HYDE SQ.—A jewel of local music history is hidden in plain sight in Hyde Square.
Dimension Sound Studios is tucked into a blue building with no windows at 386 Centre St. Behind the innocuous door, musicians are keeping up a 50-year history of making music in JP.
Producer, engineer and studio co-owner Dan Cardinal gave the Gazette a tour in early September.
The recently renovated studio has existed in its current location since the 1950s, Cardinal said. It is where rocker George Thorogood recorded albums, including the 1982 hit “Bad to the Bone.”
These days, it serves local and touring musicians, including its three owners, Cardinal, Tom Dube and Matt Malikowski.
“We all tour and mix. It’s kind of a revolving door of who’s in town,” Cardinal said.
There was a 20-year period starting the in the 1980s where “there wasn’t much going on,” Cardinal said. The building was used as a rehearsal space during that time.
This year, however, Cardinal and his partners completely renovated the space. It involved a lot of cosmetic work, but the project saved many original elements of the studio, including the acoustic materials, the floor, and an 1891 Steinway baby grand piano, Cardinal said.
“This piano has endless stories,” Cardinal said.
The control room, separated from the recording space by a huge window, is another story, however.
“It’s all new tech,” Cardinal said, save for a few rescued vintage pieces, including some 1950s amps preferred by artists like Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.
There are two new isolation rooms, too, for recording individual instruments or vocals. The ceiling’s variable height is also a feature of the space, creating “live” or “dead” sounding acoustics, Cardinal said.
A former owner did the first major renovation of the space in the 1970s, including installing sheet lead in the walls to block out radio noise interference, Cardinal said.
“The flip side is that some people’s cell phones don’t work in here,” he explained.
Many friends of his have moved to Nashville or L.A., Cardinal said, to find steady work. But he has no such plans.
“I’ve been here for three years so far, and I plan on being here the rest of my working career,” Cardinal said. “It’s really great being a local guy.”
Recently, Dimension Sound has recorded local bands Joy Kills Sorrow and Qwill and The Soul Review Project, the latter of which recorded its session for a music video, viewable on the studio’s website.
Cardinal is also proud of one particular homey touch in the studio—the coffee.
“Any good studio will have pour-over as well as drip,” Cardinal said.
Dimension Sound Studio’s website is dimensionsoundstudios.com.