Shock City Studios - AJ Wallace Music Review

Shock City is exactly what you'd picture in your head when someone says "I just got a sweet record contract and we're tracking at this super sweet recording studio!" You probably picture a huge recording console flanked by large wall-mounted speakers; wood floors that meet walls made of high-quality sound proofing material. To the left, a wall of glass separates the control room from the main vocal booth where a tube microphone hangs from a mic stand with a pop filter attached. To the right, another wall-sized window reveals the tracking room, lit by natural light from the old factory windows left in place.

The owners of Shock City Studios built it so they wouldn't have to travel out of town to do professional recordings. They built the level of quality studio you'd expect in New York, Nashville, or LA -- but right here in St. Louis, MO. The building itself is basically a renovated industrial-age brick ice factory -- it still says "Polar Wave Ice & Fuel" in big block letters on the facade. Big steel beams in the entry and lobby are pretty much all that's visibly left from the inside of the old factory, along with those amazing windows in the tracking room. Those amazing windows by the way, have a motorized curtain that can cover them for a darker, more intimate mood.

Control Room A boasts a 56 channel SSL console. This thing is legit. Bought used, but the good kind of used where bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded on it in a previous studio. The acoustics in the control room provide the perfect amount of noise absorption and diffusion. It's quiet, but not completely dead -- perfect for critical listening. Those great acoustics get put to good use when tracking, and especially mixing. The racks of outboard gear include classics like Summit Audio compressors, and GML Equalizers.

Often times, a Neumann U87 sits poised in the vocal booth, ready to track pristine vocals. Tons of other great ribbon, dynamic and condenser mics supplement their impressive mic cabinet. One of my favorite things to do is to track drums using their Royer 122 ribbon mics, suspended high in the air in the tracking room, taking full advantage of the incredibly high ceilings for a really huge room sound.

For tracking, mixing, for experiencing what it's like to record in a professional studio -- Shock City is the place. Hit me up to book a session or for a tour.

AJ Wallace