Musician becomes audio engineer, opens recording studio

January 07, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Drew Adams of Wayneboro, Pa., listens to audio at his recording studio, Clayton Avenue Studio.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — At the ripe age of 24, life has been a tuneful trip for Drew Adams.
He’s an accomplished drums and bass player, vocalist, songwriter and has released several albums.
Now, he’s adding one more accomplishment to his resume: he is an audio engineer with his own studio.
Adams, who was born and has lived most of his life in Waynesboro, guesses he was about 10 years old when he knew music would play a major role in his life.
“My dad was a musician — a bass player,” Adams said. “So he was always sharing the basics of music with me, even when I was very young.”
“It was an interest I just naturally picked up on,” he said. “I have to credit my father. He was a big influence.”
His first instrument was drums, he said. But a year later, at age 11, Adams decided to give the bass guitar a try.
He’s been a bass player ever since.
Adams said he played in the jazz band while in the ninth grade at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.
“But that’s all I did,” he said. “My interest in music was outside of what was being offered at school.”
Over the years, he added vocals to his repertoire and became a member of several rock bands in the area — performing across the Tri-State area and winning a number of high-profile competitions.
Upon graduation, Adams decided to expand his music expertise by attending Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts in Phoenix, Md., where he studied audio engineering and graduated in the spring of 2006.
“I’ve always been interested in recording music,” he said. “I was probably about 14 years old when I began to write original songs. I then wanted to play all the instruments, as well as the vocal parts. So I did what I could with a four-track tape recorder.”
As his interest in recording grew, he began adding equipment to a basement room and developing audio and mixing skills.
By the time he attended Sheffield, he already knew a lot of what he was being taught.
“But there was still a lot I didn’t know,” he said. “It helped me become more professional.”
Adams said the role of an audio engineer is “to get the highest quality sound possible,” which involves not only knowledge but creativity.
“A lot of engineers have no formal education,” he said. “But they have a natural talent.”
“Sometimes, methods and recording techniques that are considered to be industry standards are not always the best answer,” Adams said. “There are rules of thumb in this business as to how to go about performing certain tasks, but there aren’t necessarily any right or wrong answers or solutions in many cases.”
Adams said the job also is about keeping people happy and he’s willing to make all necessary accommodations for the talent to ensure that they are satisfied with their experience.
“That’s my No. 1 priority,” he said. “I want to demonstrate that a good quality product is achievable in a noncommercial setting and for a a price that doesn’t break the bank.”
Over the years, Adams said he has continued to upgrade his studio equipment.
“By buying, selling and swapping, I have about $30,000 in gear,” he said.  
“Some of the equipment I use is of a higher quality than many would expect to find in a home studio.”
Adams said he has helped many area musicians with their recording needs over the years.
But, now, his hobby has turned into a business and the realization of a dream.
He decided upon a name — Clayton Avenue Studio — and is busy getting the word out.
Despite the technological advances in the world of music, Adams said there still is a need for professional recording engineers.
“Everybody can buy software and become do-it-yourselfers,” he said. “But there is a big difference between that and professional studios. You won’t find my equipment in a low-budget studio.”
For example, Adams said he has more than an adequate selection of mics and pre-amps and the capability to track up to 16 inputs (instruments/voices) simultaneously.
“With some software, you might only get one or two microphones,” he said.
“If you’re serious about your music, then you care about quality,” he added. “You do whatever you can to help yourself get better.”
Adams said he continues to perform live music and is currently a guitarist and vocalist with the band Dimestore Profit, based out of Waynesboro.
The studio is another avenue of music, he said.
Adams said people interested in knowing more about Clayton Avenue Studio should contact him at 717-729-8175 or
There are no set hours, only appointments.

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