Native Sound Studio: A Look at David Beeman's Impressive New Recording Space

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Photo by Blair Stiles
Beeman in the control room at Native Sound.

It takes twenty stomps to ascend the white staircase to David Beeman's Native Sound Studio. Only after one navigates a bar in the midst of construction are the stairs visible. Two confused yet affable builders stare. The bespectacled one nods and says, "You just go up those stairs. Don't turn right. Don't. You have to turn left." The cryptic nature of his instructions is suspicious. The building looks like it has been gutted, everything painted in a pure, unicorn white that blinds when paired with light bulbs and lamps hung in a haphazard fashion. It feels an altogether foreign reality.


Upstairs, someone is punishing a drum kit. A tall man with a wad of brown hair emerges, appearing dazed as he creeps about looking for something. David Beeman turns around and jostles his shoulders like a spooked deer. "Hey! You're here! I thought I heard somebody." We go through a door that seems to have suddenly appeared. It leads us into a warm control room decked with secondhand couches upholstered with faded patterns. A coffee table holds snacks of varying nutritional value and a bookcase keeps Shel Silverstein out of harm's way. Beeman opens a refrigerator and says, "Do you want a beer? I also have trail mix. I call it GORP. Good ol' raisins and peanuts." Native Sound's owner/engineer/producer is just getting started.

"I mean it was a fucking disaster," Beeman cracks open a beer and elaborates about the space in which Native Sound is located. Before the eight and a half months of rehab, Native Sound's second home looked like the victim of a natural disaster. But Beeman got a good deal on the space. He had outgrown Native Sound's first home -- which is located a skeet three blocks away -- and was looking to isolate the studio from sounds beyond the control room. "I need absolute silence and the ability to be as loud as I want."

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Photo courtesy of David Beeman
Native Sound space prior to renovation

Beeman gives a tour of the multi-room space, every inch blanketed by handsome panels of shellacked wood, and points to a private vocal booth. "My friend Steve Higdon helped design this studio. He is a fucking badass engineer and he does acoustic design. He designed that vocal booth from a mathematical equation. None of the dimensions have a common denominator."

Back at the soundboard, Beeman sits and swivels the seat of his chair. "Acoustics is just math. It's called the Golden Ratio. If I take all the equipment out there and you just sing or clap it sounds like you're in a cathedral. The frequencies...nothing builds up from bass to the highest frequencies there are."

Continue to page two for more.

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1 comments
michaeltomko
michaeltomko

This is the closest looking studio [aesthetically] to what we had back at Penny Studios back in the early 00's. That room allowed for sounds to be captured that were just not able to be created anywhere else. It is nice to see that aesthetic/vibe living on in St. Louis and it is really great to hear that it is being used so regularly. Insanely jealous. Well done, David.

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