The Class of 2019

Designers Showcase Their Hottest Studios of the Year
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Every June, Mix surveys leading studio designers and acousticians and asks for a look at their latest and greatest projects. This year’s “Class” includes personal studios and commercial rooms in major and smaller U.S. markets. Some have spaces for tracking or maybe a booth; some are for mixing. There’s even a stellar facility out of Belgium. Here, then, are some of the world’s best new studios for 2019. For more, visit mixonline.com.

Old Mill Road Recording

Old Mill Road Recording

Old Mill Road Recording, East Arlington, Vt.

Studio Designer: Francis Manzella, FM Design Ltd.

Joshua Sherman and Joshua Sherman Productions are making an arts commitment to this small Vermont community, through a multi-discipline investment in dance, music and education. The build-out includes a stellar recording studio, designed by Fran Manzella to blend with the charm of the somewhat-intact 18th-century mill. Opened in November 2018, Old Mill Recording offers a unique combination of state-of-the-art equipment, world-class acoustics and inspirational views from the studio areas. Maintaining as much of the original Mill construction charm was paramount, as was providing the required sound isolation and acoustic interior finishes. Equipment includes an SSL Duality console, Griffin G15B main monitors and Pro Tools HD.

Daft Recording Studios

Daft Recording Studios

DAFT Recording Studios, Belgium

Studio Designer: Joris Luyten, Audioworkx in partnership with Stijn Verdonckt

In June 2018, working with Joris Luyten of Audioworkx on the design and acoustics, Stijn Verdonckt opened DAFT Recording Studios in Belgium, and it is stunning. It is also part of a hotel and residential experience that caters to the artist who likes to live the good life, complete with pool and sauna and lodging. Boasting a 200-square-meter live room with 8-meter ceiling (reverb time 0.8–1.2 seconds), DAFT Recording Studios is a high-end, Neve 5088 Shelford-equipped facility that includes one of the largest recording rooms in Europe, a large control room and four iso booths. Daylight is everywhere. The recording room is big enough to record a symphony orchestra, but also tight and compact enough to handle rock, pop or jazz music. Mics include Neumann U47 FETs, Neumann U67, RCA 44A, Neumann CMV563 and AKG C12A; outboard gear includes Pulteq EQs, UREI 1176s, Tube-Tech compressors and others; recording is to Pro Tools HDX and Studer A820 24-track.

Noise Match Studios

Noise Match Studios

Noise Match Studios, Miami, Fla.

Studio Designer: Horacio Malvicino, Malvicino Design Group

Noise Match Studios, home for producer and engineer Alexander Campos, Jr., opened April 1, 2019, in the heart of the Wynwood area of Miami, home of art galleries and trendy restaurants. Featuring a large control room and studio with variable acoustic characteristics, the space can double as a complete video production facility—it’s actually available on-site through Home of Music Mastermind Academy. Key gear includes an SSL Duality 48-channel console; Ocean Way Audio HR-2 Main Studio Monitors; ATC and Yamaha NS10M nearfield monitors; Bryston 4B power amplifiers; Lynx Aurora audio interfaces; Universal Audio, Empirical Labs, API and Bricasti outboard gear; Steinway Grand Piano; Fender Rhodes and Yamaha Drums.

One Union Recording

One Union Recording

One Union Recording, San Francisco, Calif.

Studio Designer: Carl Yanchar, Yanchar Design & Consulting Group

One Union Recording, a leading audio post house in the Bay Area since the mid-1990s, suffered a huge loss in 2017 when fire went through the building and smoke and water damage forced owner John McGleenan to make a huge decision—he decided to rebuild, bigger, faster and stronger. The new One Union Recording, which opened in October-November 2018, features three 5.1 post rooms and two full-blown Dolby Atmos 9.1.4 design/mix suites, including Studio 4, pictured here. Interior design was by Jon de la Cruz of DLC-ID, Oakland, with acoustics and studio design by Carl Yanchar, as it was back in 1995.

