If Woody Jackson’s Vox Recording Studio is a dream, we’ll stay in bed.
Open for business since 1936, Vox (formerly Electro-Vox) is believed to be the oldest private recording studio in the world, having captured on tape a dazzling array of talent which includes Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Henry Mancini, Charlie Parker, the Wrecking Crew, and the Black Keys.
In recent years, the studio has hosted Lady Gaga, Angel Olsen, Adele, De La Soul, Haim, Beck, Arctic Monkeys, Norah Jones, and Vampire Weekend, whose Modern Vampires of the City reached the #1 spot on the US and UK charts.
Besides being the analog-first home of chart-topping smash-hits, the studio is the workspace for Jackson’s television, film, and video game projects which include Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, Ocean’s Thirteen, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, American History X, The Devil Wears Prada, and Nashville: Season One.
Taking a tour of Vox studios, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Jackson knows his shit. He’s an archivist of vintage gear, but Gear Acquisition Syndrome it ain’t. Every piece of equipment is chosen with curatorial specificity to do its job, one job, and to do it well.
The control room, modern studio monitors and Pro Tools rig notwithstanding, doesn’t look like it’s been touched since 1967. At the helm sits the custom Demideo console built for Monterrey Pop engineer Wally Heider. It is the exact unit abused by Neil Young on the defiant anti-solo in “Cinnamon Girl.”
The racks are lined with immaculately preserved specimens of holy-grail gear by Pultec, API, Fairchild, Universal Audio, Altec, Neumann, Ampex, and Neve. It is not a term to be tossed around lightly, but this place oozes vibe. One might even say it has mojo. “My first time here…I remember being here for an hour by myself, going like, ‘What the fuck is the sound of this room?’ It’s an inspiring place to be,” says Jackson.