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NAMM 2019: WSDG’s Sergio Molho Discusses Latin American Recording Studio Innovation and What the Future May Hold

NAMM 2019: WSDG’s Sergio Molho Discusses Latin American Recording Studio Innovation and What the Future May Hold

Discussion Highlights an Increasing Trend in Education Facility Design

Anaheim, CA – The 2019 NAMM Show saw an enormous gathering of the best and brightest minds within the musical instrument and pro audio worlds. In the world of architectural acoustic consulting and media integration services, innovative thought leader  WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) has thrived over the past fifty years by anticipating change to remain ahead of the curve. 

From projects like TEC de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico to TEC Award Winning Studio Circo Beat Studios in Buenos Aires, Argentina these studios vary widely in size, shape, and client usage. The common thread they share however is the expert design and tech integration work of WSDG, a process that the company has honed since its first professional recording studio in Colombia, Sonovision, in the mid-1980s. According to Molho, who joined the firm to represent the Latin American region in 1994, the process has been less of an iterative process as it has been the gradual transformation of the entire Latin American recording industry: from the scattered and cash-strapped recording studios of the past to a growing collection of best-in-class recording spaces that have catapulted Latin America’s recording industry onto the global stage. 

“It was all about creating a greater bank of knowledge,” Molho explains. “For a long time, studio design know-how was confined to a small group of individuals. We realized there was an opportunity here to help share what we’d learned over our history, as well as design spaces worthy of the art that these musicians wanted to create.”

In his panel at The 2019 NAMM Show, Molho explained how WSDG’s careful study of the region’s recording studios and their builders revealed that acoustic design knowledge overall was low by comparison — and that the educational resources were not available to create the type of high-end spaces that were common in North America and Europe. Sensing the opportunity to bring increased education in the marketplace on this topic, something that WSDG has also recently done in the Middle East and Asia as well, they began a concerted effort to share knowledge and begin work on the series of projects to spark the recording studio renaissance that Latin America is currently experiencing. 

In addition to the growth in know-how, Molho also explained how its projects have likewise benefited from the emerging economies of their host countries — which have historically not been as wealthy by comparison. “Building costs for these projects have been 20-30% less than similar projects in the United States and Europe,” Molho observes. “These differences in cost have allowed us to create high quality work for less, and state of the art facilities that are both beautiful and unique.” 

In the past year alone, WSDG has broke ground on dozens of these unique spaces. For example, Mix2Go in Sao Paulo, Brazil is a pioneering, miniature mix facility designed to meet the growing demands for 3D audio as well as standard 5.1 and stereo mixes. At 440 square feet it is among the smallest such spaces in the world, while still achieving WSDG’s discriminating standards for acoustic excellence and pristine aesthetics.Nominated for a NAMM Tec Award in Creative Studio Design, Sonastério Studios in Belo Horizonte is Brazil’s first world-class destination studio, ensconced in a luxury 8,000 square foot home, sitting atop a breathtaking mountain range.

Meantime, the aforementioned TEC de Monterrey in Mexico and University ICESI in Cali, Colombia are holistic educational complexes focused on audio engineering and music production — offering the promise of preparing future generations for next generation audio challenges. These institutions — and others like them — are creating the fertile ground that will ultimately help students find successful audio careers in the Latin American region and beyond.  

WSDG says its projects in the region show no signs of slowing down and are only increasing, fueled by a diversity of new content and passion. “The democratization of information and the lowering costs of technology make projects like this possible,” Molho says. “We’re very proud of the work we’ve been able to do so far in Latin America, and this is indeed only the beginning.”

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About WSDG

WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) is an 11-time TEC award-winning international firm specializing in architectural acoustic consulting and media systems engineering. Pioneering architect/acoustician, John Storyk (AIA), founded the company in 1969 with the creation of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York City’s Greenwich Village. 

WSDG provides a wide portfolio of design and consulting services that support architectural projects during all phases. Our international team of consultants have provided timely, detailed and cost-effective advice on highly sensitive and complex architectural construction and renovation projects, from small but critical retrofits to challenging ground up construction projects. WSDG has extensive experience with sensitive architectural issues including historical renovations, additions and new construction projects in media production, corporate, government, transportation, education, broadcasting and cultural / entertainment sectors.  

Past clients include Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, J Cole, and Jack Antonoff , corporate entities such as Spotify, Sony, CBS, Novartis, and IBM, global governmental AV installations as well as educational institutions such as Berklee College of Music, UCLA, University of Music Vienna, and NYU.

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