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Building our Studio! Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 1st June 2006
Building our Studio!

Well, a month has passed, and we are well underway. We are excited, but bleeding money, for sure.

Phase 1 is going to be a medium size room for tracking, with the mix station in the same room, and 1 ISO booth.

Phase 2 will be next year will move the mix room into a 3rd room.

Phase 3 will rewire the machine room off the down floor to an upfloor well away from everything, with full cooling system.

So far on phase 1:

**Ripped up existing floor and subfloor. Leveled/floated floor/subfloor, tiled entire floor with solid beech-wood parquet.
**ordered console desk and rack
**put up necessay diffusion and heavy curtains over for looks
**designed and ordered necessary Broadband absorbers/bass traps, and designed 6 mobile GOBO's--all materials to arrive soon.
**Brokedown main DAW for silencing and cooling prior to moving into machine room (back half of ISO Booth, then through one wall on each side into far room/garage
**set up iso/machine/storage room--had to fumagate inside walls--spiders(many deadly variety in Texas)!!.
**Ordered 2 19" DVI monitors to be put on articulator arms. Looking for the best arms (any ideas folks?)
**Got all the wireless keybds and mouse stuff running
**Received Mixer furniture for Midas 320, looks cool, useful features.
**Arranged wiring to be checked by electrician, re-set all ground to deep outdoor common thingy.
** Consulting HVAC man to silence the AC (in the works--studying who is best and what to spend).
**Put up a preliminary rough of the room for now, got power, got tones, sounds--the chandelier in the room is gonna have to go:-(has too many metal rings around bulbs, and RINGS at several frequencies---sigh).
**All the paint, colors, and persian rugs are on order or obtained---looking very good.

All my pics are stuck on my phone---gonna have to eat a few bucks to email them to myself and upload.

Till then, I will say, for a 15x20 space with 9'-18' angle arch ceiling--looks good now, love the room verb.

Down side?? Llistened to mixes today for the first time, all the balances are BAD. I dont mind though, I will have the GOBO's coming, the ceiling cloud, and the rear wall diffuser to go. After that, I figure the problems of all my old mixes will be even worse, haha.

BTW, this stuff is very usful, if you are concerned about having a clean looking space without cables all over:

BUT, I am having FUN!!

Luving this job,

Old 6th June 2006
Lives for gear
joaquin's Avatar

Old 6th June 2006
Gear Nut

post some pictures!
Old 6th June 2006
Lives for gear
DirkB's Avatar

Pictures or it didn't happen .

Good luck,
Old 8th September 2006
Busy months. Recalled this thread while surfing around, figured I oughta post some: the leveled concrete flooring
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Old 8th September 2006
jeesh, only one shown pic per frame, otherwise I get links, bleh, oh well, OK: floor underway==lots going on below and around in every wall here. We punched so many holes in the walls and ceilings, very scary as a home owner, haha.
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Old 8th September 2006
lots o' 703
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Old 8th September 2006
moving out the heat
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Old 8th September 2006
and again---Gobos underway
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Old 8th September 2006
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Old 8th September 2006
pdq...the airflow hosing shown above runs out from the two computers way in back, then into the wall behind, then outside. cool air flows from above. Both walls are set with numerous hanging pockets for cables and small parts...the room is padded and has drop down moving blankets to double as iso for E-Gtr/Bass cabs
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Old 8th September 2006
more gear starts to arrive--too dark to see, but a 32-channel input box on the floor below, oh, and the Aurora, yeah!--got the 2 big Atlas overhead mic stands this day also, very useful!
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Old 8th September 2006
prepping RealTraps
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Old 8th September 2006
I had like 50+ pics from start to end, but GS doesnt seem to want me using all their server space, so, it ends more or less like this, at least for now. Needless to say, the better pics here are NOT from my phone, haha, but were taken by a friend who knows way more than I do about such things. My pics are the suck, lol. Thank God for photo-gear-slutz:P

The original of this pic is WAY too large a file to show here, so this is dumbed down in PS(photoshop) quite a bit. Needless to say, it is panoramic, and is 2 pics sliced kinda together (look at the rug:P).

There is a lot more going on behind the curtains than I can show here, figuratively and literally. One thing I kinda like, the red gobos flip around and are black on the back (nice for metal bands, he-he). There are four of the 4'x6' gobos, which go vertical or horozontal as needed. Only one of the gobos would fit in this shot, but I insisted to the photographer on at least one :-) During mix, I can surround myself at mix-postition on all sides. The specs test out nicely flat. In the space on the circular rug, there is a lovely little reverb from the room, which can be controlled by moving the gobos in and out. :
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Old 8th September 2006
This shot makes things look very thin, but it isnt, just weird camera stuff.

