One hour by train from Hong Kong, in the thriving metropolis of Guangzhou stands China’s first true ‘destination’ recording studio. Technologically sophisticated and acoustically superb, Village Studios was conceived by international pop star Hins Cheung. Three years in development and construction, the complex represents the future of China’s recording industry. And, a carefully considered investment in a superstar’s long-term career plan.
Designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group, the project exemplifies the unique synthesis of several of its international offices. The project’s efforts were initially led by WSDG principal John Storyk, and required highly sophisticated analysis and auralization, developed by WSDG’s European and Brazil branches. Village Studios combines world-class acoustics and aesthetics in an exotic, yet fully cosmopolitan setting.
Acoustics and design
Graced with a striking interior design developed by WSDG partner, Beth Walters, the 12,400 sq. ft. ground up building is distinguished by an expansive 3000 sq. ft. live room, with an 18 ft. high ceiling. Village Studios features two autonomous 800 sq. ft. control rooms, each with spacious 640, and 230 sq. ft. ISO booths. Hins’ manager, Bella Fan reports that his affinity for vintage gear, inspired Studio A to be outfitted with a prized SSL9080K console. Studio B features a classic Neve VR72 and 8068.
WSDG’s initial drawings proved very close to the mark in terms of Hins’ expectations. Complex site lines between the orchestra sized live and dual control rooms, coupled with the double height ceiling and, the higher than average reverb time typically associated with China’s idiosyncratic music style, presented extremely interesting design challenges. To resolve these issues WSDG engaged a number of elegant, variable acoustic solutions including custom curtains and multi-format diffusion panels. WSDG also provided detailed construction documents, project construction administration and final studio commissioning/tuning for the complex.
Equipment and integration
Fully loaded with Pro Tools, Lynx Aurora, Studer, Prisim Sound, Apogee Lexicon, TC Electronics, Eventide, Mercury, GML Manley, Fairchild, API, Empirical, Crane Song, and a full complement of classic mics including AEA, Beyer, Neumann, Royer, Telefunken, Song C800G, DPA, Schoeps and Shure. The studio also features two Hammond B3 organs and six Fender Rhodes electric piano models. Mains monitors in the SSL Control Room are custom 15” Augspurgers. The Neve Control Room features 15” Dynaudio Acoustics custom Munro M6 mains. The technology package was coordinated by WSDG, in conjunction with US-based Professional Audio Design. The complex includes a 520 sq. ft. orchestra lounge with 18’ high ceiling, multiple smaller lounges, kitchen and offices.
As plans called for substantial A/V interconnectivity between the live and twin control rooms as well as numerous recording sites throughout the complex, systems integration and isolation were primary concerns. Hins’ team along with WSDG systems design engineers, Judy Elliot-Brown and Caroline Feldmeier held extensive online dialogues with their China-based colleagues. Further on in the project, Hins requested that Brown visit the site for a full review of the wiring program and to have her lead the installation of the final a/v conduit and raceway system.
To view a full 60-piece orchestra live recording session with Hins at Village Studios visit: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/5ZeQ5GNl9OI/
* IMPORTANT NOTE: Village Studios, Guangzhou, China is NOT affiliated with The Village Studios in Los Angeles, California.
See photos sequencing the construction of this studio.
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