You’ve already heard that the gear the students at The Blackbird Academy learn on every day is the same gear used by the top names in music. But, what you may not know are the specifics on the actual pieces which are impressive. Here’s a breakdown of just a sample of the top gear in our Studios A, I, C, and D, four of the nine rooms at Blackbird.

 

 

STUDIO A

 

The console in Studio A is Neve 8078 with a history. It originally came from Motown West, was owned by Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen where it was used to mix some of the biggest records in the past 30 years. While it is the same generation as consoles at many other studios such as East West, in LA, and Oceanway in Nashville, it has been modded into an inline configuration which is unique. This means each channel has two inputs, and two outputs – each channel can both send a mic input to Pro Tools and receive the track’s output to the same channel for mixing. Very cool! The live rooms associated with Studio A include six isolation booths, two large tracking spaces, and a live chamber with a movable ceiling. The main room features variable acoustics via large hinged panels that can be moved from a wooden, diffused side, or a less reflective, cloth-covered side when the recording requires tamer acoustics.

Studio A also has a wide array of classic outboard gear including mic preamps from Shadow Hills, API, Telefunken, and GML. The compressor list would make any engineer drool including units from Chandler Limited, Universal Audio, Fairchild, RCA, Neve, Mercury, Empirical Labs. Outboard effects include reverbs and delays from Lexicon, AMS, Eventide, Yamaha, EMT, and T. C. Electronics.

 

Console:

  • Neve 8078

Mic Preamps:

  • Shadow Hills
  • API 
  • Telefunken 
  • GML

Compressors:

  • Chandler Limited
  • Universal Audio
  • Fairchild
  • RCA
  • Neve
  • Mercury
  • Empirical Labs

Outboard effects:

  • Reverbs and Delays:
    • Lexicon
    • AMS
    • Eventide
    • YAMAHA
    • EMT
    • T.C. Electronics

 

STUDIO I

 

Built specifically for The Blackbird Academy, Studio I is a modern workspace without a console – similar to many home studios where a smaller space and high-quality go hand-in-hand. The approach in Studio I is a la carte, meaning there is resident gear, but you can also bring in gear from Blackbird’s impressive rental collection. For example on a tracking day, preamps used will range from BAE, Radial Engineering, Grace Design, Millennia Media, Rupert Neve Designs, GML, API, and more. Monitoring and summing are achieved using gear from Dangerous Music, a company synonymous with high-end audio products. Studio I uses the Dangerous Monitor ST, and 32 channels of Dangerous 2 Bus inputs.

Studio I ties to the main studio floor used by Studio A. So on a tracking day, the mic feeds are split to Studio A and Studio I. This means each room can be limited to just five students each for maximum hands and ears-on.

 

Preamps:

  • BAE
  • Radial Engineering
  • Grace Design
  • Millennia Media
  • Rupert Neve Designs
  • GML
  • API
  • and more

Monitoring & Summing:

  • Dangerous Monitor ST
  • Dangerous 2 Bus Imports

 

STUDIO C

 

Engineer, producer and inventor George Massenburg was the acoustic designer for Blackbird’s iconic Studio C. Massenburg has participated (individually and collaboratively) in over four hundred record albums over the past 45 years. Studio C’s acoustics are achieved via 138,646 separate diffusion points, none of which are the same length. This is often called “better than random” and “a room without walls”. Students at The Blackbird Academy listen and work in Studio C during class and when they record their individual projects on the weekends.

The gear in Studio C includes an 80 channel SSL 9000K console, surround monitoring by ATC, and outboard gear from Tube Tech, GML, Chandler Limited, Universal Audio, Quantec, Inward Connections, dbx, Pultec, API, Shadow Hills, and more. The room is often used for overdubs and mixing, and as a second tracking room when tracking.

 

Console:

  • 80 Channel SSL 9000K

Monitoring:

  • ATC

Outboard gear:

  • Tube Tech
  • GML
  • Chandler Limited
  • Universal Audio
  • Quantec
  • Inward Connections
  • dbx
  • Pultec
  • API
  • Shadow Hille
  • and more

 

 

STUDIO D

 

Studio D is a large tracking room that is a favorite of many Nashville engineers and producers. It was used to track and mix records from a range of artists including Jack White, Keith Urban, Kings of Leon, Black Keys, Tim McGraw, and more. It has the largest API Legacy Plus ever built – a 96 channels/192 input console.

In addition to the large, main tracking space, Studio D also has seven isolation booths and a live chamber. As all large tracking rooms at Blackbird, Studio D has a large grand piano, B3 organ with Leslie, Wurlitzer, and Fender Rhodes pianos. The aesthetics of Studio D are unique as well with red cloth walls, a large kitchen with velvet walls, an angled slate tile wall in the main room with large curtains for varying the acoustics.

 

Console:

  • API Legacy Plus, 96 Channels/192 inputs

Instruments:

  • Grand piano
  • B3 Organ with Leslie
  • Wurlitzer piano
  • Render Rhodes piano

 

No matter the room you choose at Blackbird, you are guaranteed a world-class experience for producing music, or filming video.