Professional Sound - June 2017 - Page 30

S Subterranean Sound is a truly unique recording space, both in terms of the level of care that’s gone into its design and the pedigree of the gear inhabiting it. The space, in Toronto’s affluent Yorkville neighbourhood, is a semi-private facility owned by a successful Canadian entrepreneur who prefers to leave any discussion of the space to his head engineer, Scott Lake, and Elliott Sairan and Jay Young of Mod My Gear. That’s the trio that recently restored the studio’s crown jewel: the Neve Air Studios Montserrat console, originally designed and built specifically for famed Beatles producer George Martin some 40 years ago. Subterranean Sound was originally conceived as a private creative space for its own- er. As Lake explains, “[The owner] really built the studio for the love of it,” and as such, it was designed and outfitted specifically to reflect his passion for music, recording, and the associated technologies – a passion fuelled as much by a love of music as his respect for the history of recording. Consequently, it offers a wider variety of vintage and cutting edge gear and accom- modates both digital and analog recording, and lately, the studio has opened its doors to some outside clients that relish the opportunity to record in such a unique space. Lake describes his role at the studio as “head engineer and everything else.” He got his start in audio as a teenager doing live sound and running a DJ company. He also studied psychology briefly (not a bad sideline for an engineer), but ultimately decided to study engineering at Toronto’s Harris Institute. After graduating in the mid-1990s, he took an internship at Phase One Studios and, within a year, became head engineer. Since leaving, he’s done his fair share of freelancing but currently dedicates much of his time to Subter- ranean Sound. The space consists of three rooms: a roughly 600-sq. ft. live room equipped with a “fold out” iso booth, a lounge (which also doubles as an iso booth), and an approximately 500-sq. ft. control room. “We had another iteration of the studio 10 or 12 years ago and started out with an Mbox and just kept building from there,” Lake explains. This time, however, they decided to go full out. To that end, they reached out to Martin Pilchner of Pilchner Schoustal International Inc., known globally for their design and con- struction of world class recording facilities. Lake, the studio’s owner, and one of Lake’s former colleagues at Phase One, Ziad Al-Hillal, were also heavily involved in establishing the layout of the space. As for the famed console that now occu- pies the control room, Lake explains: “As I men- tioned, we had another studio but we were talking about renovating. We had a Trident console previously and were debating what to use in the new space and started talking about a vintage Neve.” While trying to acquire the specific Neve, which was for sale via Pro Audio Design, they were offered other desks, but the owner was insistent that he wanted the Montserrat. Enter Sairan and Young of Mod My Gear. Sairan started out in professional audio in 1991 SUBTERRAN EAN SO RED AIR M UND’S RESTO ONTSERRAT NEVE CONSO Chasing the Unicorn By Kevin Young Restoring the Historic Neve Console at Toronto’s Subterranean Sound 30 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND LE