Harvey Mason Jr at Evergreen Stages' newDuality Fuse

The latest chapter in the 40-year history of LA’s Evergreen Stages and Enterprise Studios recording facilities is their acquisition by a group including producer Harvey Mason Jr. Following extensive ‘renewal’, both have newly installed Solid State Logic Duality Fuse 72-channel SuperAnalogue mixing consoles able to handle a wide range of recording, film and TV projects.

Evergreen Stages building started life as a movie theatre in the late 1940s before being repurposed as a multi-room music recording complex in 1979. The studios, will also serve as the new home of Harvey Mason Media, which offers a wide range of services for record, film and television projects.

‘The goal in rebuilding this historic building was to make it the most elevated, high-end, large format room in the city,’ says Mason. ‘The live room sounds amazing and is one of the largest in LA; we can record an 80-piece orchestra here. Couple that with the sound of the Duality Fuse console and the flexibility it gives us and we’re in a unique position in L.A.,’ he says. ‘It gives us the opportunity to do great things here.’

Evergreen Stages' new 72-channel Duality Fuse consoleThe Evergreen Stages Duality Fuse 72 channel console is the first to be installed anywhere in the world and will be joined by a second at Evergreen’s sister facility across the street, the original Enterprise recording studios. Duality Fuse is the latest model of the industry standard Duality, featuring a fully integrated Fusion analogue processor in the centre section, providing tools for adding tonal character, weight and space to stereo stems.

‘I was introduced to SSL at a time I was just beginning my producing career and I loved what it did to my music,’ says Mason, who has served as the Chair of the board of trustees and interim President/CEO of The Recording Academy since the start of 2020. , ‘As I got further along and spent more time in studios, I realised the functionality of the SSL console allowed me to be more creative and more productive. Duality Fuse gives me flexibility and opportunity to do things in whatever way I think will work for a particular project. I love that it still has the SSL sound of the EQ and compression, with digital audio workstation control.’

‘Duality’s Dual Mic preamps – SuperAnalogue with Variable Harmonic Drive and switchable E/G series equalisation curves on each input – offer additional coloration opportunities,’ says SSL VP of Technical Operations, Phil Scholes. ‘SSL’s δelta-Control provides seamless integration of the console automation and all major DAW applications from the Duality Fuse surface.’

The refurbishment of Evergreen Stages includes an acoustic redesign of the control room, which is configured for 5.1 mixing and now features ATC monitoring. ‘The Duality Fuse console accommodates 5.1 nicely,’ says Mason. ‘Compared to the original Duality model I’ve been working on for many years, the centre section has been improved with the features of the Fusion and some additional functionality. You can patch the Fusion pretty much anywhere. That gives you the ability to do some really cool things with it.’

‘We worked with George Augspurger, recent winner of the Technical Grammy award, who has designed three or four rooms for me over the years,’ he continues. ‘We reconfigured the front wall, built an entirely new back wall, added new ceiling treatment, repositioned the console and built a new credenza. The control room sounds much, much better and is more ergonomic.’

Evergreen Stages' new 72-channel Duality Fuse consoleAdditionally, the team led by Paul Cox of technical design and integration firm Paul J Cox Studio Systems has replaced the facility’s wiring infrastructure: ‘Paul Cox has redone every new tieline and every faceplate,’ Mason confirms. ‘There’s not an inch of cable in this room that’s not been redone.’

Cox and his team will also integrate the second Duality Fuse across the street at the former Enterprise Studios, founded in the 1980s by Craig Huxley, who also owned the Evergreen Stages building for a period, operating it as Enterprise 2. Both locations will house identical Duality Fuse consoles. The group has reconfigured the Enterprise’s original floorplan, combining three rooms into one large studio with a tracking space so projects can move seamlessly between the two facilities.

Operating under a variety of names, the facility has welcomed a long list of performers that includes Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, as well as record producers such as Quincy Jones and George Martin. The soundstage has hosted scoring sessions for classic film and television projects including Back to the Future, When Harry Met Sally, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Friends.

Mason’s wide-ranging recording credits include work with Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake, while his film and TV credits include writing and producing music for all three Pitch Perfect films, Straight Outta Compton and Shrek.

Mason recently produced, and executive music produced, the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, which is currently scheduled for theatrical release in August.

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