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Phaser Control's Weird Geometry

Timothy Joseph and Jim Austin set their phasers to stun at new Mission Valley studio.
Timothy Joseph and Jim Austin set their phasers to stun at new Mission Valley studio.

“Build a quality studio, fill the place with outstanding musicians, and the market will come to you.” This formula, hopes Jim Austin, will spell success for a new business venture he owns with Buckfast Superbee guitarist Timothy Joseph. The two entrepreneurs have put the finishing touches on a Mission Gorge–area recording studio they call Phaser Control.

Phaser Control is part of Studio 350, a complex of 17 band practice rooms that opened last year. Able to comfortably house a five- or six-piece band, the main studio is an exercise in weird geometry. The ceiling curves up, and the walls meet at funhouse angles. It smells like new wood. The heavy studio doors feel like airlocks on a space craft. Inside, the very atmosphere is different. The studio cost a small fortune to build, but Austin, who owns a guest ranch in Pioneertown and plays upright bass in Big Blue Tractor and Brawley, won’t say how much.

“The numbers didn’t scare me,” he says, “as long as it was gonna be done right.”

To that end, he and Joseph hired Rod Gervais, a Connecticut-based audio designer and the author of Home Recording Studio: Build it Like the Pros. Gervais, says Austin, was a hard-ass about details. But, how the room would actually sound at the end of the six-month build was anybody’s guess. “Gervais said you can’t really tell if the room is going to work until you hear the first recording,” says Joseph. So, does it work? Roland Ware thinks yes.

“I’m amped at the tones we were able to find in there.” Ware is a veteran record producer, owns Rdub Recordings, and was the first to record a complete project at Phaser Control.

For now Phaser Control is direct to digital. But first, vintage microphones funnel tones through the 1974 electronics of a Soundcraft 8000 mixing console that spent a decade at the Belly Up Tavern before it was brought out of storage and refurbished. The ancient electronics in the console, says Joseph, enhance the raw sound.

For now, most of the paid recording business is filtering into the studio via the musicians who rent the practice rooms. Joseph says they get half off when they book recording time. Although he doesn’t want to drop names, he says major music-business players who have seen Phaser Control have also shown interest in booking. But is it profitable? No, not yet. Joseph calls it a labor of love for now.

“We don’t have to have the studio pumping all the time as a part of our business model,” says Jim Austin. “The rentals pay the bills.”

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Timothy Joseph and Jim Austin set their phasers to stun at new Mission Valley studio.
Timothy Joseph and Jim Austin set their phasers to stun at new Mission Valley studio.

“Build a quality studio, fill the place with outstanding musicians, and the market will come to you.” This formula, hopes Jim Austin, will spell success for a new business venture he owns with Buckfast Superbee guitarist Timothy Joseph. The two entrepreneurs have put the finishing touches on a Mission Gorge–area recording studio they call Phaser Control.

Phaser Control is part of Studio 350, a complex of 17 band practice rooms that opened last year. Able to comfortably house a five- or six-piece band, the main studio is an exercise in weird geometry. The ceiling curves up, and the walls meet at funhouse angles. It smells like new wood. The heavy studio doors feel like airlocks on a space craft. Inside, the very atmosphere is different. The studio cost a small fortune to build, but Austin, who owns a guest ranch in Pioneertown and plays upright bass in Big Blue Tractor and Brawley, won’t say how much.

“The numbers didn’t scare me,” he says, “as long as it was gonna be done right.”

To that end, he and Joseph hired Rod Gervais, a Connecticut-based audio designer and the author of Home Recording Studio: Build it Like the Pros. Gervais, says Austin, was a hard-ass about details. But, how the room would actually sound at the end of the six-month build was anybody’s guess. “Gervais said you can’t really tell if the room is going to work until you hear the first recording,” says Joseph. So, does it work? Roland Ware thinks yes.

“I’m amped at the tones we were able to find in there.” Ware is a veteran record producer, owns Rdub Recordings, and was the first to record a complete project at Phaser Control.

For now Phaser Control is direct to digital. But first, vintage microphones funnel tones through the 1974 electronics of a Soundcraft 8000 mixing console that spent a decade at the Belly Up Tavern before it was brought out of storage and refurbished. The ancient electronics in the console, says Joseph, enhance the raw sound.

For now, most of the paid recording business is filtering into the studio via the musicians who rent the practice rooms. Joseph says they get half off when they book recording time. Although he doesn’t want to drop names, he says major music-business players who have seen Phaser Control have also shown interest in booking. But is it profitable? No, not yet. Joseph calls it a labor of love for now.

“We don’t have to have the studio pumping all the time as a part of our business model,” says Jim Austin. “The rentals pay the bills.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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