TEC Award-nominated Valenzo Studios in Mexico offers complete services from music composing, to recording, to mixing, and mastering. Created by Cesar Valenzo in 2016, the studio is run by its two head engineers Carlos Gonzalez and Ignacio Sotelo. They lead a team of composers, musicians, and engineers. Carlos and Ignacio were involved in the project from the very beginning. “Our job was to supervise the whole project, from its ground-up construction to the finished studio. We contacted Horacio Malvicino to do the acoustic design and Jaime Oviedo to do the main building structure and recreational areas. Carlos and I took on doing the whole system integration, wiring and installation of the equipment,” Ignacio explains.
In its very first year of operation, the studio received a nomination for “Studio Design Project” by NAMM’s Technical Excellence and Creativity Award. Now, Valenzo Studios is fully booked and handling projects from radio-friendly pop to experimental surround music. The most important aspect though, according to Ignacio, is the chance to work with extremely talented and passionate people such as the young Mexican artist Ruzzi, LA/Mexico based artist and producer Pere George, or the Argentinian Toch brothers among many others.
The studio is equipped with 48 mic lines running into a patchbay – where 24 tracks run directly into an SSL Duality Delta console with the remainder routed through a fine collection of external preamps, EQs, dynamics, and effects. The AD/DA conversion is dedicated to a 48-channel Apogee Symphony system. The monitoring section of the SSL controls the switch between JBL M2 mains, Barefoot Sound 5.1 system and a pair of Amphion One18 studio monitors.
Ignacio shares that they are “very picky” about the monitoring, and have tried various speakers, positions, levels, and calibration – striving to get the optimum of their monitoring system. “Up until today we’re still doing small tweaks to our system as soon as we find something can be improved so that all of our work translates as well as possible to the world,” says Ignacio. It was this desire for perfection that made Ignacio follow the advice of his friend and fellow engineer Alan Saucedo. Saucedo, multiple Grammy, and Latin Grammy recipient, was “telling the wonders” about his Amphions. “I ordered a demo pair of One18s to try in the studio and see if we would like them, and they never left,” says Ignacio and continues “I gotta be honest here, the One18s where not impressive on a first listen for me. They are not hyped speakers. But I did notice a good transient response and great imaging on a first listen. After working for a while with them you start realising that translation is no longer a constant concern, and that’s the real value we found in Amphion studio monitors.” I think when looking for speakers as a tool in a job that involves critical listening, one must work on them and evaluate the results instead of just listen for a while and decide based on first impressions. We make decisions directly based on what we are listening, and that is what is going to be registered forever in that piece of music, so monitoring should not be taken lightly.”
Before getting the Amphions, Valenzo Studios already had the big-sounding speakers “to fill the room and impress clients” and needed a pair of near-fields closer to the real world. “I like to think the Amphion One18s are our “check for translation” speakers, they are small for the room but that was part of what we wanted for them,” says Ignacio and continues, “They are great-sounding speakers that translate well to the real world and still are enjoyable to listen to.”
Ignacio states “translation is extremely important” and Amphion studio monitors help him “get there easier and faster. This saves a lot of time that would normally be used in checking mixes in a lot of systems.” In addition to the translation, Ignacio points out the lack of ear fatigue: “I also love that I can work on them for long periods of time without getting my ears tired. That directly translates to productivity!”
Valenzo Studios has been around for less than two years and has already received accolades and nominations for technical excellence. Combined with the dedication and passion of the whole team, this is a definite recipe for future success that we will witness in the next years.