Over its 52-year history, Los Angeles’ Village Studios has played host to many of world’s most famous recording artists, including Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, BB King, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and The Doors. Recently, the facility has converted one of its private production suites into a new studio for T Bone Burnett, Mike Piersante and Zach Dawes who will use it for shared and solo endeavours – and when they are not in residence, Village will offer the room to its commercial clients.

The Village Studios' new Genesys BlackAt the heart of this new studio is the massive Genesys Black GB96 console – one of the largest to be installed anywhere in the world. With 64 faders and 48 analogue channel strips, the desk carries 32 channels of vintage 1084 Neve EQ and 16 channels of contemporary 88R-style 4-band EQ in a one-of-a-kind package. This mammoth console was also delivered with Neve mastering-grade AD/DA Madi conversion cards across every channel, delivering internal conversion for 48 channel direct outputs, channel digital line inputs, and digital monitor returns over optical Madi connection.

‘It is a fantastic compromise between old and new ways of recording because it delivers the great analogue sound of Neve, while easily enabling modern hybrid workflows,’ says Jeff Greenberg, who has owned the Village since the mid-1990s. ‘It is also a perfect complement to the Neve consoles we already own, which include our much loved vintage 8048 in Studio A and two Neve 88R consoles with full Mix Recall in Studios B and D.’

Originally built as a Masonic temple in the 1920s, the readily recognisable building retains many original features including its stained glass windows. During the 1960s it was the West Coast headquarters for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation, before being transformed into a recording studio at the end of that decade.

As well as four main commercial studios, the facility also has a large auditorium and the Moroccan Room (formerly the Masonic Meeting Room), which are used as live and concert spaces. Spread throughout the building are various production and writing suites that are occupied by an eclectic mixture of artists, producers and composers who like having their own space within this extraordinary complex.

The new studio is housed in one such suite. ‘The suite was previously occupied by John Alagia who had it for about 16 years,’ Studio Manager Tina Morris explains. ‘He had it set up with Pro Control and it was completely digital with the exception of a complement of outboard gear. The space consisted of a control room and an isolation booth, both of which we incorporated into this refurbishment.

‘We spruced it up with new acoustic treatment advised by George Augsberger and the new Genesys Black console. It is a dual-purpose room for mixing and recording, and we have added tie lies to the Moroccan Room so that it can serve as a control room for that multipurpose room when it is available. This is ideal because it is literally next door to the Moroccan Room and having the analogue aspect of the Genesys Black console, as well as it’s integration with Pro Tools, is a great addition to the facility.’

Mike Piersante at The Village Studios' new Genesys BlackThe specification of the new studio was very much a joint effort between Mike Piersante and Tina Morris: ‘Tina and I consulted regularly on every small aspect of the space and all technical aspects because, in essence, we wanted this to also be a “Village” room,’ Piersante explains. ‘On that basis, I thought both factions should have input into the design and equipment.’

For his part, Burnett was happy to leave the technical specifications to his long-time collaborator, but did get involved in the aesthetic aspects of the room as he has great sensibilities in this area. ‘Right from the beginning, my thinking was to have a console with vintage qualities but also one that would bring the room and the Village a step into the future,’ Piersante says. ‘The Genesys was always my first choice for this particular space.’

‘Once it was presented to us as an option, we were 100 per cent onboard,’ Morris adds. ‘The Village has always been a Neve facility with our Vintage 8048 and two 88Rs. I think the only debate was whether we should go with the Black or with the regular Genesys.’

‘The sonics of the analogue path, combined with vintage reissued preamps and EQs, is a feature we all love,’ Piersante explains. ‘This desk delivers a lot of flexibility and gives us options we didn’t have at the studio we co-ran in the past.’

Piersante has added to the equipment list by bringing in a wealth of vintage and modern outboard from the likes of Neve, Manley, Universal Audio, Empirical Labs, Teletronics, Alan Smart, GML, API, Retro Industries and Altec. The studio is also set up to handle Dolby Atmos mixing, with a monitoring system that delivers full immersive audio.

‘We have been working with Dolby for a couple of years to try and figure out a good room to make into our Atmos room, but all of them were too in demand to designate for that purpose,’ Morris says. ‘When we started renovating this room it seemed like a good fit, so we went ahead because we finally had a space that was large enough to install an Atmos monitoring system.’

With the desk now installed and the room finally completed, the entire team behind this project are delighted with the end result. ‘We are excited to add yet another addition to our family of Neve consoles,’ Morris says. ‘I personally have grown up with Neves from the very first studio I worked at professionally. To be able to put a modern Neve console in our ever expanding and updating studio is just really special to us.’

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