While everyone remembers their favorite artists’ tracks or their most memorable composition, the hard work and effort that goes into creating the work often go unnoticed. Recording studios across the United States have gained renown in well-known music cities, like Nashville, Detroit, and Seattle, but Los Angeles still holds up boasting a history of music legends and modern usage in the film and music industries.
Recording studios have been used since the late 19th century, existing often as simply small soundproof spaces where artists could record with acoustics while being separated from outside noise. Equipment was often portable and soundproof booths would be set up for the duration of the recording session. As recording took hold, larger spaces were required to accommodate larger numbers of musicians. Church conversions became popular in the 1960s since their shape resembled a concert hall with great acoustics. Today, soundstages use the acoustics afforded by such types of buildings often for things like film scores.
The Evergreen Stage in Los Angeles is one such studio using state of the art equipment and has hosted legends such as Frank Sinatra, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney and many more. The converted space was originally a movie theatre. It still holds onto its film roots however having had its facade featured in the films Pushover (1954), Night Moves (1975) and La La Land (2016).
The studio, which was until recently owned by DiaDan Holdings Ltd., is a 3000-square foot performing space suitable for solo acts or bands and can also accommodate bands and orchestras with up to 80 musicians. The hub of the control room is its 72-channel neve mixing console and is well-equipped with three isolation booths, a projection screen, and a comprehensive array of gear.
Another well-known facility is Paramount Recording Studios built by the Brolin family in the 1960s. The studio gained fame, however, in the mid-’70s after the construction of the now famous Studio C was complete. One of the first engineering assistants was a young Edward James Olmos. Paramount then became one of the busiest television music studios of the time, working with hit TV series such as Happy Days, Benson, the Osmond Brothers Show, and the Partridge Family all of which recorded live session dates in Studio C for their shows.
The 70’s sawed an array of high profile musical artists as well including Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles. Motown also moved west so the studio played host to music legends like Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and Marvin Gaye. The Jackson 5 even recorded ABC 1, 2, 3 at Paramount Studios.
Today, the facility consists of 8 studios: one large tracking and mixing studio with an 80 channel SSL 9000J with Ultimation, a mixing/overdub studio with a 56 channel SSL 6000E/G, a mixing/overdub studio with a 40 channel SSL 4000E/G, a mastering studio, and 4 pre-production studios for in-house producers.