Although travel and having engineers located in different geographic areas have been and continue to be signature elements of Liquid 5th’s services in a cappella live sound and recording, the company has recently taken a huge step in the opening of its own recording studio. The facility formally opened with a celebration in Durham, NC on September 29, 2012. Liquid 5th co-founder and co-owner Carl Taylor was kind enough to speak with The A Cappella Blog in September 2012 about the studio.
“We’ve worked remotely recording on college campuses, in classrooms, basements, someone’s parents’ house. Pretty much any where you can think of, we’ve recorded there. Editing and mixing was done out of our home studios,” Taylor said. “As effective as this is (and we still work this way sometimes) we wanted to push in a different direction.”
In this case, a different direction means stepping away from makeshift recording and mixing spaces, and providing a more formal setting for a cappella talent. Taylor said that he aims to welcome groups “into a real studio [where they can] have the experience of going into a professional environment and really having that authentic recording artist experience. The A Cappella Studio is all about making the process of creating an album as enjoyable and exciting as possible.”
Of course Liquid 5th will continue to offer mobile recording. “We understand that the convenience of having someone travel to you is still something that many groups will need, especially those that are farther away from North Carolina. The new studio will be another option and one more way in which we try to provide the best value and quality we can.”
The studio’s live recording room is equipped with multiple booths, mounted on wheels so groups can move them around and record up to eight people at a time in a variety of different configurations, while still maintaining isolated tracks for different singers. “It’s all about flexibility,” Taylor said. “A cappella musicians will have the ability to tailor the recording process specifically to their desires and budget. If a group wants to focus on getting the best quality from every take they can record one or two people at a time. If they want to capture more of the live energy of the group or save money they can record more people simultaneously without losing the ability to make tuning and alignment adjustments in post production. It allows groups to develop their sound the way they want to.”
“We’ve invested in a wide array of new microphones and preamps,” Taylor said. “We think the studio space itself is great and we love working there … we wanted the equipment to reflect the same quality. The studio comes equipped with a control room designed by acoustic engineer Matthew Roe out of Seattle. “It gives me a more accurate reflection of what music is actually sounding like on all playback systems,” Taylor said, “from the studio itself, to car speakers, to headphones, to computer speakers.
In addition to the more technical side of the new studio, it also comes equipped with a lounge. “Musicians can bring food, drinks and anything else they need and keep it in the fridge,” Taylor said, “and have plenty of space to hang out while they’re not recording.”
“We’re really excited about the studio.” Taylor said. “I think I speak for the whole team when I say it brings being a part of Liquid 5th to a whole new level. We can’t wait to share it with the a cappella community.” Groups interested in learning more about recording their next album with Liquid 5th can check out their official site.