Oddly enough, we put a LOT of time and money into getting the right lighting for nite work--these pics don't even come close to how cool the vibe is--think "Last Waltz" It is NOT this yellow, much more antique and and old feeling---this is with the camera shutter open a LONG time, haha.

Yeah, yeah, I know, not enough gear in the API rack slots, but the Buzz is really OWNING. After reading the latest BruceS. forum here, I gotta get Stereo Elixers! "umm...hello, Nathan?..." poor wallet!:
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Old 8th September 2006
Funny pic--the arm from the right-hand overhead mic looks like it is holding the candleabra, but is isnt:P Actually, it has an Oktava 012 on it in this shot. Just a trippy angle. Thats a GT AM52 on the other overhead. Usually I keep dual Oktavas overhead fulltime, just in case any ideas pop up and we wanna just record open mic. The AM52 was later dropped down lower than shown here, for vox purposes. Two of them are great on overhead as well.

The candleabra above, as well as many other fixtures in and around the room have those fake flickering flame bulbs in them. I just cant bring myself to bring real candles in the room, fearing wax spills (or worse yet, fire!) from the various stoners who visit the space, haha.
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Old 8th September 2006
liked this one too-- Ceiling hits around 20' at peak..all the arches really seem to help the sonics. Drums sound killer.
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Old 8th September 2006
None of the pics would resolve the display monitors very well. Got some that do, but GS limits my posting space. I thought I'd include our new Splash page, which is a slice off our coming new website. If ya look close at the other pics, you can see this on both video monitors--I dig it!:
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Old 8th September 2006
a very happy me
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Old 8th September 2006
end of a beautiful day
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Old 8th September 2006
Lives for Jesus
stevep's Avatar
Thumbs up

very cool !

nice place


Old 8th September 2006
Lives for gear
gainreduction's Avatar

Beautiful room !

Congratulations !
Old 8th September 2006
Lives for gear
djui5's Avatar

Looks good man
Old 12th September 2006
Lives for gear
flail19's Avatar

I'm very impressed and a bit jealous.
Old 14th September 2006
Gear Maniac
tgrokz's Avatar

Originally Posted by flail19 View Post
I'm very impressed and a bit jealous.
what he said, only im more than a BIT jellous
Old 12th December 2006
Hi All!

We have moved up quite a bit in 5 months.

2 Rolling racks now, all computers moved BACK into the main room, and silenced--into Racked 19" server cases. Due to AM2 and Dual Core technology, our temperature worries are over. We are fully Zalman and Silenz fitted. The result is that we can control tracking, mixing, and GIGA Sampling computers within arm reach. PICS are forthcoming.

To date, we can track, mix, and GIGA anything with a single operator simply reaching left, right, or center. The 88-key Controller remains a big mass to move around, and spends most the time locked away. I envision a small yet sturdy rolling tripod stand for it, allowing it to roll UNDER the mix console, right at playing height, yet rolling away when not needed. I have drawn several designs, but not yet tried a build. We have tons of effort into making all the Gobos slide properly lately, so keyboards continue to be just a hassle to drag in and out, and onto a standard X-stand.

The entire room is sonically as tasty as one could wish, and moving Gobos make live sonics leap into the mics. Shifting to mix is a 2 minute operation, flat as one could wish.

We rarely use fake reverbs. We are into the real, yet any fantasy is available in such a small space. Our hope in posting is to inspire others to creatively use their own spaces and make lovely sounding recordings at affordable scale. We had lots of success using a measurement mic and some Grado headphones to walk the space, measure it with the many free software tools out there, and compare that to our own ears. We found it ultimately important to choose what WE wanted to hear, NOT only what the mathmatics told us.

A new company, available throgh both GC and Sweetwater (who gave us the best price, depending on which day we asked and who we talked to--GC is a perfectly good option and has them in stock--SW can get them, and usually will work with you if you have a good bro helping you), called KK Audio. The have VERY cool racks, rolling, quiet, solid, and affordable quality. These racks are strong and a great buy. No one asked me to say this, so tough siht.

