A Creative Progression In Audio Paradise

An API analogue audio console is one of many new upgrades at NY recording studio, Studios at Linden Oaks.

It isn’t every day you change your recording console.

With over 700 lbs. of weight to move, miles of wiring to replace, and software, hardware, and electrical integration just to get underway – it’s a process not akin to, say, swapping out a phone case. It takes time, investment, and most of all – a reason. So – down at 170 Linden Oaks Dr. in Rochester… what gives?

Originally – SLO was equipped with a magnanimous Solid State Logic console. Hold up. What’s a console? (or ‘board’?) – It’s a series of individual recording channels, the audio preamplifiers and internal circuitry of which are mainly responsible for the general character of the sound being created.

JAY Advertising Recording Studio

Like a Gibson Les Paul guitar has a certain ‘sound’,

so do the different brands of professional recording consoles. Cutting edge when installed, SLO’s SSL played audio workhorse in Studio A for 15 years. However, it had become too expensive to maintain, so the difficult decision was made to replace the desk with a more modern system. It was sold to a major audio console broker in Nashville who had the resources and parts supply to keep it running like a finely tuned vintage automobile.

At that time, since enormous technological advancements in digital and computer recording had evolved so rapidly, SLO elected an advanced, nimble, Euphonix System 5MC digital recording control surface and a smaller SSL analog console as successor to the incumbent SSL. In fact, this setup was one of the first “Hybrid” systems in the industry…which combined the best of both an analog and digital recording system.

The automotive advertising work coming from Jay advertising at the time was enormous – and myriad TV and radio ads were tirelessly produced here daily with the Euphonix systems in both rooms serving proudly.

So, what’s the difference?

Some history, perhaps…

Total recall… “The original? Or the ‘new one’?”

Naaahhh. None of that stuff. Total Recall was SSL’s proprietary
System for ‘bringing up a mix’ on which you had already worked. There’s usually an awful lot of time spent tweaking knobs, faders, and switches when you bring a mix up in the first place. So, what happens when an artist or client-driven creative change means the mix needs to be opened back up? Everyone, collectively, freaks out? Hopefully not.
audio-equipment A ‘snapshot’ of previous audio settings for the engineer to recreate.
Wow it looks outdated!

Total recall used a series of lights and screen animations to inform the audio engineer where all the control surface knobs were historically positioned, so he/she could go through the process of re-turning them to, hopefully, their original state – and, again, hopefully, that meant the mix would sound like it sounded last time. However – since old school recording also meant the SSL was also attached to countless external devices, all of which have their own knobs and switches – not connected to TR – one would rely on 2nd engineer notes from the previous session to reset each the same way as well. Sound tiring? It was. But that was before computer audio became the mainstay. And I didn’t even mention how that recall session would necessarily include locating both reels of analogue audio tape and hoping nothing had degraded the audio beyond usage.

Enter – Euphonix

euphonixAn example of a Euphonix digital recording console.
Battleship – meet speedboat.

Located in Mountain View CA,

and later acquired by AVID in 2010, Euphonix built computer-driven digital audio consoles that truly revolutionized recording. Once SLO had implemented this new, advanced control system with the legendary ProTools HD recording hard and software – the digital age was solidly among us. In this instance – phrases like total recall would have rang a bit more accurately. If, and when an audio project needed to be opened up again for review, changes, or tweaking – the session opened up as if no time had elapsed since the original. Oh – and no tapes… whatsoever. When the session file opened – everything was as it was, period. Since the ‘knobs’ were virtual, the ‘re-turning’ was done for you. And while that may sound normal these days – it was simply groundbreaking at the time.

So why do we need an API console now?

We don’t. But let’s get something clear: High-end recording… is rarely about needs. It’s about desires, feeling, creative energy, and inspiration. And sometimes – to truly appreciate your Les Paul, you need to play your Fender Strat. So – when the time came to replace the battle-proven digital Euphonix system at SLO, the decision was made to refocus the room on creativity, sound character, and a renewed balance between classic & cutting edge.

So – what does our new API have to offer?

API is a company that was at the forefront of the audio quality and sound preservation craze that defined 1960’s recording. Over decades, API’s mic-preamps, digital compressors, and sound reproduction gear have continued to win listening tests, countless awards, and a permanent spot in recording history, as an integral part of innumerable chart-topping hits. Their coveted warm, rich, analog sound married to today’s digital workflows – makes for a truly unique recoding environment that requires experience rather than explanation.

The Studios at Linden Oaks

is a world-class audio production facility tailor-made for music composing, recording, and audio post-production.

Our in-house audio engineers, music composers and arrangers have over 30 years of production experience and deep ties with producers, engineers, and studio musicians located in Western New York, Los Angeles, New York City and Nashville.

SLO has been an audio mecca in Rochester since its original completion. With artists like James Taylor, Mick Jones & Foreigner, Lou Gramm, Steve Gadd gracing its rooms, should you ever book a session – you’ll certainly be in good company.

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