Studio Review

Reel To Real

2309 Taylorsville Rd

Louisville, KY 40205

(502) 452-1269

By Paul M. Moffett

Jeff Carpenter, owner and engineer of Reel to Real Studio, has been getting used to his new twenty-four track board for the past couple of months. That, plus the adjustments necessary to someone newly wed, has made his life a little harried of late.

"Harried" is a normal state of affairs for a studio engineer and Carpenter has been an engineer for over twelve years.

He started out at Allen-Martin Productions, where he worked very briefly, before moving to the American Printing House for the Blind. Then for six years, he and partner Mick Puckett ran Real To Reel Studios on Frankfort Avenue. Carpenter also spent some time working for Tommy Cosden, aka Cosmo, when he was operating Crescent Studio at the present site of Mom's Musician's General Store and Recording Studio.

Carpenter acknowledges that his studio has acquired something of a reputation as having an alternative / New Wave / punk band orientation. Nonetheless, he notes that he has recorded all types of music, including a series of live recordings at the Kentucky Music Weekend earlier in that series' existence. Like all engineers, he tries to make his equipment transparent to the music being played, regardless of its style.

He is also involved with Hit-A-Note Records, of which he is co-owner with Alan Hall. The label, which was started when the studio was on Frankfort, was intended to be essentially a "vanity" label, to provide for those performers who wanted to be able to make and sell a record. Over the years, Hit-A-Note has released a number of albums by local and regional bands, including Velvet Elvis, now signed with TVT Records, Folks On fire, Jil Thorpe and The Beat Boys, Lexington's Shakers and Louisville folk stalwart, Bob Rosenthal. The Velvet Elvis project released in that group being signed by Mitch Easter and qualifies as the biggest success to come from Hit-A-Note.

Hit-A-Note is able to provide a package deal of five hundred compact discs for nineteen hundred dollars. Five hundred elpees cost about a thousand dollars, but these days, vinyl records are rapidly becoming obsolete.

Alan Hall is in charge of the distribution and radio promotion side of the record business. As with most independent labels, distribution is difficult to arrange, but Hall is successful in getting college radio airplay for some material.

Noting that most bands currently want to make a record of original music rather than make a demo of "covers," Carpenter feels that he will be moving in the direction of more involvement in Hit-A-Note. He is currently involved in discussions with Mrs. Frazier, formerly Brain Dead, regarding a possible CD project.

His other plans include acquiring Digital Audio Tape (DAT) capability, although he laughingly remarked that keeping up with recording technology is getting to be a case of being a kid in a candy store choices are many, money limited. He also has some physical changes in mind for the studio layout.

Studio time costs $35 an hour for straight on-the-clock recording, but Carpenter prefers package deals, which allow everyone involved more leeway and hence less tension. He encourages anyone interested in recording to call and chat.

Main Mixing Board

Hill Audio Remix 24 in, 16 Out

Multi-Channel Recorder

Tascam MS- 16

Primary Two-Track

TEAC A-6l00

Iowa 3 head cassette

Monitor Speakers

EV Sentry 100 A

Yamaha DM 01 (Reference)

Outboard Effects

Furman Noise Gates QN -Quad

SG 10 Weep EQ

Furman Compressor / Gate LC-3

Furman PQ-6 Parametic Eq Full Bandwidth

Roland EQ SEQ 315

Korg - DRV 3000 Digital Delay

DSP 128 Digitech

dbx 161 compressors

Alesis Quadraverb






Studio lnstruments

Mirage Keyboard

Ass't Amps

Guitars from Guitar Emporium