SAM World Recording Studio
In the medieval village of Lari, located in the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany, is one of the world’s best recording studio facilities. It is a place where beautiful music and sound for film, theater, television, games and commercials has been recorded since 1988. The studio was established by one of the truly great minds in the world of professional audio— the engineer, producer, sound designer and inventor, Mirco Mencacci. It is SAM Recording Studio.
A Place for Greatness
Imagine a recording studio facility that is located in truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The medieval village of Lari is located in Tuscany. Known for its amazing and beautiful rolling hills and lush green countryside, the region is also known for its wine, its tremendous food, and its rich history and culture. It is also known for something else— its amazing villages and the contributions that each has made to the vitality of the region. Tuscany is far more than just Florence, Siena and Pisa, it is a region that is composed of amazing people who have made their mark in the process of creating a better world for all of us for more than eight centuries. It has given us some of the greatest scientists, artists and inventors— Brunalleschi, Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Galileo— just to name a few. But, it still remains a place where great works of art are created, including masterpiece works in both music and cinema. And a place where so many of those great works in Italian music and cinema are created today is in the small village of Lari, right next to the medieval castle— in the creative home of one of the great minds in the world of professional audio today, Mirco Mencacci. It is SAM Recording Studio.
SAM World Recording Studio is one of the busiest recording studio venues in Italy and its work and reputation are known throughout the European Union and beyond. The story of SAM begins with the remarkable story of its founder, Mirco Mencacci, whose work as an educator, engineer, inventor, producer and sound designer has made both him and his remarkable studio one of the most sought after places for the creation of sound for film, music, television, theater, games and commercials. As early as 1981, Mirco Mencacci was working to create a recording studio facility where he could work on major audio production projects. By 1988, his studio had taken shape and was beginning to become one of the busiest places for professional audio recording in Italy. Since that time, the studio has expanded its business and the amount of amazing creative work that it has been able to accomplish. The studio has hosted such acts as Mauro Refosco, Irio de Paula, Stefano Bollani, Anthony Sidney, Ornella Vanoni, Tony Scott, Sportfreunde Stiller, Playing for Change, Nguyen Le, Rami Khalife, Redi Hasa, Bijan Chemirani, Sergey Mazaev and Marina Rei; Francesco Cerasi and more. It has also had such independent clients as Teatro degli Orrori, One Dimensional Man, Zen Circus, Paolo Fresu, Luca Flores, Enrico Pierannuzi, Danilo Rea, Enrico Rava and Eddie Wied. Plus, such wonderful engineers as Haydn Bendall of Abbey Road Studios, Patrick Dillet, Pierre-Emmanuel Meriaud, Ilya Mazaev, Tommaso Colliva, Raffaele Stefani, Ivan Rossi, Guilio Ragno Favero and Andrea Ciacchini have worked there, as well.
After losing his sight in an accident as a child, Mirco Mencacci has risen to become a great sound designer, engineer, producer, inventor and master educator whose projects have had a major influence on the film, video art and music industries in both Italy and beyond. He is the creator of the Sonic Research concept and also, the amazing Spherical Sound© system— which allows sound for film to be recorded in an immersive manner to mesh perfectly with emerging new technologies such as Dolby Atmos. He has credits for his amazing work in over 400 films with such directors as Michaelangelo Antonioni, Yuri Ancarani and Ferzan Ospetek. His work has premiered at major film festivals around the work and exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA), the Pompidou Center (Paris, France), the MAXXI Museum in Rome and at the Venice Biennale. His work on Yuri Ancarani’s trilogy of short films Il Capo, Piattaforma Luna and Da Vinci, on Michaelangelo Antonioni’s, Michelangelo Eye to Eye, and on Paolo Benvenuti’s Puccinci and the Girl, have brought him critical acclaim. He has recorded and directed a number of great artists— many of whom are listed above, who have made their way to SAM to record their artistic work. His engineering work in every genre from pop to jazz to experimental to classical has won critical acclaim in both Italy and beyond. He has also worked on recordings with Zubin Mehta and on ‘Puccini Festival’ for RAI live recordings, as well. He is also a master educator and has taught topics in sound design at both CPM in Milan, Italy, and also at Syracuse University in New York, USA. His work has appeared in major film festivals in Italy, France and beyond and his life story has been featured in a pair of films— Red Like the Sky and the documentary, Le Immagini di Mirco. He has established both the SAM Cinema/TV post-production facility in Rome, Italy and the SAM Recording Studio in Lari, Italy. SAM was the first of his creations and it remains the place where he does the majority of his work today. It is a fabulous place to record music and sound for visual productions. It is located in a place of tremendous beauty and history. It is also truly a place where the best in vintage technologies for recording great music and sound are married with the latest in amazing new digital technologies.
