Jeff Ehrenberg (left) and Pete Lyman in the Infrasonic control room.
There's more to draw you to Infrasonic Sound Recording Co. than its ample collection of vintage gear. Located in East L.A., Infrasonic harkens back to classic facilities of the mid-20th century by encompassing a recording studio, mastering suite, record label, publicity department and even a retail outlet. (It serves as the West Coast showroom for pro audio distributor Vintage King.)
Infrasonic opened in 2004 when Jeff Ehrenberg and Pete Lyman built a control room into an industrial space that once housed a motorcycle paint shop. “We started running snakes out the door as soon as we had the control room,” Lyman explains. “We'd spend a couple of weeks doing construction, then two weeks making a record.”
“The idea was to have an open and spacious tracking room, with a nice live performance feel,” Ehrenberg adds. “We didn't want a studio that was divided into small spaces. We wanted to create a comfortable setting for artists and be able to accommodate any project they have.” The studio offers a number of analog and digital formats to work in, allowing for a hybrid approach when artists are on a modest budget.
“We'd like to keep it all tape, but the high cost of tape makes it impossible to do 100 percent of the time,” notes Ehrenberg. “Often we track basics to 2-inch, then spool that into Pro Tools, do overdubs on the computer, then mix through the console to half-inch tape.” Their tape machines include an Otari MTR 90 with 16- and 24-track head stacks paired with a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 32-channel console.
The main tracking room is spacious, allowing a full band to record.
The studio's off-site mastering suite includes Mytek 8-channel 192kHz converters, a custom Shadow Hills mastering compressor, and B&W monitors with Perreaux amplification controlled by a Crane Song Avocet.
Infrasonic also offers vinyl mastering and direct-to-disk recording using a Neumann AM-32 lathe that once belonged to mastering engineer Richard Simpson, who also plies his skills at the studio. (Simpson's track record spans four decades and includes work at RCA cutting masters for Lou Reed, David Bowie and Elvis Presley.) “I became interested in mastering after meeting Richard,” Lyman explains. “In 1999, I apprenticed with him, and eventually he moved over here with us.”
Recently, Lyman mastered the vinyl version of the Mars Volta's The Bedlam in Goliath. Direct-to-disk clients include Beck, who assembled an all-star band for a week of sessions. “The main studio is wired to the mastering room specifically for this purpose,” Lyman says. For more details about Infrasonic, visit www.mixonline.com.