One of the most unique recording studios has quietly attracted attention in Mesa, AZ. The Platinum Underground Studio, built 30 feet underground, is a 4,000-square-foot, multi-room facility designed by legendary studio designer Vincent Vann Haaff.
For more than 40 years, Vann Haaff has designed venues such as Capitol Records, Sony's facilities, Henson Studios, and full production facilities for will.i.am and Rick Rubin, as well as writing and production facilities for Max Martin.
"In an age where it's expected to be disconnected musically, email your tracks, upload your files, and rarely experience the community of real musicians playing real instruments together in a real space, the [Platinum] Underground is the polar opposite," said owner and operator John Aquilino.
"It's about getting back to the human experience that happens in a great space with incredible gear and talented people [who] come together for one purpose — to make great music. There’s nothing like it and you can hear it in the music we produce, and ISP and their products are a major part of that process for us at the Platinum Underground."
The studio consists of a 2,500-square-foot live room with 14-foot ceilings. This room was designed not only as a tracking space but also a large-enough space to accommodate full live rehearsals and pre-production for both recording sessions and live performances. There are two separate, tuned isolation booths, an acoustically accurate control room, and a complete living space with separate bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room/game recreation areas.
The live room includes a full ISP Technologies dual line-array Mongoose P.A. system with XMAX subs and six ISP TriReference single 15-inch speakers, three-way wedge monitors, and 24 custom 4x12 guitar cabinets designed specifically for the studio by Buck Waller, CEO of ISP. The ISP Technologies Decimator Pro Rack G noise reductions units, Beta Bass preamp pedal, and new Theta Pro DSP Floor Controlled Guitar System are also utilized in the studio.
The control room is a hybrid setup that is equipped with a 104-channel Euphonix CS 3000 console. The 3000 boasts a discrete analog signal path that is fully controlled by a digital surface that includes flying fader automation with instant recall of all of the console parameters, including not only fader and mute information but also EQs, compressors, auxes, mic preamps, and any routing configurations used in a session, all of which can be instantly recalled for an in-the-box style workflow with the sound of an analog signal path.
Artists such as David Ellefson, co-founding bassist for Megadeth, have been utilizing the space for practice and production work. David, who also produces other bands, recently brought his newest project, the all-girl glitter punk band Doll Skin, to the Platinum Underground to produce their debut EP, “In Your Face.”
“John’s facility will absolutely blow you away," said Ellefson. "It’s a world-class facility, located 30 feet underground, and goes head to head with the finest studios in the world. “The tones we got on the Doll Skin record at the Platinum Underground took the band to a whole new level, and ISP was a huge part of that journey. Being fully stocked with the most state-of-the-art tools and ISP gear in the studio makes it the best in class for recording right in our own backyard."