Nashville Skyline, April 2008
Apr 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Peter Cooper
The SSL sits in a small room just to the left of a production studio. When Nichols and Kritch sit for a photograph, it's difficult for them both to squeeze into the room. But the C100's size belies its flexibility. It's a little delegation monster, with a DSP rack and a back panel that can handle more than 500 inputs and outputs. GAC runs Pro Tools, and if an artist or label wants to hear a mix before something hits the air, then Nichols can send the file over and it can be altered and re-input with ease.
“If we have a performance-based project, we'll multitrack that with video,” says Kritch, who took charge of the new studio's technical space and technical integration. “If the artist or label wants to sign off on that mix, we get them the individual multitrack. They can mix it the way they want. It's timecode-generated so we can marry it back up with the video. So if they like our mix, fine. If they want to remix it, that's fine, too.”
Nichols began working in television 25 years ago, in the analog days. While good, thick analog tape can still sound wonderful as a means of capturing music in a recording studio, it's tough to argue that going digital hasn't been a huge leap forward for television studios.
“The whole gamut changes,” Nichols says. “The transmission medium is tolerant of different mixes now and you just don't have to worry as much. Oh, and there are fewer cables, which is much better.”
In the main studio, Kritch points out that the doors aren't the only substantial elements. Sound-dampening was a major issue all over the studio. They've dressed the walls in more layers than would be worn at a late-December Green Bay Packers game. “We spared no expense making sure that whatever walls we have in this environment are acoustically sound,” Kritch says. “So with these walls, there's concrete, then metal studs, then insulation between the studs, then plywood, then fiberboard, then another layer of plywood and then Sheetrock on top of that.”
All along Music Row, a perceptible nervousness has taken hold. Record-label executives are fretting over the decline of physical album sales and the inability of digital sales to make up for the losses. Studio owners are fretting over the decline of record labels and the inevitable shrinking of recording budgets that goes along with that. The music television business, though, doesn't seem to be waning. Either that or Kritch has a heck of a poker face.
“I'm not a bean counter, but I believe we're fine,” he says. “Scripps tends to be a conservative company. They're not necessarily the first to jump in the water: They might be second or third. This building is a huge investment, and I doubt very much that we would have invested in this kind of a facility if the powers that be didn't think it would make business sense. This was a business decision, strategically and economically.”
And so a couple of mammoth, heavy doors have opened for country music.
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