Top mastering engineer and The Boiler Room founder Collin Jordan first met WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) founding partner John Storyk at an AES Convention in 2003. Impressed with Storyk’s genuine interest in his initial studio build out, Jordan put WSDG on the list for his next studio project. By 2013 his work for Chicago-based artists ranging from Buddy Guy, Alkaline Trio, Common, Local H, Pelican to the Wachowskis enabled Jordan to purchase a 100+ year-old, 3 story brick building in the Wicker Park District, a hub of Chicago music and nightlife.
“I’d been looking for a new space for years, and immediately knew this building met ALL of my needs, including two floors primed for renovation into rental apartments that would cushion my monthly OOP. I called most of the major studio designers but still got the best feeling from WSDG. Their balance of technical acoustics and artistic design was spot on, and they were very accommodating to my somewhat unusual vision for the new studio. WSDG project manager (now partner/COO) Joshua Morris flew out for an initial site visit. He made a series of recommendations that were much in sync with my thinking, and we began a lengthy but ultimately hugely successful collaboration.”
“The ground floor of Colin’s building was a virtual sound lock,” Morris says. “Eleven-foot-high ceilings, and a solid slab floor made it unnecessary to float the room even in such an urban setting. We carved out a spacious 600 square foot section at the rear of the building for his mastering studio and included a roomy ‘sweet spot’ client listening area. Positioning the studio back there also eliminated concerns about street noise. The remaining 900 square feet were earmarked for a lounge, kitchen and business office. The solid construction of the second and third story apartments provided additional assurance of complete isolation, as the mastering room is located in a single-height space. This building was ideal for a mastering studio,” he adds.
“The difference in sound quality is so dramatic that clients who would normally be spending time on their iPhones during sessions, literally put them down and give their full attention to the music,” Jordan concludes. “Of all the things I’ve learned in this process, the key lesson is the importance of room acoustics in that chain. My advice is stop buying equipment and get your room in tune.”