Production pros Weir and Sanders open full-service Vagabond Audio for spots

Vagabond Audio is the new audio post house of engineer/sound designer Drew Weir and producer Rise Sanders that officially will open April 28 in River East Plaza.

The full-service company, specializing in sound design, recording and final mixes for commercials, has settled into a 2,000-sq. ft. studio custom-designed by recording studio architect John Storyk (designer of Spank!, New York’s Howard Schwartz and L.A.’s Margarita Mix studios).

Mixes will be completed in a 400-sq. ft. control room using vintage and modern outboard gear.

The $300,000 venture was self-financed by the partners with the help of an SBA loan, said Sanders, Vagabond’s general manager; Weir is the sole engineer at this time. They anticipate hiring an assistant once they are up and running.

Sanders is a former staff and freelance program producer for Towers Productions. Weir had been Red Car’s in-house audio engineer for the past three years. They first met when Weir mixed sound for one of Sanders’ shows.

A year ago they began talking about opening an audio studio, “more of a sound boutique,” where they could begin working with editors early in their projects to provide any special effects and sound manipulation they might need.

The time seemed right to start the business when Weir’s 3-year Red Car contract expired last December. He had been freelancing while the studio was under construction.

Vagabond Audio is built around Digidesign’s HD2 Accel Pro Tools System, said Weir. “It allows us to interface seamlessly with Avid workstations and other offline environments.”

“We run all of our studio software on a 2gig, Dual Processor Mac G5. Picture lock up is achieved digitally using Avid Express. Mixing is done on a Digidesign Pro Control and Dynaudio Air 6 speakers with video playback on a 42-inch plasma display,” Weir described.

Thousands of sound effects, samples, and all of the Protools media are stored centrally using an SNS Fiber Drive system. Everything is online and immediately available for any session.

Final mixes can be delivered on DAT, DVD, CD, or through the Internet via Vagabond’s FTP site.

Prior to Red Car, Weir had worked in New York for Chiat Day. Sanders has an MFA in film/video production from Columbia College. Besides producing A&E docs for Towers, she’s produced documentaries for Ch. 11, Family Productions of L.A. and Atlas Communications of New York.

Vagabond Audio is located at 445 E. Illinois; phone, 312/371-5772.