Studio Installations This Decade
with some General Details
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The Video Plant, Studio City, CA, Studio A, 40 channel TAC Magnum. This installation took place in the foley room. There was to originally be a 16 track Pro Tools setup and 2 - Sony PCM-800's but these machines were all remoted to the machine room. There was a considerable amount of outboard gear installed so tie lines were added between all 4 studios and the machine room so that any piece can be used in any of the rooms.
Phase II of our work included remoting another 16 track Pro Tools and 3 - DA-88's to the machine room. The Mac's were also remoted there and keyboard, mouse and video are connected back to the control rooms of studio's A and B via Geffen boxes.
At the same time the equipment in the control room racks was rearranged in a more practical and efficient working arrangement. The facility was inherited and the machine room was wired in a less-than-desirable fashion, so the audio, video, control and power cables were all rerouted pro-style.
Castle Oaks Studios, Calabasas, CA Studio C, 36 channel TAC Matchless with a Mackie 8 buss. This is one of the most versatile rooms around. It's setup to do post work, foley, string dates, vocals and overdubs. The remote patchbays are connected through an ELCO patch-panel which allows any of the 9 - DA-88's or 2 - Analog 24 tracks to come up anywhere on the boards. The bays are also laid-out with normalling designed to make 24-24 and DA-88-to-24 track dubs quick and easy. The studio also features the Mytech Personal Q system (excellent!), 24 tracks of Dolby SR and a floating Pro Tools system. Audio and video tie-lines to the other rooms add to the versatility of the facility.
Premiere Radio Networks, Sherman Oaks, CA After Midnite/Boot Scootin' Air Studio H. This studio has a UDS and DCS system along with the standard cart, DAT, CD and minidisk machines. Mitch designed and constructed a custom com box between the booth and the control room.
Dr. John Barone's Project Studio, Hollywood, CA, 36 channel Soundcraft Ghost. Dr. John decided it was time to get serious about a music workspace, so we set him up with the Ghost and a nice outboard selection. This guy is so -"in"- to music and sound that you never know what you're likely to hear coming out of the speakers at his place. One day it might be some way-out music off some obscure cd, the next it'll sound like there's a chopper landing in his living room from some synthesizer patch he's working on.
Jeff Pescetto's Project Studio, Augoura Hills, CA, 36 channel Soundcraft Ghost. Jeff decided to replace his very old Soundcraft 16 channel console with the Ghost and add several new outboard pieces and some new studio furniture along with 2 DA-38's to slave up to his DA-88. One of boxes he got that we really like is the Joe Meek limiter.
Organized Noize Productions, Atlanta, GA Solid State Logic 4064 G+ Series. This studio is a David Hampton design built at Rico Wade's beautiful home on the outskirts of Atlanta. Mitch went to Atlanta the week of Dec 15, '96 to help setup and
checkout the console which came from a sprucing-up at the factory in England. He met up with fellow Buzz Brother Hampton, Doug Day of
SSL, New York, and the 'Noize crew. On Tuesday the console
arrived in several crates. It took a day to uncrate
it and put the main frame together, then another day to put on
the trim and fire it up. The board looks really good in the
control room, and fits perfectly, thanks to an excellent design
by Hampton. The studio has a separate machine room which contains the SSL computer/power supply rack, 2 - Studer A827's, 2 - Studer/SSL Track Arming boxes, timecode devices and the Lexicon 480L. The control room has a nice array of dynamics and effects processing gear.
After the prewiring was completed in Los Angeles, Mitch returned to Atlanta to complete the installation.
The Ron Diamond Show moved from Tarzana to Calabasas. Ron decided that he wanted to do the show from home. He picked up a new Audioarts Engineering R-16 console, the 360 system, 4 carts and the Sony Minidisk 4 track.
