Is that where you worked on the Damascus Road Community Church recording?
That album? Actually, that was interesting. Physical copies have been released. On the streaming side, the go-live date is happening at the end of February 2022. We just did a massive concert last Friday night to celebrate. That project was a mix: some of it was studio recorded. A good portion of it was recorded live on stage at the church, and then we would do punch-ins and mix at Broken Soul Audio. Some of it was already recorded in Calcutta, India, when they had a team there on missions. One of the songs was written (or the arrangement was created) in Honduras on another trip. It was really cool working on a project that involved a whole bunch of different people from around the world. And then getting to mix it all down in my studio. We did a bunch of overdubs in my studio, as well.
So, while I originally built the studio in the basement to work on my craft and maybe do some mixing, I’ve ended up doing a lot more with it. You know people find out you have a studio… “you have a studio??” and they want to come do stuff in your basement. That’s how I got to know Gavin from Haverstick Designs—to get some advice on making the most of the space. (I can’t preach about Gavin Haverstick at Haverstick Designs enough!)
Is that how you found out about the Flex-48?
Yes! My studio went up about four years ago. Gavin was excited about the Flex-48 so I added them to the room treatment. At this point, I don’t give them a second thought because the room is working so well. I pull the Flex-Shields out once in a while as needed. I don’t do that very often. What is interesting is whenever someone visits the studio, that’s always like the second question for me—“What is that?”. And I get the chance to talk about how the Flex-48s work and how I use them. They’re like, “wow, that’s super cool.” I’m like, “yeah, and they also look really neat.”
Do you notice the effect of your acoustical room treatment more when you’re tracking or when you’re mixing—or both?
My studio is not huge. It’s what I would call a “project” studio. I don’t have a dedicated control room or tracking room. I have one room and I’m right in there with the talent. I find that it makes a much more intimate environment, being in the room while the artist is recording. It allows me to help keep a calm, casual, and relaxed environment. Because of what I do and my passion for the arts, I tend to work with a lot of people who might not be considered “seasoned pros”. I enjoy helping people achieve their dreams without having to hire a million-dollar studio. Having this intimate environment helps.
My room has a “live” end and a “dead” end, so Haverstick Designs recommended the Flex-48 in each end at the quarter wavelength point for a targeted frequency for specific bass management.
On the one end where I record, I want the diffusion. On the other end where I mix, I like their damping property for… I think it’s 80 Hertz. I can pull out the Flex-Shield if I want to deaden it out a little bit more on the recording side. That’s been effective. Typically, I just set them and leave them. Because of the size of my room, I don’t mess with them very much. They have such a good response at some of the lower frequencies where my room is challenged because of its small size.
Regarding your blog, Embracing the Inner Artist, and your idea that the engineer’s mind comes in and edits the artistic wild ideas- have you ever had an “accident” while creating something artistically that ended up transcending your original intent?
I’ve had times when I initiate a plugin on something and accidentally pick the wrong one. I’m going for a reverb, and I accidentally initiated a distortion, and wow, it’s amazing. It’s happened a few times. Early on, I was working with a producer, Dave Hawley from Startsong Studio. I gave him some mixes, and he said, “these are really good, but stop playing it safe.” I was making some subtle ambiance choices—delays and verbs, the typical engineer stuff. He said, “great ideas, just go with them.” In the end, that really hit home. It’s so easy for us to say, “Oh, no. Too much delay, don’t screw it up!” But it’s so fun to work past that and challenge yourself and say, “You know what, I’m going to try something absolutely ridiculously crazy.” Sure you can really mess something up, especially when live, and sometimes you can’t take it back. You throw it out there, and there it is. See what happens and make art. That was really where my heart was on that one.