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Project Studio: Axis Sound

Jim Anderson, current AES president and a professor in the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University, pointed us to this month's

Jesse Lauter tracks in Axis Sound (pictured) and often mixes in his home studio.

Photo: Ben Rowland

Jim Anderson, current AES president and a professor in the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University, pointed us to this month’s project studio owner, Jesse Lauter. A graduate of the Clive Davis school, Lauter is now one of three partners in Axis Sound (, and mixes in his own living room studio, Ouestern (pronounced Western).

Lauter actually began his engineering career before entering NYU. He worked as a second at ZAC Recording in his hometown of Atlanta before earning admission to the Clive Davis Department in 2005.

“To my mind, this school has one of the most outstanding faculties,” Lauter says. “My sophomore year, I had as my studio teacher Nick Sansano, who worked with Sonic Youth and Public Enemy. My writing teacher was revered critic Robert Christgau. My junior year, I had Bob Power as my studio teacher; he produced The Roots, DA’ngelo, all sorts of great acts. My senior year, I had one-on-one sessions with Tony Maserati and Kevin Killen. I was pretty spoiled, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!”

Lauter also maximized every extracurricular recording opportunity. He tracked an entire album for country-soul group The Woes while he was in school, as well as seven tracks with Smokey Hormels’ Roundup with fellow student Sean O’Brien, and a full-length for the Low Anthem.

“One of the great advantages of going to an engineering school is, during the holidays I could get gear from kids who were out of town,” Lauter recalls. “I went to Block Island, which is 10 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, and set up a studio there. That [Low Anthem] record has had great success; they got signed to Nonesuch Records off of the album I worked on [Oh My God, Charlie Darwin], which got reissued and remastered by Bob Ludwig.”

Now, Lauter does most of his tracking in Axis Sound (New York City), which he owns with founding partners Steve Rossiter and Jeff Peretz. The studio is centered around a 32-channel Soundcraft Ghost console, a Mac G4 running Pro Tools HD6 and JBL 4408 stereo monitoring. Also key to the Axis operation are outboard pres’ and processing such as API 2500 bus compressor, two API 550B EQs and 512B mic pre’s, Ampex MX-10 4-channel vintage tube line mixer/mic pre, two Vintech 1272 2-channel Neve clones and two Empirical Labs Distressors. The studio also uses plug-ins such as the Waves TDM Platinum plug-in bundle, and an assortment of mics from Neumann, Lawson, Royer, Electro-Voice, Shure and Sennheiser.

“The studio is in an old apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen,” Lauter says. “We have the whole building. You walk in and its’ a total ghost town, but that’s great because we have this wonderful stairwell that I mike all the time. The room acoustics are very dead, even though its’ an open studio — theres’ no glass wall between the control room and the live room.”

Some of Lauters’ other credits, at Axis and beyond, include James Blood Ulmer, The Miamis, Ingrid Michaelson and Alana Amram & The Rough Gems. For information about Lauter’s home mixing room, visit www.mix