© 2020 by FOTM PRODUCTIONS LLC. All Rights Reserved. ALL PHOTOS © by FOTM PRODUCTIONS LLC.

 

STUDIO HISTORY

Downing Sound Studios was created by Gus and Paul Hergert above a garage in their parent's home on Downing Street in Huntsville, Alabama over a 12-month period ending in the summer of 1976.  Legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Engineer Paul Kelly helped design the space to produce the wonderful sound of that original studio.   The Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals was referred to by the Cherokee people as "The Waters That Sing".  It is approporiate that from the deck at the original studio you could see many miles of the river.  Today's studio sits even closer.

At Downing Sound Studios, we have had the same logo featuring "The Downing Man" since the studio first opened its doors.  It seems everyone that touched the original studio left his/her own mark.  That included Pulitzer Prize Winner Clay Bennett, a Huntsville native, who drew the original artwork while studying at the University of North Alabama.

Much has changed since the studio opened its doors with 2 brothers  doing much of the work from session musicians to mastering engineer.  The original format was 1/4" 4-track , featuring TEAC tape machines.  The old analog board was a TASCAM Model 35 delivering much of the sound the old setup was known for.  Today, little expense has been spared bringing the old studio back to life.  It continues to be operated by the original owner, now with his two sons, Gus and Ben.  Our family continues to be the centerpiece of operations.

 

RECORDERS
 
  • MCI JH-24 16/24 Track Recorder
    • Current set-up has the JH-24 Loaded with a 24-track headstack. 16-track available upon request.
  • (2) Otari MTR-12 Recorders
    • With 3 separate headstacks, the MTR-12 is capable of recording in multi-track format as a 1/2" 4-track syncing recorder.  The MTR-12 has the headstacks capable of recording 1/4" quarter-track, all the way up to 1/2" half-track at 3 3/4, 7 1/2, 15, and 30 inches per second.
MIXERS
MCI JH-636 36 channel analog console. Refurbished by Randy Blevins and Steve Sadler in Nashville, this versatile console has 3-band equalizers with 8 of the channels having fully parametric mid-range (Vari-Q) equalizers and 2 having the Troisi upgraded eq. This console also features high and low pass filters, 24 track bus assignment switches, and multiple sends on each channel.
MICROPHONES
  • Neumann U47 FET
  • (2) Neumann U87
  • (2) Neumann M147
  • (4) Neumann KM184
  • (2) Coles 4038
  • AKG C414 XLS
  • (3) Audio-Technica AT2050
  • (4) Shure SM57
  • Shure Beta 52
  • Electro-Voice RE320
  • (3) Audix Micro-D
  • (2) Audix f9
OUTBOARD GEAR
Microphone Pre Amps:
  • (2) Avalon 737 tube (upgraded tubes) 
  • (2) Rupert Neve 511
  • (2) Ampex 351 tube (upgraded tubes)
  • API 512c
  • Phoenix Audio DRS-Q4 Mk2
  • Mesa Boogie Triaxis
Compressors/Limiters/Dynamics:
  • (3) API 525
  • Tube-Tech LCA 2A
  • (6) SSL XR618
  • SSL XR626 Stereo Bus Compressor
  • (2) Warm Audio WA-2A (upgraded tubes)
  • (2) Audio-Scape G-Stereo Buss Compressor
  • Waves L2 ultramaximizer
Other:
  • EMT 140 stereo plate reverb
  • Dolby Model 363 SR/A noise reduction
  • (2) Lexicon MX400 effects Processors
  • Marantz CD recorder
  • TASCAM CD duplicator

 

MONITORING
Brought over from our original 1976 Studio is a spectacular pair of JBL 4311B control room monitors and an original set of Auratone Cubes.  We also recently bought a refurbished pair of Genelec S30D's, considered to be some of the best nearfield monitors ever made. Our in-studio monitoring also includes AKG K240 headphones and a custom delivery system which allows for infinite adjustments for every musician and singer as well as individual powerpack amplifiers at every recording station.
INSTRUMENTS
Jesse French & Sons baby grand piano, Kurzweil PC88mx keyboard, a dedicated drum booth with a mid 1980s Gretsch kit, Zildjian cymbals, Ludwig snares, LP Aspire congas, and a Wittman stave snare...plus every type of vintage electric and acoustic guitar from Martin and Gibson to a pair of 1967 KAPA hollow-body electrics as well as a Rickenbacker 360 12-string.  Finding your sound is simple at Downing Sound Studios.
The Downing Man

1976 Artwork By Clay Bennett