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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Tucked away in East Vancouver, Saga Recording recently completed a new facility that offers high-end equipment in a comfortable and inspiring environment for creating music. Saga Recording is known for providing a cost-effective haven for singer-songwriters and groups to fine-tune their craft and tell their story. When a growing client roster made it necessary to build a dedicated studio space, owner/operator Michael Nowak envisioned a Russ Berger-designed studio that would fit in the sweet spot between large multi-room facilities and small project rooms.

“To me, music production is a craft,� says Nowak, himself a recognized guitarist and songwriter. “To practice your craft well you need the right tools, one of which is a properly designed studio to work in. We contacted Russ Berger Design Group (RBDG) because of the firm’s experience and reputation for excellent studio design.�

The new Saga Recording facility features a 22′ x 13′ control room, a 15′ x 10′ live tracking room and a foyer with glass panel doors that’s wired for use as an iso booth, when needed. The control room is larger than the live room because of the personal way Nowak likes to work. On some projects, tracking is done in the control room as much as the live room and having the larger space helps with mixing and co-writing material with clients.

Nowak spent his early years totally immersed in playing, listening and writing music and went on to graduate with honors from Oakland University in Detroit with a degree in Jazz & Commercial Music. It was there that he developed his “golden ear� listening abilities and honed his musical skills. He has since earned international recognition for the style and quality of his writing, playing and recording work.

“Michael has worked the creative process for many years and knows what he wants in the way of performance and function,� says Russ Berger, RBDG president. “He came to us frustrated with monitoring guesswork and working around obstacles to capture and shape a performance. We listened carefully and designed a space that would fit the way he works and provide predictable results. In creating music, Michael’s a stickler for getting it right and he goes the extra mile to insure the details are there. The approach to his new studio was no different, and we had great fun working together on this project to create something we are all proud of,� Berger adds.

For recording vocals, one of Nowak’s specialties, it was decided that a small, isolated vocal booth would not deliver the open sound he desired. “Most of the artists we work with are uncomfortable recording in a really small space, so we cut vocals in the live room,� says Nowak. “Acoustically, it’s still dry enough for vocals and absorption can be placed behind the microphone if we’re going for a super dry sound.�

The control room and studio have windows to let in daylight, and a floor-to-ceiling window to the side of the controller console, all in keeping with Nowak’s goal of building a space that is warm, open and inviting. “From the moment a client walks in the door, the tone is that you’re in a creative sanctuary built by people who love music,â€? he notes. “Because of our emphasis on exceptional vocal production, many of our clients are singer-songwriters, so the vibe had to be just right.â€?

Nowak is continuing to work with SharaLee Ward, who recently signed a worldwide distribution deal with JMD Records/INgrooves/Universal Music Group for her debut CD produced by Nowak. He has also been writing and recording in the new studio with singer/songwriters Cassandra Bangel, Vania Levans and Lindsay Kipp. Saga Recording offers a wide selection of high-end microphones, outboard mic pres, dynamics processors and EQ units driving a Logic DAW to deliver the color of analogue with the clarity and precision of digital.

“The control room sounds wonderful; it has a natural but controlled ambience instead of being overly absorbed,â€? explains Nowak. “The acoustic imaging is spot on and the bass response is very accurate, which can be tricky to achieve in a moderate-sized room. When you don’t have to struggle with obstacles like distorted acoustics, you can direct your energy toward more useful efforts like helping someone create a moving piece of art that tells a story.

“Saga is a word from my Scandinavian roots that means story. Great art tells a story, and a great studio captures the essence and emotion of that story to make great recordings. We offer the skill, the vibe and the value to make that happen.�

For more information on Saga Recording, please visit