venues within the Eastman facility,” says Swist. “Accurate monitoring capabilities were paramount in the design because of the amount of live multichannel mixdown required for distance learning sessions, Internet distribution, live broadcast and/or general archiving purposes.”

Photo: John Rodd and Andrew Nikkel

Clearstory Sound (Los Angeles)

Date Opened: April 2010

Designer/Acoustician: Peter Grueneisen, 

Controller: Pro Tools HD Accel

Monitors: ATC SCM 150 ASL active (L/C/R) [not pictured; purchased May 2011], Dynaudio BM15 passive and PSB Stratus Gold mid-fields, numerous near-fields

At-a-Glance: Private recording/mixing/mastering space for engineer John Rodd incorporates numerous windows to give an airy feel. “I spend a lot of time in dark recording studios,” says Rodd, “so when I was able to build my own studio from the ground up, I made sure it had a lot of natural diffuse sunlight.” The studio has hidden Helmholtz resonators, membrane-faced bass traps and effective soundproofing throughout. The ceiling joists, hidden diffusors and high-performance/full-spectrum acoustic absorption all work to create effective diffusion and absorption.

Photo: Hanson Hsu

Laser Pacific Theater 3 (Hollywood)

Date Opened: February 2011

Designer/Acoustician:: Hanson Hsu 
of Delta H Design

Processor: Dolby CP650

Monitors: M&K 7.1 Surround Sound

At-a-Glance: Theater 3 will host screenings and audio/video post, including color timing and digital intermediate work.

Photo: Zachary West

Gasoline Studios
(Franklin, Tenn.)

Date Opened: September 2010

Designer: Joe West (owner)

Acoustician: Gregg Vizza, 
Vizza Acoustics

Console: API 3124

Monitors: Mackie HR824s, 
Yamaha NS-10s

At-a-Glance: Songwriter/producer Joe West’s private studio is located in a 40×60-foot timber-frame barn that has visually pleasing massive timber trusses and a 30-foot ceiling. “I’ve spent my life in control rooms using talkbacks and distant iso booths filled with amplifiers and musicians,” says West. “The mission statement for Gasoline was to keep everyone together—artist, musicians, engineer and producer connecting with the same energy in one creative space.”

Photo: Francis Manzella

Forward Mastering (Rome)

Date Opened: December 2010

Designer/Acoustician:: Francis Manzella Design Ltd.

Console: Maselec MTC-2

Monitors: ProAc 4

At-a-Glance: Extension of longtime 
full-service, multi-room Forward Studios, this mastering space provides full-band 
bass absorption, broadband diffusion and 
a reflection-free monitoring position.

Photo: Lou Johnson

The Blue Grotto (Nashville)

Date Opened: April 2011

Designer:/Acoustician: Carl Tatz Design

DAW: Pro Tools HD6

Monitors: Carl Tatz Design Dual PhantomFocus System 4, Dynaudio M3 and M1s, and Bryston amps

At-a-Glance: Built for South African engineer/producer Sean Spence as his new personal studio. Windows were not possible in the control room, so CTD mirrored acoustic lens modules were installed to widen the room acoustically and visually.

Photo: Tim Gaudreau

Mill Pond Music Studio
(Portsmouth, N.H.)

Date Opened: March 2011

Lou Clark of Sonic-Space

Console: CAD Maxcon

Monitors: Dynaudio

At-a-Glance: Producer James Prendergast’s facility is built into an old mill building and is designed as a mix and recording space. Spacious control room features custom rear-wall diffusors designed/built by Hallowell, and iso booth and live room built by Eric Pearce. The live room is a floating-floor design with three walls of diffusing elements that also act as bass traps.

Photo: BPRS Architecture Photography

Pianella (Malibu, Calif.)

