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Anyone here work in LA studios? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 24th February 2016
  #1
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Anyone here work in LA studios?

I'm going to LA to record at Capitol next week. March 2016. The session is for a singer with Big band + strings. I did a similar project about 6-months ago at East-West 1 and it was the greatest studio I've worked in. This time they were booked so I wanted to go to United A. We booked it but were bumped because of a month-long booking they got, so now we're over at Capitol. I really wanted East West or United because they are vintage rooms and I like to record without isolation or headphones. I know that Capitol was built in the '50s, but it was re-done and is not really the same as it was whilst East West and United are virtually the same as they were 50 years ago. All the Sinatra/Basie studio dates were done at United A. I think those are the best sounding big band and vocal records made on the west coast. My favourite big band and vocal recordings are done in NYC at Fine Sound or at Columbia 30th street.

Question to you LA based producers/engineers/musicians. If you've worked in these rooms, can you describe the difference, and which studio you prefer, and why?
Old 24th February 2016
  #2
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You in Capitol A or B? (Or the combined room)

Capitol is an amazing place to work. Very good big band room. They redid things a couple years back. New consoles, great monitoring... Such history there, great staff, etc... I haven't worked in the other rooms so I can't compare, but Capitol is a great space.

-Ben
Old 24th February 2016
  #3
Don't forget the chambers. I would send tracks to them and print the returns for later mixing.
Old 25th February 2016
  #4
Not to go off topic, but have you checked out The Bridge? Greg Curtis' place:
http://www.thebridgerecording.com/
Old 25th February 2016
  #5
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The Bridge is not a "classic" room. It's a modern space with everything that you would expect of a modern space. The acoustics in there are first rate, it's super quiet, and the staff is fantastic. There's a reason why it is heavily used in the LA scoring community.

It is also a very good sounding big band room and there is a great piano in there... It is highly recommended.

--Ben
Old 25th February 2016
  #6
Capitol A sounds great, not as long a decay as you might think... I believe B sounds fantastic, too. Yes, print your chambers, if you can. Who's engineering? I was just there with Charlie P. last week, and with Al Schmitt and Steve Genewick back in January.

EastWest... Rhythm sections sounds great there; strings are good... Brass OK, and I don't really like woodwinds there. My experience and YMMV.

Ocean Way B is killer... Only ever worked there, as Studio A was always taken by JJP. In B, I did one session with rhythm section on the smaller side of the glass and large string section in the main room. In the main room of B, drums sound good towards the back of the room at an angle. Ask the engineers there, they know.

BTW, I was also concerned about the renovations at Capitol, but it's all good. Nothing important was disturbed. The door was replaced because it was beat from all the years of cartage banging into it. The locks are the same, and you can still open up and link with B for really big sessions. The console was just rebuilt in C. A ton of great records were made in Capitol A, including many Sinatra records, and similar to what you're doing.

Oh, and watch out for putting horns towards the back of the room right under the air conditioning vent. You can't hear it, but you can feel it, and that's not good for horn players, in particular.
Old 27th February 2016
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
The Bridge is not a "classic" room. It's a modern space with everything that you would expect of a modern space. The acoustics in there are first rate, it's super quiet, and the staff is fantastic. There's a reason why it is heavily used in the LA scoring community.

It is also a very good sounding big band room and there is a great piano in there... It is highly recommended.

--Ben
That's why I brought it up - Capitol A existed in name, but it is not the same studio now that it was originally. It is, in essence, "modern", but with old echo chambers at hand.

I believe Greg designed The Bridge with a more "old-fashioned" mindset - that of having a great-sounding large room that would be conducive to capturing large ensembles all-at-once - the way "they" used to do it; but with all the modern trimmings needed by film and TV
Old 27th February 2016
  #8
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Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
That's why I brought it up - Capitol A existed in name, but it is not the same studio now that it was originally. It is, in essence, "modern", but with old echo chambers at hand.

I believe Greg designed The Bridge with a more "old-fashioned" mindset - that of having a great-sounding large room that would be conducive to capturing large ensembles all-at-once - the way "they" used to do it; but with all the modern trimmings needed by film and TV

You say it's not the same, based on what? Have you worked there before/after? Ever?

It didn't feel that different to me, although it had been about 3 years since I was in last before doing this recent record. I'm curious about the specific changes you seem to know about in detail.
Old 29th March 2016
  #9
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Okay gang, I'm back in NYC. I did 2 days at Capitol A with big band + strings. It was fine, but I much preferred the room, space, sound, and overall vibe at EastWest. Yes, Capitol is not the same as it was in the '60s. Actually, most of my favourite Capitol albums were mono and recoded at the old Melrose studio.

I would have loved to go to the Bridge but it was booked the days I needed. Capitol was the only room available with the proper space. Henson was booked and United (which was my first choice but bumped us).

