A little history is always a good thing, after all, just having a history speaks volumes about our integrity and obviously our success at providing a good service to our clients. We are proud of the role we've played in The Bay Area Audio Services market, and we're especially proud to continue to offer the best service to our customers both new... and old.
First of all, we've been around for 30 years or so... the business first started off as The Music Annex and operated as such till the mid 90's when the name was changed to Annex Digital. In early 2003, when it was taken over by Digital Audio Productions under the direction of Russell Bond, the name was changed again to simply The Annex Studios, which is what every one calls us anyway...
We built and finished our first room, Studio A, in the summer of 1976. The other rooms were started shortly after that and we've eventually ended up with 5 studio spaces, Studios A, B, C and a Mastering Suite, as well as our Studio D, a converted video sound stage with an audio control room attached.
Our location turned out to have benefits we didn't realize would be so instrumental to our longevity till later on. Being located smack dab between San Francisco and San Jose has given us a unique blend of clients both in the music and the corporate/advertising world. Before the dawn of "Silicon Valley" started to rise in the early 80's our forte was "quality analog recording of acoustic instruments", and many musicians became privy to our prowess at capturing the essence of performance by not letting technology get in the way of the creative process... getting the recording right the first time... and knowing when to let the "tape" continue to roll.
Progressive record labels like Windham Hill and SUGO Music, companies that became known for their unique musical artists and progressive recording techniques, found their way to our door. All of the important, early Windham Hill records, when their signature sound was just being defined, were recorded here: Will Ackerman, Alex deGrassi, Michael Hedges, George Winston, Scott Cossu and many others.
Stevan Pasero, and his successful SUGO Music label, developed his production success within these walls. This facility has been a spawning ground for many producers and engineers in the Bay Area and has faithfully maintained that magical cohesion of "family feel", where we do whatever we need to get the project completed beyond our clients expectations... real teamwork, and certainly a love for the art of creating with sound.
Some of the earliest commercial digital recordings were going on here in the early 1980's and we've been on the bleeding edge ever since. We remain a trend setting facility working with cutting edge people, companies, concepts, and technologies.
The benefit of our location and expertise really exploded as new innovative companies made our area the "hot bed of high-tech" during the 80's and 90's. We were perfectly positioned to work with many start up companies like Apple Computer, SUN Microsystems, 3Com, Pacific Data Images, Digidesign, and Opcode, when they were all just knee-high to a microprocessor. "We've always been BETA testers", says Russell Bond, current owner and one of the original members of the Annex construction team. "There were so many new technologies emerging right in our back yard. We had groups like Opcode and Digidesign calling us saying, 'we've got this new "thing" we're working on and wanted to know if you wouldn't mind trying it out so we can see how it works in a real studio environment'... it was very cool. Even when Apple was developing their new computer called the MacIntosh, I remember sneaking one of the few prototype Mac 512 machines home with me over a weekend to play with. I was up all night playing with MacPaint! We were producing all their software "Guided Tour" programs... audio cassette tapes that manually synced with coarse animation on the screen... definitely low tech to today's standards, but very progressive back then."
The Annex has always had a balance of music and commercial projects going on... albums, song demos, soundtracks, jingles, advertising, training and instruction, product promotion, languages, books on tape and the like. We've seen many technologies come and go. In the past it was sound tracks for massive programmed slide projector shows for trade exhibits, audio for video training programs, etc. Now it's all IT audio, web audio, voice prompts for phone trees, VXML technologies, speech recognition and text to speech programs. Hey, you stick around for thirty years and your bound to have done just about everything... we're proud of that.
We've also been constantly upgrading systems and gear to keep up with the changing technologies and we rarely have time to sell off or discard the "old stuff". Consequently, we have just about every format of tape and digital audio gear ever created. We could double as a "History of Recording Technology" museum!
There's really no end to the history in sight. As long a people have ears, there will be the need to record stuff. Who knows what path the audio business will take. We know that we are here to help our clients figure it out and get the job done, and have a good time doing it.