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Has anyone recorded at Sun Studios? Dynamics Plugins
Old 2nd May 2006
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Has anyone recorded at Sun Studios?

Just curious what the rates are. I see that they still record in evenings.
Old 2nd May 2006
  #2
Deleted User
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Funny you ask. I am sitting on my couch wearing my Sun Studio tshirt. I was there in October of 2004 for just the usual Memphis sight seeing tour (lots of music history, I recommend a trip) and I believe they are $75 hour. I could be wrong but that is what I seem to remember.

Hope this helps a little.
Old 4th May 2006
  #3
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superburtm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Cannon
If you are thinking about recording in Memphis go to Young Ave Sound. i am from NYC and have worked in tons of huge nice studios all around the country and that studio has thier **** together more so then some of the most famous studios i have been to. We considered Sun but choose to go Young Ave on a good recomendation. If I didn't hate the south so much I would record everything there.
Why do you hate the South??
Old 4th May 2006
  #4
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Yeah...

I have my own reasons for strongly disliking the city of Memphis.

If I never went back there it would be too soon.

That said, the Sun Studios tour was great, there's hella vibe just eminating from the place. I didn't know it was still a working studio but I wasn't suprised either. They didn't show the control room on the tour so I don't know what's in there for gear...but I dug the way it was looking down into the live room..."English" style as it's called?

Totally humble digs!
Old 4th May 2006
  #5
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superburtm's Avatar
 

I haven't been to that kneck of the woods for quite a few years. I'd prolly be a bit put off as well by narrow minded peeps..being used to the diversity of L.A. and all....The only places in the South I have been in the last 10 years is Kentucky which I frickin loved! And New Orleans (my first time) 3 months before Katrina ...nowhere like that place
Old 4th May 2006
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Southern Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Cannon
I have a general discomfort everytime i leave the NY area of knowing my liberal views, ********ly odd fashion sense, and overall demeanor is unwelcome by the vast majority of southerners. That said the girl I love the most in the world wears southern pride on her sleeve and embraces it all.
Very surprised by that.... I live in long beach, ca.... which i have to add is one of the most liberal cities in the US.... but i'm from Alabama.... so i have to say that the "Southern Hospitality" is a real thing.... No other place in the US will you find a more willing group of people no matter what race willing to pull over and help you fix a flat tire.... So man you might as well put on the extra-medium southern pride t-shirt and join your love.....

Dr. Clisby
Old 4th May 2006
  #7
dBr
Here for the gear
 
dBr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Cannon
I have a general discomfort everytime i leave the NY area of knowing my liberal views, ********ly odd fashion sense, and overall demeanor is unwelcome by the vast majority of southerners.

Hmm.. I grew up in the South but have lived in LA and the NYC area for most of my adult life. I lived in Memphis for several years & it's not my favorite place. However, I have to say that of all the places I've lived I saw more racism, close-mindedness & flat-out nasty attitudes when I lived in W. Orange, NJ (right down the street from Montclair) than anywhere else (the difference between Jersey and NYC has always baffled me). Of course, YMMV & I'm certainly not saying that everyone in Jersey is like that. However, I find that people too often resort to broad generalizations and stereotypical views of the South. Most people would consider me extremely liberal & I found many like-minded individuals everywhere I lived in the South (including Memphis). Of course, there are plenty of rednecks to be found out in the rural areas but aside from the variation in accents there's not too much difference from rural areas around the rest of the country. There are open & closed minded people everywhere.
Old 4th May 2006
  #8
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doorknocker's Avatar
Do you mind staying on topic?

Has anyone recorded in that place? There were stories about Sam Phillip's 'compressed ceiling' design having a major impact on the sound of the early Sun recordings.

Even if it's probably not a fully functional studio anymore, has anyone raised their voice in their above speech level and noticed anything 'magic'?
Old 4th May 2006
  #9
dBr
Here for the gear
 
dBr's Avatar
 

It's not fully functional anymore. It is considered more of a novelty to record there now (just to be able to say you did). The gift shop is bigger than the actual studio. Ardent is really the only fully functional older studio left (from the days when Memphis was the recording hub of the South). I did not record at Sun but did in several other Memphis studios & can tell you that it's not the most sought after place to record (sonically) in town. I think the Sun 'sound' had much more to do with the artists than the room.
Old 4th May 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
picksail's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
Yeah...

