NOTES: Nashville country and bluegrass name Randy Kohrs appears on more than 500 albums alone, but his fame transforms into infamous when it comes to his own studio—Slack Key Studio has already landed him a Grammy for producing, engineering, and mixing Jim Lauderdale’s last bluegrass CD, The Bluegrass Diaries.
“My goal is to be recognized as one of the top recording facilities in Nashville based on the products that come out of it,” says Kohrs—and he has stayed on top of stateof- the art gear with endorsements from several top companies in the recording industry including Røde, Apogee, and Violet Design. For vintage-sounding sessions, Kohr sticks to using hard-to-find vintage gear including six different custom-built preamps by Natale Tomiano.
The studio had its genesis in Kohrs’ work as an acoustic session player; he figured it was a better investment to spend money on gear than hours in someone else’s studio. Over the last ten years, the studio has evolved into a facility suited for any genre of music (despite Nashville’s heavy country music concentration), and features two newly-built isolation booths. “I’m fortunate to get called to do many resophonic guitar overdubs for other artists’ projects in my studio, as I’ve worked hard to get the right sounds out of my instruments here,” says Kohrs. Recent work includes overdubs for a Willie Nelson and Melonie Cannon duet, as well as recording for hit songwriter and artist Larry Cordle’s new album.
Aside from the extensive set of recording tools, A-list of musicians, and awards won, one of Slack Key Studio’s main attractions is its ’50s Americana diner-style kitchen and green room. But aesthetics are secondary to the gear and music. As a home studio recordist himself, Kohr has advice for other musicians building their own studios: “I recommend getting one pair of matched microphones and one pair of matched preamps to start with, then spend your money on quality analog-to-digital converters. One stereo signal chain that sounds amazing is much better than having five that sound terrible.”
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