ETZGEN, SWITZERLAND: Driving 30 minutes from Zurich, past rolling hills and ancient forests, a recording artist might not expect to find a world class recording and mixing facility. But, in the little village of Etzgen stands Synphonic Recording Studios, a three-room facility built within an abandoned corner shop.
"After beginning my career in the basement of my parent's house decades ago, I built my first professional studio in an industrial building, in 1997," explains Synphonic founder, and principal engineer Tom Lumholtz. For my new studio I wanted to make sure that the acoustics, aesthetics and technology were all done in the most professional manner."
Synphonic is a full room-within-room structure, designed to provide sound isolation from neighboring buildings, and the living quarters of the owner and his wife on the upper floors. The control room is highlighted by an elegantly curved, backlit wall with soffit-mounted ADAM S5
audio monitor loudspeakers, currently the largest monitoring system by this manufacturer in Switzerland. A smaller Genelec 5.1 surround sound setup expands the control room flexibility. The rear wall is fitted with a custom diffuser ingeniously mounted to integrate a Helmholtz low frequency absorber.
The studio features an SSL Matrix mixing console; a full ProTools HD 5 system with an armada of plug-ins and a Lexicon 960L Effects System. Additional equipment includes: CLASP, an ingenious 'closed loop analog signal processor' designed to integrate analog tape machines into a digital DAW unit. Audiophile connoisseurs will also appreciate Synphonic's fully operational Studer A827 24 track 2 inch analog tape machine; refurbished Siemens/Telefunken mic pres; Studer equalizers and an AMEK compressor.
WSDG partner/GM Dirk Noy reports the project included the studios structural and room acoustics, and interior design. "Tom Lumholtz selected a bold silver couch which established an elegant mood for the environment, a smart mix of art-dÃ©co and contemporary styles in a classic red-black color scheme. This is a unique and extremely comfortable studio, with a distinctively warm, melodious sound."
"We are delighted with the results of this project," Lumholtz notes. "The entire WSDG team did a fantastic job and the end result far exceed our expectations. We named the studio our 'New York Room' in honor of WSDG's main office. "We get tremendous positive feedback from our clients and friends. I'm truly happy that we went all the way in terms of sonic quality."
Photos: Synphonic Studios, Etzgen, Switzerland, exterior
Synphonic Studios Control Room with view into live room
Symphonic Studios Control Room rear with art deco couch & custom diffuser
Walters-Storyk Design Group has designed over 3000 media production facilities in the U.S., Europe, the Far East and Latin America. WSDG credits range from the original Jimi Hendrix Electric Lady Studio in Greenwich Village to NYC's Jazz At Lincoln Center performance complex, broadcast facilities for The Food Network, CBS and WNET, and corporate clients such as Hoffman La Roche. Recent credits include Jungle City, NY's major new destination studio, private studios for Goo Goo Dolls, Jay-Z, Timbaland's Tim Mosley, Aerosmith; Green Day, Bruce Springsteen and Alicia Keys. WSDG principals John Storyk, Beth Walters, and Dirk Noy lecture frequently at universities and industry events, and contribute regularly to industry publications. WSDG is a six-time winner of the prestigious TEC Award for outstanding achievement in Acoustics/Facility Design. The firm maintains offices in NY, SF, Miami, Argentina, Brazil, Beijing, Germany, Mexico City, Spain and Switzerland.