Date Opened: November 2010

Designer: Gary L. Williamson AIA, 
John J. Kurlander

Acoustician: Jay Kaufman of 
Kaufman & Associates

Console: Avid D-Command

Monitors: Meyer Sound Acheron 7.1 
theatrical monitoring

At-a-Glance: This stand-alone, 3,800-square-foot building houses Marco Beltrami’s private scoring stage and separate writing studio. The main stage is designed to handle up to 40 players. As the work is mostly for film scoring, the control room is more consistent with a theatrical dubbing stage. “The facility has been designed to exceed NC15, even during high winds or rain,” says Kaufman. “The main stage with its 28-foot vaulted ceilings and 2.3-second RT60 produces a beautifully warm yet detailed soundfield. The control room has a very even reverberant field and translates perfectly to the dubbing theater. Soul Surfer, Scream 4 and The Thing have all been scored and mixed in the previous four months.”

Photo: Pilchner Schoustal/Rob Waymen

Liberty Studios
Toronto, Ontario)

Date Opened: February 2011

Designer/Acoustician:: Pilchner 
Schoustal International Inc.

Console: Avid ICON

Monitors: ADAM A6x

At-a-Glance: Control room is optimized for stereo, 5.1 and 7.1. Live room features three iso booths and high ceilings.

Photo: Jonathan Decola

Stadium Red (New York City)

Date Opened: September 2010

Designer/Acoustician: Frank Comentale

Consoles: SSL 48-channel G+ (Studio A), 
SSL AWS 900 (Studio B), Sony Baby Oxford 
(Mastering Suite)

Monitors: George Augspurger mains, Eggelston 
Savoy mid-fields, Yamaha NS-10s, B&W 7.1 
surrounds (Studio A); George Augspurger 
mains, Genelec and NS-10 (Studio B); Legacy 
Audio HDs (Mastering Suite)

At-a-Glance: Studio A is a complete renovation and is 7.1 surround–capable using a custom-built Dangerous Monitor ST setup. Studio B offers a vocal booth, but no glass. Communication between the control room and vocal booth uses a video chat system.

Photo: Shelby Taylor, Taylor Designs

Blade Studios (Shreveport, La.)

Date Opened: April 2011

Designer/Acoustician:: Russ Berger Design Group

Consoles: SSL Duality SE (Studio A), Avid ICON D-Control ES (Studio B)

Monitors: Custom Ocean Way HR2, ADAM S3XH and S3HV, Yamaha NS-10s (Studio A); Custom Ocean Way HR2, 
ADAM S3XH and S3HV (Studio B)

At-a-Glance: Starting on the ground floor of the BioSpace One building, the design team removed more than 1,000 tons of dirt from the foundation to achieve the maximum height possible in all the studios, which were then constructed on floating slabs.

Photo: Drew Raison

Philly Sound Studios

Date Opened: September 2010

Designer: Drew Raison, Mariano Mattei

Acoustician: Raison

Console: Neve V55 48-inputv
Monitors: Genelec 1038A and KRK E8B Expose

At-a-Glance: Built in a 90-year-old stone church, the facility features a 25-foot cathedral ceiling and holds up to 200 when used as a live performance venue. The ceilings, geometric bracing and a hardwood floor combine to offer flexible acoustics.

Photo: Kelly Stremmel

World Harmony Studios
(Upstate N.Y.)

Date Opened: April 2011

Designer/Acoustician: John Storyk of Walters-Storyk Design Group

Console: SSL AWS924 hybrid console

Monitors: ADAM S4X-V mains

At-a-Glance: The 2,500-square-foot destination studio (set on a 300-acre horse farm/vineyard) is built into a three-story, 4,500-square-foot redwood lodge and includes a custom-built live/screening room, control room and two iso rooms. The mains are floated within custom glass walls to improve visibility between control room and live rooms.

Photo: Ashley Gieseking

Sherpa Studios
(Saint Louis)

Date Opened: March 2011

Designer/Acoustician: Pilchner Schoustal

Console: Rupert Neve Designs 5088 with
25 Portico Modules

Monitors: ATC 110, Tannoy Ellipse 8, Yamaha NS-10

At-a-Glance: The control room is optimized for surround formats, stereo, 5.1 and 7.1, and offers large floor-to-ceiling windows to the recording spaces. The live room features partition iso booth with Nanawall door system. There is a separate iso booth to the left of the control room.