A Visit to Hyde Street Studios

Last night I experienced (once again) the feeling of earning my place in the Bay Area world of audio. It happens when I attend a sound event or take my students on a field trip to some local amazing audio space where I have a personal connection with the engineer(s) behind the console because I’ve worked in this business for over 30-years. Audio people love to make connections both literally and figuratively.

The difference between last night and all of the others? A former student of mine engineers at Hyde Street Studios and it was David Saenz who welcomed twenty of my students from my sound recording class at CCSF in the Broadcast Electronic Media Arts department where I have spent the last 16 years of my working life dedicated to sharing my knowledge with others in hopes that they find the career of their dreams just as I did in my mid-twenties. David treated everyone so respectfully, giving of himself in every way. We were there for THREE HOURS with him talking to them about the field and the hard work and dedication needed for success in the audio industry.

David through the patches He told them to “do all of it” – studio recording, live sound, film sound. “You’ll get more work, the more you know about every aspect and each time you’ll learn more about signal flow, levels…” He was so accommodating and I could see the students walking on clouds as they realized that they were spending hours in the hallowed halls of a space where many incredibly talented musicians had not only set-foot, but LIVED in while they recorded and mixed their masterpieces:  Jimi Hendrix, Earth Wind & Fire, Green Day, Jello Biafra & The Melvins, Dead Kennedys, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Joe Satriani, Tower of Power, Dwight Yoakam and so many more.  You can read the Hyde Street History here.

The space had previously been the legendary  Wally Heider Recording with a star-studded client discography of Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Grateful Dead…well, here’s a WIKI description: “A significant number of Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 albums were recorded in his studio including Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Electric Warrior by T. Rex, Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison, American Beauty by the Grateful Dead, Green River by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Abraxas by Santana.

This space has HISTORY!  Here is a link to the Facebook Live video I captured during some of David’s chat as students arrived…

In the last hour, David showed the students in small groups of 3-4 the amazing MICROPHONE CLOSET where he held each vintage mic like a little fragile puppy in his hand opening each box carefully to reveal the contents. They saw this list of amazing mics. While the groups of 3-4 ooohed and ahhhed over the mic closet, the others were able to float about looking at the gold records on the walls, check out the hang out lounge complete with record collection to play on a turntable and small sound system…

It’s truly a beautiful thing to witness: students who wish to have a fulfilling career watching one who has made it! I felt like a proud mama with her sound son showing everyone that his dream had come true. It brings joyful tears to my eyes as I type this.


Students in Hallway at HSS      Playroom at HSS_Studio A

He was very proud to showcase the newly capped and completely renovated vintage Neve console. It’s a lot of work to take apart an old console to spruce it up. FANTASTIC!

What a great night!

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