Room With a VU: March 2009

STUDIO NAME: The Bamboo RoomLOCATION: Cincinnati, OH CONTACT: KEY PLAYERS: Erwin Musper

CONSOLE: Digidesign C|24
INTERFACE: Digidesign 192 I/O (3)
COMPUTER: Apple G5 dual processor w/ 2 x 23" Cinema monitor screens, G4 laptop
DAW: Digidesign Pro Tools|HD3 Accel
PLUG-INS: Antares Auto-Tune; Bomb Factory Fairchild 660; Crane Song Phoenix; Digidesign Massive Pack 4, Smack!; Line 6 Amp Farm, Echo Farm; Serato Pitch ’n Time; Sony Oxford EQ; TC Electronic MasterX3; Waves SSL bundle
RECORDERS: Mackie HD SDR 24/96; Otari MTR 90 2-inch 24-track w/ Dolby SR; Panasonic SV3700 DAT; Studer A80 1/4-inch; double-layer CD/DVD recorder; LaCie d2 storage
MONITORING: Auratone 5c; Aviom 16II 16-channel cue headphone station (5); Dynaudio AIR 20 5.1 system; Mackie HR 626
PRES/DIRECT BOXES: Behringer Ultra-G (4); Focusrite Octopre (4); Mindprint DTC (4); Radial JD7; SPL Channel One; Toft Audio Designs ATC-2; Vintech Audio Neve 473 (4), X81 (2)
MICS: Audio-Technica A-T 3035; AKG 414 (3), C1000 (3); CAD GXL3000 (2); MXL V69M; Neumann TLM 103 (2), KM84 (2); Røde Classic, NT1-A (2); Sennheiser MD 421 (5); Shure SM 57 (10); Yamaha SKRM-100 Subkick
OUTBOARD: AMS RMX 16, 15-80s; dbx 266A; Furman AR- 15 II, M-1500; Lexicon 480 w/LARC; Pultec EQP-1A (2); SPL Qure, Channel One, Transient Designer, Tube Vitalizer; Urei 1176 LN (2)
INSTRUMENTS: Ensoniq ZR-76 synth; Epiphone Les Paul junior guitar; Fender Rhodes Mark 2; Gibson Jumbo acoustic guitar; Hammond B3 organ with Leslie; Harmonium pump organ; Ludwig drum kit with two toms, floor tom; Steinway Boston Baby Grand piano; Fender Stratocaster guitar, Telecaster guitar; Squire jazz bass; Takamine acoustic guitar; Zildjian cymbals
AMPLIFICATION: Ampeg SVT bass amp, 4x10" classic speaker cabinet; Fender Dual Showman; H&K tri-amp, 4x12" cabinet; Hiwatt 4x12" cabinet. vintage 50W guitar amp; Marshall 4x12" cabinet; Vox Valvetronix amp
NOTES: Erwin Musper isn’t a name to be taken lightly: His name appears (as producer, recorder, or mixing engineer) on more than 80 million albums that have become classics over the last 30 years. Musper has recorded with Van Halen and all its lead singers, piloted sessions for David Bowie, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Scorpions, Jeff Beck, Chicago, Metallica, and Dutch superstar Anouk—and has engineered and mixed sessions for top-of-the-chart producers such as Glen Ballard, Mutt Lange, and Bruce Fairbairn.
“I made enough money to semi-retire, but not working would kill me. I always panic when I have a day off,” Musper says. So instead of leading a retirement plan of panic, he built his own studio to make sure he never has to face a day without a recording session.
“It’s basically a combination of all the big studios I’ve worked in for decades. I used to send a wish list to every studio manager before I started my sessions, so I sent myself the same wish list,” he says. “The biggest challenge was to find vintage stuff that I could not live without. But I got it all in the end.”
Musper spent nearly half his budget on acoustic treatments and fine-tuning the two tracking rooms, three isolation booths, control room, editing room, and lounge. “I am from a generation where the sounds were made in the room, not in the box. I love Pro Tools, but it is still what you feed into it that counts. And it still gives me the biggest thrill to see the band through the control room window and hear the thunder or whisper of a new song. That hasn’t changed since I started over 30 years ago.”
Built in 2004 and situated in a meadow where smoke breaks are accompanied by deer, Studio The Bamboo Room is an environmentally-sound music refuge. “Instead of using the usual hardwood, I decided to install bamboo flooring and bamboo custom consoles. It’s a lot less damaging to the environment because bamboo grows back within a year, where other trees need about a hundred years to make up for the loss caused by our ever-growing needs. And it looks pretty cool, too.”