From left: Studio West owners Amy Dyson, Mark Kirchner and Peter Dyson in the newly redesigned Studio B control room
Photo: Caleb Keiter
Studio West, which has offered commercial recording services in the San Diego area since 1971, completed a series of redesigns this year. Peter Dyson, owner since 2005, and Dyson’s partners, wife Amy Dyson and Mark Kirchner, upgraded every room within the 8,000-square-foot facility. “I think any studio needs to look at what they want to do in the future,” Dyson says of the upgrades, which outfitted Studio West for music production (including mixing and mastering), sound design, audio post, film and videogame trailers, and ADR and ISDN sessions, and also enhanced its surround capabilities. “We did the redesign with a view of conducting Pro Tools training and running a commercial studio within the same [facility].” The process began in 2006 with acoustician Bob Hodas overseeing an upgrade of Studio A, the primary tracking room (70-channel SSL 4064 E/G Series console, Neve BCM10 sidecar).
Client comfort was a major consideration in the redesign of Studio C.
In 2009, the Dysons and Kirchner called on Hodas and enlisted Michael Krewitsky of San Diego’s Professional Sound & Music to adapt Studios B and C for newer markets. “With Studios B and C, we’ve tried to push into the post market,” Dyson explains. “San Diego is very much in the hub of the videogame industry. The post market here was clearly underserved. Because of our proximity to L.A., it’s easy for people to say, ‘Let’s do our post there.’”
“After working in those rooms for years, you discover what the problems are, and we set about correcting the problems as gently as we could,” Krewitsky says. “We were trying to work with [existing room] geometries from the original layout.” Studio West’s previous owner had flipped the orientation of Studio B by 180 degrees and added a window between the control room and iso booth. The designers returned Studio B to its original orientation, replaced the window with a 4×9-foot diffusion wall (Auralex Space Couplers), added bass trapping and installed a 32-fader D-Control ES console and Pro Tools HD6 system, as well as a two-way high-def video monitoring system, among other mods.
The new Studio B hosted the sound design and surround mixing for the Iron Man 2 videogame trailer and ADR sessions with actor Richard Dreyfuss for the new movie Piranha: 3-D. Studio C, which Dyson initially converted from an office to a post room, was redesigned for film mixing and music mastering. The owners added hanging acoustic clouds and sidewall panels, and installed an 8-fader D-Command console with a Pro Tools HD5 system.
“There’s a central machine room [located] between B and C, where there are racks of computers with Pro Tools and interfaces and the ability to move audio throughout the facility,” Krewitsky says. “So a band can be tracking in A and we can move sessions over the network from A to B, so they can do mixes and editing, and then over into C, where clients could hear playback.”