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|RCA Studio B|
|Alternative names||RCA Victor Studios |
Home of a Thousand Hits
|Address||1611 Roy Acuff Pl.|
|Town or city||Nashville, Tennessee|
RCA Studio B is a music recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee built in 1956. Originally known simply by the name "RCA Studios", it became known in the 1960s for being an essential factor to the development of the production style and technique known as the Nashville Sound.
A sophisticated style characterized by background vocals and strings, the Nashville Sound both revived the popularity of country music and helped establish Nashville's reputation as an international recording center. Its adjacent building, RCA Studio A, was also later central to the development of this technical artistic sound.
In 1957, RCA moved from its first permanent Nashville recording studio at 1525 McGavock Street. The new studio--built by Dan Maddox in 1956--was constructed at the request of Chet Atkins and Steve Sholes to facilitate the needs of RCA Victor Records and other record labels. According to Atkins, the plans for the studio were drawn upon a napkin by Bill Miltenburg, RCA's chief engineer and recording manager.
Construction took four months, and the studio was opened at the cost of US$37,515 (Equivalent to US$345,087 as of 2018). The studio is a single-story building with offices occupying the front but the area of the studio and control room has a second story that contains an echo chamber. The studio itself measures 42.5 by 27 by 13 feet (13.0 by 8.2 by 4.0 m). In 1960 and 1961, an addition was built to provide office space and rooms for tape mastering and a lacquer mastering lab. A larger studio was built adjacent on 17th Avenue in 1964 and became known as RCA Studio A; the existing studio was referred to as Studio B from that point onward.
The first chief engineer was Bob Ferris, a man who managed to make Atkins irritated enough that he had him assigned elsewhere. Bill Porter replaced him at the end of March 1959, and by June had mixed a number one hit: "The Three Bells" by The Browns. Porter considered the studio's acoustics problematic, with resonant room modes creating an uneven frequency response. To lessen the problem, he took some $60 from the studio's petty cash and bought fiberglass acoustic ceiling panels which he cut into triangles and hung from the ceiling at varying heights; these were dubbed "Porter Pyramids". Porter also marked "X"es on the floor where he discovered, by careful experimentation, the resonant modes to be minimal. Porter positioned lead vocalists, background vocalists, and acoustic guitarists at microphones placed directly over his marks. After these improvements, Don Gibson recorded his album Girls, Guitars and Gibson in the studio. Porter later told an interviewer: "Everybody said, 'God, what a different sound!'"
Nashville painter and singer/songwriter Gil Veda--introduced to the Grand Ole Opry crowd as "The Spanish Hank Williams" in 1962--was the first Hispanic singer to record at RCA's Studio B.
In her 1994 memoir, My Life And Other Unfinished Business, Dolly Parton recounted how she was rushing to her first recording session at Studio B in October 1967 (shortly after having signed with RCA Victor) and, in her haste to make the session on time, drove her car through the side wall of the building. She noted that the spot where her car impacted the building is still visible.
In 1977, the studio was made available to the Country Music Hall of Fame for tours, and in 1992 it was donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame by the late Dan Maddox. Until 2001, it was operated as an attraction when the new home for the Hall of Fame was built in downtown Nashville. The studio was co-operated by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business program until 2012 when operation shifted solely to the Hall of Fame. Students use the facilities for classes learning the basic techniques of analog recording. Daily scheduled tours of the studio are offered by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Following is a list of some notable artists who recorded songs at Studio B.