It’s been a year since Dave Grohl made a stop at the legendary Robert Lang Studios (RLS) to film parts of the Seattle episode of his acclaimed HBO series Sonic Highways. Since then, Robert Lang Studios has been busy with many projects, including the refurbishing of a 72-input SSL 4072 G-Series console purchased from Peter Barker of Interscope. (And, before Barker, the console belonged to veteran A&R executive/producer/engineer Ron Fair.) Studio owner Robert Lang purchased the board with local engineer Chris Rahm, and he began restoring it this past February. This console was used by the likes of Dr. Dre and Michael Jackson, among many other artists.
The board was recapped at Interscope, and when it was received at RLS, it sat for three years until Lang found a space for it in the residence part of the four-story facility. He started by unpacking each channel and assembling the desk. Lang has been busy restoring and interfacing the board, and is currently replacing the incandescent lightbulbs in each meter with new, yellow LEDs for clarity and brightness—his own prototype and design. He also rebuilt the power supplies. What does Lang like best about this console? “144 inputs…enough said,” Lang says.
According to RLS Education Program Director Marlie Pesek, “This board will be dedicated to the RLS education program and will be a designated place for students to practice their skills and learn on this amazing piece of equipment. The plan is to transform part of the home into more studio space—the gear, the tech benches and the studio at large continues to grow, and the only place to go is up into the house!”
The studio, located just north of Seattle, has held sessions with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis over the past months, and has also recently hosted two fundraising events for local alternative radio station KEXP. Proceeds for both live sessions will benefit KEXP’s New Home Campaign.
“KEXP needed a studio to use for their campaign/sessions, and asked if we would help,” says Studio Manager Tina Lang. “They are building a larger, state-of-the-art facility, and we offered the use of our studios.” The first session with Daniel Lanois and his band and the second session with Calexico were both recorded live at RLS; both bands also answered questions from a live audience.
The studio has undergone many evolutions in its 41-year-history, and continues to adapt. Lang is in early talks with composer Ron Jones (Family Guy, Star Trek: The Next Generation) about the potential to build a professional dubbing stage within the existing studio facilities, setting the foundation for attracting the audio post-production film and gaming industries to the scenic Pacific Northwest.