SUMMERVILLE — An open house over the weekend offered the public an opportunity to visit Shed Sounds Studio, Jefferson County’s first full service audio recording studio.
Caleb Harmen has been playing music since he was 14 years old, and recently has been playing the drums in the band Hatred Rising from Brookville. About four years ago, when the band went to a studio to record, he was not pleased with the end result.
Harmen is a fan of the analog style of recording, and did not like that the band had to record each instrument one at a time. He said the end result sounded good, but it didn’t sound like them. He decided with enough time and practice, he could to it better.
Harmen works a full-time job at Beverage-Air in Brookville, and began using his time at work to immerse himself in podcasts about recording music and studio set-ups. He was listening to about 40 hours of podcasts and YouTube videos a week once he committed to the idea of opening a recording studio.
He also attended Mixcon in New York, where he says he learned much over the single weekend.
“I really got to assess where I was... It was kind of an eye opener that I was ready to open up shop,” Harmen said about attending Mixcon.
He is working on a 24 channel mix board and interface, and records with microphones spread throughout the shed. Most of his equipment is PreSonus, and he plans to put any money made back into equipment for the studio. He has enough instruments now that bands could play, but said most like to have their own instruments.
The “shed” that has been converted into the studio originally was a dog shed. Harmen’s brother built the addition so he had somewhere to keep his dirt bike and side-by-side, then moved away shortly after. Harmen then spent two years insulating the structure before he was ready to do more research on recording studios.
“I cut a lot of costs by taking my time and sourcing locally for my materials,” Harmen said of creating the studio.
Many of his materials for the building were obtained from Beverage-Air in the form of scrap and damaged materials. He also spent a lot of time researching the cables used with all the equipment. Harmen made his own cables, which reduced their cost to a quarter of what they would have been ready-made.
Harmen points out that he has microphones throughout the recording room, and sixteen just on the drum kit.
“If a band practices up, and they’re tight, I can track them real quick... I can basically do anything in the software, but I prefer the analog style with microphones,” Harmen said.
The way Harmen has the instruments and amps set up, everyone can play together in his studio, but they don’t all have to play perfectly in one go. Every instrument is separated completely, so if a single guitar part needs to be played differently, just that part can be fixed without needing everything to be redone. Harmen is passionate about the analog style of recording and preserving the style of the band as a whole unit within a recording.
Harmen says bands are welcome to contact him about setting up a time, and come check out his set-up and equipment. The more prep work a band has undertaken ahead of time, the less it will going to cost them to record in the long run, he said. He will offer them a free hour to talk, and experiment with the equipment. During their initial meeting to check out equipment, the band and Harmen can discuss the kind of project they’re looking at, and he can give them a quote on the cost, he said.
“This is a passion, not a career. Once I start making money, it will go back into the studio,” Harmen said.
Harmen also offers accommodations to bands that are traveling from further away to use his studio. He and his wife have a set of private rooms that can be used for an additional charge to spend a weekend working in the studio. He can also do solo and stand alone projects, he said.
Shed Sounds Studio can be found on Facebook, and is located at 1303 CL School Road near Summerville.