RND 5088 Mixer at the center of Oberlin Conservatory's new Joseph R. Clonick Studio

OBERLIN, OHIO (July 6, 2011) – The Oberlin Conservatory of Music brought
together leading professional audio industry manufacturers to outfit its new
world-class recording facility, the Joseph R. Clonick Studio, which also
serves as a performance venue. To create the finest in recorded sound-and an
unparalleled educational and pre-professional experience for its
students-the Clonick Studio is based around Rupert Neve Designs’ high voltage and discrete 5088 Mixer, and also features products from: BAE; Ed Meitner of EMM Labs; Gotham; Grace Design; iZ Technology Radar; JL Audio; Mogami; Richard
Schram and Parasound; Maurice Patist and PMC; Rupert Neve Designs; Gus
Skinas and DSD; and Sterling Modular Systems.

"The room was designed for surround sound-an immersive musical experience in
which the music is captured with more depth," says Michael Lynn, Associate
Dean of the Conservatory, who served as project liaison. "Oberlin wanted to
offer students the experience of working within a real recording studio, to
give them a shot at making a spectacular recording. The studio will afford
our students free and direct access to high-level excellence in recording
new music, old music, and everything in between."

The centerpiece of the control room is the Rupert Neve Designs (RND) 5088
console, a 24-track, discrete analog mixer outfitted with Tonelux Shadowmix
fader automation. "The RND 5088 is distinguished by its neutrality and high
headroom, both of which are critical in our jazz and classical
applications," says acoustic consultant Dana Kirkegaard, of Kirkegaard
Acoustic Design, LLC, of Downers Grove, Illinois. "We selected the RND after
carefully auditioning desks in Los Angeles; the great sound and solid feel
of the console was critical in our decision."

Sterling Modular Systems Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company that designs and
produces furniture for the audio recording and broadcast industries, built
the custom console that houses the RND 5088. Oberlin’s team chose Sterling’s
"Pro Series" system for its custom design and its ability to ergonomically
integrate the RND 5088 console and accessories in a way that is thoughtful,
attractive, and comfortable for the user.

"The selection of Sterling to build the custom console was based upon our
desire for an array of analog outboard equipment within easy reach," says
Kirkegaard. "Sterling offers a standard console for the RND 5088 and
matching patchbays that are quite handsome and well built, and with
excellent acoustic properties. We started with that design and modified the
patchbays to serve as side racks; we then wrapped the console around the
operator to facilitate access to the equipment. One of the features that
puts the console design over the top is an automated monitor stand that
raises and lowers a pair of Apple cinema displays at the touch of a button."

The construction of the Clonick Studio is an especially noteworthy
achievement in a time when recording studios are declaring bankruptcy due to
a rise in more economical, often lesser-quality digital recording formats.
"I think that what Oberlin is doing to support the arts is really
extraordinary," comments Kirkegaard. "Studios have been closing all over the
place for 5 to 10 years, and here we are building a studio. That’s a huge
credit to the conservatory and their leadership. A place like Oberlin is in
a unique position to build a studio at the highest level and support these
artists."

Pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara recently mixed her newest CD with
Cleveland-based producer Michael Bishop in the studio’s control room. Bishop
is one of the studio’s first end-users; his Five Four Productions, an audio
team formerly associated with Telarc Records consisting of Bishop, Robert
Friedrich, and Thomas Moore, has 15 technical Grammy Awards to its credit.
Bishop says that he and his colleagues typically travel to recording studios
in Los Angeles and New York City in order to meet their clients’ needs. With
the arrival of the Clonick Recording Studio, he is now able to supplement
his technical requirements closer to home.

Spearheaded by Kirkegaard and Lynn, plans for the recording studio began in

  1. A desire to rehearse Oberlin’s large jazz ensemble inspired the size
    of the room. Once the dimensions of the space had been determined, acoustic
    consultants were able to easily turn the space into a recording facility for
    all kinds of music, taking sound isolation and acoustic treatments into
    careful consideration. According to Director of Audio Services, Paul Eachus,
    Oberlin’s chief recording engineer, the Clonick Studio "is unique to this
    region; there just isn’t anything like it being built right now."

The facility has also attracted the attention of other luminary musicians.
Cellist Zuill Bailey, pianist Orli Shaham, Richard King, principal hornist
of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Tod Bowermaster, third hornist of the St.
Louis Symphony, are among the distinguished classical musicians that have
come to Oberlin to record. Amidst dedication events for the Kohl Building,
which houses the Clonick Studio, music legend Stevie Wonder spent 40 minutes
playing the new Hamburg Steinway. During a concert appearance in Oberlin in
March 2011, Esperanza Spalding, the acclaimed jazz double bassist and
vocalist and winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist (the first
jazz musician to ever win the award), visited the studio and expressed a
desire to record there as well.