The Bay Areaâ€™s Ex'pression College for Digital Arts educates more than 500 students a year in the contemporary fields of animation, gaming, motion graphic design and sound arts. Students can graduate from Ex'pression with a concentration in sound arts, taking advantage of facilities that include 15 professional-caliber recording studios. The sound arts program recently converted one of the classrooms to a Walters-Storyk-designed hybrid mastering and recording studio, dubbed Studio 2.
The room is loaded with top-of-the-line signal processing equipment, including a "lunchbox" of six API 512C mic preamps as well as a rack of 10 API 550A three-band EQs and API 525 compressors; Chandler preamps compressors and Germanium tone controls; Neve 1073 preamps; Manley Massive Passive EQs, Pultec EQs, and Variable Mu compressors; a Waves MaxxBCL compressor; Manley mic and line mixers; and a Speck line mixer. A Digidesign C|24 control surface interfaced with a Pro Tools HD3 system acts as the studio's backbone, with a pair of ATC SCM150ASM monitors for mastering.
"By the time our students are ready for Studio 2, they will have been through a lot," said John Scanlon, director of sound arts for Ex'pression. "They will have recorded and mixed through everything from project studio workstations to huge consoles. They'll know MIDI, mic technique, time code and live sound. And they'll be mixing Pro Tools sessions in their sleep. In short, they'll be well-prepared, knowledgeable audio professionals. But the lessons they'll learn in this new room will take all of that to the next level."
Studio 2 will serve two principal purposes. First, students will learn the subtle and demanding art of mastering through world-class gear and industry-grade reference monitors, the ATC SCM150ASLs. Second, students will learn to hear subtle effects that gear from different high-end manufacturers have on audio signals.
"The idea was to collect in one room the very best high-end input processors and summing mixers from a variety of manufacturers," said Jeff Briss, co-owner of Cutting Edge Audio & Video Group. "All of the gear in the room is undeniably great, but each piece has its own personality. Students will learn to appreciate and take advantage of those personalities."