3 Way Street Productions, Hollywood, CA Amek 44 Channel Big with Supertrue 3.2 Automation, 32 tracks of ADAT XT's, 3M M79 24 track tape machine. The studio is located very close to the (round) Capital Records building in Hollywood. This is surely one of the Buzz Brothers finest efforts to date. The large control room has keyboards mounted on the wall in the rear, with a cradenza in the middle for synth stuff and sequencers. The Big doesn't come with a patchbay so we wired everything ourselves. We started with 5 TT bays but ended up with 7 due to an addition of many more outboard pieces.
Utopia Music, Los Angeles, CA Mackie 36/8, 24 tracks ADAT. We built the mixer and three patchbays into a road case for mobility's sake. Utopia is located on the third floor of a building on Wilshire Boulevard. There are large picture-windows in the control room and studio looking out on the boulevard.
Cutler Productions, Tarzana, CA Studio D Mackie 24/8, Sonic Solutions 4ch SSP 6 gig system, with the old standby, an Otari MX5050 8 Track. This long awaited studio was built for Chief Engineer Pete Perkins. Cutler doubled his office size in May, 1996 making room for a lot of expansion to the company, including space for the much needed fourth studio. The Sonic Solutions system had already been implemented at the facility, so it was a natural choice for this room. The eight track and the Sonic are both on an ELCO panel connected to the mixer buss outputs and eight channel line inputs. Changing one ELCO connects either the 8 track or the Sonic DAW. Pete had an IAC vocal booth built for the studio. In addition, we installed two Panasonic 3800 DAT machines, a PCM80, a REV 990, a Symetrix 601 digital mic pre/dynamics processor, a Panasonic table-top CD, a Hafler Amp, and Westlake Lc 6.75 monitors complete the audio chain. Love those speakers!
Cutler Productions, Tarazana, CA Studio C+ (The Ron Diamond Show) Broadcast Audio Board. This studio was built inside an existing studio. The trick was to integrate two studios that have entirely different function into one room. Certain equipment had to be shared by both mixers.
The Broadcast Audio is a decent radio station mixer. Noteworthy are the facts that every channel input cable is soldered directly to the motherboard, and that there are two power supplies - one is a backup. I put in four IEC cart machines, two Denon CD's, a Panasonic 3700 DAT, a Quadraverb, a Turntable (some of Ron's music comes from old 45's), and a dbx166A. Ron uses an RE20 microphone.
GH Records, San Diego, CA Amek Big, 24 tracks ADAT, Ampex 1200 24 track. This one was strange because essentially what happened was I got a call from my fellow Buzz Brother David Hampton, who told me "here's a board and some patchbays, wire it!" I NEVER had any contact with ANYONE from the record company. But... the engineer/producer guy from the record company told me after he had been using it for a while that it was setup perfectly!
So Sound, Canoga Park, CA Mackie 36/8, Protools III Private studio belonging to Dick Shroder. This is a radio production and a music studio with many pieces of dynamics processing, effects and synthesizers.
Kephart Sound Recording, Woodland Hills, CA Yamaha Promix 01, 3 DAT's, Dennon CD's, Voice Booth, Outboard Processing, 1/2 tracks, 8 Track comprehensive patch-bay. Dave Kephart is a good friend of mine and I do stuff in his studio sometimes, so for some crazy reason I decided to wire this one myself. My wiring gal, Eulalia Friend, was busy with The So Sound install at the time and that might have been the reason I decided to do it, but I think that pride had something to do with it too! Anyway, it turned out beautifully. Each and every wire was soldered in exacting fashion, then lined up and tied perfectly to the strain relief bars on the back of the patchbays, then bundled neatly together, running out from one rack to four other locations.
Herbie Hancock, West Hollywood, CA Euphonix CS 2000 This was a fairly major studio remodeling job. The Euphonix tower was originally located in the right-rear of the control room. We moved it into a booth at the rear of the control room. The problem was that almost every cable in the place had to be pulled back and rerouted through new tubes that we were installing. This included the cabling between the Euphonix tower and the board. And to boot, there was no air conditioning in the booth. After talking with Euphonix, and pricing new cables, I decided that it would be more economic to extend the existing ones. I obtained pinning information and had Barbara Martin build the extension cables. Since the cables use ELCO connectors, our extension cables could plug right in. We were careful to maintain the ground scheme of the Euphonix cabling by carrying the shields through the entire length of the run and lifting them in the appropriate locations. A couple of other cables had to be lengthened, but for the most part everything reached where it needed to go, including the cables connected to a remote patchbay.