I have my own reasons for strongly disliking the city of Memphis.
'It's that Blackwood boy down the street that's corrupted our little Jay.'
Old 6th November 2006
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Axiomhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Do you mind staying on topic?

Has anyone recorded in that place? There were stories about Sam Phillip's 'compressed ceiling' design having a major impact on the sound of the early Sun recordings.

Even if it's probably not a fully functional studio anymore, has anyone raised their voice in their above speech level and noticed anything 'magic'?
I was in the room alone with my gf for about 5 minutes poking around and taking some pics. I didn't notice any "Magic" when I raised my voice. One of the employees came in and played a bit of guitar... again nothing noteworthy. I found the same thing when I visited Motown... except their reverb chamber, it gave me chills when I sang into it!
Old 6th November 2006
  #12
Gear Nut
 
gtichy's Avatar
 

a good friend of mine recorded a rockabilly record there in the mid-eighties. They had long gotten rid of Sam Phillips gear, but it still sounds good! I'm sure that the studio has changed a dozen times since then, too.

Those old sun records really were known for their vibe and character, not fidelity (even for the mid-50's) - if that's what your are going for, it's probably a fun experience. If you aren't awed by the magic and history of Sun, it's really just a small room with marginal gear.
Old 6th November 2006
  #13
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail View Post
'It's that Blackwood boy down the street that's corrupted our little Jay.'


He done dere screwed me up real good he did!


heh
Old 6th November 2006
  #14
Gear Nut
 
Robert O's Avatar
 

Only been there as a tourist

I've attached a shot of the inside....
Attached Thumbnails
Has anyone recorded at Sun Studios?-memphis-feb-2004-011-resize-2.jpg  
Old 6th November 2006
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
shaggseb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert O View Post
Only been there as a tourist

I've attached a shot of the inside....


woaw !!!!
you take your holidays with Joey Ramone ( look at the picture, on the left )!!!??? heh

sorry couldn't resist
Old 5th March 2014
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Sun Studio

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtichy View Post
a good friend of mine recorded a rockabilly record there in the mid-eighties. They had long gotten rid of Sam Phillips gear, but it still sounds good! I'm sure that the studio has changed a dozen times since then, too.

Those old sun records really were known for their vibe and character, not fidelity (even for the mid-50's) - if that's what your are going for, it's probably a fun experience. If you aren't awed by the magic and history of Sun, it's really just a small room with marginal gear.
Hi,
First an foremost, this is my first time to post on this site. I have gleamed from a lot of information here. With the wealth of knowledge that is on this site, I really don't feel worthy to even be posting here. But with that said, I just came across this page on Sun Studio and could not help but stop and make a few comments.

The rockabilly group that you referred to, I probably was the one who engineered that session. I had the privilege of working there from a month after the studio opened in 1987 for tours, until 1993. That was my first engineering job. I started out as the studio dink and worked my way up to a first engineering position, if you will. In that time frame we recorded several rockabilly groups. I worked on numerous sessions myself. One that we did record, that I did not work on was Reverend Horton Heat Band. In the time frame I was there I was privileged to work with the likes of DJ Fontana, though he never originally recorded there. I have worked with James Burton, who was not original artist or musician. I also was assistant engineer for Jerry Lee on numerous occasions, as well as Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, before he passed. I have been blessed to work with Rufus Thomas, who recored the song "You Ain't Nothing But a Bear Cat", which was a spinoff to Big Mama Thorton's " You ain't nothing but a hound dog". Which I believe they were sued and lost due to copywrite infringements.

When I began working there, as a tour guide buy day, and engineering at night, our tracking setup was an Akai MG 1214, which the last I saw, hangs on the wall of the cafe. While that setup was in place, we also tracked U2 on it. They originally planned to record one song, to my understanding. It was the song "Jesus Christ" to go on a Woody Guthrey tribute album. While the were there, they enjoyed them selves so much that the wound up recording 3 songs for the Rattle & Hum project. They came back a little over 6 months later and finished tracking and filming. We had to set everything back exactly they way it was 6 months prior. The only difference being, the day before they came on the second trip, we upgrade to a 24 track setup. With a Soundcraft 1600 Producer Series console, as well as a Soundcraft 2" machine. One day we were 12 track, next day 24 and tracked U2. I had the privilege of working with Cowboy Jack Clement won was senior producer, as well as Jimmy Iovine. Dave Ferguson, or Fergi, who was Cowboy Jack's engineer in Nashville, engineered the session. I was the tape machine operator as well as a bother guy, that his name slips me, was there on standby as a machine tech, who worked over at Memphis Sound Productions on Beale street, at that time. That night I personally labeled 24 reels of Ampex 456 from that session. Went through several demag's and head cleanings, to say the least.

