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Articles Sept-Oct 2020

Bose Professional Gives Befitting Tribute to War Heroes

The National War Memorial stands as a stellar tribute to the Indian Armed Forces who served our country in times of conflict. The scale and significance of the memorial..... read more

Ray of LIGHT in Conversation with Becket Tundatil

The Coronavirus has disrupted industries from all sectors including Lighting. The outbreak has left a significant impact on the events industry with shows being postponed or cancelled..... read more

NJSM-BNA Set the Ball Rolling for Virtual Live Entertainment Events in India

The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic mandated the cancellation of most concerts, music festivals, performances and other live entertainment events, but what emerged from this adversity..... read more

IRAA 2020 Recording Arts Awards a Huge Success

Winners across 42 categories at India’s only technical excellence award for the sound recording industry represent the future of the industry setting new standards in sound engineering..... read more

Acoustic and Audio System Design for Small Rooms - Part 3

In Part 2 of the series, Sarma elucidated about the importance of sound isolation and how background noise can adversely impact the dynamic range of the audio playback..... read more

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Bay Owl Studios – Not Just Music by the Bay



Studio B Mix Room installed with Focal Trio 11be Main Monitors and Adam S2V Near Field monitors


Bay Owl Studios is a state-of-the-art recording and audio post-production studio located in Mumbai dedicated to providing a space for bands, musicians and indie artists. PT got in touch with Varun Parikh to find out about the design of the studio and the equipment used.

Launched in February 2020, Bay Owl Studios was founded by Varun Parikh who is an audio engineer and had no significant musical influence while growing up. His first exposure to music came when he was in high school. “I started listening to a lot of western contemporary music,” says Varun. Post high school, he started to develop his skills as a musician as he learnt the guitar and drums, albeit only considering these as hobbies. After a brief stint studying to become a chartered accountant during college, he ventured into the world of filmmaking and took up a course in the basics of photography, animation, visual effects and editing. “This journey led to my interest in sound and eventually to me completing a sound engineering diploma towards the end of 2012,” he says. While doing the course, Varun also found himself doing various project-based internships across Mumbai some of them being the 2012 NH7 music festival in Pune, and an album recording at Yashraj Studios as part of a class field trip. All these projects and experiences led him to find his passion as an audio engineer.

Once he became an audio engineer, Varun always knew he wanted to eventually open his own studio. Bay Owl Studios was conceptualized while he was working as a freelance audio engineer. After several months of envisioning and financial planning, the dream of having his own recording studio was finally realized. The idea, he says, was always to have two recording facilities in the same premises. “The vision was to make it a chilled space that people would love to come and work at,” he adds. 


Varun Parikh - Founder & Engineer, Bay Owl Studios


During the conceptualization stage, the name chosen for the studio was Night Owl. However, a few months into construction, it was found that Night Owl was already granted a word mark. To avoid any complications, Varun started looking for alternatives and came up with the name Bay Owl. “Having grown up and lived my entire life in this city, we instantly thought of Bay Owl, as a play on Bombay, and thus the name ‘Bay Owl Studios’ came to be.”

The Location

Bay Owl Studios opened its door to the recording and music world on the 2nd of February 2020. The studio is located in Khar, Mumbai within close proximity to the railway station. The reason for choosing this particular location, Varun says, being close to the station makes the studio easily accessible and since most of the work they do is in advertising and post-production, it was only sensible to choose a location that was centrally located to the industry.

The Design

The design, layout and interiors of Bay Owl Studios were designed by Varun and his wife, Friyana Pardiwalla. “There were several different contractors, but I had the final say in most things,” Varun said. “We wanted the studio to have as much natural light as possible; there is also a fresh air vent that connects to the indoor hvac units of every room so that long sessions don’t become a drag with a constant influx of fresh air in both studios,” he added.

Due to the shape of the premises, for Varun, the challenge was incorporating columns within the layout because of which he had to redesign the studios to incorporate the structural features behind the bass traps.

