Warren Rhoades, Mike LeBlanc, and Chuck Ainlay collaborated to update all three Studios

Two historic Nashville studios on Music Row are now thriving under new management by Black River Entertainment (BRE).
Sound Stage Studios and Ronnie’s Place with their forty-plus year history claim over five hundred number-one singles and hundreds of millions of albums sold by major country and crossover music, including Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, more recently, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.

“People have always come to Sound Stage and Ronnie’s Place to get solid work done,” says legendary Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Chuck Ainlay (right) who remains the principal resident of his longtime home, Back Stage (after he sold his share to BRE).

The facility offers a winning mix of SSL J-Series analog consoles, ATC mains, nearfields and a work ethic that reliably transmutes creativity into chart-topping hits. After a series of renovations that aligned the complex’ three main tracking rooms, the rooms are online and jumping.

Nick Autry is the studio’s current general manager. In addition to handling booking and financials, he also engineers and produces at Sound Stage. “They (BRE) really made this place great again,” says Autry who is clear about their move to ATC mains for all three rooms. “Chuck’s been using ATCs for so long. In fact, he got a pair of ATC SCM25A nearfields a few years ago and we all loved them so much that now the studio owns a pair as well. We have other nearfields available, of course, but clients tend to stick with the ATCs once they hear them. It was a no-brainer for us to upgrade the other rooms to ATC mains. People know what they’re getting and they’re excited about it. As an engineer myself, I love ATC’s clarity throughout the frequency response (most especially in the low end) and I love that my mixes always translate beautifully. Because that’s what it’s all about in the end - creating tracks that sound fantastic on anything.”






Warren Rhoades, Mike LeBlanc, and Chuck Ainlay collaborated to update all three spaces. They started in Front Stage, where the renovations included new slate wall, better sight lines, and a bank of amp lockers. Remarkably, they knocked out the back wall of the control room and extended it.

Consistent with the brand, they kept its SSL console but replaced the existing mains with ATC SCM300ASLs. “Front Stage is now an ideal version of the modern Nashville tracking studio, with plenty of acoustic isolation but minimal visual isolation,” says Ainlay.
When Ainlay first took over Back Stage, he knew he wanted mastering-quality mains installed so that his work would go out the door as true and correct as possible. He looked and listened to a huge number of systems, but it was a visit to David Gilmour’s houseboat on the Thames with his longtime client Mark Knopfler that revealed to him the monitoring path that he would take, and on which he remains to this day. “David had ATC SCM300ASL loudspeakers on his houseboat,” Ainlay said. “They sounded absolutely stunning, and I thought, ‘if they sound this good on a houseboat, imagine how they’ll sound in a proper control room!’ So we ordered them from Drawmer UK and paid the import duties, but it was worth it as we had the first ATCs in Nashville.”

Country legend Miranda Lambert was the first to use Front Stage after the renovations. “Miranda wanted to live in her tour bus while she was recording, and Sound Stage arranged it so she could park just a few steps from the studio door,” says Ainlay. In addition, the studio accommodated for her kangaroo (for real) in the studio. The running joke was: "‘Hey look out! There’s a kangaroo under the console.’”


Booking contact: Nick Autry (615) 256-2676

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