Up Close: Soundcheck Studios

Lockout Rehearsal Studio Builds Sense of Community: A hard rock drummer by trade and former drum department manager at SIR, David Lee launched Soundcheck Studios as a 24-hour lockout rehearsal facility in North Hollywood in 2005. He converted an empty warehouse into a dynamic facility featuring 28 rooms of various sizes for different purposes, serving an eclectic clientele including national touring acts, garage bands and solo producers in need of a home base. Each room is open to be sonically treated to accommodate the clients’ preferences, and the tall ceilings are perfect for those who prefer a more “live sound.” In addition to minimal “noisebleed” between rooms (thanks to six inches of airspace between two walls with sound board, insulation, and drywall), the facility has secured gated parking, closed circuit TV monitoring and easy load in/out. It was also one of the first studios in L.A. to offer free wireless internet access.

“My goal was to provide a creative environment with a sense of artistic freedom in the studio, not simply a generic classroom vibe,” Lee says. “Also, I wanted Soundcheck to be a place where musicians can network and help each other get to that “next level.” In an era where so many artists are opting for working at home, I think I’ve succeeded in perpetuating a sense of community at the studio. And as we all try to navigate through this “new normal,” I wanted to offer the L.A. music scene a different way to access their audience, which is why I made my showcase room into a live streaming room. Ultimately, I just want massive success for the bands at my studio and for them to say their journey began at Soundcheck Studios.”

The Showcase Room: The crown jewel of Soundcheck Studios has long been Room #3, a 30-ft x 40-ft space with a 20-ft x18-ft stage and drum riser. It has been used by everyone from Idina Menzel to Filter as well as members of Rage Against the Machine, who joined forces there in 2016 with members of Audioslave, Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill to form the popular rap rock supergroup Prophets of Rage. The room has a concert style, 4-way PA system and black velvet curtains wrapping around the walls to give the sound engineer complete control. Perfect for the COVID-19 era, it is now converted into a live streaming room. In addition to the PA, it has a professional lighting rig and a multi-camera video streaming console. This allows the client to have a professional audio mix with the live video footage being fed directly to whatever social media platform they prefer. The room will also be available for any movie or video production with the same safety protocols. 

COVID-19 Protocols: A full page on the Soundcheck website is dedicated to protocols based on the new normal. Face masks are required, social distancing enforced in all public areas, and there are hand sanitizing stations in the hallways. The facility discourages people outside the immediate band to come to the studio. When booking the showcase room, clients are subject to temperature checks and everyone is name checked before entering. All the air conditioning units have been newly outfitted with iWave (iwaveair.com), a bipolar ionization process similar to what is used in airplanes and hospitals which sends electrical charges into the airstream that kills any pathogens that get through the regular filters in the units.

Check out Soundcheck Studios' website here.

Pictured: Prophets of Rage