These two images showcase the beauty of the medieval village of Lari. Located in the region of Tuscany in Italy, near the famed port city of Pisa, Lari is one of the most beautiful villages that you can find in the Italian countryside. It is the home of both Mirco Mencacci and his famed studio-- SAM Recording Studio. Images courtesy of SAM Recording Studios.
Inside the Walls
Every great recording studio has three major elements which make it a successful place to create music and sound for visual productions— amazing gear, an extraordinary space and truly wonderful people to work with on your projects. SAM Recording Studio offers a wide-range of services for its clients— recording (on-site and mobile), mixing (online mixing, as well as in Dolby Atmos), audio restoration, archiving (plus, transfers), plus, sound design for cinema, theater and music productions. The facility offers access to rehearsal spaces, as well. Also, keep in mind that SAM Recording Studio also features accomodations and is located in a beautiful medieval, Tuscan village that has an added benefit, as well— it is not on the beaten path, which means, it’s not a tourist trap. In fact, Lari, Tuscany, Italy, is an authentic representation of one of the very best villages in one of the world’s most beautiful places. And SAM Recording Studio is one of the very best places for you to be able to record your next album project.
When you step into the control room at SAM Recording Studio, you will find an array of vintage analog and the latest in amazing digital gear, but, you will also encounter a console that is both rare and unique, plus, it just sounds incredible. The control room features vintage Neve, Universal Audio, Trident, RCA, Cadac, Calrec, MCI, Tube-Tech, GML and SPL preamps. It also features equalization units from Neumann and Giraffe. In the racks, there are compressor/limiters from UREI, Manley Labs, Empirical Labs, Amek, ADR, EMT, SPL, Drawmer, Electrospace, Aphex and Crest. Plus, in the gear racks are reverbs, delays and filters from EMT plate, Echolette, Lexicon, Yamaha, Peavey, Roland, Aria, Aphex, Electrospace and GML. The studio uses the following digital audio workstation programs— Avid Pro-Tools and Apple’s Logic Pro Studio. Their digital audio interfaces come from Avid and Lynx. Plus, in the machine room there are a pair of vintage MCI 24-track analog tape machines and also a vintage and sweet-sounding Soundcraft 16-track analog tape machine — plus, there is also Dolby noise-reduction. The studio also features a Presto, which is a straight to vinyl recording machine. The facility offers both recording and post-production services. With amps from Daub and Yamaha, the control room features sweet sounding monitors from Genelec, Dynaudio and Yamaha (the Genelec and Dynaudio monitors can also be placed into a Dolby Atmos sound array for monitoring). At the heart of the control room, lies the console— a vintage and quite rare, but, sweet-sounding Raindirk LN-1 Symphony console (48-channels). The control room also features powerful Apple Mac-based computer systems and an array of software plug-ins that are fully accessible for clients to be able to use in their projects. The facility also features an impressive microphone locker, as well, with new and vintage models from AKG, Beyerdynamic, DPA, Earthworks, Josephson, Telefunken (a pair of vintage U47s from the 1950s), Neumann (a vintage CMV 5/B M7—1937 model, an M49 and a pair of U67s), Shure, Electro-Voice, Schoeps, Milab, Sennhesier, AEA, RCA, Royer and Altec. The studio features a great selection of musical instruments (acoustic, electric and digital), plus, there is a Steinway B piano and a Hammond B3 with two Leslies and a twin cabinet and effects that can be used in your projects. Another fantastic opportunity lies im the SAM Production Room, which is a room where you can both create and write music. When you are in the center of this room, all around you there is a Sound Craft 2004 console and a big variety of vintage synths dating from the 1970s to the 1990s (Korg ms20, Korg Minilogue, Korg Monopoli, Kawai Sx 240, Roland Jupiter 6, Roland Promars, Moog Realistic mg1, Ensoniq EPS, E-MU ESI32, Yamaha CS01, ARP Pro dgx, Logan String Melody and many others) ready to be played here. You can record your ideas directly or send them to the control room. In the control room at SAM you will find more than enough amazing tools to be able to record your very best work.
