Bob Drake's Recording Studio

Ask anyone familiar with recording studio technology and they will tell you the most important single piece of equipment in any recording studio is the Dynamistograph, or ghost-weighing apparatus. Mine is pictured here. As you can plainly see, unlike most studios today who content themselves with digital simulations of ghost weighing, my studio is equipped with a vintage analog dynamistograph, for that "warm" result.
As anyone knows, compression is the single most important element of any recording. The point is to make the CD as loud as it can possibly be at all times. Whereas most studios today content themselves with digital simulations of classic compressors, even resorting to the use of vintage analog models, I use the steam-powered version pictured here. One simply places the CD media (still suffering from dynamic range) into the compressor, retires to a safe distance, and after a few hours of treatment, voilà! The CD is now as loud as possible, and ready to have the music put on it.
Anyone can tell you that reverb is the most critical element of any recording, as it hides the actual sound and masks the poor performances. In today's studios, one often finds digital simulations of classic reverb units, or even the occasional use of analog devices such as plates, springs, iron girders, carbon-steel ingots, hollowed-out meteorites, abandoned locomotives, disused Bessemer furnaces, etc. I have had an underground reverb chamber (pictured below, here under construction) of modest dimensions built near the house. The space required necessitated the razing of a nearby small village, but one must not let mushy sentiment stand in the way of artistic whims.
In today's studio, anyone can tell you that the keyboard instruments play perhaps the most vital role, because they can be run by sequencers so nobody has to actually play anything. In most studios these days one finds digital simulations of classic analog instruments. Not in mine. As you can see in the inset, my keyboard doesn't stop with the standard notes of the well-know "Western" scale (A B C D E F G) but goes on to include all the letters of the alphabet as well as numbers, thus giving a much richer sound, and functions in an unknown manner which can not be described.
Anyone will say that the microphones are perhaps the single most critical element of any recording studio, because they pick up the sound from the instruments or singers. Nothing could be further from the truth! Microphones do nothing but convince the performer that their performance is being recorded. It is a shameful fact that we engineers must spend so much time during every session setting up these useless placebos of a bygone era in order to placate performers into a sense of security. In fact, thousands of devices (similar to the one pictured below) which enable sound to be transmitted directly to recording devices and/or sound reinforcement apparatus without the need for cables, microphones and so on, are installed just out of view all over the world.
The computer plays perhaps the most critical role in the modern recording studio, and in this regard mine is no exception...with one very important difference! Whereas most of today's studios typically use the latest Macintosh or PC as their Digital Audio Workstation, or "DAW", I utilise the vintage analog computer visible in the background of the photo below, to obtain that elusive sound. In the foreground, the careful observer may also note the dynamos which generate the exclusive, analog power for my "VAW". This specially generated AC is run through brick-wall limiters (which in my studio are actually made of bricks) so it becomes a square wave, rather than a sine wave. This helps all our studio gear get "that loud sound" so desireable today.
Though - obviously - I do utilise computer technology, I have not forsaken that warm "human touch" in my recordings. Allow me to give an example.
Let's say one wishes to increase the volume of a word in a vocal track during a mix. In most studios you know what THAT entails: the laborious - often innacurate - moving a fader, or the tedium of drawing a volume curve. In many cases, the result may be less than pleasing, and/or may lead directly to other, more obscure problems, difficult to define or resolve. In my studio, things are a little different! One merely speaks one's request into one of the several vintage Victorian era speaking tubes strategically located around the control room. Your request is instantly heard by the Commanders of the Computing Department, pictured below, ever vigilant and ready to receive instructions.
As soon as your request is noted and carefully logged, it is relayed immediately to one of the many trained experts who operate the Mixing Department of the Computer Room pictured below. (Note: we do not engage in sexual discrimination - the fact that this photo shows only women was due to the fact that it was taken while our male employees were attending a "Men's Understanding of Reverb on Hi-Hats" conference, which was followed by "Women's Conference on Which Speaker Should be Miked When a Guitarist Uses Several Marshall Stacks Simultaneously During Recording", which was followed by "Unisex Symposium on Claims That Prince Once Used This Guitar Cable or Plectrum".
Below we see Angela, one of our specialists in "Manipulation and Treatment of Voices in Mixing", who has received your mixing request: "0.3 dB increase of volume on the 'a' of the 5th repeat of the phrase 'ooh baby'". With her special training and experience, she is able to perform this delicate and important operation with great precision and without any danger.
Most such requests are fulfilled within minutes to exacting professional standards, making a mixing session at my studio a truly relaxing and laid-back experience for the discriminating professional Music Industry client, which adds up to "that special something" which leads to that number one hit!
That brings us to the close of this virtual tour of Bob Drake's Wonderful Studio. But before we go, one must remember that any studio - mine is no exception - will proudly state that the technical specifications such as signal to noise ratio, frequency response, electrical conductivity, interference caused by subatomic particles, conditions for mediumistic phenomena, etc, are the most vital part of any studio. Without intending to brag, I hereby proudly display the technologically advanced state of my own studio as revealed by the detailed results indicated in the table below, after painstaking analysis carried out by trained laboratory professionals. Judge for yourself!
Well I could go on forever impressing you with more stunning details of my sonic workplace, but as we musicbiz professionals like to say: "Time to wax another hot one"!

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