rob darling  :  about


One thing I learned was that as exciting as major label recording can be, it often can’t push boundaries, either musically or technologically, and pressures of time and finance can limit exploration and experimentation.  So when a friend wanted to build a studio for his label, Conscience Records (original home of Powerman 5000 and MoceanWorker), I took the opportunity to leave The Hit Factory and work independently.

The studio that came together at Conscience was groundbreaking in its early and innovative application of the digital technologies and production methods that now dominate modern recording.  I explored a lot and learned how to get the best results from the new tools, combining the lessons I learned at Hit Factory, where high-end digital recording was a daily occurrence, with the needs of the label for making sample and edit-heavy industrial metal and electronica.

As the technology spread, this experience led to work as a consultant, creating production studios for composers, artists, and producers.  This often led to collaborating with them to explore the opportunities the new methods and equipment offered, from acoustic productions with Broadway composer Adam Guettel across the composition of “The Light in the Piazza” (winner of six Tony Awards) to a series of studios that created hits and a Grammy for electronic producer Roger Sanchez. 

It was a great time for finding new ways to shorten the distance between the creation of music and the recording of music, to make it easier to use recording technologies as truly creative tools, to make equipment far more transparent to the creative process.  I was lucky to be able to work with a lot of very talented artists who knew what they wanted, helping them find it.

All the while I continued working as an independent engineer, mixer, and producer in a series of my own studios in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Harm’s Way versions 2 through 6.

In 2006 I joined with friends in launching a consumer home-audio company called Sooloos, which made the world’s most advanced system and user interface for managing digital music libraries.  This company was sold in 2008 to Meridian Audio and in 2009 I moved to Richland, WA to start a family, be near my parents, and enjoy the wine. 

In 2010, I built a new studio- Harm’s Way v7- to begin participating in the Pacific Northwest recording and music communities.

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I began my audio career in 1994 in New York City.  I started at a small single-room SSL studio called Giant Recording, where clients included Queen Latifah, David Bowie, and Sting.  It wasn’t fancy or glamorous but it was where I learned that the studio is supposed to be fun.  Joe Salvatto was the owner and my mentor and is still one of my best friends.

Then I moved to The Hit Factory, where I learned a lot about the overview of making records.  It was an 11-room facility with an incredible diversity of equipment, clients, and projects, running the gamut of music and production styles...  from staples of New York- Broadway cast recordings, orchestral film scores, and advertising music- to major pop artists like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Seal, and D’Angelo- to defining Rap artists of the time- The Fugees, NAS, ‘Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Wu-Tang Clan, and Jay-Z.  It wasn’t a lot of fun, but I saw and learned a lot of stuff.