Hey Friends, Thanks for dropping by the Producer’s Workshop. In my first post on the new Producer’s Workshop ‘blog’ (I hate that word), I wanted to give you the lowdown on my new studio Hell’s Half Acre.
Located about an hour north of Hollywood Ca. Hell’s Half Acre is a full service studio and production facility that I put together myself. The philosophy of the joint is pretty simple: Give bands a place that they can work, at a fair price, in an atmosphere that is disconnected from the rest of the world and its distractions.
When I found the studio’s location near Frazier Park California, I knew I had stumbled onto something unique. It’s close enough to allow business to get done but far enough away to tune out the racket. Within a couple of days of discovering it I had started planning the move.
Set on over two and a half acres of Southern California countryside, the studio is housed in a modern ranch-style home that features a large live room for tracking drums. In fact, live tracking a full band here is a piece of cake. The control room is large enough to accommodate a half dozen people comfortably and it sounds great.
The house itself is clean and well-appointed. This allows bands to stay at Hell’s Half Acre while they are tracking or mixing. A modern well-equipped kitchen with gas range, laundry facilities and the ability to sleep up to a half dozen people makes it a dream. Also, due to the size of the property there is plenty of space for bands to park their vans, trailers or R.V.s without any cost or hassle.
The control room is centered around the Soundcraft 6000 mixing desk which sets the tone for our working “outside the box” philosophy. Bottom line is that mixing full sounding records comes down to headroom. You either have it or you don’t and Hell’s Half Acre has it. The Soundcraft 6000 is a great sounding desk for mixing rock and roll on. It’s got the smooth British sound that we all want but it sounds hard enough to keep the backbone in your music. The EQ is musical and puts the life and warmth lost in the digital world back into your recordings. With 40 inputs at mixdown, it handles all Pro-Tools returns, outboard returns and back-bussing returns with ease. You simply cannot compare working on Pro Tools in a computer mixing situation to the experience that we offer.
Hell’s Half Acre features some great recording essentials like our pair of Neve 1064 mic pres and eqs. Parted out of an old C.B.C. console from Canada, these were racked by Brent Avrill about 15 years ago and they sound unbelievable. Airy yet punchy these Neve’s deliver the signature sound that put the rock in rock and roll. When I purchased them from Brent I compared them to his 1073’s and 1084’s. There was no doubt in my mind that these 1064’s were the best sounding pres he had available and I snapped them up.
We have a solid microphone locker and the centerpiece Neumann U67 is a fantastic piece of engineering. Take a look at our website hellshalfacrestudio.com for the whole story on the mic. (It has its own page!) Pair it with a Neve 1064 and our vintage black face 1176LN Urei compressor and you have a vocal chain that is second to none. Warm, full and rich, it delivers every time. We just added a matched pristine stereo pair of AKG 451 B condenser mics and our Shure SM-7 is always ready to do its job as well.
The bottom line is that you can have all the gear in the world but without the know-how to put it to work, results will always be spotty. I have spent the last 25 years making records and will be the first to tell you that every day is a school day.
Hell’s Half Acre is set up for simple effective workflow that gets results quickly and efficiently. This makes all the difference when it comes to delivering world-class results at really affordable rates.
The final touch is a great Mastering job and with Hell’s Half Acre Mastering guru Michael Hateley at the helm, we deliver top-notch results. Michael’s body of work is extensive and he gives his all to make sure that your record sounds amazing. It’s not just about being “loud” it’s about allowing the music to breath and sound full. Michael gets it. Just look at the long list of credits at our website he has built over the years both with us and as a staff Mastering engineer at Warner Brothers.
Last but not least, we want to let you know about the surrounding area of the studio’s location. Nestled in a quiet canyon dotted with white fenced horse barns and knotted together with dirt roads, Hell’s Half Acre gives you a chance to disconnect from the city and focus on your music. In short it’s a relaxing environment that fuels the creative process.
Hiking, fishing and exploring opportunities abound nearby. And the Hell’s Horseshoe Pitch is always at the ready to help you unwind. Sit by the word burning stove and play a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit with your band mates, or work up a meal in Hell’s kitchen.
Wish to stay on the property while working? …no problem! We do charge a minimal fee per band member to help cover hot water and supplies but considering it removes any commute issues and gas expenses, it’s more than reasonable.
I hope that you will consider Hell’s Half Acre as the location for your next recording project. The service and knowledge we offer is world class and so are the results.
Drop by the website at www.stevekravac.com and shoot us a line. We’ll put together a quote for your upcoming recording. We’d love to have you at Hell’s Half Acre!