I stayed with Sun up through 1993. At that time was owned by Gary Hardy, who was responsible for reopening the studio in 1987. I relocated to Meridian, MS and then on to Atlanta for about 6 years and now have made my way back to memphis to be closer to my parents, who are on up in their years. I work now freelance as an engineer and producer also shooting and producing video now. I have not been back to Sun in several years. The last time I was there, would have been maybe 2003 or 2004, it was till functioning. They had upgraded to a Soundcraft 2400 Producer Series board. I think the had upgraded multi track machines too. James Lot, who has since retired was the studio manager when I left in 93 as well as when I visited.

I want to go back and visit, but I don't think I know anyone there now. Too many memories. I cannot say this for sure and is not meant to be negative in anyway, but from what I have been able to see on the internet on their website and all the stuff painted on the wall of the cafe, it has become way too commercialized for me. It doesn't look like it did on the outside when I left.
To someone who has been there and done that and see it grow back to a functioning facility, it's way to commercialized. Just my opinion. please don't anyone cuss me or get upset for me feeling that way. But it feels like it ha lost it's purity. If that makes sense.

-Randy
Old 5th March 2014
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Some friends of mine recorded there on Saturday. Said the room looked unchanged from the '50's. Lots of vintage ribbon mics and tweedy amps. They tracked to PT and monitored with lots of Ampex tape slap. Had a blast, apparently. I should have the PT session in a few days.

I think the rate was $150/hr.
Old 5th March 2014
  #18
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
very cool ... thx for bringing this thread back from 2006 .. it was not open when i was in memphis years ago ... or they were out for dinner at the time ... please let us know how your friends project sounds ... cheers john
Old 5th March 2014
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Matt Ross-Spang is doing great things at Sun these days. I think he's got a bunch or great old tube gear, a 1-inch Studer, and recently a vinyl lathe.
Old 5th March 2014
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Matt Ross-Spang is doing great things at Sun these days. I think he's got a bunch or great old tube gear, a 1-inch Studer, and recently a vinyl lathe.

Matt does a super job, has lot's of cool ribbons and tube compression, he just got the original RCA console rocking, is one of the nicest people on the planet, is a very talented musician and producer, has great ears/engineering chops, knows his rooms very well, and is a veritable treasure trove of lore about Memphis and Sun. He really gets what Sam did and does a wonderful job of recreating it and bringing just the few critical modern touches to his fine work. You couldn't ask for a more fun and creative person to work with.

Highly recommended!

Best-
Jonathan
Old 5th March 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Matt Ross-Spang is doing great things at Sun these days. I think he's got a bunch or great old tube gear, a 1-inch Studer, and recently a vinyl lathe.

Matt bought one of my pristine Altec Cokebottle mic's for Sun last year. I was glad to see it go to such a great place. We talked about how he was trying to bring the studio gear back to the "glory days". Nice guy!
Old 5th March 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by imixproductions View Post
Hi,
First an foremost, this is my first time to post on this site. I have gleamed from a lot of information here. With the wealth of knowledge that is on this site, I really don't feel worthy to even be posting here. But with that said, I just came across this page on Sun Studio and could not help but stop and make a few comments.

The rockabilly group that you referred to, I probably was the one who engineered that session. I had the privilege of working there from a month after the studio opened in 1987 for tours, until 1993. That was my first engineering job. I started out as the studio dink and worked my way up to a first engineering position, if you will. In that time frame we recorded several rockabilly groups. I worked on numerous sessions myself. One that we did record, that I did not work on was Reverend Horton Heat Band. In the time frame I was there I was privileged to work with the likes of DJ Fontana, though he never originally recorded there. I have worked with James Burton, who was not original artist or musician. I also was assistant engineer for Jerry Lee on numerous occasions, as well as Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, before he passed. I have been blessed to work with Rufus Thomas, who recored the song "You Ain't Nothing But a Bear Cat", which was a spinoff to Big Mama Thorton's " You ain't nothing but a hound dog". Which I believe they were sued and lost due to copywrite infringements.

