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The Quarterly Magazine of St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco, Winter 2015–16

Studio 2001, SI’s recording studio, opens in the Choral Room
Listen to SI singers and instrumentalists
on SI’s Soundcloud channel, and you will be
shocked in equal measure by two factors.
First, these students are enormously talented.
Secondly, they sound great.
The second part is due in large measure to
SI’s new recording studio in the Doris Duke Wall
Choral Room. A collaboration between Choral
Music Director Chad Zullinger and Gabe Todaro
’12, the facility rivals most professional recording
studios with top-of-the-line amps, pre-amps,
microphones and digital audio software.
The beauty of the system is that it weds oldschool tube pre-amps with the best in digital
recording. Rather than spending $50,000 on a
mixing board, for instance, both men opted for
a high-end software package (Logic Pro X) for
producing audio.
The tube-based pre-amps and
microphones (from brands such as Universal
Audio, DBX Neumann, AKG, and Royer) blend
through a digital-to-analogue workstation to
deliver sound that is both clean and warm,
making recording from students sound just as
good as they do in person.
The facility’s name, Studio 2001, also speaks
to the next-gen theme of the recording studio.
To hear for yourself just how good the system
sounds, go and click on the link
below the admissions video to hear a number of
high quality recordings, including one from the
famous lip-dub video involving the entire school.
The project began when Zullinger invited
Todaro, shortly after his graduation from SI, to
accompany the SI Chamber Singers to Europe.
The result was the CD Listen (available on
iTunes). “I knew Gabe wanted to study audio
engineering in college, and I was eager for him
to capture our pieces. Many of the tracks on
Listen come from one church in the Basque
country in Spain.”
Upon their return, the two men began
adding equipment piece by piece to form the

finished studio, which Zullinger completed in
early November. Todaro, who is studying at
Mercy College’s Music Technology Program in
New York, has continued to advise from afar by
suggesting what equipment to buy.
Also helping on the project were Bobby
Gavin, who wanted students to have a
recording studio to make and produce music.
“Jamie Pruden was also key, as he has a strong
belief in SI’s mission and simply wants to see
the students ‘make magic,’” said Zullinger.
Joe Vollert also reminded Zullinger that the
choral room, when it was built, was wired with
conduits throughout the facility making it
easy for BBI Engineering and Mark Roos ’75,
the company’s vice president of engineering,
to convert a large closet into a control room.
Buildings and Grounds Director Christopher
Meehan also helped with the installation of a
control booth window, carpet and accoustical
treatment for the room.

“What was really cool was that Gabe had
a place to practice what he was learning in
college,” said Zullinger. “Both Gabe and I wish
we had this kind of studio when we were in high
school with our bands.”
Zullinger also credits Todaro with the idea
for mic preamps. “They enhance the sound so
well so that even though the music is digital, it
sounds as natural as possible. Gabe told me that
even though SI is a high school, that doesn’t
mean it shouldn’t have professional components
in the control booth so that high school students
can experience firsthand what a great recording
studio can produce.”
The size of the choral room allows Zullinger
and his student crew of recording engineers to
record one person singing or an entire orchestra
playing. Students, including Kevin Reidy ‘18,
Patrick Radsliff ’17, Francesca Leung ’17, Sean
Hampton ’16 and Emily Pineda ’16, learn how to
set up mics and do the recording and mixing at
the computer workstation. “These students have
such a passion for music that they pick all this up
in a snap. And what is cool about working with
Gabe is that he is able to see everything through
the eyes of a student. We chose software that
is native to the AppleOS because students
are familiar with Garageband and could easily
understand the interface.”
Eventually, Zullinger hopes to expand the
listing of student work on Soundcloud and have
it resemble an online radio station.
Todaro is continuing his studies in the East
Coast and also working as a freelance recording
engineer and musician. He records in studios
and in homes for clients and does mixing and
mastering. “I work in some wonderful studios,
and I know that a talented recording engineer
can go to SI and get some great sounds of what
we have there now.”
Above: Chad Zullinger. Below: Gabe Todaro.

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