The Muse Cave Studio
The Studio Overview: Control Console, Pedalboards, Monitors, Guitars, and Amps
The Muse Guitarist Home Studio:
Within the Studio Design | Room Acoustics selection, I asks a question: “Why do you want a Home Studio?”
In my mind there are three answers to that question and the answer you should chose is based on your commitment to expanding your knowledge base and your financial commitment:
1. I just want to create simple recordings of my music to play for friends and family
2. I want to create recordings that represent my creative thoughts well enough to take into a better studio: “Demo Recordings”
3. I want to create professional music, and possibly video, productions that are “Radio Quality”
The Muse Guitarist Professional Home Studio, the Cave, chose the third answer to the question.
As a “Professional” musician since my first paying performance in September of 1969, and my 10 years of experience as a Session Guitarist, 24 track studio Engineer, and ultimately a Production Manager and Digital Recording Engineer at Screen Music and Screen Music International in Los Angeles, I have an expansive knowledge of Acoustics, Studio Design, and Recording Engineering.
I have had a recording environment in every place I have lived since leaving Los Angeles in 1991 but none of them had the room to create a Professional Home Studio until February of 2021, my new home in Chester Springs, PA.
The three-bedroom, 1735 square foot, apartment has a 2nd bedroom that is rather large: 11’ 9” x 18’ 0”.
This new environment has presented to me an opportunity to to acoustically divide the room into a 11’ 9” x 12’ “Control Room” and a 11’ 9” x 6’ “Amp” room using Gobos, acoustic damping, multi-configurable, movable walls.
View the Studio Design | Room Acoustics selection for more details.
The Studio Overview:
The studio is designed to support multiple amplifiers, tube and solid state, and to provide easy access to over a dozen guitars and basses.
The DAW architecture is designed to support over 50 pedals on 7 pedalboards. A parallel initial “Core Guitar Tone” is distributed, actively, to 4 sources:
1 – The “Stage Amps”: A vintage boutique Jim Kelley F.A.C.S. 30/60 combo tube amp and a modern Fender Twin Reverb combo tube amp
2 – The “Bedroom Amps”: A Blackstar HT-20R MRK II combo tube amp and a Tone King Gremlin combo tube amp that shares a Seismic custom dual 12” cabinet with Celestion Creamback speakers
3 – The Wet/Dry/Wet configuration mono “Dry Amp”: A Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 Floor Board solid state head through a Bugera custom dual 12” cabinet with Eminence speakers
4 – The Wet/Dry/Wet configuration stereo “Wet Amps”: A Hartke HD150 solid state combo amp for the left effects and a Bugera T50 Infinium tube head through an H & K single 12” speaker cabinet for the right effects
A dual Radial Switchbone system manages active source distribution and ground lifting of the “Core Guitar Tone” provided by the Core Tone pedalboard.
All distributed parallel sources have strategically design pedals that support the roles assigned to the sources within the Cave Studio.
There are no guitars, amps, or pedals in the studio that do not have an active role.
If a guitar, amp, or pedal no longer adds value to the studio it is sold on Reverb.com or eBay.
I don’t collect guitars, amps, or pedals. If their designed use is no longer required, I give them a new home to add value.
Desk Guitar Signal Distribution:
The distributed parallel record guitar and bass performances with the possibility of 24 simultaneous DAW tracks: Mic and Direct:
Mic’d Tracks – 14 room microphone placements for the “Amp Mics” and the “Mic Tracking Desk”
Direct Tracks – 10 direct DAW inputs for Core Guitar, Amp directs, Ox Box and Torpedo Box outputs, and Allen Heath ZED 10 stereo effects mix of the Strymon and Source Audio stereo effects pedalboards
An Electro-Harmonix SwitchBlade distribution box has a very special role in the Cave Studio.
The “Stage Amps” are fed by a PreSonus two channel BlueTube tube preamp that requires two sources.
The Electro-Harmonix SwitchBlade receives its input from the Stage Amps pedalboard that is common for both the Kelley and the Fender amps. The SwitchBlade has three outputs:
1. Send A feeds channel one of the BlueTube, without any level control
2. Send B feeds channel two of the BlueTube, without any level control
3. The output of the SwitchBlade feeds the Allen & Heath ZED10 stereo feed 7 & 8 as a Mono Stage Amp pedalboard tone enhancement for Effects mix blending, it has level control from the SwitchBlade
This configuration provides tube harmonic coloring to the INPUTS of the Stage Amps and gain staging from the Studio Desk.
It also provides a gain staged Stage Amp pedalboard tone to the Wet/Dry/Wet stereo effects mixer to add a Dry guitar tone to the final Wet Tones.
DAW Monitor System | Video, Speakers, and Headphones:
The DAW Video Monitors:
The video monitors consist of 4 monitors:
1. A 50”, wall mounted, 4K UHD monitor that is connected to the DELL Tower DAW computer, a MacPro Laptop used for the Enterprise Architect “Day Job”, and a Roku Video Streaming service.
2. A 4K UHD 27” Left DELL Tower DAW computer video monitor that is also connected to the MacPro Laptop used for the Enterprise Architect “Day Job”
3. A 4K UHD 27” Right DELL Tower DAW computer video monitor that is also connected to the MacPro Laptop used for the Enterprise Architect “Day Job”
4. A 27” HD video monitor used for the iPad that hosts the H & K Black Spirit 200 Floorboard remote application and the UAD Ox Box remote application
The DAW Speaker Monitors:
The analog audio monitors consist of 5 powered speaker systems with room tuning configuration settings on the back:
1. An Event 2020 BAS Bi-amped “Mains” Left Speaker
2. An Event 2020 BAS Bi-amped “Mains” Right Speaker
3. A Yamaha HS5 “Near-field” Left Speaker
4. A Yamaha HS5 “Near-field” Right Speaker
5. A JBL Arena S10 Mono Subwoofer
The DAW Headphone Monitors:
The studio headphone system consists of 3 headphones:
1. The Slate Audio VSX headphone System: The Slate Audio VSX Headphone system is used for "Mix Translation" monitoring in five different listening environments. There is a DAW Plugin that is configured on a Reaper VSX headphone track
2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro: A studio reference dynamic headphone that is calibrated using the SonarWorks SoundID Headphone Calibration tool
3. AKG 240 Studio: A studio reference dynamic headphone that is calibrated using the SonarWorks SoundID Headphone Calibration tool
The studio headphone system 2 headphone amp sources:
1. The MOTU 8Pre-es DAW Interface: Two headphone amplifier outputs mapped to the Reaper DAW Outputs 7 & 8
2. The PreSonus Central Station Cave Studio Monitoring control system: Two headphone amplifier outputs