Show Off Your Studio: Steven Comeau’s Bass Lab II

Proving you can build a studio virtually anywhere, Steven Comeau built his vibey space inside a shipping container in Utah.

Bass Lab II

Studio Owner Steven Comeau, aka Starbass

Contact steven@starbass.com | https://www.facebook.com/basslabstudio/ 

Key kit

  • Universal Audio Apollo 8x interface
  • Serpent Audio SB 4000 buss compressor
  • Universal Audio 2192 Master Converter 
  • Event Opal Monitors
  • Benchmark Audio DAC 1 Master converter
  • 15” 2019 Macbook Pro fully upgraded

Tell us more about the studio

The studio is built in an extra-wide shipping container (10.5’ x 25’) in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s completely movable. Someday it will live on a beautiful farm I am a part of in the Snake River Valley in Idaho. I’ve built a few studios around here. I think each one has taken years off my life. The idea was to build one last studio for myself and cart it around to wherever I end up. I just finished it in April. It was an insane project.

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Why did you decide on such a low desk? What are the benefits?

Well, two reasons… The first is that it’s quite comfortable and minimises the distance I have to fall to the floor in the event of too much whiskey. Second, acoustically it places my ears away from the halfway point in the vertical axis of the room reducing some of the acoustic difficulties in building a great room in a poorly constructed metal box with less than ideal dimensions. 

What’s the significance of the skull?

The Stag in many mythologies is a symbol of natural power, renewal and rebirth, and is often portrayed as a guide into the metaphysical world. It’s a charm or talisman of sorts. Plus I’m an old goth and nothing says ‘old cranky goth’ like bits of dead animal lying about.

Which DAW do you use and why?

I use Logic, I have for years. I dislike Apple intensely and assume they will just continue to make it harder and harder to produce music in their technological ecosystem. I dislike other DAWs like Ableton and Pro Tools even more, though…

Can you tell us more about the acoustic treatment in the room?

The whole room is designed as a giant bass trap with Real Traps being used often as the final wall exteriors. The guys at Real Traps have been incredibly patient with my insane designs over the years – can’t say enough good things about them.

What is your favourite piece of gear?

I tracked down an old Universal Audio 2192 mastering converter. It is one of the few converters made that has a discrete Class-A analogue signal path. It’s magic. It makes everything run through it sound better. I find it amusing we now live in a world that has ‘vintage’ digital gear. 

How much time do you spend in your studio per week?

Enough to cause my life partner and friends concern.

How do you use your studio?

I make electronic music so low end for me is all-important. The studio is designed to get maximum bass response and clarity. Things behave so very differently below 200 Hz. I like to joke when it comes to producing music, everything above 100 Hz is just decoration. 

What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?

I think all I really want hardware-wise now is a Dangerous Music Bax EQ. I want to be strategic with analogue because it’s expensive and has challenges associated with it, like project recall and occasional demonic possession.

Do you have any frustrations with your current set-up?

Sort of. The room sounds great.  It’s truly amazing considering it’s in a shipping container. It probably sounds as good as a studio in a container ever could, but no room is ever going to totally satisfy you. You always want something more. 

What is your dream piece of gear?

My angsty inner teenage goth still dreams of owning a Prophet VS Rack someday. It’s the product of listening to much early Nine Inch Nails as a young person.

What is your top piece of production advice?

I make electronic music so low end for me is all-important. The studio is designed to get maximum bass response and clarity. Things behave so very differently below 200 Hz. I like to joke when it comes to producing music, everything above 100 Hz is just decoration. 

What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?

There is no real business model for running a studio like this in a small market anymore. If you’re going to get into this racket, look at the big picture and ask what this is going to bring to your life for the investment and time and money. 

Personal satisfaction can be a totally valid reason to have a studio if the dollars don’t add up. I don’t think that having a studio these days can be justified in a purely financial way. 

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