Quality Perspectives

Nov 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SOUND

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John Storyk

John Storyk

John Storyk

For more than four decades, John Storyk (and the Walters-Storyk Design Group) has been a pre-eminent studio architect, designer and acoustician, working on thousands of studios big and small worldwide.

“It’s up to each person to make their own decision as to what their quality threshold is. We have said ‘no’ to projects on occasion where we could tell they just weren’t going to be executed in a professional fashion. A subpar project doesn’t do us any good, because when a project is done, that’s part of our legacy. We can’t stand at the door with a card that says, ‘Well, we did a perfect job on the drawings, but the guy decided to not execute it correctly.’ So we’re pretty careful, and thousands of studios later, we are fortunate to be able to attract quality projects and quality clients. On the flipside, I’ve taken projects that are not as economically sound as others might be, but I can tell that the person is really going to try hard and do everything in their power to get it done correctly. Maybe there’s an experimenting coefficient that allows us to try some new techniques and materials. Or there could be a geography coefficient—an interesting location.

“Strangely enough, the more interesting projects are often the smaller ones. Occasionally, they are the more experimental clients. But don’t misinterpret that! I’m up for taking big projects. There’s a time and a place for large ‘mothership’ studios—with big real estate, or destination studios, or high profile, high service studios. We’re always going to have these facilities to work on, and the audio production community needs them. But the backbone of our industry now, where music is made, is much more in what we used to call the ‘project studio’ or the home studio.”

Mark Waldrep

Mark Waldrep

Mark Waldrep

The head of the audiophile AIX Records has taken the bold step of producing and releasing new music recordings on Blu-ray in order to get real HD-Audio, multiple mixes (“stage” and “audience” 5.1 mixes and a 96kHz/24-bit stereo mix) and even some with 3D video. Recent releases have included country artist Mark Chesnutt, trumpeter Wallace Roney, singer Rita Coolidge, classical/jazz crossover pianist Bryan Pezzone and country picker Albert Lee. Waldrep also founded the HD-Audio download site, iTrax.

“Even though I own a really nice studio, with five B&W speakers, a Euphonix System 5 digital console and THX certification, I only mix my projects here. We needed to find a place that’s got lots of space, a gorgeous piano and great acoustics. We found the Zipper Auditorium at the Colburn School [in L.A.], which is acoustically wonderful, has a 120-foot ceiling, a 1.8 reverb time and is very cost-effective. AIX creates our projects over two to three days in the hall.

“We take half a day to set up the equipment and record six to eight records over the three days. Each ensemble/artist gets four or five hours. They’ve got to know what they’re playing and be able to perform live to a very high standard. We don’t do a lot of running into the control room—since there isn’t one—and we don’t do playbacks. “Does everyone feel good about that?” “Yeah, that sounds pretty good.” We want the ultimate project to feel like a private performance in the listener’s own playback space. We capture the artist straight to HD equipment without any overdubs or processing. The result is a uniquely pure and open sound—people recognize right away that purity of the music.”






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