Ed Cherney is my engineer of choice in LA. I also worked with Patrick Smith many years ago and I'd like to reconnect with him. I haven't worked with Al.
Old 29th March 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robshrock View Post
You say it's not the same, based on what? Have you worked there before/after? Ever?

It didn't feel that different to me, although it had been about 3 years since I was in last before doing this recent record. I'm curious about the specific changes you seem to know about in detail.
Not the same as when built. The giant control room and the iso-booths have encroached on the original floor space. Look at photos of Capitol A in the late '50s and '60s and compare to the current studio A.
Old 29th March 2016
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
Not the same as when built. The giant control room and the iso-booths have encroached on the original floor space. Look at photos of Capitol A in the late '50s and '60s and compare to the current studio A.
Yes, I understand… I was referring to Capitol as it has been for the past several decades, where a lot of classic recordings have also been made. There was a renovation in the past year or so, but nothing was changed significantly… my point. Obviously, I can't personally speak to how it was in the 50s and/or original location.

At any rate, I think it's the chambers that are special there.To the OP, Capitol is still a great room for large ensemble recording.
Old 30th March 2016
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robshrock View Post
Yes, I understand… I was referring to Capitol as it has been for the past several decades, where a lot of classic recordings have also been made. There was a renovation in the past year or so, but nothing was changed significantly… my point. Obviously, I can't personally speak to how it was in the 50s and/or original location.

At any rate, I think it's the chambers that are special there.To the OP, Capitol is still a great room for large ensemble recording.
We didn't use the chambers. My first thought was to print the chambers for the mix which will be done at Ed Cherney's room at The Village, but we had enough ambience in the room so no extra echo was needed.

And yes, it is a good room for large ensemble but the layout, and size or East West is better. More room, and you can set up like a stage. Also, East West has 3 M50s if you want a Decca Tree. I imagine the Bridge has a similar dimension. capitol has a weird shape and even 40 musicians are crammed in there ass-to-elbow. Capitol has a great old Steinway B but it was being used in studio B so we had to use the Yamaha which is fine, but I preferred the Bechstein piano at East West. Also, East West has an old Neve 8078 in studio 1.

At the end of the day, Capitol is more than fine but I prefer East West all around. Again, I haven't worked at United but I think I would dig it. When I compare big band and/or studio orchestra records from the old days, I like the stuff from United best like Count Basie and Sinatra records made there. The classic albums from the Capitol tower sound great too but after they renovated the room, added iso booths and built a large control room, the sound is dryer and more isolation is used.

Also, I like to set up the orchestra like we're playing a concert with a minimal use of baffles and no headphones. This is a challenge at Capitol these days.
Old 30th March 2016
  #13
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Were you just in Studio A or were you able to get the combined room of A + B? 40 would indeed be a lot for just one of the rooms, but when you pull the walls out between studios, things become much more possible. Still not ideal, but a lot better.

-Ben
Old 30th March 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
Were you just in Studio A or were you able to get the combined room of A + B? 40 would indeed be a lot for just one of the rooms, but when you pull the walls out between studios, things become much more possible. Still not ideal, but a lot better.

-Ben
We just had A. A+B would be enough space, however I wouldn't bother doing it if EastWest, United, The Bridge, Henson, or scoring stages were available. Capitol A alone is another $400/day more than EastWest. I can only imagine what it costs for A AND B. On the other hand, if one is already paying for 40+ musicians then the studio rental is chump change.
Old 1st April 2016
  #15
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This was the set-up at capitol.
Attached Thumbnails
Anyone here work in LA studios?-capa1.jpg  
Old 5th April 2016
  #16
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and Candice at East West is a walking History Book .. and a great person .. we did a video shoot in there a few months back .. everyone there is so nice and helpful .. !!!
Old 6th April 2016
  #17
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Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
and Candice at East West is a walking History Book .. and a great person .. we did a video shoot in there a few months back .. everyone there is so nice and helpful .. !!!
It seems as if many studios in LA are like museums in a way. Between Capitol, EastWest, United, Sunset, The Village, Henson, and the old scoring stages, there is a pile of music history. It used to be like that in NYC but all of our great old rooms have closed. Rudy Van Gelder's place goes back to 1959, and NOLA just closed. Columbia, Reeves, Clinton, RCA, Fine Sound, Hit Factory, and A&R are long gone. Sear Sound, Electric Lady, and Avatar (formally Power Station) may be the oldest studios we have left. Electric Lady goes back only to 1970. As far as the commercial end of the music business goes, NYC is on the downslope. Sure, there are many live venues from jazz clubs to performing arts centers, but the recording business is all about the home studio, jingle houses, and the suburban recording studios in New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island. Manhattan has become too expensive to support the old business model of running a recording studio.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Don't forget the chambers. I would send tracks to them and print the returns for later mixing.
Does anybody remember, if the chambers are typically used with a preday during mixdown. How many ms? (I know that Al uses roughly 100ms on his bricasti)

Thanx
Frank
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