Paramount Recording Studios
Location: Santa Monica, CA
The Brolin family built the Paramount Recording Studios in the late 1960s, in a former Bic pen manufacturing plant. Brian Brolin, brother of actor James Brolin, first attracted attention for his early recording of classmate Ritchie Valens.
- Sound mixing
- Scoring stage
- Sound editing
- Audio dubbing
What to Expect
As with many long-standing recording studios, Paramount has a rich and fascinating history. In the 1970s, business was booming for Brian Brolin, and Tom Hidley was brought in to design a new addition to the property, Studio C. A then-unknown actor, Harrison Ford, was the finishing carpenter on the build. Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner) was one of the first runners hired to fetch coffee and shuttle paperwork. The ’70s brought a plethora of TV clients to Paramount, as sessions were recorded in Studio C by the Osmond Brothers, the Partridge Family, and others. During that decade, Brian Brolin engineered recordings for Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and the Jackson 5; the ’80s brought Talking Heads, Devo, and Kurtis Blow; the ’90s saw Ice-T, Celine Dion, and the Cult. Since those early days, Paramount has continued to be an in-demand shop for contemporary recording artists like Justin Timberlake, Black Eyed Peas, Flaming Lips, Snoop Dogg, Pink, and Linkin Park.
Today, the Paramount building contains eight recording studios: a large tracking/mixing studio with an 80-channel SSL 9000J with Ultimation, a mixing/overdub studio with a 56-channel SSL 6000E/G, a mixing/overdub studio with a 40-channel SSL 4000E/G, a mastering studio, and four pre-production studios for in-house producers to use. Studio D is a private studio inhabited by Atlantic Records. Equipment also includes Pro Tools stations, a huge assortment of microphones, and instruments that can be rented for sessions. The facilities house a modern gourmet kitchen with stainless-steel appliances and a patio lounge complete with fire pit, picnic tables, and a cinderblock wall that keeps the prying eyes of the neighbors and paparazzi away.
At Paramount, the standard path to becoming a recording engineer is to first pay your dues and learn the ropes as a runner or studio setup worker. This demanding—and often thankless—job allows rookies to prove they are dependable, hard-working, and willing to learn. From there, successful employees can pursue advancement to the role of assistant studio technician and eventually assistant engineer. Of course, the transition takes time, and the path is different for everyone. Other positions include work as a studio manager, administrative assistant, or studio technician. A college degree in music production, recording arts, or music is a typical requirement for a recording engineer at this studio.
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