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New Classrooms 2009

There's an art to creating a space that serves the dual purpose of professional-level studio and classroom. Pictured here are a selection of new and redesigned

There’s an art to creating a space that serves the dual purpose of professional-level studio and classroom. Pictured here are a selection of new and redesigned studios within colleges and universities — studios that give tomorrow’s engineers the opportunity to get their hands on pro-level gear and learn the tricks of the trade.

For a full list of schools, visit

Photo: Jay Henry

Southwestern College (Chula Vista, Calif.)

Carl Yanchar of Carl Yanchar Design developed the main studio for the Center for Recording Arts & Technology at Southwestern College ( The control room (pictured) is equipped with an SSL Duality console and full-range YDCG stereo monitors, as well as a JBL LSP 4338P 5.1 surround system. Tielines to the adjacent 1,590-square-foot rehearsal space allow recording of up to 55 musicians. The 1,175-square-foot tracking room is treated with maple hardwood and fabric panels, and can be subdivided with sliding glass doors to create two separate isolation rooms.

Photo: Jay Kaufman

Musicians Institute (Los Angeles)

Kaufman & Associates Architecture & Acoustical Design converted an unused hallway and storage room into the Musicians Institute’s ( new THX-certified dubbing theater. The 800-square-foot room is equipped with a 48-channel Digidesign ICON D-Control, Pro Tools HD6, JBL 3632 and 4645 monitoring, Stewart Microperf X2 screen, a Panasonic PT-AE2000 1080P projector and Dolby Lake processing. This theater supports the school’s new Post-Production Audio program, which offers small classes and workshops focused on applied hands-on learning.

Art Institute Studios

The Art Institute’s ( system of more than 40 North American schools provides courses in design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts. A push to expand and upgrade its audio production facilities resulted in the opening of several new studios during the past year.

Photo: Walter Smalling

Washington, D.C.

Jack Chester, director of facilities for The Art Institute of Washington, D.C., contacted the Walters-Storyk Design Group to redesign the college’s existing 1,200-square-foot complex. Included are a 500-square-foot live studio, a 350-square-foot control room, a 135-square-foot multipurpose Sound Lock, 100-square-foot iso booth and a 140-square-foot machine/storage room. The facility is used for students’ music projects. Featured equipment includes an SSL AWS 900 console, Genelec 1038 main monitors and Dynaudio AIR 15 surrounds. WSDG also designed an SSL Duality-centered facility for the Art Institute’s Austin, Texas, campus this year.

Los Angeles

The Art Institute of L.A.’s new studio was designed by Peter Grueneisen of nonzeroarchitecture’s studio bau:ton. Situated in the middle of a busy campus building, the facility’s tracking/mixing studio includes a control room and tracking room with an extended rear area for student seating and class participation. A machine closet separates noisy equipment racks from the mix room. Red cotton panels provide sound absorption and, with the black wood trim, pick up the school’s colors. This studio is used for tracking, mixing, post-production, animation and game-cinematics projects. Featured equipment includes an SSL C200 console, Pro Tools HD3 and JBL LSR4300 5.1 monitors.

Photo: Skip Burrows

Gold Studio, MediaTech Institute (Houston, Texas)

Engineer Skip Burrows designed this new studio within MediaTech Institute’s Houston campus; the facility serves Burrows’ commercial clients, as well as projects done by students in the school’s music recording and post-production departments. Final exams for the post-production students require them to choose a movie of their selection; obtain actors, voices, music and sound effects; and apply to film with the proper timing and balance. The studio is centered around a 32-fader ICON D-Control console. Monitors are Genelec 1029 surrounds; Genelec 1031As are also on hand as are Yamaha NS-10s. Burrows implemented a blend of acoustical treatments from RPG, Auralex, Pac International and Acoustic Systems to vary the stone room’s acoustics. Motorized curtain panels are used to dampen reverb time.

From left are American University’s Michael Harvey (assistant professor), Matthew Boerum (studio manager/adjunct professor) and Paul Oehlers (director/assistant professor)

American University (Washington, D.C.)

The Mixing Suite, which serves American University’s ( Audio Technology program, was renovated this past summer to accommodate a new 32-channel API 1608 console. The studio is used to develop analog mixing techniques in stereo and 5.1 surround. In addition to the new board and updated acoustic treatments, equipment upgrades include the addition of Avedis Audio and A-Designs EQs, Argosy and KK Audio racks, Pro Tools HD2, Focal and Genelec monitors, SSL XLogic and more. The university plans to further upgrade and expand its studio facilities, and has retained the Walters-Storyk Design Group to design a complex of new studios in the coming year.

Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland, Ohio)

The new Walters-Storyk-designed complex at Cuyahoga Community College ( includes seven recording studios, three multistation labs, a 5.1 surround classroom and a two-story, 3,000-square-foot, green screen-equipped soundstage/TV studio. All of the rooms feature A/V production panels that allow multichannel recording via a 192-channel, three-network Aviom Pro64 A-Net system. Pictured here is Studio A, with its 48-input SSL Duality console, ADAM S6VA Mk2 monitors and 48 tracks of Pro Tools HD3. This room is used for recording and mixing labs, student capstone and college record-label projects.

Professor Paul Hennerich with student Cate Cearley

Webster University (St. Louis)

Webster University’s digital suite, Studio D, was designed by Paul Hennerich of Pan Galactic Recording. The studio was conceived as a critical listening space that also serves as a classroom for teaching digital theory and practice; the university plans to expand uses for this room to include courses in mastering and mixing for 5.1 surround. Featured in Studio D is a Euphonix Fusion System 5 console supplied by Ozark Audio and coordinated by Lee Buckalew of Pro Sound Advice. Also included is a RADAR 24-channel hard disk recorder, Tascam DV-RA1000 master recorder, Genelec 1031A monitors, and Macs/PCs running Pro Tools, Nuendo and Final Cut.

Students Robert Hallmark (left) and Jeff Harder at the ICON

SAE Institute (San Francisco)

SAE’s sixth U.S. campus opened this year in San Francisco. Students begin the program with the use of the school’s Mackie 8-Bus-equipped studio; they later progress to working on an SSL AWS 900 (pictured) and Euphonix Artist Series MC Control and MC Mix. They also complete music and post-production projects in the 5.1 Digidesign ICON room using Pro Tools HD, and finally have the opportunity to work on a Neve Genesys console with 32 I/O of Apogee converters. All of the SAE control rooms are also fitted with outboard gear from Focusrite, TLA, Neve, SPL, Lexicon and TC Electronic. Monitors are from Boxer, Genelec, Blue Sky and KRK.