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Cleveland Rocks Harder


ante Up’s first room, Studio B

photo: Ante Up Audio Creative

Sharing the same downtown Cleveland neighborhood as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seems like a perfectly logical place to open a new studio, especially for two native Clevelanders. One, producer/co-owner Michael Seifert, has rock-solid studio credentials; the other, co-owner Paul Shaia, has the all-important CPA/business background. Both committed to building a destination spot for national acts and developing the local and regional music/recording scenes.

Ante Up Audio ( opened its first room, Studio B, in October 2004. A refurbished 56-channel Neve 8128 paired with a Pro Tools MIX3 workstation, Studer A80, Genelec and Mackie monitors and ample outboard gear occupy the control room. Seifert and local designer Brad Way designed the live room and listening space to be built on floating floors, paying careful attention to acoustics and aesthetics. “We believe that the way rooms are built still matters,” says Seifert. “They don’t make a plug-in yet that replicates what drums sound like in a good room.” The studio’s newly opened Studio C, designed for “budget” tracking and film scoring, includes Pro Tools|HD, an Otari Status console and a selection of Neve and API preamps. “We like to mix the flavors,” says Seifert, who recently finished composing (with Dave Padrutt), producing and engineering a new rock-themed score for Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders, to be re-released on DVD.

Ante Up’s control room featuring a Neve board

The forthcoming Studios A and D will also cater to tracking, mixing and post work, although the A room will become the largest of the four. The total build-out will occupy nearly 15,000 square feet.

To date, a family of seven local engineer/producers work exclusively at Ante Up, including Seifert’s father, Bruce Seifert, who formerly owned Cleveland’s long-standing Great Tracks Recording, guitarist/engineer Don Depew, Dave Bastian, Jim Hillenbrand, multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Weaver and Charles A. Martinez — most of whom did their time in major markets but have chosen, like Ante Up’s owners, to stick close to home. “It’s always ticked me off that a lot of people come out of Cleveland and then ditch it,” says Seifert. “There’s a lot of talent here, and it’s more exciting for me to just stay put and dig in.”