Show Us Your Space: Nashville's Welcome to 1979

Husband-and-wife team Chris and Yoli Mara opened Welcome to 1979 in 2008—establishing a large, analog-rich recording studio in a town steeped in classic recording studios, Nashville.

Housed in a former record pressing plant, Welcome to 1979 is in many ways a step into the past—13,000 square feet and two whole floors of hardwood and rugs, large-format consoles and tape machines, and lockers of vintage mics.

Despite the size and rich character of its gear, the Maras pride themselves on an open, welcoming atmosphere. They not only record, mix, and master there, but they also perform analog-to-digital transfers, and host events that teach others about analog recording techniques. They also restore and sell tape machines as Mara Machines, which you can find on Reverb.

Follow along as Chris Mara gives us a virtual tour below. Check out the Welcome to 1979 website here to learn more about the studio.

Built in 1978 and fully restored, this amazing sounding console has been the mainstay of Welcome to 1979 since we opened in 2008. We added CAPI mic-pres on each channel, keeping the great-sounding MCI mic-pres too. A switch was added that allows you to switch between the CAPI pres and original MCI pres, even while listening. We also added a 10-channel Trident 80B sidecar that is integrated into the producer's desk for a total of 38 inputs.

Hand-built in Nashville by The Mic Shop, this MS47 [pictured left] sounds amazing and is our go-to for vocals. The picture on the left shows Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show using it during a recording session.

We also have a matched pair of these Flea 49s [pictured right], and they are great for drum overheads, pianos, vocals, and guitar cabinets. They’re awesome. The picture on the right shows Molly Tuttle using one during a session.

We added this Undertone Audio Unfairchild almost as soon as they came out. It gets used in the studio on drum overheads, snare, bass, and to mix. It also gets used in our vinyl mastering room, because it can be used in M/S mode—a handy feature for vinyl mastering.

Focal SM9s are our main monitors. Tuned by Steve Durr, they have great detail and solid bottom-end without taking up too much visual space.

We have four channels of vintage dbx 160 VU—these are awesome compressors that are used on every session. Great for vocals, bass, kick, snare, and electric guitars. Basically, anything. We recently added a vintage dbx 162 for drum overheads and room mics.

Analog is the name of the game here at Welcome To 1979. Our fully restored Mara Machine MCI JH24 2” 24-track [pictured right] gets used on almost every tracking session. The fact that we include the use of analog tape and we also transfer tapes to Pro Tools as part of our day rate makes recording on tape easier and more affordable than ever.

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