Rhapsody Street Studios (www.rhapsodystreet.com), a San Antonio — based tracking and mixing facility, recently converted its Studio B overdub room into a mastering suite, spurred on by Rupert Neve's designs.
Rhapsody Street co-owner Mack Damon in the new B room
Producer/engineer Mack Damon — who worked at the studio for 11 years before purchasing the studio in 2002 — and his business partner of the past 18 months, producer/engineer Ken Branca, frequently drove to nearby Wimberly, Texas, to master Rhapsody Street projects with Legendary Audio founder Billy Stull. There, he heard a prototype of the company's Masterpiece 2-Bus analog processing system designed by Neve. Hearing the unit gave them the kick-start needed to open their own mastering facility. Construction included building tuned compression walls and ceilings in the 225-square-foot control room, installing new fixtures and reworking the studio area for mastering. “We changed the room dimensions,” says Damon. “We reduced the long end by a foot-and-a-half. The back wall is now a massive bass trap.”
They installed a JBL LSR28P three-way stereo monitoring system with JBL LSR 12P subwoofers. Both Damon and Branca work on a Digidesign Pro Tools|HD3 workstation with 192kHz interface, which runs into a Central Station monitoring interface and Command|8 control surface. They augment their digital equipment with Class-A outboard processing from Focusrite and SSL, as well as a Bedini Acoustic Space Environment Processor (BASE).
The new addition to Rhapsody Street allows clients to both mix and master in-house. “We're mastering right off the Pro Tools mix bus,” says Damon. “If we're mixing in Studio A, we can run rough mixes through the mastering and be able to make changes ahead of the mastering process.” Studio A offers a second Pro Tools|HD3 unit, paired with a Digidesign Control|24 mixing surface and a collection of outboard gear from Neve, Avalon, Focusrite, Chandler and API.
The roomy Studio A also gets its fair share of tracking sessions, primarily regional indie rock and alternative acts, as well as hip hop and R&B migrating from nearby Houston. But they've hosted acts of all genres, Damon adds, and their city's low cost of living allows them to charge “ridiculously low” rates in the process. If that doesn't send clients into a state of rhapsody, maybe the new Studio B will.