move came shortly after Studio B relocated its operations from the
Mormon Bridge compound to a new facility on 49th and Hamilton in
the summer of 2005. "I saw an opportunity to start my own company
and expand upon what I'd been doing," Van Sloun said. The first
step was finding a building that he could transform into his vision
of the ultimate mastering studio. He found it in a 1,000-sq. ft.
vacant garage at 14910 Grover St. What made it ideal was the building's
16-foot ceilings. "I was looking for cubic volume instead of
square footage," Van Sloun said. "Cubic volume is what
makes a room sound good."
Half the space
was taken by the lobby, office and bathroom. The remaining 450 square
foot was dedicated to creating a state-of-the-art mastering suite,
the ultimate listening station. To get there, Van Sloun hired Chapel
Hill studio architect Wes Lachot, who designed Mogis' ARC Studio
and The Faint's Enamel Studio, as well as Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium
Recordings, David Barbe's and Andy LeMaster's Chase Park Transduction
and the redesigned Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, originally
owned by Jimi Hendrix.
Sloun's mastering suite is like walking into a glowing fabric-and-oak
sonic temple. On the wall across from the Starship Enterprise-style
Crookwood mixing console is an oak sound defuser surrounded by large
fabric-covered bass traps and acoustic panels. "This room isn't
square," Van Sloun pointed out, "It's trapezoid -- 18
feet wide in front and 20 feet wide in back. That keeps the sound
moving." An acoustic "cloud" hangs overhead, covering
R25 insulation and drywall mounted on springs to absorb mechanical
In fact, every
construction decision -- from installing a $3,000 oak floor to placement
of the cushy leather couch -- was made to create the perfect listening
environment, not only for Van Sloun but for his clients, who can
sit back and hear their recording as if for the first time.
How's it sound?
Van Sloun demonstrated the room using trusted reference recordings
by Donald Fagen and Alison Krauss, as well as music he recently
mastered by Tilly and the Wall and Beep Beep. It was like an audio
thrill ride. For someone who spends too much time listening to music
on an iPod, it was like giving sight to a blind man.
Van Sloun said
he's always had the finest audio equipment; now he has the perfect
space to use it. "It was like having a Lamborghini stored in
a carport that you only drove to the HyVee," he said. "This
room is a premium race track."
Find out for
yourself at the studio's open house for past, present and future
clients Saturday, March 1, noon to midnight at Focus Mastering,
14910 Grover St., Suite 100. For more information, call 402.504.9624
or visit focusmastering.com.
Published in The Omaha Reader Feb. 20, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
Van Sloun in his old digs at Studio B.
was like having a Lamborghini stored in a carport that you
only drove to the HyVee. This room is a premium race track."