Vancouver’s Armory Studios has been welcoming international musicians for over two decades. World famous artists like Kiss, Avril Lavigne and Busta Rhymes have recorded at the Kitsilano studio.
But for the past six months, unexplained radio interference has threatened to ruin the studio’s reputation.
When staff try to record, high-pitched interference can be heard through wired microphones, making it difficult for music engineers to capture desired sounds.
“We’ve already lost money. We’re already paying a lot for technology. It’s wasted time in sessions and we even lost sessions,” said chief engineer and manager Paul Silveira.
In the audio recording industry, a loud studio can be the kiss of death, according to technician Corey Dixon.
“You have people who are very, very talented, very demanding, very demanding. If they hear a noise here, they’re going to walk,” Dixon said.
“We can’t have this landmine here, waiting for a session to explode.”
LISTEN | Listen to excerpts from the interference heard at Armory Studios:
What is causing the interference?
The team undertook what would ultimately turn out to be a wild goose hunt to determine the cause.
Dixon says he sent a recording of the interference to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), the radio frequency spectrum regulator in Canada.
ISED came to investigate and, according to Dixon, the ISED member wondered if the interference could be coming from cell phone towers on top of a nearby building.
The towers belong to Rogers who denies that his equipment is at fault.
“ISED asked Rogers to shut down its towers. I was there and when they did it was completely silent [the interference was gone]”Dixon said.
Once the towers were restarted, he said, the interference returned, but the mystery of how it happened remained.
In the end, neither ISED nor Rogers were able to pinpoint the exact cause of the interference.
CBC News has received correspondence from Rogers and ISED confirming that telecommunications are operating within authorized band and power levels.
In an email, the Rogers investigator raised several possibilities, including a neighborhood person using an illegal cell booster, but nothing was conclusive.
“It’s up to the Studio to fix the problem,” wrote an ISED member in a separate email to Armory Studios.
Rogers is investigating
Rogers denied responsibility for the interference but hired a technician to investigate.
“We have been in contact with Armory Studios and are investigating this issue,” said Paul Nixey, regional spokesperson for Rogers Communications, in a statement.
“Until we investigate it, it is not known what is the cause of the problem or if it is related to Rogers in any way.”
“We thank Armory Studios for bringing this to our attention and will continue to be in touch with them as we learn more. We understand their frustration and are bringing in additional technical experts on Monday to help go. deep down. We’re here to help. “
Silveira says the past six months have been difficult and frustrating.
“We have a global brand that we rely on. It’s quality. And that puts a lot of stress on me,” he said.
But given the news that Rogers has hired a technician, the Armory team are hoping to finally have some answers, and maybe even a little radio silence.