An Inside Look at Top Recording Studios

Stereophile readers tend to exhibit above-average interest in the art and science of reproducing music in the home. Those whose interest extends back up the recording chain and into the recording studio may want to take a look at the Prestige Studios of the World website, developed by an Internet company looking to show off its digital wares.

At the PSW site, readers will find a selection of some of the world's most famous recording studios---including L.A.'s Record Plant, New York's Hit Factory, and London's Town House---along with behind-the-scenes interviews and background information. By integrating virtual-reality panoramas, streaming audio and video, and interactivity into its studio "tours," the PSW website takes advantage of the Internet's ability to provide virtual glimpses of distant locales. Each studio is profiled using QuickTime VR, allowing the browser to move from room to room while turning around a full 360° to take in the panoramas of microphone locations and equipment. A map located next to each VR environment cleverly shows your position as you move around.

Especially interesting to audiophiles will be seeing how and where each studio has set up its monitor speakers, along with any sound treatments placed in the control rooms. Pull out a few of your CDs and no doubt you'll find listed some of the studios on the website. Here's a chance to visually correlate the sound you hear on disc with the rooms in which the music was recorded.

The only drawback is that this kind of interactivity takes a major chunk of bandwidth, along with recent releases of Netscape's or Microsoft's web browsers. But once equipped, muster up a little patience and click through each studio to gain an appreciation of what it's like to work in a multi-million-dollar recording environment (even if it does have bright-green plaid carpet).