RecordingHacks goes to Santa Fe

Thursday, August 7th, 2008 | by

Recording engineers and studio owners are invariably awesome people. That is a job you can only do if you love it, I think, so the people who are doing it are jazzed basically all the time.

Studio folks are adept at making clients feel happy and relaxed and creative, too, because if they couldn’t do that then all their records would suck.

This is why I always visit local recording studios when I travel. It gives me an opportunity to hang out with amazing people who are psyched about making records, to see killer gear and incredible rooms, and to get away from stuffy hotel rooms (and stuffy coworkers) for a couple hours.

Last week I was in Santa Fe, NM, and I saw two studios that seem to stake out opposite ends of the recording-studio spectrum:

Stepbridge Studios Control Room, Santa Fe, NMStepbridge has a proverbial million-dollar room, filled with high-end vintage gear and a 20-year history, not to mention a B room (also equipped for large-scale ADR (voiceover) work), not to mention three more rooms downtown at Rancho Digital. If those walls could talk, they’d sing (in key!).

Frogville Studios Cnotrol Room, Santa Fe, NMNext I saw Frogville Studios, a decidedly homegrown and funky operation that within its first few years of business has produced a set of shockingly good records. There is no shortage of drool-worthy gear, nor expertise behind the console, but this is every bit a “home studio” in a surprisingly literal sense of the term.

The spaces are as different as you can imagine, but common to both studios is a passion for recorded sound. Bone-deep, lifelong passion for evoking the best possible performance from the artist, capturing it, and reproducing it.

Santa Fe is a gorgeous city, with more art and music and festivals and culture per square block than anywhere else I’ve been, but these two studio visits were the highlights of my trip. Just as with a recording session, it’s the people who make all the difference. I had the great fortune to meet Andrew Click and Edgard Rivera at Stepbridge, and John Treadwell and Bill Palmer at Frogville, and I enjoyed every minute.

Needless to say, I recorded it all. Photos and interviews are coming soon now online:

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