The space at SAM Recording Studios is just breathtaking. It is clearly a place where any type of audio project can be recorded to perfection. The studio space features a pair of live rooms— Live Room A offers an astounding 2,475 square feet of recording space, plus, the facility has access to screens and baffles with differing types of acoustical elements to shape or sculpt your sound with in the room and of course, each of these elements can be used to isolate instrumentation, as well. Though it is a bit smaller, Live Room B also offers a 600 square foot space for recording. The control room where all of the vintage gear and their remarkable console is housed is 1,180 square feet. But, it does not stop there, as SAM World also has access both to rehearsal and additional recording space. Thanks to the support of the village of Lari and its amazing people— their historic theaters— the Theatre of Lari and the one of Casciana Terme, Teatro Verdi, are also available for the staging of both musical and theatrical performances. This allows clients who need outdoor installations, space for video creations and live performance services a venue to also be able to perform and to have their work recorded, as well. As I mentioned earlier, the studio also offers accommodations, including a lounge room that has a sofa, an armchair, a conference and dining area, a kitchenette and a working desk area that also features a sound system for critical listening. Plus, there is also a comfortable studio flat, so that clients can stay close to the studio that features a kitchenette, a living room with a sofa bed, a double bed in the sleeping area and has both a dedicated bathroom and air conditioning, as well. The studio also has an array of restaurants, cafes, shops and bed and breakfast and villas with swimming pool options in the village that it can recommend for its discerning clients— all located in the beautiful, Tuscan village of Lari. It is clearly a place where one can feel right at home while recording in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
SAM offers to its artists another incredible opportunity: Connessioni© which is an instrument that connects SAM Recording Studio with 5 different places in the medieval village of Lari (Teatro Comunale, Castello dei Vicari, squares, church and garden), with the intention of creating a single large stage, made up of six different locations, for a single performance: a new way to create encounter and synergy between languages, technology and art. The performance locations are connected to each other through a optical fiber cabling dedicated exclusively to the creation of live shows spread out in the various stages of the village. The audio and video projections allow the artists to act simultaneously and to move from one location to another, to hear and see each other with zero latencies. Connessioni© is an innovative technological tool at the service of multimedia performances. Its goal is to bring together real and virtual content scattered in different places and managed at the same time. SAM Recording studio is Connessioni©’ control room and, at the same time, it could offer a service of live recording from stereo to binaural, from Dolby Atmos to Spherical Sound.
But, it’s also the people that make SAM Recording Studio a very special place to record music and sound for film, video, television, commercials and games. From the beginning, Mirco Mencacci, has remained with his studio facility— engineering, producing and educating a new generation of great recording engineers and sound designers. The fabulous engineer, Andrea Chiacchini, also works at SAM Recording Studio. The staff at SAM Recording Studio is ready and prepared to do their very best work to make sure that your next project not only sounds incredible, but that as a client, you will have a wonderful experience while producing your very best work. It is also worth noting that the studio has also had tremendous support from the village of Lari, where clients can find excellent Tuscan food and wine, plus, a comfortable and quiet place to stay in one of the world’s most beautiful places.
In these two images, you can see the extensive gear collection at SAM Recording Studios in its control room, plus, you can also view some of the instruments in the main studio area. Images courtesy of SAM Recording Studios.
A Place of Beauty
It goes without saying that if you have a production that requires the full-services of a fabulous recording studio, you would be hard-pressed to find a place that is quite like SAM Recording Studio. It is an amazing recording studio facility that offers a wide variety of services to its clients. It is located in a beautiful place to work, and in a village that is located in one of the world’s most incredible and breathtaking locations. If you have the opportunity to work at SAM Recording Studio you will have the ability to use the greatest in vintage analog and the latest in amazing digital gear to do your work— plus, you will have an incredible acoustic space and fabulous people to work with in the creation of your projects. At Mirco Mencacci’s SAM Recording Studio, you will have one of the very best places in the world in which to do your very best creative work.In Lari, Sam is preparing an incredible surprise for the world of music and cinema
If you would like to find out more information about the SAM World Recording Studio, you can visit their amazing website at https://www.samworld.studio/.
Special Thanks and Acknowledgement
I would like to take a moment to thank Mr. Mirco Mencacci for his assistance with this project. SAM World Recording Studio has been recording the best in popular music and sound for film since it opened its doors in Lari, Italy in 1988. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful people who have worked with Mirco at SAM Recording Studios over the years who have made it a wonderful place to record great music and sound for film.