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Posts Tagged ‘studio’

New Beijing music sound studio now completed!

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

I blogged recently about the construction of a new studio in Beijing after an electrical fire destroyed the building my first studio here was in.
I didn’t think it would take so long to get it done properly as I hired the best I could find to do it. But the standards I aspire to for things just aren’t commonly understood in China, so not only have I had to supervise and hand hold at every step of the way, I had to get the contractors to redo the entrance door to the studio to get the soundproofing required (the nice door in the construction photos in the blog link above had to go…).
Now I am quite pleased with the result, and although I am still working out a few minor details and wiring up some of the non essential analog outboard gear, the studio is finally ready and I’ve been doing a lot of work in it to catch up, and get used to it, including recording with Miss Melody, and Elika Mahony who blogged about the experience in the new studio.

Here’s a photo of the control room:

New Beijing sound music Studio control room

Here’s the recording booth. It’s professionally built to completely isolated from outside sound, and is large enough to fit a full live band:

New Beijing sound music studio recording booth

recording booth with new Neumann mic

Since the studio is in a renovated traditional Chinese courtyard building, I was determined to keep the feeling that was originally there, which was quite a challenge acoustically as there is a lot of glass including a glass roof! But whatever wasn’t perfected in design, I was able to compensate for with sophisticated software that corrects anomalies and imperfections in the room for my monitors.
This has allowed me to create what I feel is one of the most unique studios in China if not the world!
I felt my previous studio in Beijing was quite impressive, but everyone who has visited both say this new one is a vast improvement, so I am very pleased. Take a look:

new Beijing courtyard sound studio entrance

new Beijing courtyard sound studio entrance


new Beijing sound studio entance

new Beijing sound studio before construction

studio building courtyard before construction

new Beijing sound studio rear

new studio rear after construction

new Beijing sound studio recording boothjarome in the new studio mixing room

 

I’m not one to boast about equipment I use, but I will at least say that all the equipment has been imported into China for the best possible quality, no fakes or imitations! Just the real thing, Apple, Neve, JoeMeek, Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, RME, Mackie, Alesis, Tannoy with Mogami cabling and Neutrik connectors all the way! This is driven by Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic with Waves, Audio Ease, Spectrasonics, Native Instruments, East West software to name a few.
Many of these are recent additions to my existing range of classic analog and cutting edge digital equipment, making this new studio in Beijing the most powerful, highest quality studio I’ve had in my 20 years as a music producer and audio engineer.

I’ve put a huge amount of time, trouble and great expense to make this one of the best, top quality music and sound design studios in Beijing.
It wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of many wonderful friends and clients in China, you know who you are, Thank you so much!

I am getting very booked in advance, so please contact me now if you want to work on a project.
I’ll be posting a blog about an open house this month very soon.

I hope you get to visit the studio in the near future! Please contact me for more info.

 

New Beijing sound studio nearing completion

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Since I had to abandon my first studio in Beijing due to the building being damaged from electrical fire, I’ve had to build a new studio.
I’ve chosen the location where I originally planned to set up the studio when I first decided to open one in Beijing, Real Life at Hegezhuang village.
It’s an amazing idea that China would do well to support more. They are taking traditional Chinese courtyard homes and modernizing them by renovating the inside. I’ve chosen to add a soundproofed booth and control room to the courtyard area of mine and luckily have found a great acoustic design company in Beijing to help me do it. Thanks Wayne from Snipersounds for the referral.

This studio will be unlike any I’ve ever heard of. It will have a traditional yet modern feel, with lots of light, and glass skylight which would usually be impossible acoustically, but I’m determined to break new ground and do away with the studio in a box idea. This is possible due to the latest in acoustic materials,  software and hardware to tune the control room (no more cheezy egg carton foam!). Maybe I’ll elaborate more in future once it’s all done.
The recording room is a double walled room within a room of course to ensure quiet but comfortable recording of even a full live band.
You can get more of a sense of the space and cool vibe this place has going on from these photos:

 

Studio entrance with courtyard skylight visible

Studio entrance with courtyard skylight visible

Recording room entrance (second sound proof door is missing)

Recording room entrance (second sound proof door is missing)

View of the control room from the adjacent room

View of the control room from the adjacent room

 

first wall goes up inside the recording room

Front door looking into open control room door

Front door looking into open control room door

The place will also have a kitchen and lounge, and a few bedrooms so we can live there and I won’t have to commute. There’s even a little guest room if you want to come visit.

I’ve never built a studio to this level before, but thanks to affordability of Chinese labor and materials, here, it’s possible.
Thanks to the many people assisting me to make it all happen, without them and a few miracles, it would never have been possible.
A few more weeks to go and I think we’ll have one of the coolest sound studios in Beijing!

