STUDIO NAME: Centerline
CONTACT: Lawrence Wells
LOCATION: Santa Monica, CA.
KEY CREW: Patrick Hildebrand, Willie Brown, Howard Lipp
CONSOLE: Yamaha 02R with TC Finalizer, Yamaha 4416
MONITORS: Mackie HR824, HHB, Alesis, Custom monster sub
EFFECTS: Vintage Tape echo, the usual outboard stuff, and a host of digital plug-ins. Reason, Re-Cycle, BFD, Stylus
OUTBOARD: Avalon pre’s, a large collection of vintage and modern/array of floor pedals/Line 6 guitar and bass pods, Marshall, Orange, Fender, Leslie.
MICROPHONE PREAMPS: Avalon VT737 sp, Pre Sonus Digimax & VXP, dbx 383
MICROPHONES: Neumann U87 A, Shure 57s, 58s, AKG C-414/C-1000, and Audix D-1 D-2 D-3 D-4 clip on drum mics
COMPUTERS: Apple Dual G4s, MOTU 2408 interface, Mac OS X running Logic Audio loaded with plug-ins and soft synths.
In Santa Monica, California, nestled among buildings holding entertainment powerhouses Viacom, HBO, Sony, and MTV sits Centerline, just 26 blocks from the ocean. “We call it the Wizard’s Kitchen, they call me the digital wizard,” says Howard Lipp, president and producer of the studio. “Just about every TV and film and agency, as well as the big management firms and entertainment law firms are right here. You can ski an hour from here and surf down the street. The weather is the best. Unfortunately the traffic is the worst, so paradise has a price.”
But the price seems to be worth it, as Lipp’s love of music has paid off. A musician for 32 years, Lipp studied computer engineering and physics in college until a career in cable TV gave way to pursuing his dream career, which led to the opening of Centerline. “I’ve been involved in recording and studied at Newhouse School of communications and interned and engineered at a lot of studios, so designing and opening a studio was as natural as falling asleep,” says Lipp. So why the name Centerline? “The Centerline to me is the road less traveled, the unbeaten path. The fall line to skiers, the death alley to bikers. Straight ahead, balls to the wall, no fear.”
Though Centerline does boast a celebrity clientele, Lipp notes the studio is living out his dual ambition to develop both film/TV projects and independent musicians. Lipp is most passionate about this aspect of the studio. “I believe that there’s room in the hearts of music fans for all music — there just may not be room on a store shelf,” he says.
With the coolest vibe of a converted schoolhouse circa 1941, Centerline offers a control room with a 20-foot a-frame ceiling sporting a huge fireplace and great sounding drum room, musicians with years of recording and producing experience at your service, the ability to sync to picture, and 72-hour turnaround on most composing projects. Notes Lipp, “We have turned around tracks for film, television, and advertising in under 48 hours from phone call to master. The single most important part though is our context around producing. Our job is to bring out the best in whatever project is in house.”
But for this music lover, the best part of running the studio is — obviously — the music. “I love music and musicians and creating and helping fledgling careers get a leg up,” says Lipp. “To me, music is the first true universal language. Music expresses the full range of human experience, emotions, and feelings . . . even those that are hard to put into words can be fully expressed in music.” Amen.