Studio 1208
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    After years of dealing with studios that looked and felt like a corporate board room, I decided I wanted to do something different. It's understandable why so many studios look totally modern- the rigors of constructing a room for sound and the availability of an appropriate space are huge obstacles, not to mention the enormous costs associated with modifying an existing structure. It has been said that to build a million dollar recording studio you need to start with 3 million dollars. That being said, my goal was to create a space that had the charm of the old world married with the technologies of today. A space that was relaxed but not manufactured, technically current but not forgetting many elements that have contributed to great music recording over the last 100 years.
The first task was to find the location.
     Buildings suitable to do such a studio are hard to find.  After three years of searching, I stumbled upon a now 103 year old building that needed a lot of work. A LOT of work.  After leasing the building for nine months, the opportunity to buy it arrived. It became clear that in order build a studio in this building the many changes and modifications that would be necessary would require greater control of the property's destiny. I also needed to assemble an ensemble of equipment and integrate it all together.
The building is remarkable unto itself. First built in 1908 in West Seattle (in an area then known as Youngstown as the Bayview Congregational Church, it was a one level semi-pioneer semi-craftsman style structure.  During a regrade of the area (Seattle was notorious for just moving the earth around if it didn't suit their needs) a lower level was added as the height of the hill it was perched on was reduced in size. It changed it's name to the Mayflower Congregational Church and held services until at least 1937.  In 1946 it became the western outpost of the International Bible Students. In 1952, it was sold to the Steelworker's Union Local 1208 and remained their union hall until 1994, when it was sold to Janet Laurel, an extraordinary and immensely talented painter and artist, who used the building as her art studio. That brings us to 2003, where I enter the picture. In that year, I incorporated my little production  company and began the long journey of creating SecretStudio Records Studio 1208.  Without boring you with a thousands of details about how the construction was done and the horribly challenging factors involving street noise, aircraft noise, truck noise, train noise and steel mill noise (the mill is about 300 yards away), let's just say it took a great deal longer than I had planned. To further complicate matters, the historical nature of the building needed to be preserved, which made for modifications and techniques that did not destroy its character and charm.  A small sampling of the construction odyssey can be found here.
     The second, actually concurrent, task was to assemble a complement of recording equipment to fit the room. Extensive searching, scouring various boards online, and with the help of Matt Syson, Dave Rochester and other technically astute individucals, I was able to reassemble the Amek Mozart console I acquired as part of a purchase of a large lot of studio equipment. Through many various acquisitions, the ensemble of quality mics, effects, reverbs, digital and analog recorders, and support equipment is finally assembled and operational.
     The task at hand is directed to you, the reader of this and potential client of Studio 1208. We are pleased to offer our services to you and are committed to providing you with a recording experience that is productive, creative and sounds the way you want it to sound.

Mark Dabek
SecretStudio Records, Inc.