Big New Studios in the Big Easy

Jul 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Lori Kennedy


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Esplanade studio

Esplanade Studios: Holy Conversion, Batman!

Meanwhile, over in the heart of the historic neighborhood Tremé, Esplanade Studios recently opened its doors as the largest recording studio in Louisiana, with a focus on sound scoring. The 14,000-square-foot structure—formally a 1920s church, in Gothic revival style—has been completely restored and renovated, with high-end recording in mind.

The highlight of the church is its large pipe organ, donated by billionaire philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie as a gesture to the community in support of the arts. According to studio owner and lead engineer Misha Kachkachishvili, plans are under way to restore the organ to full working status through the use of Federal grants in 2014.

“I fell in love with this special building and knew it was where I needed to relocate my studio,” Kachkachishvili says. “The original ‘welcome’ sign that greeted the congregation in the past is lit once again today.”

Esplanade organ

Designed in-house, the building consists of three studios: Studio A has a 3,400-square-foot live room with 30-foot ceilings, able to accommodate up to a 70-piece orchestra; four isolated rooms; and two amp rooms in full view. This space features a Steinway B piano. The control room—once an upstairs choir loft—has been converted into a 1,500-square-foot chamber, featuring a fifth iso room and is home to the 1970s Trident TSM console that once resided in A&M Studios in Los Angeles. The studio also features a large collection of vintage and modern microphones, outboard gear and instruments.

Studio B, to be completed by end of year, is targeted at mixing, mastering and overdubbing, and has an iso booth for voice-overs. Studio C is a private studio for composer Jay Weigel, who is currently working on film scores. There is an additional 3,000-square-foot space downstairs allowing for special recording projects, including live or private concerts, with an anticipated opening date in 2014.

Kachkachishvili sums up the philosophy behind Esplanade Studios: “Our goal is simple,” he says. “To make the best-sounding music possible. We are focused on the success of New Orleans as a major destination for sound scoring for years to come.”

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