Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blade Studios

Pictured L-R: Blade Studios chief engineer, mixer and producer Chris Bell; engineer/producer and Ocean Way studio owner Allen Sides; renowned drummer and producer Brady Blade; and Blade Studios executive producer and media developer Scott Crompton, at Blade Studios after Sides helped the team tweak their Ocean Way Monitoring system. The system and a majority of the studio’s other gear was sourced through GC Pro.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, May 2, 2011 — Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, played a significant role in outfitting Blade Studios, a new world class, multi-room, multi-function production facility that recently opened in Shreveport, Louisiana. The complex, which offers a broad range of music, film and other media production services, features studio acoustics and architecture by Russ Berger Design Group and an equipment list that includes products from ADAM Audio, Apple, Avid, Ocean Way Audio and Solid State Logic, much of it supplied through GC Pro.

The collaboration with GC Pro began even before the construction plans were finalized, according to Scott Crompton, executive producer and media developer at Blade Studios. Crompton is a partner in Blade Studios alongside GRAMMY®-nominated chief engineer, mixer and producer Chris Bell and renowned drummer and producer Brady Blade, Jr., who lends his name to the facility.

“We were really interested in having the Ocean Way Audio monitors in the studio,” says Crompton. “GC Pro helped facilitate a visit for me during the 2010 GRAMMYs at Ocean Way Recording, where GC Pro Business Development Manager Derek Snyder introduced me to Allen Sides. We were fortunate enough to be able to audition the Ocean Way Monitors in the studio with a wide variety of source material that Allen had. One listen convinced me that they were the right monitors for our studios.” GC Pro is the exclusive U.S. dealer for Ocean Way monitors, which are designed by multi-GRAMMY Award-winning engineer/producer and studio owner Allen Sides in Hollywood, California.

Later, when the studio put the final equipment list out to bid, Jeffrey McDaniel, GC Pro Account Manager in Dallas, Texas, submitted a competitive offer. Crompton relates, “It was just really clear that Jeffrey was the guy we wanted to work with, because he knows his business and he’s got a very good disposition. And he’s been great.”

The Blade Studios complex, housed in a high-tech, secure building conveniently located just south of downtown Shreveport, features two identically sized control rooms. Studio A houses a 48-channel SSL Duality console while Studio B features an Avid ICON D-Control ES. Both rooms feature Avid Pro Tools|HD3 systems with a Studer A827 tape machine also available in Studio A. The monitor systems in both control rooms are identical: Ocean Way Audio HR2 main stereo mains plus ADAM Audio monitors in a 5.1 configuration. Both control rooms offer a selection of new and vintage outboard processing equipment and microphones, and new and vintage instruments are available in the 1,350-plus square foot tracking room, which also includes spacious isolation booths.

Nearly all of the equipment was purchased through McDaniel, says Crompton: “We’ve bought a massive amount of gear from GC Pro.” Even though some of the equipment could have been purchased directly from the manufacturer, Crompton involved GC Pro in the deal, he says. For example, “We’ve been buying all of our Apple equipment through Jeffrey because for me it’s great to have one source that completely understands the scope of what we are trying to create in Blade Studios, and to have the power of GC Pro and Jeffrey McDaniel there in the middle of the transaction is wonderful.”

It’s not every day that a world class production facility opens for business in the United States, much less one outside any of the cities more typically associated with music and film production. Blade Studios is offering a deep menu of services together with a well equipped kitchen, lounges and other creature comforts, combined with Louisiana’s generous tax incentives for film and music projects produced in the state, to attract clients to Shreveport. As Crompton relates, McDaniel also understood the wishes of the studio partners to keep as much business as possible in the state. Crompton recalls, “He said, ‘I know you guys want to use Louisiana vendors, so we can run the transaction through GC Pro in Baton Rouge. And I’m going to make sure that store is stocked with what you need.’”

The original idea behind the studio dates back to when Crompton – a marketing executive who had previously performed with blues musicians such as Hubert Sumlin, Bob Margolin, Willy King and Johnny Shines – heard that Blade had returned to his hometown after living and working in Stockholm, Sweden, for some time, and he sought the drummer out. Blade, who is well known for his work with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and the Dukes, Jewel, The Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews & Friends and a host of other artists, was interested in starting a business in Shreveport.

“We said, the problem is there’s just not a really super-duper, high-end facility in Louisiana,” recalls Crompton. “So let’s make sure that we build the very best studio we can possibly imagine. And we’ve accomplished that. Every screw, every nail, every piece of equipment in this place is the very, very best we could get our hands on. It’s really as fine as any place on the planet. And we have GC Pro to thank in helping make our vision a reality.”


About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

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