We went with the Mackie automation, and combined with SONAR 6, it blows away anything we have, including PT and Nuendo. We feel each platform has its own shining thing, but to date, SONAR 6 with VISTA 64 is just slaying all the others which we use. We don't have a PT hardware setup, but know it enough to know SONAR 6/64 is wacking it.

All that said, we use Lynx Aurora and UAD, which now support 64, so along with the Dual/Dual (AMD), we are up into the weird places most folks have not tried. Truth said, it takes many hours to make it all work. Once done, it is indeed done, though we do not have a full version of VISTA, and we shall all see how fkuked up MS will be!! HAHA! I hope it all works smooth, will report in January, I think.

We are using a Masterlink to mix to atm, but use the Aurora for conversion, of course. I REALLY wish Dan would come up with a Black version of his converters for A to D. That would really make us most happy. That said, we will eventually be going Blue just to clock and lock, and to convert into the Masterlink from the analog desk. Hybrid really seems to sound best to our ears, and works most efficiently for our hands. As well, since we usually need over 48 tracks, preferring not to fly-in BGV and doubles, we like DAWs. I can pretty much say "bird" to the 2-inch Priests. Have a razor blade, free, on me. Been there, done it. Unlimited funds? I might lock a few decks, but would still back and edit in DAW, and oddly enough, would use SONAR. It is just way faster than PT, and 64 bit is audible as far as transients, graded fades, and plugs. Many disagree, some do the math and say bullsiht, and I really could care less.

We do want to check out the newer Tascam equivilant of the Masterlink, the RA-1000HD. We were pleased to see they are adding a hard drive. The only problem is, what mastering house is gonna let us send them DSD files for mastering? Or send an SACD? I honestly dunno. Also, it is a bit tight at $2k.

Anyways, hugs to all, and I hope any SONAR users move to 6. The Snap, Impluse verb, and V-Vocal easily pay for it all (please dispose of your ilok key, which we did--saved for any lame Autotuners who come along). The Impluse Verb is godly, blows away even our UAD 140 on most applications except very OLD style sounds. The GIGA impluse verb is also great, but the SONAR simply rules. V-Vocal is insaly better than Autotune or Melodyne. I kid you not. It is just plain easy to use, and does NOT have all the weird artifacts normally associated with AT or Melo (except at extreme settings, if you really want that Cher sound, haha). The Snap feature of S6 is amazing, but extremely complicated, and not user friendly at all. It could save someone a ton of time cutting and locking tight hits, but then again, it may take you more time to learn how to use it, lol.

As far as soft EQ, I still say stick with hardware. The UAD Comps are great on mix, but suck on tracking....get a GML....or, if poor like us, get a RNC or save for the new BUZZ, which will save us all!

The SONAR 6 Vintage Channel is a piece of crap, sadly. However, the De-Esser is very useable, if you know wtf you are doing :-) Use your EARS, NOT any kinda presets, which always suck. The EQ's are painful, the compressors---umm, forget them.

If BUZZ comes out with a 500 EQ, I will cream. Ya'll may see I agreed to let them quote my praises on their web, but I never even BETA'd dick for them. Paid full price and compared all their siht to anything I could get. Our praises are not asked for by them, they are simply true for OUR kind of music. Sure, we definately want a Pacifica and some API, so dont cry foul on us, we tell it like it is. We do cleaner music, and frankly..... I'd go mostly GML if I had the cash, haha.


Old 5th May 2007
'07 Update

We are comin up on our 1-Year annniversary. I have (thank God--and Cyndy!) managed to remain solely employed here at the studio. Sonic Sorcery is as magical as ever. Perhaps our worst problem is dust, dust, endless dust. We have a fairly tight HVAC, and (usually) remember to change filters often. Still, Texas is Texas, and it has dust in the wind.

The Swiffer is my friend, haha.

Another endless plague is wiring and routing. We have tried perhaps 20 or more routes and cable-binding techniques. As a bondage fan, I figured I would be pretty good at this. Alas, I am not so good. At the end of any given month of sessions, we have cables running all over creation, crossing power and audio, turning into slobs.

Every month seems to end with a resolution to do better, a massive clean and route party, and it all begins again. These are the hassles of smaller studios.

That said, I am glad we got rid of all the "in wall" and "sub-floor" cable solutions, and find that a circle of fat gobos solve most any ambient noise problem. System noise is pretty much null, and I must again praise Buzz, Lynx, and Brent Avarill for their "war zone" gear!

We are prepping to release and tour soon, so all be well!


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