Brian Tarquin Launches, Relocates Jungle Room Studios

Jan 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher


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Tarquin keeps his amp heads in the control room.

Tarquin keeps his amp heads in the control room.

Did you face any special challenges?
The one room with the control room, they probably put that in in the '40s or the '50s, so that’s not quite as old. The other part of the house, the living section, is much older. It actually all worked itself out pretty easily; I didn’t have to do too much other than the glass and address some reflection [issues]. But all in all, it’s a great workspace. It’s nice because you have these huge windows in here. You’re so accustomed to working in the dark in studios. [Laughs] So during the day when the light’s out, it’s nice to have a little light instead of being a studio rat locked up in the dungeon. I had to get the electrical done, get everything isolated. That’s always the first thing I do with a studio. It’s clean electricity; I can turn it way up and there’s nothing in there, no hiss at all, so everything’s isolated pretty well.

So you have a control room and a live room, and an amp room?
It’s an isolation booth that I built. I put all the amps in there. I have a Marshall cabinet in there and a few legacy cabinets, and some Fenders and things. I have an amp switcher in the control room so I can have eight amps that go to any eight cabinets or speaker enclosures. It’s so convenient in that you don’t have to get out and rewire things, because you lose that momentum of creativity when you mess around with all of that. I can just choose whatever amp I need for a session and just be able to lift two switches and go wherever I need to go. I try to keep all the amps together so I can listen to what I have.

I’ve got a Trident 70 Series mixer; it's a 32-input with a TT patchbay and everything. For records and the Guitar Masters series, I always record everything on 2-inch. I have an Ampex MM 1200, a 2-inch/24-track. I record everything on there; I’ll do all the basic tracks, like drums, guitars. I’ll try to leave it in that [analog] format, and if I get a track from another guitarist, I’ll fly it in and that’s when I’ll dump it down to Logic or Pro Tools. From there ,I’ll mix to half-inch.

Another view of Jungle Room Studios' Trident Trimix console.

Another view of Jungle Room Studios' Trident Trimix console.

I write for Extra and TMZ, and I’m actually in the middle of doing a session for them, a bunch of rock cues. I’ll do everything in Pro Tools, and then once I get everything approved, I’ll do all the final mixes down to quarter-inch and I’ll back it up on disk. I’ll put that down and it makes that much more of a [sonic] difference: There’s a fatter 3-D kind of tape sound. So I even do that with the cues; I’ll just punch that down to quarter-inch and then I’ll put that on their FTP site.

So you strongly prefer an analog sound.
Yeah. It even makes a big difference if you’re just doing Pro Tools with Logic and you’re going through an analog desk, as opposed to just mixing all in the box.

With Pro Tools it depends. If I do some album tracks and I’m going to track them all on analog and bounce them down to Pro Tools, I’ll probably just clean [them] up, and the only thing I’d really be doing is flying in a track that somebody sent me. So if Zakk Wylde sends me a track, I could fly it in that way. Other than that, I’ll try to leave everything on. If they come to the studio, then I’ll just mix it right down from 2-inch to half-inch. But sometimes it’s nice to track it all, as much as you can, onto 2-inch, bring it into digital format and be able to clean it up, and then you can mix them there. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds. With a lot of the TV stuff, I’ll just do it in Pro Tools because I know that there will be changes. I find that with TV cues, it’s best to stay in the digital domain because I can have endless tracks, and I can also edit anything I need to.

How are things going with Guitar Masters Vol. 5? Is that in progress?
Yeah. We’re in progress right now. We have a Joe Satriani track scheduled on that one. We have Hal Lindes from Dire Straits, Gary Hoey, Billy Sheehan, Zakk Wylde. So we’re going to have some fun tracks on this album. I’m recording all the basic tracks here and then I have them come here or I send them a rough mix of the song and they’ll put their parts down, and they send it back to me and we’ll fly it in. Like I was saying, we’ll take it off the 2-inch, all the tracks, and put them into Logic and then I’ll fly in their parts.

That’s a similar process to the previous album we talked about, the Les Paul tribute (Guitar Masters, Vol. 4).
Yeah. Some of them are out on tour and can’t come here. Then the guys that come here, they can lay down the tracks themselves, like Randy Kovins, Leslie West. And I think Hal Lindes might be here, and Andy Timmons. It will be a fun project. It’ll be released at the beginning of the year, in the first quarter. We’re just cutting the tracks now.

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