Wally Heider Studios

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Hyde Street Studios - Studio A. (formerly Wally Heider Studios)

Wally Heider Studios was a recording studio in San Francisco, California between 1969 and 1980, started by recording engineer and studio owner Wally Heider.

History[edit]

In early 1969, Heider opened Wally Heider's Studio' at 245 Hyde Street, San Francisco, between Turk and Eddy Streets, across the street from Black Hawk jazz club, in a building that had previously been used by 20th Century Fox for film offices, screening rooms and storage[1] Heider had reportedly apprenticed as an assistant and mixer at United Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA, with Bill Putnam, The Father of Modern Recording,[2] and he already owned and ran an independent recording studio and remote recording setup called Studio 3, in Hollywood, California, which was one of the most successful such operations in the world.[1]

Heider and his crew were very well known for making excellent studio and remote location recordings and for top notch engineering. Two years earlier, in 1967, Heider had been involved in live recording at the Monterey Pop Festival. Artists like Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Grateful Dead had been recording in Los Angeles and New York, and Heider saw the need for musicians involved in the nascent San Francisco Sound to have their own well equipped and staffed recording studio close to home. The studios were built by Dave Mancini, who later built his own studio in the San Fernando Valley.[1]

Heider planned four studios—A and B on the ground floor and C and D upstairs. However, studio B was never finished and instead became a game room.

Frank DeMedio built all the studios' custom gear and consoles, using Universal Audio (UA) console components, military grade switches and level controls, and a simple audio path that used one preamp for everything in a channel. He designed the console with 24 channels and an 8-channel monitor and cue—replicated in both the Studio 3 setup in Los Angeles and the remote truck. Monitor speakers were Altec 604-Es with McIntosh 275 tube power amps.[1]

They completed Studio C first and it began operating in May 1969 with staff that included General Manager Mel Tanner, Booking Agent Ginger Mews, Technician Harry Sitam, and Staff Engineer Russ Gary. Its dimensions were similar to Heider's Studio 3 in Hollywood—though its control room, instead of being at the end the room, was parallel to Studio C's long side. The walls were kept from being parallel with square gypsum devices that were used as mid-range sound diffusers and absorbers. At the Grateful Dead's request, its studio doors were covered with airbrushed paintings. Studios A and D became operational a few months later.[3]

According to researchers who later explored studio history for Hyde Street Studios, the first release out of studio C was the Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers, which was also the first album they recorded in their hometown. Between 1969 and 1970, many other high-profile acts followed, including Harry Nilsson, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Steve Miller Band. Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded several albums in that room, and named their record, Cosmo's Factory after the "factory" at Studio C. Engineers and staff of that era also included Bill Halverson, Stephen Barncard, and Glyn Johns.[3]

While Crosby Stills Nash and Young were recording, studio D opened. It was an exact replica of Heider's Hollywood Studio 3. Among its first uses was to record Jerry Garcia’s steel guitar overdub for Teach Your Children, while the live recording setup was kept intact in studio C, where CSNY recorded. In that same period, Deane Jensen supervised installation of a new Quad Eight console in studio A. Santana and John Hall used studio D a few times. CBS Records had a priority lease on Studio D for a year, before eventually taking over Coast Recorders as their west coast recording facility.[4] Many other artists followed.

Company shift[edit]

In 1978, Heider sold the studio and its name to Filmways, but remained as manager[5] until 1980 when Filmways sold it to a partnership composed of Dan Alexander, Tom Sharples, and Michael Ward. The three partners renamed the business Hyde Street Studios, which is still an operating recording studio as of 2013, now owned solely by Michael Ward.[6]

Albums recorded[edit]

1969[edit]

1970[edit]

1971[edit]

1972[edit]

1973[edit]

1974[edit]

1975[edit]

1976[edit]

1977[edit]

1978[edit]

1979[edit]

1981[edit]

1982[edit]

References[edit]