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The sound effect

Recording studios to consider for your next musical venture!

With the number of independent films being made and an increasing number of recording artists taking the leap into the unknown without a label, knowledge about sound and how and where to best capture it becomes key. Luckily you're in the right country. Thailand is a production hub for Southeast Asia when it comes to film and now even more so, music. So, if you've written music for a video, a movie, a music album or you've got this song in your head that you always dreamed of recording... where do you go to turn such far-fetched notes into reality? You could of course do it yourself and start off at home! All you'd need is a condenser mic, a laptop and a few other bits of hardware (e.g. an audio interface, headphones, a MIDI keyboard) and software (Logic Pro or Ableton are some of many) and you'd be well on your way. Or you could go to the professionals, who would have all the gear at your disposal as well as the know-how to see your visions turn into reality. We decided to investigate some of the city's existing recording studios to see what they have to offer in the way of making music.

Karma Sound Studios

Karma Sound Studios
72/28 Moo 2, Bang Saray, Sattahip, Chon Buri.
www.karmasoundstudios.com, http://fb.com/KarmaSoundStudios, 064-293-9551.

OK we admit this one's not in Bangkok but it's close enough and worth the trip. The multi-Grammy nominated producer Chris Craker had one idea in mind when he set up Karma Sound Studios, a creative utopia and a separate world in itself just minutes away from Bang Saray Beach, Chon Buri. He wanted a place that would spark and accelerate creativity, not inhibit it. The stuffy, damp recording studios one usually associates with the inner-city, where you have to wait for ages to find a spot to park your car are not really conducive to making music, are they? Karma Sound Studios offers a solution; get away for three days, three months or six months, whatever it takes, to see your vision through and do it justice. You can live there like a rock star, by the beach, pool, in your room or most importantly in the recording studio. This is really a place to turn your ideas into something worth hearing, especially if Chris Craker has anything to do with it; when he's around, it's definitely worth getting his two-cents on your vision. There are now three studios to work in, with equipment that fuses classic analogue and state-of-the-art digital. The control room of one of the studios boasts a fully refurbished "classic" SSL 4056 E/G and looks like something out of Star Wars. A very useful selection of instruments are available too, including a Yamaha grand piano. Post-production mixing and mastering are also available by a team of internationally trained audio engineers.

Photos: Catherine Faulder

Pro-tip: Check out all the walls lined with drum skins and pictures signed by some of the world's most talented musicians, from Placebo, Jamiroquai and Muse, plus our personal favourite, a large brown leaf framed and signed by Pete Doherty of The Libertines.

Sound Suite Studio

Sound Suite Studio
1111/18 Habitat Srivara, Lad Phrao Soi 94.
www.soundsuitestudio.com, http://fb.com/soundsuitestudiobkk, 02-530-965/2 or 08-1720-7755.

Located in the concrete jungle surrounding Town in Town, Sound Suite Studio has got a very commercial element and you can feel that the minute you walk in. Yeah, sure, you can treat it as a place to record some vocals and samples, but what Sound Suite Studio is known for mostly is its scoring for TV commercials in the post-production phases after the movie or commercial is shot. The studio has made scores for a lot of big names, including the likes of Honda, Toyota, Samsung, True, The Pizza Company and Ford. It has a great team that prides itself in original music scoring, which is what sets it apart from other recording studios that just provide you with the equipment. You can relay the type of sound you want to the team and they can make it happen, especially when it comes to creating EDM or club music. The studio got rid of all its outboard gear and console a few years ago and operates purely in the digital, with a huge library of sounds to choose from to create whatever it is your ears desire. We did see a couple of electric guitars hanging out on the red-velvet sofas though. We would recommend this studio less for bands and artists wanting to record their own music and more for directors looking for a high-quality score for their next advertising gig. 

Photo courtesy of Sound Suite Studio

Pro-tip: Make sure you check out the turntables on the second floor. The owner, Chawanet Asanasen, has got quite the collection of records and was a bad-ass house DJ spinning at Bed Supper Club and other hot spots back in the day. He also plays bass and drums! Sweet!

DBS Studio & 888 House

DBS Studio & 888 House
300 Thiamruammait Road, Samsennok, Huay Kwang.
http://fb.com/888HouseBangkok, www.dbs.co.th, 081-564-1569.