Each room is identically equipped (the Atmos rooms adding some more speakers and the RMUs) with, among other gear, Avid System 5 Version 6.0.3 consoles, Genelec SAM System 1237B mains (left, center, right), Genelec SAM System 7380AP subwoofer, Genelec SAM 8341surrounds and overheads, Focusrite Rednet AM2 Dante Cue system, Brainstorm DCD-8 word clock synchronizer, AVID HD Sync, AVID MTRX with Dante and 128 channels MADI and 8 mic pre channels, AVID Pro Tools Ultimate, Focusrite ISA 430 MK2 mic pre, Tube Tech Mic Pre, Tube Tech Compressor, Manley Vox Box, Blackmagic Ultra Studio 4K 110-inch projection screen and Sony Ultra 4k Laser Projector.

Mick Schultz Studio

Mick Schultz Studio

Mick Schultz Studio, Tarzana, Calif.

Studio Designer: Peter Grueneisen, nonzero\architecture

This ground-up personal recording and production facility for music producer and songwriter Mick Schultz was completed in 2018. A tall, airy and light-filled live room located north of Los Angeles, it is complemented by an equally generous adjacent control and production room. The dedicated studio building also includes a private client lounge and a sky-lit awards gallery.

The live tracking space features angular ceilings with integrated color-changing light strips and a faceted and triangulated wall, both designed to optimize the acoustics in the space. Tall windows offer daylight and views to the greenery outside, but can be closed with automated shades for privacy and a more intimate feel.

The control room has many of the same features and is equipped with a custom-built walnut workstation desk. Acoustic diffusers in the rear wall are made from the same wood and are framed by more windows leading to the day-lit gallery and entrance hallway.

The mostly white color scheme throughout the building is accented with dark gray fabric panels and a polished concrete floor in all spaces. Discrete flat screens in wood frames are displaying digital art when not used as TV and video monitors, contributing to a serene and residential feeling in the building.

Battery Lane Music

Battery Lane Music

Battery Lane Music, Nashville, Tenn.

Studio Designer: Steven Durr, Steven Durr Designs, LLC

Located Just a few miles from Music Row is a hidden gem, Battery Lane Music, with all the power of a commercial studio while retaining the charm of an artist retreat. Rather than having a studio that dictated production a style, owner/producer/writer Scott Gerow wanted a flexible, hybrid space that would adapt to any production and any artist. Featuring a tracking room to fit a band or a 20-plus piece string session, Battery Lane Music overlooks acres of land secluded in urban Nashville. The control room design centers around custom Steven Durr soffit-mounted mains. This combination clearly provides each person in the room an accurate, exciting image and confidence in what they're listening to. Other gear includes a Solid State Logic AWS 900 SE+ console, 32 Channels Avid HD I/O with Pro Tools 12, 1979 Kawai KG-7D grand piano, 1984 Vintage Yamaha kit, API 512v mic pres and 550B EQs, Neve 1073 pres and EQs; Focusrite 430 MKII mic pre, EQ and Compressor, Universal Audio Dual 610 Tube pres, and Dual Empirical Labs Distressors. Main monitors are vintage Altec 515Gs with TAD 2001 tweeters.

Zhejiang Conservatory of Music

Zhejiang Conservatory of Music

Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, Hangzhou, East China

Studio Designer: WSDG – Walters-Storyk Design Group

In 2015, the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music (ZJCM) opened a 100-acre campus, offering nine concert halls, 102 rehearsal halls, 842 practice rooms, six studios and a 60.1 multitrack laboratory. In 2017, ZJCM recognized the need for a world-class music production studio. China-based pro audio distributor DMT recommended WSDG to design and install the new studio. Key elements of the complex are a 650-square-foot control room featuring an SSL Duality console and PCM monitoring and a 3200-square-foot live room capable of hosting a 100-member orchestra.