When it came to the main speakers, the Buzz Brothers were in excellent form. Herbie's mains are a three-way system. URIE's and Bag Ends are powered by Bryston amps that were located in a room upstairs from the control room. There was a Bryston stereo crossover on the mids and highs. The amplifier outputs were connected to some "mastering lab" crossovers. The BUZZ in the mains was terrible. Plus the speakers needed to be reconed. We had the speakers reconed. That was the easy part. After working on the situation for a bit, (up and down all those stairs) Mitch and Dave decided to bring the amps back downstairs. Amps should be located as close as possible to the speakers that they are powering. We put them in a rack located between the mains. The Bryston's don't use fans for cooling, so they don't add any acoustic noise to the room. (I always keep at least one rack space empty between any piece of gear that gets hot and anything else, ESPECIALLY AMPLIFIERS!!!) After consulting with Cocoa (Steve Brandon), we decided to dump the crossovers and replace them with the new White Programmable stereo EQ feeding the inputs to the amps. It turned out that the "mastering lab" crossovers were damping certain frequencies. I wired up the new rack, we had Cocoa come by and tune the room, and... another success story!!!
Our carpenter, Nathaniel White built a beautiful new synth station and computer table. The existing furniture unnecessarily took up way too much room in the rear of the control room. Nathaniel's new designs saved so much floorspace that the room actually seemed bigger. I had him build a couple of very short stands for the rack cabinets located on either side of the mixer. They are on wheels and I wanted them to be stationary, and they needed to be higher. Once he did that he built a shelf across the meter bridge of the board for secondary speakers. He also ran several six inch PVC tubes under the studio for cable runs to various locations.
At the same time all of this was going on I completely rewired Herbie's synth racks that he uses both on the road and in the studio. They comprise of two-twenty space racks filled with synth modules. In use, one rack sits on top of the other. Everything connects to two Roland keyboard mixers and the MIDI routing located in the bottom rack.
I made a panel to mount in the rear of the bottom rack that holds one 90 pin ELCO, which carries all of the audio and MIDI from the top rack. I ran the audio and MIDI in separate snakes using Mogami. I also shortened all of the AC power cables as short as they could be. One ELCO connection and one AC power cable is all that connects 12 audio and 12 MIDI cables to their respective destinations in the lower rack. The panel also holds two male XLR outputs for audio L/R mix outputs, and one male, one female XLR for timecode i/o. There are also two long snakes that connect audio and MIDI to Herbie's keyboards.
Mgrdichian Music, Toluca Lake, CA Mackie 32/8 + 24 channel expander + 1604 + 48 channels automation, 24 tracks of ADAT, 24 tracks of Darwin. All three boards and all seven patchbays were installed inside an Argosy console. Made the console look like an SSL or something. Tom has the most extensive portable keyboard rack system I've ever seen. Its housed in four-six foot racks and have their own patchbay system. We wired 16 channels of tie lines on danglers to connect the keyboards to the mixer.
Yab Yum Records, Los Angeles, CA Studio A, SSL 6056 E series, two Studer A827 These studios are located in the old Lion Share and ABC building. Fellow Buzz Brother Dave Hampton was hired to put this place back together. This was quite a room at one time. Unfortunately, over the years it was allowed to run down and be stripped of things like the motors that operate the variable ceilings. Fortunately, most of the mic panels snakes were still intact and identify-able.
Nathaniel White added three-five foot racks inside of what used to be a bass trap that wasn't doing anything. We added all the usual machine panels, tie line panels and whatnot in the control room.
