Studio Review

Mom's Musician's General Store and Recording Studio

2920 Frankfort Ave.

Louisville, KY 40206


Climbing the aging, exterior gray barnwood staircase leading up to the studio over Mom's Musicians General Store, it's hard to imagine that a sophisticated and up-to-date recording facility lies at the top, but the turn through the door quickly dispels that notion.

Howie Gano, chief engineer, leads the way into the spacious control room. M. C. Escher prints dot the burlap-covered walls. The main mixing board sits in the center of the room, facing the main studio window. The outboard equipment rests in a natural-finish solid-wood cabinet with dovetailed joints, hardly the usual construction methods and materials. It turns out that that is as good a metaphor for Gano's approach to his work as any.

Gano was first a drummer, playing with rock and top-40 bands. By the time he finished high school, his desire to be a stage performer had cooled and he enrolled at the University of Louisville School of Music, where he completed three years in the Music Composition Program. His engineering career began with a four-track recorder in his own basement, mainly recording his own material. As friends asked him to record their bands, he began spending more and more time behind a recording console and less and less time playing, until he realized that he was an engineer who played instruments.

His engineering spans a ten-year period, including a six-month tour freelancing for Audiovisions. He has been at Mom's for about two-and-a-half years, following Tim Harper and Ray Striebling as engineer.

The studio boasts a brand-new mixing board, a thirty-two channel Allen and Heath, Saber Series 32:16:16 LBGPB with auto mute on all MIDI channels. This new board, together with a pair of slaved sixteen-track Fostex E16 recorders, provide the studio with thirty-two tape track capability. Gano's main motivation for upgrading the board was the feeling that he had outgrown the previous equipment and needed more flexibility. He says that the new equipment sounds "more musical," and has a much cleaner sound.

The studio is a rarity in one respect for studios in town - little commercial work is done there. Gano notes that this is because Mom's is a professional musician's store. He also likes the variety of recording different kinds of bands and performers.

The entire studio is sequenced with SMPTE, including the Atari ST computer, which runs 60-track Hybrid Arts software. Musicians can do pre-production work on their material and bring in their discs, either using the Atari if they have compatible equipment or using their own equipment either straight to the board.

Using the two sixteen-track recorders allows the studio to charge different rates according to the need for track space. Sixteen track time is forty-five dollars an hour, plus tape, and thirty-two track time is fifty-five dollars an hour. Gano notes that the client does not have to know in advance whether he/she will need both machines prior to booking time, as he can add the extra machine at any point.

Gano has the additional advantage of having Mom's complete music store inventory available in case more or different equipment is needed or desired. With back-up resources like that, it's hardly surprising that he is busy seven days a week.

Main Mixing Board

Allen and Heath Saber 32:16:16 LBGPB

Primary Multi-channel Recorder

Fostex E16 (2)

Primary Two-Track Master

Revox B70

Emerson VHS HiFi


Ashly Power Amp

Monitor Speakers

JBL L-112

Reference Monitors

Minimus -7

Outboard Effects



ART Multi-verb

Yamaha SPX 90 - II

Yamaha SPX 900 (2)

Lexicon PCM-70

Barcus-Berry BBG exciter

Roland SDE1000 Digital Delay

Furman - LC-X compressor / limiter

Effectron II ADM 1024

FX Micro-compressor

Ashly 3-band parametric EQ

Yamaha RX-7 drum machine

Keyboards / Sound Modules

Yamaha TX 802

Yamaha TX 16W

Mirage Sampler

Yamaha YS 200 controller


Atari 1040 ST


Hybrid Arts 60-track

Studio Instruments

Yamaha Grand Piano

7-piece Drum kit