One week until Beijing!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Today marks one more week before our big move to Beijing China. I’ve never felt ‘prepared’ and I still don’t.
I can still hardly believe we’re actually doing this to be honest, even though I know it’s the right thing to do for us.

I’ve been appreciating the luxuries and conveniences that we’ve had in Vancouver because we won’t have those things in China, but I’m looking forward to the adventure that awaits us there, and other things that will potentially improve our quality of life.

First thing I will be doing when we arrive is setting up the new sound studio with some equipment and cables that I had custom made in Vancouver that I’ll be bringing to make it functional so I can get back to work finishing projects that have started for my waiting clients. We also have to get some appliances to make our place livable, but our things won’t be there for months, so that should make life interesting.

I’ll miss our friends and family that we’ve enjoyed visiting with the last few weeks, but the calling for China’s strong, and I need to get back to work in the new studio.

I’ll be back to North America at least once a year or possibly every 10 months or so depending on how things go.
To get in touch when I’m outside the country, you can leave  a message on my normal mobile number, or use the new Pro Soul number: (213) 908-1284.
Email is best though, and you can message me for my new number in Beijing.

And remember, if you want to work on a project or visit, we have a guest room.

Very excited and curious about embarking on this adventure living in a totally new culture and environment.

Jarome China summer palace

Opening new music studio in Beijing, China

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

As i mentioned in my last blog, I’m moving to Beijing China, and setting up a fantastic, world class studio there.
It will be called Pro Soul Studios Beijing, in affiliation with my record label, Pro Soul Alliance.

It’s large a 3 room facility, professionally built by foreign expertise flown into the country along with specialized materials to soundproof and acoustically treat the rooms properly. It has full false floors and walls with large air spaces for soundproofing, but still lots of light from tall windows.
There’s even a built in guest room and kitchen/lounge in the middle.

Here are a few photos, then I’ll get into the technical details below for the gear heads…

The studio is in a building in an area that is a cool artist live/work residence neighborhood with art studios, restaurants, a French bakery, and a nice lagoon:
Shangri-La Culture & Art Community, Feijia Village

The studio has a funky traditional Chinese courtyard style entrance:

Studio entrance

studio entrance

The largest recording room, Studio B.
Tall soundproofed windows allow lots of light in, but no outside sound.

Large room studio B

Large room Studio B windows

Entrance to control room and studio A

Entrance to control room and studio A

The control room, below, has a custom desk with outboard gear rack panels on the left and right, and a Mackie xBus 200 touch screen console. These photos are old now, fabric on panelling has been replaced:

studio control room

Control room window with Mackie xbus console

Control room window with Mackie xbus console

Unfortunately I don’t have a great photo of Studio A, the main recording room, but it is a nice spacious room with lots of light from windows on one side:

Studio A recording room

The studio even has a guest residence upstairs, a kitchen, and large outside patio if you want to visit China to work on your music project:

Studio guest residence

studio kitchen

On to the studio equipment setup. In addition to my existing range of classic analog and cutting edge digital equipment, the new studio in Beijing will have the following new equipment that will make it the most powerful, highest quality studio I’ve had in my 20 years as a music producer and audio engineer:

  • A Mackie xBus 200 HD touch screen mixing console and computer controller capable of 192kHz resolution, configurable I/O via rear panel cards, penny & giles motorized touch sensitive faders & surround outputs.
  • 2 RME Hammerfall PCI cards allowing 32 channel high quality digital audio /MIDI channels between the computer and the console with zero latency (no delays!)
  • Apple Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core Intel Xeon computer with 1.5 Terrabyte drive and 8Gig ram
  • 2 LCD computer monitors, 22″ each
  • Enhanced surround monitoring system with new mogami cabling and other small additions.
MackieXbus200

Mackie Xbus 200 mixer console and computer interface

The hardware mentioned will allow an incredible amount of flexibility in input and output routing, monitoring, and expansion as needed.
I’m arranging all the special cabling and other details required, and bringing equipment to Beijing from Canada to get the studio operational in the next 2 months.

I’ve put a huge amount of time, trouble and great expense to make this one of the best, top quality music and sound design studios in Beijing.
It wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of some of my Beijing friends, you know who you are, Thank you so much!

The studio should be open for production by sometime in August 2010.

I expect to soon be booked full time months in advance in the near future, so please contact me now if you want to work on a project.
Check back here for more details and updates.

Music production studio discoveries from my past

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

In moving the studio recently and consolidating things, preparing for a more mobile production setup, I discovered some interestng items from my past. Over the years, I’ve been so busy pretty much non stop that I haven’t had a chance to go through old boxes and files that have been laying around. Well over the last month I have, and I found some pretty interesting memorabilia:

Emax_Floppies_IMG_0849

Floppy Disks with song files & sounds from my first productions (now in some landfill)

I also found an original copy of a magazine with a full page feature, also mentioning me that I got for one of the first artists I professional produced, Emeline:

Emeline in Vancouver magazine (edited scan from original)

Emeline in Vancouver magazine (edited scan from original)

Found lots of other very interesting things maybe I’ll share when I have more time.

