Ted Curtis studio/Upstairs Productions

The information and pictures on this page are in flux as the project continues.  Check back from time to time for updates.   All of the small pix on the left of your screen can be clicked to see a larger image.

In the spring of 2002, I was contacted by a long-time friend and client, Ted Curtis, who detailed his plans for what could be considered the World's Ultimate Home Studio...here in Oklahoma City.  Ted previously owned Studio 7 in OKC, which is now under different ownership:

Studio 7/Lunacy Records

before venturing into a very sucessful Tex-Mex restaurant business.  If you're in OKC, dine at Ted's Cafe Escondido, located at 2836 NW 68th...just West of May Ave. on NW 68th Street for some of the best Tex-Mex food on the planet!

Ted outlined his project.  He had acquired a late-model Amek 9098i console (72 in/48 buss, design by Rupert Neve). You can find more details here:

Amek 9098i information

Ted installed 48 channels of the 192K "Radar" hard disk recorders in addition to his 64 channels of ProTools HD.  For tracking basics, he had obtained a MCI JH-24 2" 16 track analog recorder, as well as a Mike Spitz/ATR Services Ampex ATR-100 1" 2-track for mixdowns.

The original construction of Ted's house had a partial second floor which included a nicely finished space for what might be used as a game or media room.  His original concept was to use that space for the recording room and finish out the adjoining attic spaces for the control room and additional recording spaces. 

After considering the required space for all the equipment and input from his acoustical consultant Francis Manzella, Ted decided to totally replace the structure above the garage in order to house the control room.  In these pix from summer of 2001, notice the opening in the west side of the new structure; that's the entry point for recording gear that is too large to travel up the interior stairs, and will be closed with custom "sound doors".
These three pix show the control room area under construction last summer.  You can see the "door" opening to the outdoors in the top two.  The lower pic shows the construction of the CR floor (as viewed from the garage area below) which is required to hold the weight of the Amek console (estimated at 5000-6000 pounds). 
Here are pics made Summer 2002 during construction of the main recording room.
January 20, 2003 was one of those amazing days in OKC: daytime temps were in the 60's.  The piano movers trollied the Yamaha Grand from the house on a piano dolly in the first pic.  Then it is picked up (along with two workers) and forklifted up to the opening on the second floor.  As she watched, Ted's wife made a comment about possible "expensive firewood"  <g>. 
Prior to "D-Day", the Amek buckets had been moved from the family dining room (shown in the lower pic) to the garage so they could be hoisted up to the second floor.  Since the frames were delivered on pallets, it was comparatively easy to relocate them with a pallet jack. 
One by one. all three of the Amek "buckets" were moved from the garage via a pallet jack onto the forklift, then hoisted up into the opening in the control room wall. 
Yet another Amek Bucket takes a ride on the forklift. 
For the third (and last) Amek move, I shot these pix from the inside of the new control room. It took men working both outside the loading doors as well as inside the control room to maneuver the heavy Amek console sections from the forklift and into the control room.
To move each of the buckets to their final (approx) location, we placed carpet scraps under the legs of the Amek buckets so they could be dragged around with the help of 4-6 "volunteers".  In the top pic, you can see the magnitude of each bucket, and in the lower, you can spot the MCI 24 track (wrapped in white plastic) and the Ampex ATR-100 1" 2-track (sitting on the floor to the left of the MCI). 
The electrical requirements for the studio are extensive due to the extra zones of HVAC and the approx. 9600 Watts required to power the Amek.  Ted had OG+E install a new service entrance.  In the second pic, the EquiTech balanced power system is in the large gray wall-mounted box.  The four smaller boxes to the right are Surgex surge protection units.  The bottom pic shows the racks which house the nine Amek supplies (only three were installed). 
Here's the final Amek 9098i power supply configuration.  The desk requires 9 of the rack mounted supplies (each houses multiple International Power brand open frame linear supplies). 
Here are some pics shot the same day as the equipment hoisting.  The top two shots are of the main studio room, taken from approximately the same positions as in the construction pics (above).  Notice the wall and ceiling acoustical diffusors and the nice appointments.  The third picture shows the Yamaha sitting in it's own room (accessed through the sliding doors seen in the upper pics).
In early Feb., 2003, we began final wiring and installation.  In the top pic, you can see the Amek in place and operational (Dave and Donnie from Amek/Nashville are standing on each side of Ted, while the projection screen displays console automation).  In the foreground, I have set up "shop" doing some wiring projects.  In the lower pic, you can see my "portable workbench", since I HATE sitting on the floor to solder. 
After weeks of work, we were ready for the first session.  Here, I show some of the outboard gear.  In the top pic, a Manley EQ sits above Massenburg EQ and compressors in the "East rolling rack".  The desk rack houses a SSL dual channel compressor, Sony "room simulator" and two Distressors.  The lower pic shows the Radar remote, and an Eventide "Orville", an United Audio reissue LA-2, and a TubeTech tri-band stereo compressor in the "West" rolling rack. 
In the top pic, the drum mics are being set up (unfortunately, I was hopping all over the place getting the session ready, so I couldn't take too many session pix).  In the middle pic, there's the MCI 2" 16 track (in a pre-wired 24 track frame) sitting next to the Ampex ATR-100 1" 2 track.  The lower pic shows the machine room, with 48 tracks of Radar in the rear rack and ProTools HD in the portable rack.  We tracked to the MCI 16 *and* Radar (at 48K) for the basics, but elected to use the MCI tracks (and flew them into Radar for overdubs). 

Ted is getting some press for this impressive room:

Transaudio Direct Article

The March, 2004 issue of Mix Magazine also features Ted's studio as the cover item.

Contact info:
Email: BrianARoth@cox.net 
Cell/voicemail/pager: 405-630-7509

[Back to Brian Roth Technical Services home]