“After 14 years in business, we had outgrown our facility and wanted to invest in a larger space that could house our expanding set of services under one roof,” says Peter Barnes, principal at Clatter&Din. The company previously worked out of two studios in separate locations. “Originally we were known as an audio post facility, and with the addition of video editorial, web services, DVD authoring, business affairs and other services we needed a larger facility to accommodate our new menu. I had followed Russ’ career for a long time and had a deep respect for his work. I knew his firm would be a great fit for this project.”
RBDG designed several dedicated audio spaces for the 6,000-square-foot facility including two large 5.1 surround sound recording and monitoring studios — a first in the Seattle area. These spaces connect to a large live room and two smaller isolation booths. In addition to the RBDG-designed spaces, the studios feature three audio/video editing suites equipped with both Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro, as well as a room for recording game audio and voiceover work.
Clatter&Din’s new home is on the top floor of a century-old brick building. Dealing with the potential noise and structure-borne vibration from air conditioning units on the roof was a real challenge for RBDG, particularly since the building has a timber frame. “We worked with the landlord to relocate the equipment as far away from the studios as possible, mounting the air conditioning units on a separate steel platform with spring isolators,” says Russ Berger, president of Russ Berger Design Group. “Structurally, the building is very solid, so we were fortunate to be able to use concrete floating floors in all the studio spaces. Combined, these measures gave us very quiet background levels. You’d never know that you were in an urban environment or anywhere near a mechanical plant.”
RBDG and Clatter decided to make one of the studios larger for music tracking sessions, with an isolation booth that could handle a drum set. The windows in the studio were carefully located so that there are clear sightlines between each of the three connected studios, allowing for all of the spaces to be used together when Clatter&Din needs more ISO booths for big sessions. “Working with RBDG proved to be a very effective solution for us,” Barnes says. “We’re not the kind of client that sits around and watches something happen. In other words, we like to be very much involved and RBDG made sure we were a part of the process.”
Along with their specific work-related needs, it was important to Barnes and the Clatter&Din team that RBDG maintain and incorporate the company culture in the design of the new space. The facility now features exposed timber structure, reclaimed windows and additional unique touches that maintain the fun, artistic vibe that Clatter&Din had established in its previous location. SpaceCouplers by pArtScience were used for overhead diffusion, and also served as one of the design elements that tied the control rooms and studios together. Sliding acoustical panels in the control rooms allow the engineers to have the maximum window size for tracking, while retaining a more pristine mix position for post work.
“Besides getting the absolute best performance we can from the construction, it’s important to us to have our facility designs reflect our client’s style and values,” says Berger. “I think Clatter&Din has a new place that is all about who they are, but allows them to tap into capabilities they couldn’t touch before.”
“I’ve already had a few people tell me that these are some of the best rooms they’ve heard,” Barnes notes. “We recently recorded a musical group for a sound design project we were working on—just a few people singing, with guitars and keyboards. The expressions on people’s faces are proof enough. I’d say it doesn’t get any better than this.”