Federico Hencker had more than just a laundry list of world-class gear in mind when building Costa Rica’s Green Road Studio. He also wanted to make the studio as eco friendly as possible.
Hencker worked with studio designer Horacio Malvicino on the concept and design of the studio. The two met during a university lecture in Bogotá, Colombia, and devised Green Road as a ‘room within a room’, constructed with ultra touch recycle fibre insulation (walls and ceiling), interfabrics acoustic fabrics and valspar eco friendly paint. It also features walls resonators made of bamboo, a sustainable wood, and is finished with environmentally friendly paints and fabrics. “Obviously, there are limitations if you want to build a studio that is 100 per cent green, but we did it as green as possible,” Malvicino reported.
Nestled between rainforest and beaches, the studio offers an environment that is conducive to both work and relaxation. “My idea is to let people know that they can work here Monday through Friday, and then on the weekend, go to the beach.” Hencker continued, “People can come to Costa Rica and enjoy all the things that this beautiful country has to offer while working in a professional, state-of-the-art studio.”
Managing director and engineer of Green Road, Hencker’s plan was to build a world-class recording environment capable of attracting clients not only from Central America, but also South America and the United States. The studio is designed for audio post production, sound design and jingle recording for radio and television, in addition to music production.
Guitar Center Pro supplied the studio with a Solid State Logic Matrix console, with an Avid Pro Tools HD3 system, mics and processors. Hencker and Malvicino met with account manager Michael Yorky at the GC Pro showroom in New York City to discuss equipment options for the studio. “He gave me lots of ideas about what kind of equipment to have in Green Road,” said Hencker. “His insight was very useful – if I had any technical doubts or other issues, I would just call Michael and he would resolve them for me.”
The studio’s microphone preamplifier list includes a four-channel SSL Xlogic Alpha VHD Pre, an API 3124, and units from Millennia Media. A Manley Labs SLAM! and an Avalon VT-737SP provides additional mic preamplification with dynamics processing. A classic Teletronix LA-2A compressor and an Empirical Labs Distressor are also available.
Hencker’s mic of choice is the AKG C12; however, the studio’s mic locker also includes a Microtech Gefell UMT 70S, which, he says, is fantastic for miking guitars, as well as several models from Shure, Sennheiser, AKG and others, which he makes use of to record drums.
“I am very happy with all my equipment,” Hencker commented. “With the SSL, for example, I have greater headroom so my mixes sound louder.” According to Hencker, Green Road is the only studio in Central America to feature an SSL console.
The studio comprises a control room, a live room and an isolation booth partly constructed from stone, making it a suitable room for vocal overdubs and other instruments. “I have been experimenting with all the rooms that I have,” says Hencker of the newly completed facility. “The iso booth, for instance, has a very live sound that is great for guitar amplifiers.”
Malvicino concludes: “We tried to make the studio as flexible as possible. Even though it is small, we followed the same guidelines that we use when building a world-class studio anywhere in the world. In Central America, there are very few studios and, to be honest, many of these are very low quality. With Green Road, we wanted to raise the bar a little bit.”