This hefty, 350-page hardbound book is based on the studio design firm Recording Architecture Limited’s 23 years of experience in recording studio design — from small, private project studios (Kravitz, Bernard Sumner, Sade) to large, commercial studios (Lansdowne, Konk). Inside are over 140 project plans; 330 details and drawings; and 150 excellent, full color photographs. It’s a well put together book and a treat just to thumb through for any studio rat, but there is a lot of real world knowledge to be gleaned from these pages. From the preface: “Over the years, the few available books on recording studio design seem largely to have been written by individuals with no substantial track record in the field. RA:THE BOOK sets out to bridge the divide between theory and practice... a detailed presentation of tried and tested techniques as applied to real, built projects.” Pages of studio plans and photos of the actual spaces also feature notes on design ideas, obstacles overcome, and the studio’s purpose. Details on studio doors and windows follow, and from this information alone, I wish I’d had this book four years ago as we built my new studio. “The development of exposed acoustic treatment as an aesthetic” is certainly an RA motto. Many of their rooms feature variable- gap or hole-based diffusion/absorption panels hung in them, and they look stylish. Sections on electrical distribution, audio cable management, lighting, HVAC, and other “details” show that RA have really thought this material through and are presenting so much of what they know. I cannot imagine anyone that is considering building a new studio, whether from the ground up or adapting a room, not wanting to peruse this book and taking notes. There is an abundance of knowledge to be had here, from people that have spent 23 years designing and building hundreds of rooms of all types. We are lucky that this knowledge will be preserved for others to absorb and utilize. Hats off to Roger D’Arcy, Hugh Flynn, and everyone involved in RA:THE BOOK. It’s a real treasure.(£135 GBP, –LC

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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