30 Years / 30 Studios is a new blog series highlighting some of the studios Vintage King has helped during our three decades in pro audio. We'll talk with studio owners, engineers, and producers about how they got their start, where they are heading, and all the gear they've picked up along the way.

Learn more about Vintage King's 30th anniversary here.

As much as we love gear, one of the most important aspects of our industry is helping young music makers and audio professionals understand how they can make their mark in the field. When I think of people I've met along the way while working at Vintage King that embody this same mission statement, I think of Chris "Classick" Inumerable.

Based out of Chicago, Chris has been doing it right since 2006. His studio, Classick Studios, is a professional recording space that works with bigger artists, but he's also hell-bent on lifting up others who are still finding their way. Don't believe me? Check out our interview with Chris below to find out more about his community-minded approach to the studio and how Classick is helping in the Windy City.

How long have you been working in the recording studio world? What was it like buying gear when you were coming up?

I've been in the recording world since 2006. I started off as a recording artist in my bedroom, which you can say is kind of the origin story of Classick Studios (Kilpatrick House). I first started buying gear by checking out pawn shops, specifically this one on Belmont and Lincoln in Chicago. I also had family members who had some studio gear that I could use for my first set-up. I had a Behringer B-1, Event monitors, Avid Mbox, Windows laptop (I wasn't rich enough for a Mac), forget what kind of headphones, and hella foam that I just put in the corner of my room. Being in high school, buying gear was super expensive, but I made it work somehow and built from there.

How did you first become aware of Vintage King and what was your initial experience working with us?

Honestly, I would just Google gear and Vintage King would always have all the dream gear that I wanted. This was around 2010. My initial experience working with VK felt like working with a fellow gearhead. There was always someone I could reach out to speak on the items, help me with tech issues, and also connect me directly with companies when I needed further assistance. It just felt like a hub for studio gear for me.

What was the vision for Classick Studios when it began? How does it compare to where you are now? At first, I was just working with my friends, and eventually, those friends became well-known producers who brought everyone down to my house to record. The vision was that I wanted to be a staple in Chicago and support the creative scene, which is still the vision to this day.

The Classick Studios community has grown 100x since then and has expanded into the legendary Soundscape studios (Shout out Mike Kolar). We're always coming up with new ways to inspire and guide the community with our space and our resources. Who knows? We might start to build a West Coast spot to build that bridge proper. We're just having fun with it, and I hope it continues to inspire creatives daily.

Walk us through the basic set-up of the studio and workflow of the control room.

We have four rooms. For the Red Room, we run a modded U87 (from the mic shop) into our Neve 1073LB which then goes through our Redco patch bay which hits our LA-2A, and then finally our Apogee Symphony I/O 16x16. We run Pro Tools in all our rooms and then into our Crane Song Avocet IIA monitor controller and ADAM Audio S3H monitors. We usually do vocal sessions, but when needed, we use our Black Lion Audio B173 Quad (Chicago-based! S/O Preston!) for all instruments, drums, synths, ETC.

We have all of our mastering gear in the A Room. There's a Lavry AD122-96 A/D Convertor, SSL Fusion, and SSL Bus Comp. Our A room was acoustically treated and designed by Carl Tatz, so of course we had to use that room for mastering.

How has Vintage King helped you with gear selection, purchasing, and servicing in the past?

Vintage King has been like an extended family for us. They were there for our expansion and growth. When it comes to gear selection, they really help hone in our options, and as far as servicing, as I stated before they'll go above and beyond to help us find the right people to get our gear fixed. VK is for the engineer, producer, artist, and studio owner!

You and Andy Catlin seem to be pretty tight, what's it been like working with him?

Andy is my guy! He's been such a tremendous help with me and the Classick Studios family. He's really just one text or call away whenever I have an idea or a piece of gear I am obsessing about. Also, let's not forget, Andy is a fire piano player and producer. Andy is the goat!

What's your favorite project that you've worked on at Classick or something that stands as most representative of what y'all do?

Smino's blkswn because that was such a Classick Studios family-made project. Everyone touched it; I was managing, Elton "L10MixedIt" Chueng was recording, mixing, and mastering, Monte Booker was producing, and all the features and musicians were artists using Classick Studios at the time. Really proud of that one. Shout out to Smino for really bringing everyone together on that one. Amphetamines just went gold recently too!

What would you say sets your studio apart from other recording spaces?

Besides the quality, we really fill in the gaps for artists, especially for a city like Chicago that doesn't have a real infrastructure. We're all just trying to figure it out, but we're blessed to work with many great artists and help provide a road map. We really love connecting the dots for the creative scene in Chicago, and we've built such a strong engineer community that loves to see progression with the artist we work with. Our motto is "If they win, we win."

Where do you see recording studios going in the next 30 years and how do you see Classick fitting into that world?

Recording studios have evolved so much in the past 30 years. Currently, artists and producers want to create in their own space because it’s more accessible, cheaper, and there’s way more information out there for them to figure things out. "Do it yourself till you can’t do it anymore" mentality.

For us, we’ll continue to build out our creative community and find ways to serve the artist/producer in other ways. Evolving into more of a production/creative house rather than just a recording studio, which is really just one aspect of the process.

Classick Studios was and still is an incubator for all creatives and 30 years from now we’ll be supporting creatives around the world.

Andy CatlinSee something you like in this blog? We're here to help! Please contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160.