Imagine a studio where they shut the doors 40 years ago and left everything as it was. It's just not possible, right? Think again. Over the last year Nic Jodoin, with partners Brittany and Justin Barsony, have reopened Valentine Recording Studios — a place that has been closed up and unused since around 1975. Opened in 1964 by engineer Jimmy Valentine, the studio hosted sessions by artists as varied as Bing Crosby, the Beach Boys, Burl Ives, and Frank Zappa. In 1975 the studio basically closed its doors after an extensive renovation.
Nic Jodoin gave us a lengthy tour, and we met up with Jimmy's daughter, June Valentine, who runs Metropolitan Pit Stop next door to the studios. Valentine Recording Studios is a trip back in time. It's awesome to see it brought back to life and making new records for artists like The Coathangers, Curtis Harding, The Night Beats, and Nick Waterhouse.
- Studio B's UA 610 console in mint condition. Note the custom talkback mic and formica desk.
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Studio B's UA 610 console in mint condition. Note the custom talkback mic and formica desk.
- Close up of Studio A's MCI console. Nice red knobs!
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Close up of Studio A's MCI console. Nice red knobs!
- Close up of the Stephens head stack and roller assembly.
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Close up of the Stephens head stack and roller assembly.
- The tape vault.
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The tape vault.
- Studio B Control Room.
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Studio B Control Room.
- Jimmy Valentine even made custom artwork for the studio.
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Jimmy Valentine even made custom artwork for the studio.
- Studio A's Quad-Eight Sidecar.
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Studio A's Quad-Eight Sidecar.
- Even the TV and remote are vintage. Note the Altec Lansing promo shot of Valentine, circa 1960's.
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Even the TV and remote are vintage. Note the Altec Lansing promo shot of Valentine, circa 1960's.
- UA console detail.
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UA console detail.
- Studio A Control Room.
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Studio A Control Room.
- Photo of Studio A.
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Photo of Studio A.
- Studio B EQ Rack
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Studio B EQ Rack
- Maintenance tech, Corey Creswell.
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Maintenance tech, Corey Creswell.
- Studio B mixdown and multi-track machines.
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Studio B mixdown and multi-track machines.
- Starbird mic stands are the best!
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Starbird mic stands are the best!
- Musicians-eye-view from Studio B into control room.
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Musicians-eye-view from Studio B into control room.
- Dubbing room.
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LC: Jimmy Valentine was the original owner?
He was the owner, and the one who built it.
LC: Was he an engineer as well?
Yeah. He worked at Capitol. He also worked in the sound effects department at NBC in Burbank.
LC: He was one of the first people to build a studio out in the Valley.
LC: When did the studio open up as a commercial facility?
The story is complicated. In '46, he started Valentine Sound Recorder. I think he started it in Washington, D.C. Then he moved to Los Angeles and built a studio in the back of his house. Then he bought this building and they opened up in 1963. This was a doctor's office and he added to it. He started with a little studio and later added a room [Studio A] in the back.
LC: Was the studio in the front of the building, Studio B, the original, small one?
Yeah, but it didn't have that board, the Universal Audio 610-A. It's from '64 and was made for him, for the larger Studio A. We still have the bill of sale and all the specs that he asked for. He was definitely into big bands, and his eye was on movie studios and doing projects for film....