“What we’re doing at Oxy is unique and very important for the music scene in Los Angeles,” explains Max Foreman, Director of the Choi Family Music Production Center at Occidental College. “We have many great music conservatories in greater L.A. and Southern California, but we didn’t have a school like this in the Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Silverlake area, which is one of the richest parts of the city’s vibrant music scene.”
Located in the school’s Booth Hall, the new Choi Family Center spaces include a fully operational recording studio, large control room and a 16-student music computer lab in the new venue for music production, film scoring, audio engineering and songwriting courses. Studio design firm non:zero architecture was brought to the project by Associate Professor and composer Adam Schoenberg.
The challenge going in was retrofitting the basement space, which had previously housed the music library’s huge underground vault of vinyl record collections. “When the ceiling was gutted, a tall space above was uncovered, allowing for a 13-foot high live room that was exactly what we needed,” says Foreman. “We can do tracking sessions, mixing sessions, film mixing sessions, and 5.1 sessions. And we have a large Extron monitor above that can display anything that’s on the computer displays.”
The control room houses an Avid S4 console controlling Pro Tools, to go with main PMC IB1 monitors with a 5.1 PMC surround system. Dante connects the control room, live room, production lab and Foreman’s office. The control room seating layout allows students to sit in on professional recording sessions.
The Production Lab has 16 student stations, each equipped with Pro Tools, Ableton and Logic. Each desk has a mini-controller and a suite of plug-ins, sample libraries and software instruments. The Extron system has a hub in the control room’s adjacent machine room so that students’ displays mirror the screen on the instructor’s lectern.