How Mexican recording studio Sonic Den raised the bar with help from WSDG
Producers/engineers and longtime friends Max Arnold and Francisco Oroz have been mainstays of the Ciudad Obregon music scene for decades. Seeing an opportunity to better serve the city’s musical talent who they felt lacked a world-class recording studio, the duo teamed up to found Sonic Den, a new recording studio that would not only keep local talent closer to home, but also would meet their exacting standards of sonic excellence. Arnold and Oroz engaged a global acoustic consulting and AV integration company WSDG (opens in a new tab) (Walters-Storyk Design Group) to bring their dream studio to life.
Small-town vibe, world-class design
Arnold and Oroz often traveled to facilities in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and the United States for professional recording and audio production services during their formative years as musicians due to a lack of studios. registration in town. This experience gave the couple a strong desire to build a similar infrastructure for Ciudad Obregon’s thriving music scene. Having worked in a variety of home studios and makeshift spaces since the mid-90s, the duo knew they needed a groundbreaking space to keep local talent closer to home.
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“Ciudad Obregon has a lot of musicians for its size, but they’ve always had to go somewhere else to ‘do’,” Arnold explained. “Francisco and I believe the talent in the city deserved a world-class space. When we came together on Sonic Den, our ambitions for the studio were high, although we weren’t quite sure what was possible.”
Choosing to build the studio on 1,500 square meter land owned by Arnold, the couple knew they needed designers who would understand their desire for a world-class space that didn’t compromise the small-town warmth that they saw as integral to the local musical community. They immediately found kindred spirits in WSDG. “We knew they were the ones at Sonic Den instantly because they took the time to get to know us and understand our dreams for the studio,” Arnold said. “Sergio and Silvia Molho encouraged us to design something beyond anything we had originally imagined.”
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“Nearly 99% of studios are integrated into existing locations, which can create challenges and compromises when trying to implement the design,” explained WSDG partner Sergio Molho. “With Sonic Den, we had a blank canvas to design a recording studio from the ground up that would encompass all of their audio recording and production needs, and more.”
Aesthetic warmth and sonic excellence
The WSDG Design Team, led by WSDG Partner Artistic Director Silvia Molho, consisting of Production Director Leandro Kirjner, Senior Project Manager Mariana Varon and Project Manager Esther Roger, presented to Arnold and Oroz a comprehensive master plan that encompassed all technical, acoustic, and design aspects of the studio. Its futuristic yet warm aesthetic consisting of a royal blue color scheme offset by wood paneling throughout the facility was designed to ensure that the studio would feel like home to anyone who works there. “The studio quickly expanded to include a living room with a kitchen, dining room, terrace and coordination offices in addition to control and live rooms,” Molho said. “All of these spaces were designed to be both comfortable and practical with variable lighting provided by the Phillips Hue system to give Max and Francisco complete control over the mood of each space.”
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The audio production spaces have been designed to meet the highest technical and acoustic standards and consist of a large live room, a pair of ISO booths and a control room. The concert hall has been specially designed to accommodate full ensembles at a time with generous space for drum recording. It also features a mural painted by Mexican American artist Teddy Kelly. The control room features a Slate Digital Raven MTZ console with ATC and Yamaha monitors in addition to a Dolby Atmos for Music certified immersive production setup that uses 13 Genelec speakers, making it ideal for live monitoring, mixing and mastering in stereo and 9.1. .4. The AV systems integration design was done by WSDG senior systems designer Federico Paez, with final tuning by sound engineer David Molho. “We couldn’t believe our ears the first time we mixed and mastered a song in the studio,” Arnold said. “We’re both very picky about sound quality and found ourselves loving the sounds immediately. Francisco turned to me and said, ‘I’ve never been so pleased with a mix only at this moment.”
With a list of audio recording and post-production projects already underway, Arnold says Sonic Den has raised the bar for professional recording facilities in Ciudad Obregon and will make musicians think twice before traveling for their recording needs. “Our city deserves bigger things, and this studio seems like a big step in the right direction,” Arnold said. “We are very grateful to WSDG for broadening our horizons on what was possible with Sonic Den. We are able to do everything we ever wanted and more here, it really is a dream come true.