Wax Marks the Spot

AIRWAVE: Four years ago veteran radio DJ and production manager Robert W. Walker opened this North Miami Beach studio, which specializes in commercial production - jingles and other radio commercials - and audio for TV. Such work is usually done digitally, with synthesizers, but Airwave prefers the old-style approach, with an in-house band and a 24-track analog setup. "We don't like to sequence," Walker says. "I'm a proponent of the human feel, even in jingles." 949-9283.

CRITERIA: South Florida's world-class studio, located in North Miami. Five rooms and three decades of music history, dotted with names such as Eric Clapton, James Brown, and the Allman Brothers. 947-5611.

GONG SOUNDS: Owner and president Gladstone Gilbert bought an existing South Dade studio and built an entire music complex around it. Gong Sounds includes a record label, promotion offices, and the 24-track recording studio, all with a heavy emphasis on reggae, although rock, rap, and R&B acts have also recorded here. Big names: Third World, Yellowman, Dennis Brown. 378-9243.

INTERNATIONAL SOUND: Owner Tom Pace is blunt: "As far as gear, the board, and the format, there isn't a [public] studio in this town that can touch me." Most of the ten-year-old studio's business comes from major-label acts. Big names: Miami Sound Machine, Philip Michael Thomas, Cameo, Orleans, Lissette, Betty Wright, Will to Power, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Willy Chirino. 652-0777.

L-7: Located in Deerfield Beach, L-7 could hardly be considered world class. But it must be considered for the sake of the music that has been recorded here. Old instruments, basic equipment, and a caring owner set this place apart. 427-1836.

LIMELITE: This complex specializes in video, but it also contains a recording studio that rivals even Criteria's Studio A for plushness and premium equipment. "What we really do relates to the marriage of audio with visuals," says general manager Michael Garrett. "Our uniqueness is the ability to tie sound to picture." Musicians can sometimes squeeze in at night for standard recording, however; Cameo and Eddie Murphy are two examples. 593-6969.

MIDILAND: A four-year-old Coral Gables operation that features two rooms. Studio A boasts top-of-the-line 24-track equipment, while Studio B's setup, also 24-track, consists of less-expensive models. Midiland attracts plenty of Latin producers and artists, including Emmanuel, Jose Feliciano, and Jose Luis Rodriguez. It has also tracked dance-pop acts such as Will to Power. 444-6222.

NEW RIVER: One of the few studios in the nation owned and operated by women, the high-tech New River layout is Broward County's answer to Dade's Criteria. 524-4000.

PANTERA'S COUNTDOWN STUDIOS: Lewis Martinee's personal music playground, this full-service complex near Metrozoo also features public facilities. Artists include dance specialists Expose, Paris By Air, and Rumorz, plus some rap, R&B, and glam rockers Tryx. Most of the acts who work with Martinee are on major labels. 253-2400.

QUADRADIAL: Ornate and posh, this studio competes directly with Criteria. This is the place to find Ted Nugent when he's taping in town, but local rock groups, rappers, dancemeisters, and hard-core industrial acts also buy time here. 940-7971.

RT-60: A casual but high-tech Fort Lauderdale operation. RT-60's clients are mostly local rock bands, whose members are often seen hanging out there. The Wait, Broken Spectacles, and Aries are three premier area acts who've done time at RT-60. 525-0145.

STUDIO CENTER: Another high-tech affair, the fifteen-year-old Studio Center combines a state-of-the-art facility with personalized service. Big names: Dizzy Gillespie, Adam Ant, Will to Power, Cheyenne, and Lissette. 944-2911.

SYNC: High-tech with a radical approach, this oft-relocated studio has great equipment owned by a co-op of five people. The owners work at other established studios as engineers and producers, so they know what they're doing, but they prefer you do it yourself so you go away happy. 534-9650.

TROPICAL: "You can't be off by even an eighth of an inch," says owner Danny Diaz as he sets his hammer on the rung of a nearby ladder. He's talking about the walls - three layers worth. Diaz recently rebuilt his two-year-old studio, located in a warehouse off Bird Road near the Palmetto Expressway. Tropical used to be a favorite first-stop of top local bands such as the Mavericks, but Diaz said he grew tired of cutting inexpensive demos and then watching the bands go to better studios to record the actual albums. He's upgraded, and will open his new room as soon as he finishes building it. 661-3599.


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