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Best Recording Studio - 2012
By its very nature, recording your band's music is stressful. You spend months holed up in your drummer's basement going over the same ten songs seemingly endlessly in preparation for the big day. Upon arrival, you are disheartened by how excruciatingly long it takes to mic instruments and set up, watching the clock and mourning in advance for the sorry state of your wallet's contents. Rates — often in the several-hundred-dollars-a-day range — serve to teach a pricey lesson in how impossibly short a day actually is, and in just how little can be accomplished. Enter Encapsulated Studios, the newest piece of the one-stop-shop empire Mike Jones and his I Hate Punk Rock Records label have created in the heart of Maplewood. Here the price rates are determined by the song, not the day or hour, taking considerable pressure off the whole situation. Engineers Matt Amelung and Gabe Usery are as knowledgeable about the music they record as they are about the studio's technical setup, and their keen instincts help to push each project forward. And nary a more comfortable studio in town can be found: "A lot of people have said it just feels like home," says Jones. Sure — if your home has a loft and kitchen for out-of-towners, several practice spaces, a complete screen-printing operation and state-of-the-art recording capabilities, that is.