Q: When will the studio remodel be completed?
A: We're now open for business! The new studio build-out is at about 90% completion, and it's already hosted many excellent recording sessions. We'll still be refining the acoustics, dialing-in the equipment layout in the racks, and settling-in over the coming months. Check out the progress videos in the meantime, and find us on Instagram @soniczen for the latest.
Q: How are you staying safe during the pandemic?
A: Great question! All of our staff members are now vaccinated. We have procedures in place regarding required masks, sanitizing, ventilation (complete with MERV-13 filtration, which removes viruses from the air), and distancing. With 4 fully isolated rooms and a separate Studio B in the back, we have plenty of room to socially distance and heed precautions. For any other concerns on this topic, please feel free to reach out.
Q: When are your hours?
A: We usually book sessions between 9 am and 11 pm with some flexibility.
Q: Is a deposit required?
A: Yes, we ask for 50% of the session cost to confirm it on the calendar. Our Payments page has options for how to send this.
Q: What genres does Sonic Zen typically record?
A: We love all genres of music and have recorded a wide range of styles (see the Music page). Studio A is capable of recording large or small bands of all typse, and Studio B is ideal for post-production and limited overdubs.
Q: Can I visit the studio before I book a session?
A: Certainly! Please Contact us to schedule a studio tour -- or we are happy to show you the facilities over Zoom or FaceTime at your convenience.
Q: Can we bring our own engineer?
A: We welcome outside engineers and producers, but still require one of our house engineers to ensure that everything goes swimmingly.
Q: Does the piano require tuning?
A: Yes, we generally suggest for the client to have the piano tuned before tracking any songs that depend centrally on the piano. The piano tuner costs $150 and we're happy to make those arrangements for you with two weeks advance notice.. Unless you want a slightly-out-of-tune piano sound in your song. That's cool too.
Q: Is there a house drum set?
A: Yes, and it's free to use! Several snare drums and a selection of cymbals are at the ready. Your drummer will probably want to bring their favorite snare and cymbals too, just to have options.
Q: What's the parking situation?
A: There is generally plenty of unrestricted street parking available within 1-2 blocks of the studio, if not right in front. There's also space for one van or two smaller cars to load-in directly through the side gate. This is an urban area, so please don't leave valuables in your car.
Q: Are there food options nearby?
A: Tons! One block away is Kefa Coffee, with excellent breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, and Ethiopian coffee. There's also a 7-Eleven on the corner if that's of any use to you. Less than a mile away, in Alameda, Cholita Linda has fantastic fish tacos, Scolari's does perfect burgers and fries, Greens & Grains makes epic salads to order, Monkey King does huge plates of Chinese stir-fry, Sidestreet Pho kills it with the Vietnamese food, Burma Superstar will blow your mind for lunch or a celebratory dinner after the session, Wild Ginger will clear your sinuses with Szechuan dumplings and noodle soups, and a new spot called Spinning Bones covers everything from Japanese ribs to salmon salad. You won't go hungry... Just sayin.
Q: Is there anything else I should know before booking a session?
A: We love good music and we're flexible here. Our priority is to accommodate you and make your recording experience fruitful and memorable. That being said, we like our studio clean and gear unbroken, so please be prepared for the replacement cost of anything you break or... "irreversibly reconfigure." Responsible musicians welcome!