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In The Beginning…

Jim Scheffler started his audio career at Universal Recording in 1975.  Jim's musical training was soon appreciated for one of his first assignments, editing the session takes for The Chicago Chamber Orchestra.  With only the conductor’s scores and notes, Jim created the finished Masters. 

Jim's appreciation of music was learned from the earliest age.  "My mother was trained in classical piano so my earliest memories are of

her playing Chopin and Rachmaninoff.  I probably heard the piano from in the womb!"  Jim's parents listened to everything from jazz and big band to classical and Broadway show cast records.  "These were recordings made before transistors even thought of getting into the recording business.  And the playback equipment dad had was an amazing Stereo system built from scratch by my uncle, all tubes of course, with speakers that towered over me as a kid.  They were six feet tall and almost 4 feet wide.  Not loud, just very clean and full.  They sounded great!" 

Jim started piano at age 7 then decided to take guitar lessons at age 9.  "I had a gut 6 string to start with but I also was listening to the Beatles by then so of course, I wanted an electric guitar.  Dad wanted me to work and save for my hobby projects, so I would work for him around the family florist business green houses to save up for my electric guitar.  I learned the value of hard work and setting goals.  I really appreciate that now."  Jim's first guitar amp was a Heathkit that he built himself when he was 10.  "That amp was not a very good sounding amp but it still works!" Jim reports. "I guess that speaks of my soldering work as a kid, it isn't pretty but no cold solder joints!"  

Jim also discovered an interest in theatre production when he was a kid, first lighting and then recording shows and sound design.  "My family got involved in a community theatre group so it started when I was quite young.  I guess the lights caught my eye! (Wink)  I built a puppet stage with lights and dimmers and my brother and I would record a sound track with music and sound effects and all the voices and share in the puppeteer chores.  He's a couple years younger and we were just kids."

"One of my fondest memories of those early days was when my mother played Adelaide in that drama club's production of Guys and Dolls.  We went to a dress rehearsal at the local high school theatre where the production was being staged, and that opened my eyes.  The lighting was being hung and set, the sets were getting the finishing touches and the orchestra was there tuning up and that was my introduction to "live" musical theatre.  I was hooked.  I wanted to be involved.  I went home dreaming about it and I must have said something to my folks about it because the next thing I remember is sitting in the auditorium, headphones on my head sitting at a borrowed Bell&Howell 1/4 track machine, recording the show 5 times then editing from the best takes to make a final composite show recording.  I was 12 and I was getting my start."

Jim also loved listening to Big Band and jazz band so when he heard Drum and Bugle Corps for the first time at age 13 he immediately wanted to record it.  Not only did Jim record some Drum Corps contests, he also picked up a bugle and joined a Corps mid season.  Jim learned all the marching steps and started marching in competition after just 3 days!  “I had never played a brass instrument at all so I had to learn to “blow” and not suck, so that first competition I was just faking like I was playing.  I was filling a hole in the line so I just needed to remember where I needed to be, that was challenge enough!”  But of course that was only a start, he had to learn to play and memorize the whole thirteen minute “book”, and he had only 10 days to do it.  Jim went on to play for two seasons until the dream job was handed to him. 

“I wanted to record music more than anything,” explains Jim, “I consumed every book the library had to offer on the subject or related topics”.  So when Jim had an opportunity to attend the Recording Institute of America at a Chicago recording studio, he made arrangements.  That class turned out to be the opening he was hoping for.  He had looked for work at a studio or two when he completed high school but had been turned away.  The class was taught by, the new owner of Chicago ’s Universal Recording Corp., Murray Allen, who had recorded records for bands like Stan Kenton and was a sax player himself.  Murray noticed me tutoring some of the students in the class so after only the second night of the six week course he asked me if I wanted a job.  I took it!”  Jim was an employee and after the second week of classes, Murray left the teaching to him. 

It took only a year of on the job training and Jim had a signed contract for three years and a full membership in local #476 of I.A.T.S.E. the union of mixers and technicians.  After five years in Chicago working primarily with Michigan Avenue advertising accounts, Jim decided to move to L.A. to work on records and films.

Over the years, Jim has had the privilege of working with, and learning from a few of the world’s greatest recording engineers.  Murray Allen, Doug Brand, Toby Foster, Al Schmitt, Bill Schnee, and Bruce Swedien to name a few. 

Jim has also designed sound systems for churches and theaters, and for touring companies using many venue types including convention centers, arenas and stadiums.  He enjoys live mixing as much as working in the studio.  

L.A. area Studios that Jim has recorded and/or mixed in include; A&M Records (now Henson Studios), Ameraycan Studios, American Recording, Amigo, Annex, Baby O, Backroom Recorders, Bell Sound, Can-Am Recording, Capitol Recording Studios, Cherokee Recording Studios, The Complex, Conway Recording, Devonshire, Dennis Dragon Studio, Encore Studios, Inc., The Enterprise, Entourage Studios, Evergreen Recording Studios, Group IV, Hollywood Sound Recorders, House of Blues Studios, Lighthouse Recorders, Lion Share Recording Studio, Mad Dog, Mad Hatter Studio, Magnolia Sound, Mama Jo’s Studio, Martinsound, MCA/Whitney, MGM Scoring Stage (Now Sony Scoring), Monterey Recording Studio, Motown/Hitsville, Music Grinder, Ocean Way, Pacifique Recording, Paramount Recording, Peace in the Valley, Producer’s Recording, Record One, Record Plant, Rumbo Recorders, Rusk Sound Studios, Sage & Sound Recording, Skip Saylor Recording, Bill Schnee Studio, Score One Recording, Inc., Skyline Recording, Sound Castle, Sounder Recording, Stagg Street Studio, Studio 55, Studio Ultimo, Sunset Sound, Sunset Sound Factory, Sun West Recording, Take One Recording Studio, Todd A-O Scoring (Formerly Radford Street Scoring Stage), George Tobin Studios, Track Record, United Western, Village Recorders, Weddington Studios, Western United, Westlake Studios, Whitefield Studios.


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