WSDG director of design Renato Cipriano points to the huge oval ceiling cloud/lighting element as the studios’ crowning achievement. Floating over the live room from a height of 26 feet, it provides a strikingly effective visual, with its mood lighting and acoustic treatments.

“The cloud is fitted with a telescoping option that establishes multiple diffusion layers and diverse acoustics,” Cipriano says. “It contributes to the diffusive sound field and enhances the room’s reverberation characteristics. Beyond its acoustic properties, it functions as an LED fixture to expand the aesthetic lighting options. We also hung 26-foot-long absorbent curtains from silent, motorized tracks on each of the live room’s walls. Deploying these curtains can provide as much as a 50 percent modification of the room’s diffusion and reflection properties. We really pushed the envelope for ZJCM; this complex represents an interesting example of acoustic design potential.”

Hapy Hipi Studios

Hapy Hipi Studios

Hapy Hipi Studios, King City, Ontario, Canada

Studio Designer: Martin Pilchner, Pilchner Schoustal International Inc.

Hapy Hipi Studios, with its opening the last week of April 2019, features a modern control room with an adjacent vocal both and live room. The control room incorporates controlled reflection geometry that yields excellent response from the Genelec main monitors. The studio is situated in a large building that also houses a world-class car collection. The main garage is wired to double as a massive space for tracking instruments. This beautiful country setting also provides accommodations for studio clients on site. A perfectly restored SSL 4000G console, Genelec/ATC monitors, vast outboard gear collection, extensive high-end microphone collection and extensive backline instruments and amplifiers round out the package.

Justin Martin Private Studio

Justin Martin Private Studio

Justin Martin Private Studio, Oakland, Calif.

Studio Designer: Gavin Haverstick, Haverstick Designs

DJ/producer Justin Martin constructed his dream studio in his Oakland, Calif., home with the help of Simon Littlewood at Littlewood Works. After construction was complete, Haverstick Designs was hired to conduct testing and to develop an acoustical treatment plan, which included a stretch fabric system from Simplified Acoustics incorporating absorption, bass trapping and diffusion elements. A custom quadratic residue diffuser from Rebel Sky Acoustics was installed on the rear wall. Concealed in the ceiling cloud is a screen that can turn this space into a home theater with Dolby Atmos surround sound when it isn’t being used as an electronic musician’s playground. The studio opened in late October 2018.

A Switchcraft 96-pt DB25-TT Patchbay and Antelope Goliath control the synth/keyboard-heavy production power. Just a few of the units pictured: Knifonium, Gleeman Pentaphonic, Dave Smith Prophet 12, Dave Smith Tom Oberheim OB-6, Moog One 16 Voice, Moog MiniMoog Model D (1972 version), Minimoog Voyager, Moog SUB 37, E-MU SP-1200, Roland SH-101, TB-303, TR-808, TR-909, Korg MS-20 mini, Korg R3, Waldorf Blofeld desktop synth, Teenage Engineering OP-1, Dub Siren NJD DLX, Sequentix Cirklon, Ableton Push 2 and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 MK2.

Audio Machine

Audio Machine

Audio Machine, Malibu, Calif.

Studio Designer: Hanson Hsu, Delta H Design

Paul Dinletir of Audio Machine, who composes music for film trailers as well as commercial work (recent work includes Avengers: Endgame, Aquaman, Dumbo and more), called on Hanson Hsu of Delta H Design to help work up his private Malibu design and mix studio. The studio opened in June 2018 with a ZR Acoustics custom design layout with 100 percent surface area coverage. A blend of ZR Hybrids and ZR Sample Rate quantum devices in the control room delivers an audible wall-to-wall sweet spot while maintaining the original size and shape of Joe Zawinul's original control room. The studio has a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean with a 220-degree view from the patio outside. With control room and live room in one space (control room pictured), this unique ZR Studio has a rolling rear wall made up of four ZR Ultra-Light Hybrid Screens to keep the acoustic imaging lifelike and immersive. In tracking mode, the ZR Wall can be repositioned as a gobo around artists to control reflections for ultimate acoustic performance.

