Evansville, Indiana - Jan. 2013:
A 48-channel API 1608 analog console with 32-channels of automation has been installed at 77 Recording, making them owner of one of the largest 1608's manufactured to date! In less than a decade, this studio has matured from an in-the-box basement rig to a world-class facility occupying 3,500 square-feet of acoustically-stunning real estate just two hours north of Nashville in lovely Evansville, Indiana. The already busy studio is getting busier as it draws talent from an ever-expanding radius, and by recently hiring Nashville recording, mixing, and mastering engineer Jimmy Dulin as its chief engineer. The perfection of 77 Recording's live studios is complemented by an exquisite hybrid analog/digital signal path in the control room. A 24-track Sony MCI JH24 two-inch tape machine interlocks with Pro Tools HD via Endless Analog CLASP synchronization, and the whole rig is now piloted by the API 1608 console.
Owner and recording engineer Brett Mulzer's guided 77 Recording from its project-studio roots to the big league studio it is today. "When I first started out, I was recording and mixing with little more than a Digi 002 and a computer," he said. "After adding some gear to the front end, I ventured outside the box with a summing mixer. I liked the results so well that I purchased a mid-sized analog desk, but ultimately its capabilities were limited and its automation was frustrating and of poor resolution."
Mulzer explored his alternatives, and the API 1608 jumped out as an obvious candidate. "I wanted a board that was geared toward rock, and API is legendary in that regard," he said. "API is especially well known for its drum sound, and drums are our forte at 77 Recording. The live room is huge and warm, and I really wanted to play to that strength. The API 1608 delivers on everything I had hoped for: a classic aggressive, punchy sound paired with a reliable, modern signal path and excellent automation." Mulzer noted that the 1608's automation is of very high resolution and is robust and reliable to implement together with Pro Tools and CLASP.
Mulzer expanded his stock 16-channel API 1608 with two 16-channel expanders because he wants to be able to mix down without having to make submixes in Pro Tools. "I like having a fader for everything I record," he said. In addition, he wanted a large count of high-quality preamps in order to accommodate the orchestras, choirs, and other large ensembles that frequent 77 Recording's tremendous live room. "Zero restrictions" served as his guiding principle.
"Apart from the obvious improvement in sound quality and the ease of integrating outboard gear, mixing outside the box has a more subtle, but equally important benefit," Mulzer observed. "I find that when I'm mixing within the Pro Tools environment, I start to let the visuals guide my decisions. I start mixing with my eyes rather than my ears. In contrast, when I mix outside the box, my ears guide all my decisions, as they should."
To complement the API 1608, 77 Recording has a wealth of outboard gear, including several 500-series modules — API 525 compressors, API 550a three-band EQs, and API 550b four-band EQs — situated within the console's 500-series expansion bay.
Acoustical design for the studio is credited to Haverstick Designs.