Room With A Vu: April 2009 - EMusician

Room With A Vu: April 2009

STUDIO NAME: Truth & Soul StudiosLOCATION: Brooklyn, NYCONTACT: www.truthandsoulrecords.com KEY CREW: Jeff Silverman, Leon Michaels, Clay HollyCONSOLES: Soundcraft 200B
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COMPUTERS: Mac G5
TAPE DECKS: Otari 1/4" 2-track, TASCAM 388b recorder/mixer, TASCAM MSR 1" 16-track, TASCAM 1/2" 16-track, TASCAM 1/4" 4-track
RECORDING SOFTWARE: Digidesign Pro Tools 7.0, Digidesign Drum Rehab plug-in, SSL plug-in bundle
MONITORS: KRK V6, Yamaha NS10
MIC PREAMPS: Altec 1592 and 1606, Avalon 737sp, Neotek Series One (strips wrapped by Wells Electric)
MICS: AKG D12, AKG D112, AKG C1000, AKG MD30, Audio- Technica 4030, Sennheiser MD421, Shure SM54, Studio Projects C1, Telefunken D9A

OUTBOARD GEAR: Blonder Tongue Audio Baton EQ, CBS Labs stereophonic peak controller and 440A limiter, vintage DAP 310 limiter/expander, Korg Stage Echo, Roland Space Echo, TASCAM spring reverbs, Universal Audio 2192 Master Audio Interface, Vesta Fire spring reverbs, Wells Electric 1175 compressors/limiters

NOTES: Truth & Soul Studios lives true to its name. Originally, Soul Fire Records under eclectic music collector Phillip Lehman, Leon Michaels, and Jeff Silverman took over the operations after Soul Fire Records lost its flame, but the men kept the soul in the studio.

Lovers of soul, funk, Latin, and afro grooves, Michaels and Silverman’s goal for the studio is to “re-create the kind of music they love with their own signature aesthetic.”

“We’re attracted to lo-fi music that was typically recorded in small studios with limited equipment,” says Silverman. “It’s hard to get that aesthetic with modern studios with state-of-the-art equipment.”

The studio itself highlights the duo’s aim of meshing the lo-fi and hi-fi worlds together. The walls house some of the best gear—both new school and vintage—while the walls themselves are done up in a budget art-school style for acoustic treatment.

“The room was built by some hippie/rambler from the neighborhood,” explains Silverman. “He just stapled fabric to frames, but it’s a perfect dead room.”

With its passion for lo-fi aesthetics, Truth & Soul found its niche in the soul revival sound, and their gear proves worthy to the genre’s vinyl roots.

“A rack of Altec 1592 and 1606 mic preamps are our favorite gear at the moment,” says Silverman. “They have a certain rugged sound to them that’s hard to emulate with other gear. Another favorite is the Wells Electric 1175 compressor/limiter, which is modeled after classic 1176s. We use compression on a lot of our sessions—it’s kind of a must for analog recording.”

Truth & Soul Studios is also the main hub for its Truth & Soul Records artists. Everything for the label has been recorded and mixed behind the Brooklyn studio’s doors, including El Michels Affair, Lee Fields, and remixes of Amy Winehouse and Gabriella Cilmi.

As advice to others getting their foot in the door of the recording world, Silverman says: “The amount of equipment you acquire doesn’t make your studio—it’s how you use it. Although it doesn’t hurt to have some good mics!”