The amplifiers and the computers were located in a room off of the short hallway leading to the studio area. We had to make new video runs from the computer to the video monitors soffit above the control room window. It was difficult. We spent a lot of time exploring the attic for the virgin route. Finally with much help from Nathaniel White we made a new run through the ceiling.
Two MIDI rooms for composers were also built.
Yab Yum Records, Los Angeles, CA Studio C, C.A.D. Maxcon II 56 channel, Studer A827, Sony JH24, 24 tracks ADAT. The quality of the construction of this facility is really apparent in a close inspection of studio. The troughs are wide and deep enough for a full grown adult male to lay down in. All of the wood-work, including the floors is solid. There are three 4 foot racks in the rear of the room for outboard equipment and two 5 footers in the wall at either end of the console. The studio is fairly good sized with a fourteen foot high ceiling. There is an amp room located on the other side of the wall, behind the two 24 track machines. One of those large troughs runs from there to under the console.
Joe Zawinul, The Music Room, New York, NY 44 Channel Amek Einstein with inline monitor for 88 inputs, Ampex 1200, 24 tracks ADAT. Early in 1994, after a near-miss with a wildfire, and a shakeup from a 6.9 earthquake, the Zawinul family decided to relocate to New York City. Joe and I spent about four or five days packing up his studio and emptying out his storage space.
It was fairly convenient to pack everything up. Joe has a ton of roadcase, so all the synth's and audio gear were packed securely. We rolled up all the snakes and other cables and packed them in boxes. The mixing board was being traded in to Amek for credit towards Zawinul's new Einstein board. But the 24 track was going to New York so we had a carpenter come by and build a crate around it so that it could travel inside a moving van.
I was really hoping to get to install the Einstein board in the new studio but I didn't hear a word about it from anyone. The Zawinuls said good-bye and went to New York. A few weeks later Joe called me and said that he needed me to come to New York and put his board in. So I got to head out there and install the Einstein!
Cutler Productions, Tarzana, CA Studio A, Soundcraft Delta 200, assorted 2 tracks, DAT's, CD's, cart machines, etceteras. Working together with Lovett Audio/Video Services I moved Cutler's three studios from their old location in Westwood (West Los Angeles) to their present location. Most of the job consisted of packing up the studios, moving them, then installing everything in new studio furniture. Fortunately the existing cabling was long enough to reuse, so we didn't have to purchase new cables or rewire anything. We kept all cabling attached to the patchbays, unplugged the other ends, and just snaked them through the new furniture with all the connectors still attached.
Cutler Productions, Tarzana, CA Studio C, Broadcast Audio Board, See above.
Johnny Yuma Recording Burbank, CA The Rock Room, Soundcraft TS24, 48 track. This was more of a rehearsal room. Patrick Leonard added this new studio to his facility in 1992. It was a long room with much of the walls cover with massive rocks. We wired the console so that it could be moved around to different parts of the room. There was also guitar booth installed that had copper sheeting in the walls and ceiling for shielding.
All Talk Talent Agency, Palm Springs, CA Tascam Model 15, various DAT's, cassettes, CD's, 3/4 video system with a camera. This was a talent agency and a school in the same location. The studio was used for on-air and on-camera practice for the students. We mounted two big video monitors and two JBL speakers on wall brackets. One evening, six months later I was at Record Plant in Hollywood and felt an earthquake. Turned out it was in the 4 or 5.0 magnitude range. When I heard that it was centered around Palm Springs, I immediately got on the phone to the agent, Ron Yates and asked him how things were. I'm happy to say that he reported no damage whatsoever.
Skip Saylor Recording, Hollywood, CA Studio A SSL 4080 G Series, 2 - Studer A800 I was Chief Engineer here for four years. Worked on this with David Kulka.
G-S Records, Los Angeles, CA Soundcraft TS12, Otari MTR90. Man, I'm tired of typing.
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The SSL 6056 E Series cables receiving their DL pins. Note the
prophylactic measure taken to protect the board during an install.
This shows the service loop built into these pull out racks.