King Tide Studio

King Tide Studio

King Tide Studio, Sausalito, Calif.

Studio Designer: Jeff Hedback, HD Acoustics

This private use 1,000-square-foot studio facility features a shape-optimized control room with custom tuned Helmholtz devices. In addition to the control room and 450-square-foot live room, there is a medium-sized booth and a small booth, all with great sightlines. King Tide Studio caters to full ensemble tracking where the room acoustics, sightlines and technology all work together to capture and encourage creativity. Key gear includes an API 1608 console, Mytek private Q, AD/DA Burl MS 24x24, Avid HD I/O, Mara Machines MCI JH-24 16 track and JH-110 2 track. Retro 2A3, (2) Retro 176, Retro Sta Level, Genelec 8351 and Avantone monitors, and a Yamaha C6 Piano. Bountiful high-end mic locker includes Neumann U67, 87, KM 84s, Coles, AEA and Flea, among many others.

Inhesion Studios

Inhesion Studios

Inhesion Studios, Lilburn, Ga.

Studio Designer: Wes Lachot, Wes Lachot Design Group

Inhesion Studios, which owner Jeremy Grelle opened in February 2019, was designed from the ground up by Wes Lachot Design Group, with the Control Room employing a reflection-free design with a hardwood front end, giving the room a nice ambience for singing and composing. The Tracking Room features adjustable acoustics and clouds that are absorptive at low frequencies and diffusive at mid and high frequencies. Acoustical installation was by Brett Acoustics. Key gear includes a 32-channel SSL Matrix 2/Sigma/X-Rack; ATC SCM150 ASL active tri-amped main monitors with ATC discrete power amps and crossovers; Pro Tools with Apogee Symphony converters; and outboard from API, Rupert Neve, Universal Audio, Focusrite, Cranesong, Lexicon and Empirical Labs.

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City

Studio Designer: Francis Manzella, FM Design Ltd.

When the previous studio was damaged by a flood in 2018, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music seized the opportunity to implement a “Transformative Control Room” design to serve multiple production needs: music recording and mixing, film and TV mixing, and screenings. The Center hired FM Design with the idea of creating a completely new interior inside the existing shell, following water damage remediation. The Control Room offers inter-connectivity to all of the live rooms at the music center. The results are stunning visually as well as sonically. Major equipment includes a Lawo 200-plus channel mc2-56 console; Immersive JBL Monitor Speaker System, including M2 mains for L-C-R; and dual 128-channel Pro Tools HDX rigs.

Tori Kelly Private Studio

Tori Kelly Private Studio

Tori Kelly Private Studio, Southern California

Studio Designer: Gavin Haverstick, Haverstick Designs

Two-time Grammy winner Tori Kelly partnered with Haverstick Designs to design this recording studio in her home in Southern California. The space, which opened in November 2018, is optimized for both tracking and mixing using a combination of products from Acoustical Fulfillment (HEX Panels, PERF Panels, Barrel Diffusers and the patented Flex-48 Adaptive Treatment System), which allows Kelly to tune the room differently for when she is tracking acoustic guitar or vocals. Jacob “Biz” Morris coordinated and integrated the equipment that was purchased through IsRael Foster at Sweetwater Sound. Kelly’s mic chain is a Sony C-800G into a BAE 1073 mic/line preamp into a Tube-Tech CL1B. She has a Universal Audio Apollo x8p interface, and she listens through Focal SM9 monitors with a Focal Sub and Grace Design m905 monitor controller.

BARH Records

BARH Records

BARH Records, Huntsville, Ala.

