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A Start To Finish Pictorial of my New Studio in Central Mexico Dynamics Plugins
Old 12th November 2009
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

A Start To Finish Pictorial of my New Studio in Central Mexico

Hola, all--my name is Doug. I'm a composer/producer who also plays drums, piano, bass, guitar and a few other things.

I've always had a personal studio, ranging from a spare bedroom to a couple of converted garages, but when my wife and I moved to San Miguel de Allende and purchased 5 acres on a hill outside of town, it was an opportunity to build something from the ground up. And we did--after 14 months of construction, we are now living in our dream house, with a dream studio attached.

I laid out the room the way I like to work--with the mix station in the same room as the piano, and the drums and bass recording areas close enough so that I don't feel ridiculous running back and forth for those projects where I play everything.

In addition, I am a jazz musician so I wanted to be able to record a trio with perfect visual communication but some sonic separation--not really sonic isolation but just enough to dampen bleed to a manageable degree.

Building in Mexico brought some challenges--there is very little wood used in construction in my area, for one thing. So I was dealing with brick walls and a bit of sheetrock for the ceilings of the drum and bass booths, and stained polished concrete for the floors.

I sent my drawings to a couple of studio designers and landed with Ken Gorres in L.A. He figured out how to make my plan work with a minimum of wall treatment--I like a mildly live sound as opposed to a dead one--by figuring the angles so that the echo dissipates instead of building up. Before I added furniture and wall treatments, the natural sound of the room was spectacular, live but uncluttered. Too live for my purposes, but I felt good that underneath it all, the basic sound of the room was wonderful. I'm still doing a few things to the bass and drum booths to tighten them up, but overall I am super happy.

So here is a pictorial tour, from start to finish. I hope you dig it.

The basic floor plan:


A 3D model that Ken built:


The construction begins! The house is to the right, the studio to the left:


A sort of overview--those are the drum and bass booths to the right, and the live room/mixing area is to the left:


The walls start going up--these are the two booths again:


Troughs for mic cables going from the mixing area to the two booths:


Standing in what is basically the mixing area:



Getting very near the end--the house on the right, and the studio on the left:


The Tejamanil ceiling offers a lot of variation and irregularity:


Three colors of acid-staining on the polished concrete floors:


Next post will have the finished photos!
Old 12th November 2009
  #2
Here for the gear
 

This looks fantastic. can't wait to see the finished pictures
Old 12th November 2009
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

These shots were taken last week at our open house.

The view looking into the studio from the landing:



Looking across the live room into the drum booth from the West:



The keyboard/mix area (note the GIK bass traps--thanks, Frank!):



The drum booth, with double paneled sliding doors that were built by a terrible company but thankfully work great. They reduce the sound enough so that it isn't a bother to me when tracking:



The bass booth (note the 1956 RCA broadcast ribbon mic in the background--we have two of them, and they sound lovely on the piano):



Finally, my wife made a wall display of some of my projects:



In the end, building was a total gas. Ken did a great job with the design. The architect/GC here in Mexico was spectacular and making the vision a reality. Everything here is custom made, and the process is very flexible so if we decided that a wall needed to be moved it was a simple matter of knocking dow the old one and putting up a new one--in other words, no resubmitting of plans to bureaucrats.

I could have spent 5 times as much trying to soundproof the studio but in truth--it's in the middle of 5 protected acres with no neighbors within 1/8 of a mile. No roads save our own, no flight plans above us. I usually have the (small) windows open for ventilation. Occasionally, I might hear a sheep or a burro in the distance. It is highly unlikely that that would be the biggest problem on a take.

And yes, I am the luckiest man on the planet. We love living here--lots of good musicians, artists, writers, restauranteurs.
Old 12th November 2009
  #4
I can see you were successful in getting somebody to lend you a hand:



Usually when others lend me their hands they want them back at the end of the day. Lucky you!
Old 13th November 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
goldenlotus's Avatar
 

Loving the piano in the control! Might have to do that myself down the line.
Old 13th November 2009
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Lend me a hand, and you draw back a stump! But at least now, I can lend someone a hand myself and not risk my own.
Old 13th November 2009
  #7
Gear Addict
 

What a beautiful place!

Congratulations.
Old 13th November 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Tonio Ruiz's Avatar
it looks amazing, great environment, congrats!!
Old 13th November 2009
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks, all--as a piano player/arranger type, being able to swivel around and grab my main instrument (wait, that sounds dirty!) is more than just a luxury. Plus the room has a wonderful vibe for late night playing in low light--those colors on the floor start looking like a subterranean grotto.

Tonio--so you're in DF? Su ingles as mas mejor que mi Español. Mi Español as mkor que antes, pero todavia sucks.

I went to check out your new place--lovely, super pro vibe to it. Do you know any of the players in San Miguel de Allende, like Ken Basman or Victor Monterrubio?
Old 13th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Tonio Ruiz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzooo View Post
Thanks, all--as a piano player/arranger type, being able to swivel around and grab my main instrument (wait, that sounds dirty!) is more than just a luxury. Plus the room has a wonderful vibe for late night playing in low light--those colors on the floor start looking like a subterranean grotto.

Tonio--so you're in DF? Su ingles as mas mejor que mi Español. Mi Español as mkor que antes, pero todavia sucks.

I went to check out your new place--lovely, super pro vibe to it. Do you know any of the players in San Miguel de Allende, like Ken Basman or Victor Monterrubio?
thank u very much Sr.

No I'm afraid I don't know anyone at San Miguel, actually I've been there just once like years ago, I didn't know there are nice studios and such great musicians there, it's amazing, I'm glad to hear that

I'm a guitar player myself, I've been around for a while and done quite a few things here in the mainstream but mostly rock, I like jazz but in my hands always end up sounding like rock here is myspace.com/tonioruiz you'll see my point

I'll visit your studio if I get to go to San Miguel, I mean, if you don't mind

Hugs from DF
Old 13th November 2009
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Tonio, I'd be hurt if you ever visited San Miguel and DIDN'T contact me! And at some point, my wife and I will be heading to Mexico City for museums and so on, and I hope it will be ok to give you a call and swing by to see your operation too.

Quite a few good players here in SMA, all genres though rock seems to be the weakest. Ok, que tenga un buen día, compadre.

Doug (jazzooo @ aol.com)
Old 16th November 2009
  #12
Gear Head
 
limestudio's Avatar
 

what a jackass im i for not going to your studio , i visted san miguel a few months back !

looks great !thumbsup
Old 16th November 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Tonio Ruiz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzooo View Post
Tonio, I'd be hurt if you ever visited San Miguel and DIDN'T contact me! And at some point, my wife and I will be heading to Mexico City for museums and so on, and I hope it will be ok to give you a call and swing by to see your operation too.

Quite a few good players here in SMA, all genres though rock seems to be the weakest. Ok, que tenga un buen día, compadre.

Doug (jazzooo @ aol.com)
you're on Mr... best of luck with all your projects

cheers!!!
Old 17th November 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Lol, Limelight! Next time, ok?

Doug
Old 17th November 2009
  #15
Gear Head
 
limestudio's Avatar
 

hahah limelight!
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