Weekender

New Centre County recording studio is all about the acoustics

Unbeknownst to some, Centre County is home to quite a few musical recording studios. Naming them all would be a challenge, but rest assured the list continues to grow.

Even though we’re in a rootsy area and we can hear music tunes by rootsy folks most days of the week, there hasn’t been a studio primarily dedicated to roots music instruments, which is why the emergence of Stephen Treado’s State College-based Hedgerow Studios is so special. It’s all about the acoustics.

“I built my studio all new from the ground up so it would be an acoustically and aesthetically pleasing space for performing and recording music and video,” Treado wrote in an email. “It is specifically designed to make acoustic instruments sound great so the artists can produce their best work.”

For years — while I was hypothetically hanging out with (young) Corey Haim and Corey Feldman dreaming a little dream — I wanted to record an all acoustic album at Capitol Studios Echo Chamber, a place designed for optimal acoustic vibrations, but Treado’s studio is intriguing due to the purpose and the vision with which it was designed.

Hedgerow Studio is about 400 square feet, with a high ceiling and all wood wall design, Treado said.

“The floor is a concrete slab set in four inches of foam to provide thermal and acoustic isolation, and the room dimensions, design and construction were selected for optimal live sound and recording,” he wrote.

It’s built to capture and nurture the nuanced tone of acoustic instruments, which Treado understands as a multi-instrumentalist and, notably, a mandolin player.

“I’ve always been fascinated with musical instruments; I started playing guitar and piano, then added bass guitar, drums and other keyboards,” Treado wrote. “That was only this summer, but my Eastman mandolin is so much fun to play, I can hardly put it down.”

In addition to the spirit of the way Hedgerow Studio was designed and constructed, it is quite technologically advanced, offering the utility and mojo of an acoustic specialty studio with equipment that can record just about any project. It can also support artists as a rehearsal facility while they are gearing up for their recordings.

“The studio can be used for rehearsing and recording virtually any instrumentation or musical genre, from a cappella vocals, to singer/songwriters, bands and ensembles,” Treado wrote. “It is especially well-suited for live audio and video recordings. The computer-based work station with 32 channels and studio reference sound system provides everything needed for sophisticated audio and video production.”

It’s not the first home-studio Treado has built, but it may be the largest, accommodating a baby grand piano, a Hammond organ, and a full drum kit. It’s all a product of years of research and remaining attentive to technological advancements.

“Modern sound and recording equipment has gotten so good that it is no longer a barrier to making good recordings,” Treado wrote. “Everything comes back to the artist(s) and the performance, so I have tried to make the studio environment conducive to the creative/performance process so they can be their best.”

Although it’s still new, there have already been a few formal recordings completed in it, including local songwriter Jason Adams’ fantastic introspective album “Reflections and Imperfections.”

“In addition to my own recordings, Jason Adams recorded his recent album here, and I have been working with Bill Ryan and other local and regional artists,” Treado wrote.

In the future, Treado plans to expand beyond audio recordings, which will help establish Hedgerow Studio as a full-service recording studio in central Pennsylvania and beyond.

“I’m planning to fully provision the integrated video production aspects of the studio,” Treado wrote.

Kevin Briggs is a writer, musician, and researcher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.
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