When the team at Aftermaster restored the 40-year-old recording studio originally built by Graham Nash at the vintage Crossroads of the World plaza on Sunset Boulevard, each construction decision came to back an ultimate question.
How does it sound?
“If the room doesn’t sound right, no one is going to want to use it,” said Larry Ryckman, the CEO of Aftermaster.
The renovated space features a new bamboo floor and stone accent walls to complement the original, thin wooden beams lining most of the live room, which has had Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and Warren Zevon.
In a side space, Ryckman gestures toward a textured, lilac ceiling overhead. “We put some other stuff up, but it just didn’t sound right.”
At the heart of the control room is the 80-channel SSL 4000 G+ recording console that used to be used by the crew of Saturday Night Live. It’s massive, dial-laden piece of equipment that’s about ten times the size of the board in the sleek and modern ProTools studios on the other side of the complex — plus, Ryckman believes it might be the only 80-channel board in Los Angeles.
The studio, which opened in April, is the cherry on top of the Aftermaster brand, which Ryckman aims to make the standard for audio worldwide. The company, which features Justin Timberlake as a team member, records, mixes and masters music at its five studios and offers an array of consumer products.
As gorgeous as the new space is, Aftermaster’s secret sauce isn’t in just between these walls — it’s in a specially formulated audio enhancement technology that aims to polish recordings to their best selves without distorting the sounds in the process. While such enhancements have been around for decades, Aftermaster’s technology seeks to provide an end result that adds clarity and depth without losing any of the recording’s intended sound — as older processes can often diminish frequencies or boost the top or bottom range of the sound at the expense of the other end.