There are a lot of cables when you have a midi based studio, even though I’ve gotten rid of a lot of analog equipment, and still am selling now as part of this process…

StudioCables_IMG_0028

Audio, midi instrument, power, data, speaker cables for the studio

Moving the studio

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

That’s right, after 3 great years, I’m moving my studio to my home next week. I had planned to blog about it much earlier, but then we were suddenly told to drop everything and go to Vietnam to adopt a baby (An update on that & what has happened in my next blog…).

Because I will be doing a lot more work overseas next year, I decided it didn’t make sense to have a separate studio here that is costing me when I won’t even be here! So I’m moving the studio to my home and will be working with a friends studio locally when recording is necessary in Vancouver.Jarome Studio 2006

It was a hard decision, as this was definitely the best sounding studio I’ve had, interesting as it was quite a simple setup, but there was something about the sound in there that gave this lovely air when mixing, and it had a comfy homey feeling when recording.
Had some fantastic times in there working with amazing artists like Elika Mahony, Heather Dore, Laura Harley, and Bahiyyih.

We custom built the studio as a double walled enclosure, and acoustically treated the walls, and put in wood flooring.

It seems every time I build a studio, the time I actually get to use it before something happens becomes less and less… Hopefully my next studio will last more than 3 years! I really thought I would be there and use the space for a lot longer than I did, but life changes.

In terms of how this will affect my work, things will be continuing as usual as far as what I can do and the quality of my work. I’ve made sure those things won’t be affected. What will change is my availability in Vancouver. If you want to work together on a project, make sure you schedule it now, because my time here next year will be limited!

In going through everything I have to prepare to move, I found some pretty amazing memorabilia from my music past… Im going to post some of those things in future blogs, so keep an eye out.

I’m also selling some vintage analog gear as I part with things I don’t use as much to make room for new additions that I need more now with my work and the way technology changes. If your interested in an Emax 2 sampler, Korg SDD-1000 delay fx, Behringer MX 2642A Mixer, or a Symetrix 528 vocal processor/preamp channel strip, then let me know.

I have to say, I’m really looking forward to all the time I’ll be saving not having to commute, and the money that will be saved as well. This has been a really tough year, and I really need a break and to make some major changes in the way I work, badly.

Improving vocal performance

Monday, September 14th, 2009

An important part of my role as a music producer is to get the best possible performance from artists in the studio both technically and emotionally.

I find I often fall short in this area though because unless they are professionals who have done large live performances for many years, most vocalists are often unable to deliver to their full potential. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t give great performances, it just means they could have done even better.

This is usually because the vocalist is not in optimal physical shape. Your health and physical fitness level has a huge impact on your vocal performances in the studio, and of course live. Sure, how comfortable you are with letting go and giving your all emotionally in the studio is also very important.  But to get a great performance, you really need to have a lot of power to deliver strong, clean vocal phrases. Without this power and energy, your performances will sound weak and shaky, quivering, particularly on the ends of longer words or sustained melodies and this drastically reduces the quality and impact of the performance.

Studio tools and tricks can rarely correct these problems effectively, so that’s why it’s so important for singers to keep in top physical shape if they want to give the best performance they’re capable of live and in the studio. Eat healthy food that gives you lots of energy, and adopt a regular cardio exercise routine at least 4 times a week.

Another recommendation, in addition to warming up properly before a performance and singing regularly in a choir, is opera training, or a great vocal coach such as Brennan Barrett, to help you get as much power as you can without exerting yourself more than you have to, and to assisting with effective breathing techniques that will give you better phrasing and power in the right places.

A producer can only do so much, and in my case, I can work a lot of miracles to make you sound great no matter what, but ultimately, I can only use the best you give me! Make sure that really is your best, as you never know who will hear your finished performance, or how far it will spread.
Recording vocals in studio

A pro stops by the studio…

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Yesterday, I got a long overdue visit from a friend and professional musician Darryl Kromm from 80’s band Strange Advance who I worked with on Past Becomes Future and many other brilliant songs he has written that have not been released (yet). He came in to discuss future projects and Heather Dore’s current songs that I am working on. I wanted some background vocals for one of her songs, and despite not hearing the song much or knowing the words, he threw down an almost flawless recording in 15 minutes, as he has always done. When I asked him about it, he said “when your singing professionally for paid gigs, you can’t fool around, and that’s where I started”. Early in his career he performed/recorded with Bryan Adams, Bob Rock and Paul Dean of Loverboy, and released a number of hit recordings.

It was a great experience to work with such a pro in the studio and get such strong results so quickly. Looking forward to more of that Darryl!

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Darryl sings his rework of Bowie’s ‘Fame’ from the Past Becomes Future CD.