Studio Tour: Nashville's 16 Ton Studios in video and pictures
17th Aug 2012 | 08:40
Video Tour: Nashville's 16 Ton Studios in video and pictures
MusicRadar was in Nashville recently, and while there, we decided to drop by one of Music City's top-flight recording facilities, 16 Ton Studios.
In the last few months, Sheryl Crow recorded tracks for her upcoming record at 16 Ton, and over the years, the studio has played host to Sandi Thom; Black Crowes members Chris and Rich Robinson, along with Steve Gorman; Buddy Guy; Eddie Kramer; Reeves Gabrels; Robert Randolph And The Family Band; among many others.
Built by famed studio designer Michael Cronin, 16 Ton opened its doors in 2004 and is owned and managed by producer and writer Danny White. Over the course of a Saturday afternoon, White gave us a leisurely look around - we positively drooled over the one-of-a-kind,custom-built, tube-based Dymaxian 48 console. You can see it all in the video above and the gallery of photos.
A key feature at 16 Ton is the new, revolutionary CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system, and during our stay, Chris Estes, CEO of Endless Analog and inventor CLASP, dropped by. In the video below, Estes explains how artists and producers can integrate analog tape into their digital production workflow (and save mega bucks in the process).
Sit back, check out the clips and feast your eyes on some truly marvellous gear. Despite the building's rather ominous facade (are there ravens lurking about?) it's all quite cozy inside, and the people are very nice indeed.
Walk into 16 Ton and you're in the Parlour Room, which is actually the rear tracking space. You can't go wrong when you're being being watched over by Elvis.
Control Room - console
Now, that's a beauty. The crown jewel at 16 Ton, a Dymaxian 48 console. Monitor-wise, those are ATC 150 SL PRO bigs and KRK V6 smalls.
Control Room - gear central
Tech goodies galore: Columbia's Scully 280 recorder, a Beatle-y sidecar with Abbey Road Painton faders, UREIs, Altec, Neve - you name it.
Control Room - Scully 280
Nothing like a Scully two-track tape machine. Classics were made on babies like this.
Control Room - sidecar
From Abbey Road. The "Fab" faders are at rest since they've been moved to the tube mic preamps into the console and loaded up with parametrics.
Which houses the Ampeg MM-1000 from Nashville's famed Columbia Studios. According to White, "If this thing were a jukebox, you'd hear George Jones, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and a whole lot more. When Eddie Kramer was here a couple of months ago, he took a look at it and said he recorded the first Johnny Winter record on it."
Tape Room - the Ampeg MM-1000
Says White, "This machine represents 15 tons of 16 Ton!"
Vintage Steinway and various keys. Let's poke around some...
Piano Room - 1881 Steinway grand
Eighty-eight keys of bliss. Yes, it sounds as good as it looks.
Piano Room - CBS Rhodes electric piano
You probably know them as "Fender Rhodes" electric pianos, but for a time Fender wasn't use in the name, and as the company was owned by CBS, this is 1978 CBS Rhodes.
Piano Room - Hammond B3
From 1959. Accept no substitutes. But what would a B3 be without...
Piano Room - Leslie cabinet
...a Leslie speaker cabinet! Right beside, the Leslie is a Wurlitzer piano from the mid-'60s.
"That's a letter from John Steinway stating that the piano kicks ass!" says White. "Well, he didn't really say 'kicks ass' - Steinways don't speak that way. But I know that's what he meant."
Main Tracking Room
White stands in the main tracking room next to a Neumann M 49 mic.
Main Tracking Room
Looking into the CR from the main room...
Tracking Room - ceiling
"Diffusers and traps," says White. "Sounds dangerous but very harmless... unless, of course, you're a bad frequency. Then you're in real trouble!"
Main Tracking Room - Columbia Studios talkback monitor
"We've got cool, long-silent relics from temples of sound scattered everywhere at 16 Ton," says White. "If you put your ear up this talkback monitor from Columbia Studios Nashville, you can hear Bob Dylan asking for one more pass at Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands."
Control Room - Chris Estes with a CLASP unit
CLASP inventor Chris Estes with one of the secret weapons at 16 Ton. You guessed it - CLASP!
Control Room - Chris Estes and Danny White
Or what we like to call, "just a couple of studio nerds talkin'."