DBS is the classic inner-city recording studio located in a townhouse in Huay Kwang. Parking there may deter you from letting your creative juices flow -- especially if you're as bad at parking as we are -- but rest assured, you'll immediately be inspired by the audio engineers and producers there, who really do know what they're doing. The studio offers the full spectrum of professional post-production services, mastering, recording, outdoor recording, multi isolate-rooms, surround mixing and mixing facilities. Out of all the ones we visited, we really liked the audio engineers here, and appreciate their ability to take a song and inject their own artistry and sound into it in a way that still rings true to the artist's intention. The staff here are very adept at spotting the style of the recording artist and accentuating that style to make it the most effective and in our opinion, sound flipping awesome.

Photo courtesy of DBS Studio & 888 House

Pro-tip: If you're into playing the piano or playing with sounds on a MIDI keyboard, have a play on the Korg SV-1 Stage Vintage! Also, check out the Facebook page for talks they will host quite regularly about the art of recording, with key figures from the industry that you'll wanna hear from.

Dynamic Recording Studio

Dynamic Recording Studio
35/1 Sukhumvit 49.
www.dynamicstudiobkk.com, http://fb.com/dynamicstudiobkk, 02-662-8360-1

The location of Dynamic Studios is probably its best-sell and why it's so popular with a lot of Bangkok's local recording talent, especially of the hip hop genre. Right in the heart of Sukhumvit 49, it's easy to find, highly accessible and pretty much has all you could possibly need to make a hit. The studio has just enough space to fit an entire band and offers recording, mixing and mastering facilities for solo artists and bands looking to either make a demo or a whole album! There are also options for people looking to do voice-overs, dubbing and mobile recording. The studio prides itself in its attention to detail in the quality of sound, every step of the way. We highly recommend this venue if you're looking for an affordable way to record your next song or album.

Photo courtesy of Dynamic Recording Studio

Pro-tip: Spend more time doing your thing in the vocal booth or live recording room than in the control room because the experienced audio engineers have seriously got you covered.

Tweak & Shout

Tweak & Shout
33/1 Rama 4 Road.
http://fb.com/tweaknshoutstudio, 081-642-4221.

This place is on the same turf, well, in the same building as Black Cabin, Bangkok's hottest spot for live music and singer-songwriters right now. The music venue has been seeing a lot in the way of Bangkok's musical talent, so it only makes sense that their owners set up a recording studio too. Out of all the studios we've visited, this one gave off the most "homey" and chilled vibe. We felt most at ease with ourselves here and that says a lot if you're looking to make some good music because less nerves and being yourself means capturing a sound that is authentic and speaks most truly about you. We could totally envision spending a whole day here and walking away with something epic. True, you may not have access to all the advanced equipment that a place like Karma Sound Studios has, but you've got enough to make something that even your grandma would like; very good, or very bad, depending on who your grandma is.

Photos: Catherine Faulder

Pro-tip: This place was the cheapest place of all the studios we visited, at a whipping B600 per hour. We only know of one other recording studio in Bangkok that is cheaper than that (Vintage Studio, B500 per hour). Also, you can use the recording room as a practice space for B350 per hour. Great acoustics.

Grand's Studio

Grand’s Studio
100/23 Mooban Kopkaeo 1 Alley
Salathammasop, Thawiwatthana.
http://fb.com/grandstudio1, 086-044-9000.

Grand's Studio is the namesake brainchild of a Mahidol music graduate Voravat Vivatvanich (Grand) who did a long stint working as an audio engineer with Grammy before he decided to set up his own music production house. Only six years out of uni, Grand was the youngest studio owner we met and is definitely a "baller" in our eyes. His studio is pretty insane and is also the second biggest of the ones we saw; he is located out in Phutta Monton though which explains why he's got the space for it. You have the state-of-the-art recording studio downstairs with special lighting features that are changed depending on the personality of the recording artist, i.e. introvert or extrovert? The vintage dim lighting with fairy lights scattered around the recording mic was what really did it for us introverts, setting the mood to record something magical! He's got a separate mastering room upstairs where he spends most of his time and fantastic flair for making anyone sound like Skylar Grey or her male equivalent. What we loved most about Grand was his willingness to continue learning about his craft. The chill-out area in the downstairs recording studio is packed (neatly) with every possible book on sound that you would want to get your eyes on. Baller!

Photo: Catherine Faulder

Pro-tip: Ask Grand if you can have a read through his copy of Recording Unhinged by Sylvia Massy. If you're looking for inspiration or some unconventional ways to approach recording techniques, this is the book for you!

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