Mid-80s Upstate NY.
Neo-Sync Labs as it was called then was my studio in my home outside of Binghamton, NY. The studio was centered around an extended (and heavily modified) Studiomaster Console and a Tascam MS-16 1 inch recorder. When you walked into the control room, you immediately noticed the UREI 809 Studio monitors (driven by a McIntosh MC2200). There were two isolated tracking rooms, headphone distributions, and all the fancy real studio stuff. Trying to be ahead of the curve, I acquired a very early, very limited (and very expensive) Pro Tools system. The hard drive was a 1GB external monster that cost $1200 at the time (By comparison, I recently bought two 4TB drives for $119/ea).
Entering the digital age, NSL later traded up from the MS-16 analog tape deck to three Fostex ADATs. We now had 24 tracks! (and still the ancient Pro tools rig).
Another innovation at NSL was Mixing Automation. I had three Steinberg Niche midi-controlled gain units wired into the Studiomaster Console. My own software (which I named Muse) drove the whole thing. While not doing sessions, I was working on Muse which I was quite sure was going to make me rich. Every once in a while, I look at the source code – it’s not so bad.
In ’98, I reclocated to the Boston Suburbs. The studio sat mostly dormant but slowly came to life over the next few years. Still based on the old ADATs and large Studiomaster console.
In 2000, I got my dream job and worked as an engineer at Cakewalk Music Software (then Twelve Tone Systems) in Boston. More than anything else on my resume, the thing that got me that gig was the development I did on Muse. Ha – it did pay off! I spent nine years there and worked on every version of SONAR from version 1 through X1. I also worked on several of the offshoot “baby products” such as Home Studio and was also the lead on the ill-fated Project5.
At this point, technology was to the point where a cutting edge computer really could run a whole studio – barely. This is where I got out of the ADATs and mixers world and started working 100% in the box. Of course my DAW of choice was Cakewalk SONAR. I lived and breathed this software.
During this time, the studio never amounted to much. I still had the gear and would tinker a bit, but I found that working on music software all day (and nights and weekends) I sort of lost my appetite for firing up the DAW to do music.
2005 The Arlington Studio
In 2006, I moved to Arlington, MA (another Boston Suburb). This house had an awseome unfinished space on the third floor which made a beautiful large one-room Studio. By now, computers were definitely fast enough to handle large sessions and disk drives were cheap enough to store all that noise. This is where I decided to call the thing Rock Science.
In this studio, I acutally got back into recording. Mostly for myself but I also took a few projects. It was getting fun again. Eventually, the big UREI 809 monitors went away and I got a beautiful set of Focal Solo Be monitors.
2018 – Newport, Rhode Island
So, here we are in the latest setup in Newport. The studio has been mostly packed up in storage for the last couple years while we lived on and sailed our sailboat all over the place. The new place is great with high, peaked wooden ceilings and lots of light. I’ve got a main room with the gear plus access to other spaces in the house with incredible acoustics.
I’ve stretched out my software arsenal in the new studio as well. Although there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Cakewalk and I still belive it is an amazing tool, I’ve started using other tools as well including Ableton Live and Pro Tools.