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The Knoll

CCRMA is located on the Stanford University campus in The Knoll--a building that was refurbished in 1986 to meet its unique needs. The Knoll facility includes a large space with multichannel sound for teaching, concerts, and acoustic experimentation, an adjoining control room/studio, a digital multi-track recording studio with adjoining control room, two additional studios with digital editing facilities, several work areas with workstations, synthesizers and speakers, a seminar room, an in-house reference library, classrooms, and offices. The building has been wired so that any office or workspace can connect with the underlying network. A gateway connects the network to the campus at large and also to the Internet. A description of the hardware and software environment follows below.

Renovation 2004-2005

The Knoll was originally built to be the residence of Stanford President Ray Lyman Wilbur, who was elected on October 13, 1915. Architect Louis Christian Mullgardt (1866-1942), envisioned a monumental three-story, Spanish Gothic fortress, with wings extending at obtuse angles, embracing the knoll. In 1946, the building became home to the Stanford University Music Department and in 1986, CCRMA took over residence in this unique building.

The Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 damaged much of the building, and the third floor was weakened to such an extent that it was deemed unsafe for occupants. For close to fifteen years, The Knoll was never completely reconstructed, and the third floor remained condemned.

A major renovation of the Knoll began in the summer of 2004, and is to be completed in August of 2005. The renovated Knoll will provide state-of-the-art sound studios, a dedicated performance space, and ``open-plan'' work areas. Historical aspects of the building will be retained and revived through a plan that locates research and studio facilities where they work best and interfere least.

The new building will permit full-spherical loudspeaker arrangements in the new ``Listening Room'', thus enabling new research in synthetic acoustical space. A 100-seat performance hall is located in one wing of the uppermost story to provide a venue specifically intended for contemporary music performance projects. The new hall accommodates larger audiences, allows better scheduling flexibility (reducing contention with classes) and incorporates the building's unique view of the Bay and surrounding hills.

The renovation will make the building whole and better adapted for teaching and research. Once completed, the University regains a significant landmark with improved public access. A new demo museum lobby incorporated at the entrance will provide exhibits pertaining to the history of music technology. Concerts in the renovated Knoll, its historical architectural qualities, and the side-by-side interplay of art and technology are an exciting mix for the future.

In the summer of 2004, all of CCRMA's operations were moved across campus to the Wilbur Modules B and C, located at 684 Escondido Road. Construction crews then began the arduous task of remodeling and retrofitting the Knoll while at the same time preserving and restoring its historical integrity. The work has progressed rapidly and surprisingly according to schedule. CCRMA is excited to be moving into a newly renovated Knoll in August of 2005.

Computing Facilities

The CCRMA computing environment is supported by more than 40 machines that include single and dual processor Intel and AMD based PCs. We run (and develop for) the Linux and OS-X software platforms. All machines are connected through a switched high speed backbone and several servers provide shared services and resources to all computers in a way that is transparent to the users. A high speed connection to the Stanford University Network (SUNET) provides connectivity with the rest of the world, including direct access to the Internet2 next-generation network. Infinite soundfile storage, multichannel 24/96, and MIDI i/o are supported on all platforms. Digital editing with Ardour, ProTools and other DAW's is available througout the facility.


The main recording studio consists of a control room and an adjoining recording studio designed by George Augspurger. Equipment available includes ProTools HD with 192 Digital I/O interface on a Mac G4 with DVD burner, three Tascam DTRS 8-track digital recorders (one DA-78HR and two DA-38s), an Ampex ATR-104 analog 1/2" 4-track recorder (with dbx and/or Dolby A), a Mackie Digital Eight Bus (D8B) mixing console, an Apogee Big Ben clock, a Presonus M80 eight-channel mic preamp, a Universal Audio 2-610 mic preamp, a Panasonic SV-3800 DAT recorder, a Tascam CD-RW700 CD burner, a Waves L2 UltraMaximizer, a Lexicon 224XL digital reverberator, an Eventide Orville processor, Westlake BBSM-10 and JBL 4206 monitors, and outboard gear including equalizers, LA-2A and 1176 compressors, and digital effects processors. Microphones include a Neumann TLM-193, two AKG C414B/ULS, two Audio-Technica 4049a, two Josephson C42, a Beyer M-500, a Sennheiser MD-421, two Sennheiser E604, two Electrovoice RE-20, an Electrovoice N/D868, two Shure Beta-57, and several Shure SM-57. There is a Yamaha C7 Disklavier MIDI grand piano in the studio. A Linux PC-based computer system is available in the control room and has a digital multichannel connection to the mixer. Recorders may be linked together via SMPTE time code, which will also synchronize the Mac sequencer software.

The Studio C audio system includes a Mac G4 with ProTools MIXplus and 888 I/O with many TDM plug-ins, Tascam DM24 digital mixer, Tascam DA-38, Panasonic SV-3700 DAT recorder, Denon DN-600F CD player, and four JBL LSR-28P powered speakers. MIDI equipment includes several MIDI sound modules including Kurzweil K2000R, E-Mu Proteus 2, Yamaha TX-802, and Korg X3R and WaveStation AD with Yamaha KX-88 controller. Keyboards include Yamaha SY-99 and VL-1.

Studio D is CCRMA's digital editing and 3D sound facility. Equipment includes a Tascam DM-24 digital mixer and a Z-systems digital patchbay connecting a Tascam DA-88 with TDIF-to-lightpipe converter, a Panasonic SV-3700 DAT recorder, a Denon CD player with digital output, and a Linux workstation with Midiman Delta 1010 / 1010AI digital 8-channel interface. Eight channel monitoring is through Mackie HR824 speakers and stereo monitoring is through Meyer Sound Labs Model 833 loudspeakers.

Studio E is a ProTools-based room with some MIDI capability. Audio equipment includes a Tascam DA-88 recorder, Tascam DM-24 digital mixer, and Genelec 1030A monitors. The ProTools system running on a PowerMac G4 features a ProTools MIXplus with 888 I/O. MIDI equipment includes an E-Mu Emulator IV, Korg X3R, and a Kurzweil K2000 keyboard . A Linux workstation is also available with a Midiman Delta 1010 / 1010AI combination providing 8-channel digital I/O to the system.


© Copyright 2005 CCRMA, Stanford University. All rights reserved.