Professional Sound - October 2017 - Page 32

“Not being in the big city is a big deal. We find people come here, settle in, and get into the thing. There are no other distractions.” tandem with songwriting and recording. “It’s a great space with a great vibe and just sounds very organic.” The studio takes up the entire main floor and overlooks the half- acre lot’s backyard and a forested area. The house also boasts multiple guest rooms for visiting clients. Very little construction was required to convert the space, given its large, open concept main floor; that said, there have been upgrades to the infrastructure, including a complete redo of the elec- trical, as well as the installation of soundproof doors, minor sound- proofing and acoustic treatments primarily in the isolation booth, and some cosmetic improvements. In terms of sound and atmosphere, it’s warm and natural sounding. “There’s no harshness in the upper mids,” Thorney says. “The diffusion of sound is also excellent,” Fair adds, citing the original oak flooring and a 6-ft. space below that, which enhances the diffusion. The various spaces, including the sole isolation booth, are visu- ally connected via video cameras and large displays instead of win- dows, providing total isolation while maintaining a line of sight that, owing to the sophistication of the video gear, is still highly functional. By extension, that presents unique opportunities for clients in terms of content creation, utilizing the system and programs including Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe After Effects to generate high-quality and great-sounding video content. “That’s one of the biggest changes I’ve seen [in the industry],” Thorney says. “We do that with pretty much everybody. You have to do it now. Back in the day, there was a producer and two assistants. Now, you only need one guy – who also has to be a video guy.” As for gear, Fair says: “The studio came together organically. As we needed things, we went out and got them. We really paid atten- tion to each thing we got. Basically, we have Neve preamps, 1073s, API and SSL channel strips, Tree Audio stuff… The big thing was get- ting good monitors, so we have the Barefoot [Micro Main 27] speakers and others – but the SSL is what ties everything together. For a long time, we had the preamps and this outboard stuff and then we had Dangerous summing mixers. We took our time because we weren’t sure if we wanted to get an analog console or what was the right thing to do.” Essentially, they bought preamps and compressors as needed. “Initially, we were using Pro Tools and would patch things to our patch bay, but we took that as far as we could. We didn’t know what we wanted. We considered analog, but at one point, I was talking to staff at Studio Economik in Montreal, which is the place we got the SSL board, and it turned out to be the perfect console. You connect to your outboard gear and basically have a customized SSL with exactly what you want to use.” Villa Sound treads the line between an old-school and new- school environment, offering digital recording utilizing a Mac Pro (8 Core with 12 GB RAM) running Pro Tools 10/11
and HD 3, Aurora Lynx 16 VT AD/DA Converters, and a Burl B2 Bomber AD Converter with the SSL Matrix 2 40-input analog console/DAW controller as the heart of everything. “It’s kind of an interesting console,” Fair says. “It doesn’t have any preamps or EQs or compressors like a normal SSL would; it’s just all the routing. You patch in your preamps and compressors and sort of build your own SSL.” Behind the console is a programming rig comprised of a Mac Mini
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