Recording - September 2014 - 4
PUBLISHER: Thomas Hawley
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Brent Heintz
EDITOR: Mike Metlay
SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR: Lorenz Rychner
TECHNICAL CONSULTANT: Paul Vnuk Jr.
EDITOR AT LARGE: Beto Hale
MÚSICO PRO EDITOR: Fernando Curiel
Paul Vnuk Jr., Michael Nickolas, David Bryce,
Malcolm Doak, Marty Peters, James
Lindenschmidt, Bruce Black, Mike Rivers
Where do YOU make music?
We often get photos of our readers' studios, and some of them are truly inspiring.
A lot of time and thought, a lot of sweat equity, and (sometimes but not always!) a
fair bit of money has led to these readers having comfortable, great-sounding, creatively encouraging spaces for their music.
But for every studio like that, I'm betting there are five more that are just... not. I say
that while thinking back over 30 years of my own spaces, some of which are best
described with entries from my studio notebooks...
August 1986: The drop ceiling fell today. Turns out the vibration from the monitors
worked it loose, and it came crashing down all over the floor, narrowly missing my
rig. It's a good thing thin-sheet asbestos isn't very heavy, huh? Wait... asbestos?!
July 1991: Finally found the source of the flashes of rapid movement I've been seeing out of the corner of my eye.... it's centipedes. A whole nest of them, living somewhere in the front wall of the studio. They come scooting out of the cracks between
the bricks and back in again, using the studio wall as a shortcut. Hooray.
October 1996: New space has metal ductwork that resonates at a fair number of frequencies, and the walls are coated with thick fiberglass insulating batts that are rolling
off everything above 7 kHz. Landlord says it's instant death if I touch them. Brilliant.
May 1998: Walkthrough of new house. At one end of the partly-finished basement
was the room that was left when they ran out of money. Just walled off with a hollowcore door. No carpet, no drywall, pink R-7 dangling down between the exposed ceiling slats, one window that can't open, impossible shape. Dr. Mrs. Dr. Metlay looked
around and said brightly, "This will be perfect for your studio!" Sigh.
Sound familiar? I'm still in that last space, and have been for over 15 years. When
I moved in, I nicknamed it Subterranean Scumbarge Studios, and it was a source of
crushing anti-inspiration for me and every musician who came to visit. But slowly,
over time, I've turned it into a place where I'm happy and comfortable making music.
It wasn't a huge expensive all-at-once process, it was a series of small and effective
tweaks. There's still more to do, but I'm proud of how far it's come.
In this issue, we provide inspiration for improving your space, large or small, with
lots, little, or no money thrown at the problem. These aren't tales of mighty rooms
with million-dollar budgets... although our review of API's magnificent mini-console,
THE BOX, does hint at a way to get a million-dollar sound for significantly less than
that. These are tips from folks who do this stuff every day and have learned how to
improve their spaces, bit by bit.
Brian Lucey's mastered four Number One albums in just the past year or two,
but his mastering studio isn't the stuff of infinite-budget dreams; he talks about how
he has built and derived inspiration from the walls in, starting on page 58. David
Bryce has put a fair number of subwoofers in studios, and shares his wisdom on
when and how to use them on page 40. I teach the many ways a monitor controller can improve your studio on page 26, Michael Nickolas walks us through
turning two rooms in a new house into a real studio on page 18, and Malcolm
Doak provides ten simple tricks to make any space more user-friendly on page 46.
Oh, and if you're wondering why your wall treatments haven't helped your room's
acoustics as much as you think they should, maybe you're not looking in the right
direction-check Bruce Black's article on page 62.
All this plus a nice slate of reviews-of monitors, headphones, monitor controllers (and an audio interface with monitor control built in), beautiful mics and
more-adds up to a whole lot of help for the recording musician trying to maximize his or her personal creative space. Happy, comfortable musicians who can
trust what they're hearing simply make better music-why not do what you can to
join that club?
Enjoy the issue.
Brent Heintz, Paul Vnuk Jr.
ART & PRODUCTION
ART DIRECTOR: Scott Simmonds
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Colin Courtney
WEB GOALIE: Colin Courtney
PLAYBACK PLATINUM SERIES
ADVERTISING SALES AND MARKETING
DIRECTOR: Brent Heintz
CLASSIFIEDS MANAGER: Colin Courtney
PRESIDENT: Thomas Hawley
VICE PRESIDENT: Brent Heintz
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RECORDING September 2014
Recording - September 2014
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