We recently had the chance to sit down with Austin, Texas-based studio owner Alex Moore. Alex owns and manages Lunchroom Studios, a facility that records a wide gamut of music styles and projects, from rock to country, from voiceovers to commercials.
Alex recently purchased Direct Sound EX-29 Extreme Isolation headphones for use in various projects.
Direct Sound: Let’s talk a little bit about your studio. Lunchroom Studios is a great name. How did you come up with that?
Alex: One of my former bandmates/friends was Jay Bennett, who was the guitar player of Wilco. He passed away in 2009. At the time in Chicago we had a studio. It was a cinder block warehouse kind of a building. We had the space divvied up. A friend of mine who was a drummer was coming over one day and I was showing him up the staircase and we passed by this door that said “Lunchroom” on it. He said, “Oh, that should be the name of your studio.” That stuck, and so I just went with it.
Direct Sound: The studio was originally started in Chicago you said? How did you get to Austin?
Alex: I spent time in Chicago recording a lot of bands, and I think for me it just ran its course with the weather. I’d had one too many Chicago winters and I think I was just ready for a change, and so I came down to Austin and met a lot of great players. I went out and saw some really amazing players and just made conversation, and it turned into multiple record projects.
Direct Sound: Can you share some names of bands you worked with in the past?
Alex: One of them, actually, The Carper Family, was one of the first groups that I recorded here, and they went on to play the Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. I’ve had guys in the studio one week and then the next week I’d turn on the television, there they are with Willie Nelson on stage, literally. It’s like, “Hey, that guy was just here.” It’s really neat to be able to work with players that are so talented. It’s humbling, but you learn a lot. I really enjoy that part of being in the Austin area.
Direct Sound: On your website you talk a lot about the different types of work that you do, anything from music production to editing, mixing, and mastering, voiceover. Talk a little bit about the range of services that you offer and a little bit about some of the projects that you’ve been working on recently.
Alex: I do mastering. I also have done voiceover work. A lot of times I think some of the projects I work on tend to be songwriters who need help finishing a song. For instance, tomorrow I’ll be working with a producer who is bringing in an artist that I sent to him. He and I worked yesterday on pre-production so we’ll be ready for tomorrow. A lot of times it is singer-songwriters. I work with a couple of rappers, occasionally full rock bands. There are a lot of acoustic players. I’ve done a lot of acoustic albums here. It really runs a wide variety of clientele.
Direct Sound: What was the driving reason behind looking for a pair of isolation headphones, or what led you to the Direct Sound EX-29s and what was your initial thinking about looking for a pair of isolation headphones?
Alex: I’m a drummer. I have five of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros. I like those headphones, they sound nice, but there s a huge difference. When I put on the Direct Sound EX-29s and tracked drums with them, I just noticed a massive difference in my ability to just hear the click, hear the playback, and really block out the ambient sound of the drums. It makes a big difference. It puts you in a head-space that helps you focus on getting a good take. Also, headphones take a lot of abuse in the studio. I like the fact that the Direct Sound headphones are really well-constructed and you can take them apart without any special tools. That’s really cool. I think that was one of the biggest things that caught my eye at first – the ability to easily repair them.
Alex: It’s funny you should mention that! I have several singers that I work with who complain that they have small heads, which sounds funny, but the Sennheisers won’t go small enough to fit on their head. With the Direct Sound EX-29s, you can really scrunch them down. They’ll fit a very small head. That’s a big plus. The fact that there’s that little adapter holder on the end is really cool. I’m constantly losing the quarter-inch tips off of those Sennheisers.
Direct Sound: It sounds like when you first reached out to us that you had bought the EX-29s at a local music store. Do you research ahead of time, or what was the process of going and finding them?
Alex: I did to research. I looked for them on Sweetwater’s site. Then I watched the video. I’m not sure who it was that did the demonstration. Somebody from Direct Sound did the demo. In that demo video he practically takes the whole thing apart and shows you how you can take the driver out, how the driver is closed back. It’s got the foam in there. Pretty cool. He takes the ear piece yoke and just bends it back like 180 degrees. That was a shocking selling point. It was like, “Wow. You could step on these and they’d probably survive.” After a while, these little cables, they get bent back and forth, and the fact that you can replace that and that there’s a kit is great. I like it when I’m buying a product that I know somebody has thought about the construction and maintenance. That to me is very impressive.
Direct Sound: Talk a little bit about some of the work that you’re doing now or that might be coming up in 2017.
Alex: I’m working on a record with a singer named Ryan DeSiato, who is really talented. I’m very happy to be working with him. Great singer. He just works really hard at what he does. We’ve done pre-production on a bunch of tracks, I think at least 10 or 11 tracks at this point, which will later become full band productions, or maybe half of them. He’s kind of producing himself. I’m stepping in and producing part of it. Ryan has been a really great client to work with. There’s also several rappers that I’m working with that are up-and-coming.
Direct Sound: Do you also come out from behind the board and play on any of the projects?
Alex: Yes, I just finished a record for Tommy Moore. That was a full album. I played drums, bass, and a little bit of guitar and some keyboards and I produced that record. It’s called “Need Some Sleep.” That’s on iTunes. He’s been getting some good response from that.
Direct Sound: Thanks again for being a Direct Sound headphones fan!
Alex: Thank you!