When I began working there, as a tour guide buy day, and engineering at night, our tracking setup was an Akai MG 1214, which the last I saw, hangs on the wall of the cafe. While that setup was in place, we also tracked U2 on it. They originally planned to record one song, to my understanding. It was the song "Jesus Christ" to go on a Woody Guthrey tribute album. While the were there, they enjoyed them selves so much that the wound up recording 3 songs for the Rattle & Hum project. They came back a little over 6 months later and finished tracking and filming. We had to set everything back exactly they way it was 6 months prior. The only difference being, the day before they came on the second trip, we upgrade to a 24 track setup. With a Soundcraft 1600 Producer Series console, as well as a Soundcraft 2" machine. One day we were 12 track, next day 24 and tracked U2. I had the privilege of working with Cowboy Jack Clement won was senior producer, as well as Jimmy Iovine. Dave Ferguson, or Fergi, who was Cowboy Jack's engineer in Nashville, engineered the session. I was the tape machine operator as well as a bother guy, that his name slips me, was there on standby as a machine tech, who worked over at Memphis Sound Productions on Beale street, at that time. That night I personally labeled 24 reels of Ampex 456 from that session. Went through several demag's and head cleanings, to say the least.

I stayed with Sun up through 1993. At that time was owned by Gary Hardy, who was responsible for reopening the studio in 1987. I relocated to Meridian, MS and then on to Atlanta for about 6 years and now have made my way back to memphis to be closer to my parents, who are on up in their years. I work now freelance as an engineer and producer also shooting and producing video now. I have not been back to Sun in several years. The last time I was there, would have been maybe 2003 or 2004, it was till functioning. They had upgraded to a Soundcraft 2400 Producer Series board. I think the had upgraded multi track machines too. James Lot, who has since retired was the studio manager when I left in 93 as well as when I visited.

I want to go back and visit, but I don't think I know anyone there now. Too many memories. I cannot say this for sure and is not meant to be negative in anyway, but from what I have been able to see on the internet on their website and all the stuff painted on the wall of the cafe, it has become way too commercialized for me. It doesn't look like it did on the outside when I left.
To someone who has been there and done that and see it grow back to a functioning facility, it's way to commercialized. Just my opinion. please don't anyone cuss me or get upset for me feeling that way. But it feels like it ha lost it's purity. If that makes sense.

-Randy
Hi Randy,

Don't know if you remember me but I was moving back to NY state from California in 1991 and we stopped by Graceland and Sun. We got to talking and I was telling you how I had a Trident console and all this recording gear in the moving truck I was driving. You ended up taking my girlfriend and I all over Memphis that day, Beale Street, BB Kings place, JJ Cales place, where Martin Luther King was shot, etc... it was such a great time.
Anyway I believe it was you... I had your business card for the longest time. You are a bass player right? And your girlfriend was part of the team that work on Elvis the day he passed?

I'll never forget Sun Studio (or that day, some 23 years ago!).

If you do go back to Sun, look Matt up... he is a super nice guy and I bet you guys would have some stories to trade.

Best Regards,
Larry
Old 5th March 2014
  #23
Yes, they are a functional studio now. The room is unchanged from back in the day.

Originally Posted by Jesse Cannon
I have a general discomfort everytime i leave the NY area of knowing my liberal views, ********ly odd fashion sense, and overall demeanor is unwelcome by the vast majority of southerners. That said the girl I love the most in the world wears southern pride on her sleeve and embraces it all.

--Yea, if your hanging out in churches or the suburbs. Otherwise have no clue of that founding... You should see some of the looks I get in NYC when they hear my accent! Haha!

I was also working at young ave around the time of this 1st post. Cool place.
Old 7th October 2014
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Hey, guys. Just read this write-up in Electronic Musician....

Inside Sun Studios' 'Sun Sessions' Program | Emusician

I, too, am curious about recording there. I couldn't find any current info on rates/availability.

Last edited by wpaldridge; 7th October 2014 at 10:30 PM.. Reason: added a question.
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