MonkMusicIt became clear during 2011 that there was a resurgence in big room recording studios. Defying expectation, the kind of studio that had most readily been undermined by the falling cost of equipment and the project rooms that followed was making a comeback.

The trend continues in the early months of 2012, first with Village Studios in China, and now with MonkMusic in New York.

Multi-Grammy winning engineer Cynthia Daniels has added MonkMusic – a sophisticated commercial recording facility – to her East Hampton home. Targetting what she is calling ‘a first-tier client base’ that includes ‘local’ residents Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin – the studio prides itself on its acoustics and elegant aesthetics. To meet these goals, Daniels reached out to Walters-Storyk Design Group – also behind the design of Hins Cheung’s ambitious Village Studios project in Guangzhou.

Cynthia Daniels‘I was on a fast track to get up and running as quickly as possible,’ she says. ‘I’ve worked in a number of WSDG studios, and was very familiar with its credentials.

‘On his first site visit, in October 2010, WSDG principal John Storyk assured me that “we would never be waiting for drawings, design elements or architectural issues”. And WSDG was on the mark throughout the process. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

‘Our client base ranges from high-energy rock sessions where we spend hours in the high volume stratosphere to jazz, orchestral, pop, ADR for film and TV, and of course, narration recording.’ Daniels continues. ‘Because my home is set in a suburban/rural area, we needed to be sensitive to sound leakage both into and out of the studio. We needed sand-filled cinderblock wall construction, along with lots of soundproof windows and sliding glass doors for complete isolation and to take advantage of the East End’s beautiful natural light.’

MonkMusic, then, is a 650-sq-ft recording/mixing studio housed in a new wing attached to Daniels’ home. Although hardly the norm in residential construction in the Hamptons, the addition was built with a decoupled concrete floor system, created for optimal isolation. In all. the complex includes a live area, isolation booth and mixing rooms. It can handle 5.1 work using Genelec DSP monitors and a hybrid Avid console. There is also a generous allocation of digital and analogue signal processing, microphones, preamps, instruments, amplifiers and outboard gear.

Monk Music
Click for WSDG drawings
WSDG project manager Matt Ballos describes the design as being based on a combination of optimal room proportion, membrane absorbers for critical low-frequency room respons, and specifically placed diffusers (in some instances transparent), for high-frequency reflection control. Allowing the studio suite to relate to the home and to the beautiful surroundings was very important to the final design. To this end, Daniels collaborated with WSDG associate Judy Elliot-Brown of Rocket Science and Mike Donahower on the critical wiring programme and systems integration/installation.

‘I’ve known Judy for years – she is an absolute wizard at her job,’ Daniels says. ‘Collaborating with her and Mike was one of the best parts of this project. WSDG was also highly recommended by Alan Silverman, my first-call mastering engineer, and former mentor from my A&R Recording days,’ Daniels adds. ‘There was never a doubt about my decision.’

Since its opening Cynthia Daniels has welcomed the likes of Barbara Cook, Randy Brecker, veteran rocker Joe Delia, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julie Andrews and Bob Balaban to the new facility.

See also:
Case Study: Village Studios, Guangzhou
Case Study: Thompson Studios, New York
Case Study: Jungle City Studios

Case Study: Green Road Studio
Sound Temple joins Big Room Revival
nhow Brings New Recording Experience to Berlin
Studio 85 Opens Its Doors In Paris


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