There are two studios each with its own attached live room. Both rooms can handle a full workload and most kinds of recording. The only difference is that the Mix & Live Rooms of Studio A are a little larger with a full size drum kit able to fit comfortably in Studio A. Apart from these two studios, Bay Owl also has a Jam Room that doubles up as a client presentation room that can comfortably seat 30-50 people. The final construction of this was put on hold due to the Covid-19 lockdown, but will definitely resume once the situation eases out.

Each Room has a set of 2.1 midfield monitors and 2.0 nearfield monitors. Studio A has the flagship Adam S5H series as midfields along with Focal Shape 65 as nearfields and

Studio B has the flagship Focal Trio 11be as midfields and the Adam S2Vs as nearfields.

The Acoustics





The acoustic consultant was Aural Exchange and the brief provided to them by Varun was simple, to have natural light and fresh air in every room and the acoustics of each room had to focus on the sweet spot on the mix engineer’s chair.

The rooms have been carefully treated to minimize reflections making sure the transition to any listening position within the room is as seamless as possible.


Studio A Mix Room - The API Box Analog Console


The Gear

All of the inventory was decided by Varun himself. “Most of the gear selected is from past experiences of using said gear, and some gear such as the flagship Adam monitoring, is to stand out from the crowd of studios using similar monitoring systems,” he said.

After initially speaking to a number of individual distributors, Varun was advised to approach Bajaao.com by Ashutosh Pandey, owner of Aural Exchange and Co-founder of Bajaao.com. The team at Bajaao.com headed by the Shawn Pereira (Head of Sales) collated all of Varun’s requirements and got in touch with the individual distributors to procure all the gear.

“It made my life a breeze because not only did they give me cheaper quotations by directly getting in touch with manufactures abroad, but also had everything shipped to Bajaao.com’s warehouse, which meant that it all delivered to the studio together, and I didn’t have to worry about different lead times,” says Varun.

Shawn recalls Varun being one of the best clients as he knew his stuff and was well-versed with the products he wanted to buy. “He had done his research well in advance of the gear he wanted, we just had to figure out the best options of the products and brands that could offer the kind of service that he wanted,” he adds. He further added that Varun knew he wanted to go Analog and have the API mixers for his studio and the box tools. Though there was some back and forth that went on for the monitor selection, they finally selected for the four monitors he currently has in his studio.


Studio A Live Room - Drums in the live room


For the team of Bajaao.com and Shawn it took them a good three months to procure all the gear as some of the products were made to order while some had to shipped from the UK. Shawn added that this was a very high-end kind of project, so the lead times were much longer depending on the different kind of gears.

Once the construction was completed, the walls, all the soundproofing and all the beautification was done aesthetically, the gear was laid out by Bajaao.com. Some of the gear procured by Varun are API The Box Analog Console, Focal Trio 11be Main Monitors, Adam S5H Main Monitors, Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid HD IO 16x16 Analog, Manley VoxBox Channelstrip and many more (you can see the complete list of equipment and gear at Bay Owl in the box).


Studio A Live Room - Prepping for a drum session


Conclusion

The majority of work that comes through Bay Owl is from advertising projects (70%), and the remaining 30% is from bands, musicians and indie artists.

Before the COVID-19 lockdown the studio had only just been opened for a month and half. During that time Bay Owl did several projects for leading agencies and production houses such as Leo Burnett and Publicis. They also had leading artists such as Milind Gunaji, Sanjeev Kapoor, Vivian Fernandes (aka Divine), MC Altaf, Aavrutti, Gully Gang Entertainment and Bhuvan Bam do their projects at our studio.

It took Varun over a year and a half to set up the facility including the time from conceptualization, to pitching to investors, to finding the right place, and to eventually setting it up. “To see your sweat and hard work transform into something you can take pride in, is the most satisfying feeling in one’s professional life. It has been a long process, but so absolutely worth it,” concludes Varun.

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