In the planning phase for over two years, construction of a vastly improved Baked Beans Recording Studio was completed in 2008,
after 14 years in our prior location.
The facility is located on a dead-end road on a high hill top with panoramic views of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
A great deal of research went into the acoustic design of this building.
-a main room measuring 26' x 30' with a 13' 6" vaulted ceiling,
-two isolation rooms, each measuring 7' x 13',
-a fourth 17' x 18' room housing the 1930 Mason & Hamlin Model A grand piano.
-and, a 14' x 20' waiting room/lounge with rest room. Note: even the waiting room
is pre-wired for recording, if necessary.
All interior walls are natural wood, non-parallel,
but perfectly symmetric and fully treated acoustically. The main room is built according to the "Golden Room" ratios that yield an amazingly flat frequency respone -- the math works!
All rooms are networked and hard-wired
with underground conduit run audio lines, CAT6, headphone sends & mic returns.
There is radiant heat in the floor, which is not only efficient and comfortable, but silent. There is a ductless "mini split" Mitsubishi AC / Heat Pump system -- super efficient and the quietest on the market: 22dB!
Being on a dead end road on a hill top, traffic is essentially zero. Also, the building is as soundproofed as can be accomplished. The entire structure is built using integrated concrete forms with an STC rating (a measurement of sound transmission) almost three times as good as wooden construction. Amazing energy efficiency: R52 in the walls and ceilings!
When the new studio was built from the foundation up, very careful research was done to assure the best acoustics possible. The 26' x 30' main room has the flattest frequency response you will ever hear in a large tracking room. All of the walls are ICF construction - that means 6" of concrete sandwiched between dual 3" layers of foam insulation acheiving both thermal efficiency and maximal soundproofing . The two 7' x 13' isolation rooms are dead quiet. The interior wall surfaces are rough grooved natural wood, enhancing the sound futher. Drums, strings sections, bluegrass bands, etc. all sound amazing in the main room.
13.5' vaulted ceiling & angled walls
Yeah, we still have some analog tape machines lurking in the closets including a fully restored Otari MX5050, but they are only used to transfer old tapes to high resolution digital media. All recording is now done to the industry standard Pro Tools software on a 12 core Xeon CPU Mac Pro with SSD, 32 GB of RAM and over 12 terabytes of internal storage space. We keep ADAT, DAT, Cassette and CD recorders around to accommodate transfers from older formats, too.
Technically, mixing all occurs "in the box"... a bunch of electrons flipping digital zeros and ones in Pro Tools HD (the industry standard). However, the controller for all of this is the Avid C|24 mixing console, which can handle 192 tracks of high resolution audio and offers 16 Class A mic preamps. Conversion to and from the digital world is handled by high resolution Avid 16 x 16 convertors (2 for a total of 32 in/32 out simultaneously). Up to 192 tracks can be run at mixdown at once.
BBRS boasts one of the finest microphone "lockers" one could ask for. Obviously, the musical performance is always paramount, but mics are arguably the most important link in the chain of many technical variables that lead to a great recording. By keeping a wide variety of top notch mics, the ideal mic for any given audio source can be picked. We have a handmade Neumann U47 clone made by Gene Lawson in Nashville that makes almost everything sound great. We have numerous mics by Schoeps, AKG, Blue, Earthworks, Shure, Cascade, Audio-Technica and others including ribbons, small and large diaphragm condensors and dynamics.
With the maturation of software emulation, we have long since traded our outboard compressors and equalizers for state of the art software plugins. Over the years, we have accumulated an amazing collection of software programs. Today's state-of-the-art programs make outboard gear truly unnecessary. Click HERE for a list of our programs. The only outboard gear we have kept are those we just cannot live without: high end mic preamps from Aphex, True Systems (Neumann) and Avalon.
Monitoring is done on a 5.1 surround JBL 4328 system. These are "intelligent" speakers that self-equalize to the room (more on that in the Acoustics link). These guys tell the truth about your precious audio. Every artifact is audible. (If you can't hear it, you can't fix it!) While many speakers color the sound to make it more pleasing to the ears, JBL makes speakers that reproduce exactly what you put into them. This allows mixing a final product that will sound good on even cheap 2" computer speakers.
In addition to a large collection of Sony and Shure tracking headphones, we have two pairs of very high end Sennheiser open air "cans" that serve as a great reality check due to their pristine sound and give an incredibly comfortable fit. Listening fatique is a thing of the past with these.
As noted above, we have the entire collection ("Mercury") of Waves plugins, considered by most pros as being the standard for critical audio processing. We have the Complete Composers Collection of virtual instruments from East/West Quantum Leap and dozens of other programs. If you want it, we likely have it. This software collection, our mics, our balanced room acoustics, our speakers and years of experience set us apart from the competition.
So, your instrument is not so great? We have a bundle of them for you to use: Gibson Les Paul authentically tweaked out to 1959 burst specs, Strat Plus Deluxe with Barden pickups and a full MIDI setup inside, Tele with Texas Special pickups, Lowden D32 handmade dreadnought acoustic, Music Man Sting Ray 5-string bass, Sierra pedal Steel guitar, Ramirez classical guitar, Beard round neck resonator, Kemper Profiling Guitar Amp, Marshall 1972 original Celestion "greenback" 4 x 12" cabinet, 1974 Music Man HD130 head, Hammond XK3 with restored late 60's Leslie 147, Yamaha digital keyboards and a 1930 Mason & Hamlin Model "A" grand piano, fully restored.
Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering told us that our piano recordings are the "second best I have ever heard". If you know who Mr. Ludwig is, that is a remarkable statement...