Ace engineer David Axelbaum helms new Airstream Audio creative post

Mutual respect and a working relationship and friendship over a dozen years resulted in new Airstream Audio, the creative post facility of award-winning engineer David Axelbaum and his partner, top music composer/producer Steve Ford.

“Airstream takes a high-end, cinematic approach to audio finishing,” said Ford, an investor in the corporation that was set up separately from his Steve Ford Music company.

“We enjoyed each other’s approach to things. Over the years we talked about doing something together and this is it.”

Airstream Audio is located in composer Mike Pendowski’s former 3,000-sq. ft. River North studio. Ford said “a nice figure” was invested in adapting and equipping the space to Airstream’s specific needs.

“We put a lot of design into the acoustics to give a proper context to hearing the sound,” said Axelbaum, who’d been freelancing as a recording engineer. “Like a symphony hall, the acoustics of the room affects how you design the sound.”

The main control room is equipped with the latest ProTools technology, THX certified surround sound monitoring system, DLP projector and a collection of vintage recording gear.

There’s a second control room, conference room, lounge and reception room. Vintage music instruments such as “a Wurlitzer electric piano ? all the rage in the late ?60s ? a Fender Rhodes guitar and Gretch drums make it a nice, fun space,” said Ford.

Airstream has two full-time employees: former Ebel Productions’ producer Megan Mitra and Steve Johnson, a former assistant at CRC, plus freelancers Kurt Feske, a location sound expert, and Adam Frick, who’d been a sound designer and composer/mixer for the Big Idea VeggieTales feature, “Jonah.”

St. Louis native Axelbaum is a graduate of the University of Miami’s sound recording program, followed by an internship at Criteria Recording in Miami. Desiring to get into sound and picture, Axelbaum moved to Chicago and had an eight-year stint at the now-defunct Streeterville Studios.

During the ensuing 20 years, Axelbaum has earned platinum and gold records, mixed several Grammy- nominated albums and engineered hundreds of national commercials.

Airstream Audio is at 435 N. LaSalle; phone, 312/ 645-0223.