the Soul Shop

info

The Soul Shop was built in 2007 in a 160-year-old barn, formerly a piano restoration shop. Our goal was to provide the Boston area with an affordably-priced, classic analog recording environment, where the attention is devoted to capturing great sounds with great equipment in a great room, rather than accommodating for an unremarkable acoustic space, or conceding to the limitations of recent engineering trends. We strive for a clean, open, live sound that truly captures the experience of musicians moving air within a room.

Our main room is a 30' × 30' acoustically isolated space of our own design, with 9' ceilings, decoupled walls, and a custom electrical system. The room’s natural decay puts digital reverbs to shame, and rivals the best in true chamber ambience when used as an echo chamber at mixdown. Tracking drums is a rare joy, and larger ensembles can be recorded live all at once. Desired isolation is achieved easily with moveable baffles & partitions. The control room is an 18' × 10' treated space that remains non-fatiguing during long mixing sessions, and is sonically trustworthy for live-to-two-track recording (one of our specialties). Though most of our business is in rock n' roll, we are especially interested and experienced in small-group jazz, solo instrument or voice, and chamber group recording. We offer a discounted day rate for live-to-two-track sessions, in order to encourage that approach.

Our console is a Neotek Series II from the early days of that line, featuring Neotek’s world-class preamps and unmatched EQ. We offer three different cost-effective analog multitrack and mixdown formats, as well as a two-track hard disk recorder. We maintain a versatile microphone locker, with a special consideration to the use of ambient and distant micing to achieve a natural, open sound. In our racks of outboard gear you’ll find vintage pieces from UREI, Altec, & dbx alongside modern classics from Manley, John Hardy, & Kush Audio, as well as our own custom tube pieces. We have quite an extensive vintage guitar & bass amplifier collection that our clients are highly encouraged to use, in addition to a variety of custom amps, built in-house. We are the proud owners of arguably the sweetest piano in town, a 1926 Steinway model "M" grand. There’s also our excellent Wurlitzer upright piano, not to mention the Slingerland & Rogers drum sets (plus snares from Ludwig, Leedy, & more), Hammond A100 organ, Leslie 147 & 825, Fender Rhodes Suitcase piano, Wurlitzer 720a electric piano, Helpinstill Roadmaster piano, and a variety of stompboxes, reverb tanks, percussion instruments, & noisemakers.

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inspiration

While we try not to adhere to any one particular sound, style, or recording methodology, here are a sample of recordings that represent kindred spirits to our idea of how records should be made. We don’t view these as sounds to be emulated, simply albums by which we’re inspired.

  • Frank Sinatra – Songs for Swingin’ Lovers
  • the Impressions – This is My Country
  • Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
  • the Ornette Coleman Quartet – This is Our Music
  • the Zombies – Odessey & Oracle
  • Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
  • the Walkmen – Bows & Arrows
  • Neil Young – After The Gold Rush
  • D'Angelo – Black Messiah
  • the Beach Boys – All Summer Long
  • Archie Shepp – Four for Trane
  • Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
  • Lennie Tristano – Lennie Tristano
  • Marvin Gaye – What's Goin’ On
  • Cat Power – The Greatest
  • Miles Davis Quintet – Workin’, Cookin’, Steamin’, Relaxin’
  • the American Analog Set – Set Free
  • Rahsaan Roland Kirk – We Free Kings
  • the Beatles – Live at the BBC
  • Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto
  • Damien Jurado – St. Bartlett