A TALE OF THREE CITY STUDIOS

BY ROBERT DENNIS

ADMINISTRATOR, RECORDING INSTITUTE OF DETROIT

 

"Good Evening, United Sound Systems." "Hi - I’d like to book studio time for a session next week." "I’m sorry, the studio is closed for remodeling until the end of October"

It was Willie Davis, a near 30-year family employee of United Sound Systems, taking to Bob Dennis.

1975:

Robert Dennis and Greg Reilly move the year-old Superdisc, Inc. to 9 Mile in East Detroit. United Sound Systems on Second Avenue in Detroit was world-renowned. In the 60’s and early 70’s, it recorded Isaac Hayes smash hits and the queen of soul Aretha. Any national act wanting to record in Detroit went to United Sound. They had three studios full every week. The main studio was the biggest, and best sounding studio in the area and known for its symphony work. It would record many national hit records for another 5 years.

1977

A seventeen year old drummer, Ben Groose begins his RID training. He does very well with the classes but repeats each one to "suck out all the information possible." [approximate quote]. Ben is planning his own studio.

1978

Superdisc installs an API console and the second 24 track in the area. The studio can rightly say is only second to one studio in the area, United Sound. United had installed 24 track machines in their two main studios already.

Late in the year, with cold weather here, Ben Grosse opens his 8 track studio in the Ann Arbor Area, in his parent’s basement, calling it Pearl Sound.

1979

Superdisc negotiates a major recording agreement with George Clinton were the studio would deliver 18 recording hours a day, 6 days a week, to the father of Funk. With RID eating up another 18 hours per week, the studio was booked to capacity. United was also booked solid handling its major clients plus George Clinton’s ove-spill from Superdisc.

1983

Ben Grosse moves his Pearl Sound studio to Canton Michigan and constructs the physical studio from ground up Before he’s done he will have a brand new Neve Console and 48 track recording.

1988

Now as the Disc and RID, Bob and Greg install the latest SSL console. United Sound had installed a new Neve in their studio B. United had more sessions but the Disc was busier in its main room, RID was operating a classroom, and a school studio with the API.

1990:

The Disc installs its Studio B which is an instant success. The Disc now has more sessions than United and is the acknowledged leader in the area for hours booked.

Ben Grosse is getting so in demand for mixing that he often is out of town mixing projects and the majority of his clients at Pearl are from out of town. Ben wonders how many more Michigan winders he wants to endure.

1991

A student named Grant Mohrman begins his training at RID.

1992.

Grant Mohrman finishes his training at RID and interns with Ben Grosse at Pearl Sound.

1994

The Disc and RID get modular digital recording, in addition to 24/48 track analog capabilities. RID Installs the first 24 track DA-88 system in the area. United doesn’t.

Ben Groose is doing so many sessions in California that he begins to maintain an apartment in Burbank. Grant Mohrman becomes "studio manager" of Pearl to keep the place operating well when Ben is out of town.

1997:

The Disc/RID complex operates 3 studios and two mastering rooms. The least-busy studio delivers at least 65 hours of studio & instructional time each week. RID opens another office and Remote Classroom in Saginaw, Michigan.

United Sound closes the B & C studio, selling the equipment. Only part of the building has electric power kept on. In September they close the doors for good as they sell the studio A equipment. The October (or later) opening, if it happens, will be with a new owner, most likely an RID graduate.

Ben Groose leaves the Detroit area to open a three-room complex in Burbank California. His facility is called The Mix Room. Ben continues to mix, finishing 3 national acts including the lead song for Mortal Combat II movie in 6 weeks.

Grant Mohrman leaves Pearl before the move as he records his electronic-influenced hard-rock group Full On The Mouth. As a friendly final gesture, Grant helps Ben drive the outboard gear that is being moved to Burbank His group gets signed to Pioneer Music Group, a new national label distributed by Atlantic. In September, Grants calls RID: "Can you hook me up with a sound man?" .

We remember the old for the greatness they once had. Studios can’t continue to live in the past, and the owners develop new & more interests. For Ben of Pearl, new interests include new and bigger factilities elsewhere; for Don of United Sound new interests are in a different area - more financial; for Bob and Greg of the Disc/RID, its more and bigger in this area.

 

Copyright 1997, Recording Institute Of Detroit - All Rights Reserved

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