Updates to Millikin recording studio amplify Big Blue music scene
Millikin University's School of Music offers an environment where students can grow as artists and scholars through the blending of creative, performative and entrepreneurial experiences designed to train the next generation of music professionals.
Many of Millikin's commercial music majors gain hands-on experiences, particularly in recording and audio production, by utilizing Millitrax, Millikin's very own state-of-the-art recording studio located in the Perkinson Music Center.
Millitrax Recording Studio consists of two studios: analog and digital. Studio A includes a large tracking room, isolation room, control room and machine room. Studio B, also known as the audio lab, features a mixing room with a digital console.
Millitrax underwent renovations before the start of the 2019-20 academic year and was added with some leading edge equipment, specifically a brand new Rupert Neve Designs 5088 Shelford 32-channel studio recording console in Studio A. The studio was in need of an updated console for the last few years and thanks to Kevin Guarnieri, technical director of Millitrax, those changes became a reality.
"Over the summer we had a complete refurbish of Studio A where we pulled out the old console that we had for 20 years, and we replaced it with a Rupert Neve 5088 console," said Guarnieri. "We are one of only 51 colleges/universities, and the second institution in Illinois, currently using the Rupert Neve 5088."
The systems design, components and build quality of the recording desk make it one of the highest fidelity/lowest distortion consoles made. It took 16 days to remove the old console and replace it with the Rupert Neve 5088, along with the cabling. A new granite countertop was also added to Studio A. The equipment was financed, in part, by the Millikin College of Fine Arts Patrons Society.
Millikin commercial music majors Trace Davidson, a senior from Chatham, Ill., and Abigail Cottrell, a junior from Chenoa, Ill., say the new equipment and the studio have made a difference in understanding the recording industry. Both students serve as studio managers for Millitrax.
"It's really amazing. A benefit for being a studio manager is that you can come into the studio whenever you want and play with the gear you haven't experienced with before, and experiment with new equipment like microphones," said Cottrell.
Davidson added, "With all the gear and plug-ins that we have, it's incredible to have those resources at your fingertips."
Millitrax is also an important aspect of Millikin's student-operated recording companies such as First Step Records, a record label and publishing company providing hands-on experiences in the business of music. The new equipment will also play a major role for students in arts technology.
"You get a very well-rounded view of the music industry at Millikin," said Cottrell. "You see how things are done in different ways. You not only learn so much about music by itself but production, engineering, the industry, and you build great connections along the way."
Guarnieri noted, "I think we did a great job and I'm looking forward to seeing more and more students in the studio in the future."