BAM at 13: reaching new levels of sound leadership

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BAM’s Brian Reed (right) with actor Ed Asner at the studio

BAM Studios is used to recording celebrity actors in its River North studios. And in the past year – its 13th anniversary – “we had a huge burst in mixing TV shows,” says founder/engineer Brian Reed.

Founded by Reed in December, 1999 after nearly a decade of mixing for Skyview Film& Video, BAM performs the whole gamut of sound services: sound design/mixing and original music, voice casting and “a lot of voice recording and ADR for Hollywood,” says Reed.

Its 2012 roster included first seasons ofNBC Universal’s Chicago Fire, MTV’sUnderemployed and two full seasons of Starz’ Boss, along with Oprah’s 20  

“All the Chicago Fire actors are here for ADR,” Reed says.  “The producers hire us to supervise or direct the talent.  That’s something not done in Chicago as they usually call in an L.A. supervisor.”

BAM’s remodeled Studio CTo accommodate its growth, the 4,000-sq. ft. studio completed a monthlong renovation of Studio C, one of three audio rooms.  It was upgraded to support 5.1 Surround Sound and run Digidesign’s Pro Tools HDX, a top-flight computerized recording system.

The recording upgrades represent a combination ofDSP hardware, audio software, and new audio interfaces. “Besides the sonic upgrades, the HDX platform adds an amazing amount of power to our projects here at BAM and will increase efficiency throughout the facility,” Reed says.

Clients always come first

Yet if staying ahead of the technology curve is important, Reed says the mission ofBAM remains simple: “The challenge is always working to keep your clients happy,” he says.

“I tend to get over those obstacles by hiring a great team of people who work really hard to keep everyone walking in the door satisfied. I’m very grateful to have an amazing team working with me here.”

That team of eight consists of sound designers Reed, Dave Leffel, who supervisesADR along with Philip von During and Matt Sauro; executive producer Lisa Woods; tech Johnathan Karcz, assistant audio engineer Yahir Vergara and client services/social media Leah Sammak.

Reed definitely knows his digital audio. After graduating the University of Miami in 1987 with a B.A. in Music Engineering Technology and Percussion, he helped Skyview build one of the first all-digital audio suites in the US.

A drummer from the age of nine, Reed continued the instrument through his college years, and tried his hand at a number of pursuits, including music production, engineering album projects and sound design for commercials.  He’s also been sought out for his expertise in studio design.

BAM is also famous for its enormous music and effects library.  With a combined 1.5 million cuts, it’s comparable to Lukasfilm’s library, says Reed, who has been collecting libraries for 26 years, since starting his audio career.  “It’s a phenomenal database that keeps evolving.”

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