Studio Designer: Carl Tatz, Carl Tatz Design

Richard Eade, who develops geographic information system software for a leading GIS company in Huntsville and has been both playing and recording music since elementary school, opened BARH Records in December 2018 and enlisted Carl Tatz for his signature PhantomFocus approach to system design and the custom installation of the PhantomFocus PFM UHD-1000 monitor system with PFM ICE Cube subs, PhantomFocus Edition Sterling Modular Plan D console, and PhantomFocus eChair. Acoustics were treated with a custom installation of the Carl Tatz Signature Series MixRoom Kit by Auralex. Eade records to Pro Tools 12 and makes regular use of plug-ins from UAD, Waves, Slate, McDSP, FabFilter, Avid and Izotope.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.

Studio Designer: WSDG – Walters-Storyk Design Group

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., is the world’s oldest technological research university. The Institute’s new WSDG-designed, fully immersive audio/video/3D production, mixing/editing complex was conceived to support RPI’s mandate of providing degree programs in engineering, computing, business management and information technology for next-generation technologists.

WSDG Partner/COO/project manager Joshua Morris reports that the assignment was focused on the renovation of the existing 1,700-square-foot space—specifically, the design, construction supervision and systems integration of a 1,000-square-foot audio recording/production studio, a cutting edge 300-square-foot audio control room, a 100-square-foot iso lab, 160-square-foot video control room and a 90-square-foot AV lab, with a 16-foot ceiling.

A WSDG priority focused on the facility’s variable acoustic properties, to compensate for the “deader” tracking environment required by immersive production techniques. Studio gear includes Avid Pro Tools S6, an S6 M40 modular control surface, and Genelec 7050B studio sub, 8000-422B wall mounts and 8030C 5-inch powered studio monitors.

Purdue Fort Wayne Sweetwater Music Center

Purdue Fort Wayne Sweetwater Music Center

Purdue Fort Wayne Sweetwater Music Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Studio Designer: Richard Schraug, Russ Berger Design Group

The Sweetwater Music Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne was created to support the university’s Popular Music and Music Industry programs. With studio and architectural design by RBDG, and constructed on the Sweetwater campus with financial support from Sweetwater CEO Chuck Surack, this facility includes a recording studio suite, audio laboratory, edit suites, classroom, field equipment check-out and student collaboration areas. Equipment highlights include an API 1608 console; Focal and Dynaudio speakers; Millennia and BAE preamps; and a robust roster of outboard gear, microphones, guitars and amps. The center opened in September 2018.

Grand Bay Recording Studios

Grand Bay Recording Studios

Grand Bay Recording Studios, Tampa, Fla.

Studio Designer: Alex Romero

Designer/CEO/lead audio engineer Alex Romero (MixedByLex) and assistant engineer Skyler Gibbons have been enjoying their time in Grand Bay since opening in June 2018. Studio I measures 24x16 (control room) and 10x10 (booth) and is equipped with Rupert Neve’s new 5060 console. The room has wall-mounted 15-inch drivers with a pair of 18-inch woofers powered by Augspurger’s new SXE-3D DSP-tuned amplifiers. The walls have Tampa Bay’s acoustic solution company “Acoustiblok” installed from floor to ceiling with their mass-loaded vinyl, which assist in a major way to control both mid and high frequencies. Fabricmate products cover the walls with their designer acoustic fabric tacked by Fabricmate framing product line. From the custom skyline diffuser built by the staff and their families, to the programmed mood lights, the vibe at Grand Bay is unmatched.

Studio to Stage Academy

Studio to Stage Academy

Studio to Stage Academy, Marlboro, N.J.

Studio Designer: Horacio Malvicino, Malvicino Design Group

The brainchild of IT engineer Michael Salvo, a music lover who considers this his life project, Studio to Stage Academy is a complete music school with five isolated practice/teaching spaces and one analog recording studio, with an SSL XL console, Ocean Way Audio Pro 2A studio monitors, Apogee DAW interfaces, Universal Audio, Empirical Labs and API outboard, and assorted electronic keyboards, DW Drums and Fender/Gibson guitars. The Academy focuses on serious music training for guitar, bass, drums, piano, string and horn instruments, as well as vocal coaching and music theory.