NILES, Ill. Feb. 27, 2014—Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters” is a 60-minute program that follows host Pete Nelson as he constructs private hideaways in treetops across the nation. Recently featured on the show was a unique treehouse—a treehouse recording studio.
Nestled between Western Red Cedar trees in the city of Woodinville, Wash., a state-of-the-art recording studio towers 18 feet above the ground. Built by Nelson for Audio Engineer and Producer Ryan Hadlock, the new treehouse sits on the 10-acre Bear Creek Studio property—a famed residential recording barn, where artists such as The Lumineers, Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Soundgarden, and others have made some of their biggest hits.
As the unique studio was built, Hadlock knew he’d need to have an array of Shure microphones in it. Selected for their ability to deliver reliable and high-quality sound—time and time again, artist after artist—Shure SM57, SM7B, KSM44A, and KSM137 mics were installed. Given the environment of the studio—which can be faced with cold temperatures, humidity, and heavy rain—Hadlock required extremely rugged and durable gear that could not only withstand outdoor treehouse rigors but also hold up during frequent transport between the Bear Creek treehouse and barn studios.
“In my experience, Shure microphones are found in all world-class studios,” Hadlock shared. “I chose the SM57 because it’s a go-to microphone for many producers and engineers—it’s known as a ‘desert island microphone’ if you had only one microphone to record with, it would do the job and do it well. I always trust a mic with the Shure name on it, and the treehouse studio is limited on space, so we really needed to make every piece of equipment count.”
To mic a snare, hand drum, or guitar, Hadlock looks to the SM57, and often chooses the SM7B for vocal applications, with the KSM44A on backup singers. The KSM137s are typically used to mic cymbals, acoustic guitars, violins, and percussion.
In addition to using Shure microphones, the treehouse studio features Shure SRH940 Professional Headphones. In an application where minimal distortion and accurate response are critical, Hadlock has found that the closed-backed headphones don’t just deliver pristine audio quality but also premium comfort through extended studio sessions.
“There are days when we don’t leave the studio for several hours,” Hadlock shared. “Comfort is key, and accurate, detailed sound is required—I have to trust that I’m hearing a true-to-life reproduction. Shure’s SRH940s have proven to be a perfect fit in every sense.”
The “Treehouse Masters” episode featuring the newest treehouse addition to the Bear Creek Studio property first aired on February 21, 2014. Nelson and his crew are featured, as they create the one-of-a-kind recording studio complete with cork-lined walls for ultimate soundproofing and other sustainable features. CeeLo Green made an appearance in the episode, visiting the treehouse. Wowed by the design and installation, he performed his single, “Amy,” with the Shure SM7B. Following “Amy,” Green and treehouse master, Nelson—on the Shure KSM44A—joined forces for an impromptu performance.
Following CeeLo’s visit to the treehouse, Australian folk pop artist, Vance Joy—whose single “Riptide” has topped the charts in Australia and the U.K.—worked with Hadlock to make the first-ever album to be recorded in-full within the walls of the finished treehouse.
Although the Animal Planet cameras have stopped rolling at Bear Creek, the next chapter of creative opportunity for Hadlock and his team has just begun with years of top-notch sound quality guaranteed thanks to a variety of Shure mics—even while high up in the Red Cedar canopy.