Although Pforzheimer House has a recording studio that dates back to the 1980s, it was not until a few years ago that the studio became the student organization Quad Sound Studios. Since 2012, the space has undergone extensive management restructuring that led to fundraising campaigns and equipment renewal. Now it aims both to train aspiring music producers and to facilitate Harvard affiliates spreading their work.
Matt P. Sheets ’15, who helped lead the renovation, hoped to combine his interest in music and skills in computer science by exploring recording. When he learned that the recording studio at Harvard was lacking up-to-date equipment, he launched a campaign to fund Quad Sound Studios and, together with his teammates, spent a year raising more than $20,000. “There aren’t many grants on campus for hardware purchasing,” Sheets says. “Interestingly, this kind of forced us to reach out to alumni. We had small donations from a lot of alumni, and many donors helped us connect to other people we [could] talk to.”
Eventually, with grants from the Undergraduate Council and donations from both individuals and companies (including Avid and Shure), Quad Sound Studios obtained more state-of-the-art equipment and renovated the space, Sheets says. Now, with two Steinway grand pianos and a brand new, full-service recording studio, it is equipped to meet the needs of musicians from the Harvard community.
In the spring semester of 2014, Quad Sound Studios opened for recording and initiated a comp process to train students to use their professional recording facilities. Last January, it also organized a winter program for undergraduate students to have jam sessions, collaborate with one another, and record their music—ranging from classical to rock to rap—free of charge. Today, members have access to the studio anytime, and other students interested in recording their music can go to the studio’s website and connect with a member who will lead them through the recording process. Sheets believes it is important that anyone interested in music, with or without prior experience in recording, can utilize the studios. The comp therefore does not require any musical background, and whoever finishes the comp becomes a member.
The organization hopes to meet the needs of both sound engineers and musicians, Sheets says. For example, Michael C. Slovenski ’15, the current president of the studio, had been involved in bands and recorded music on his own and decided to join Quad Sound Studios to become more familiarized with the recording side of music.
According to Sheets, once the studio becomes stable and sustainable, it wants to reach out more to the general public, including not only Harvard affiliates but also possibly musicians in the Cambridge community. At this time, however, it is focused on internal organization. “The priority of the studio is still to recruit more members and get the organization up and running,” he says.
Looking ahead, Quad Sound Studios wants to be more than a recording space. It plans to build a platform for music-driven individuals to collaborate with one another, develop their skills, and find their way to a bigger audience.
—Staff writer Tianxing V. Lan can be reached at email@example.com.
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