Guitar virtuoso and YouTuber Tim Henson chooses Genelec for W6rst Studios

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Guitar virtuoso and YouTuber Tim Henson chooses Genelec for W6rst Studios

Tim Henson
Words by Mixdown staff

Always moving to the beat of his own drum, Henson is a world-renowned guitarist, a highly visible YouTuber, a livestreamer and founding member of the critically acclaimed progressive rock band Polyphia.

Tim Henson of Polyphia

Among the new generation of elite rock musicians, Tim Henson stands out as a multi-talented Renaissance man. When it came time for Tim to build a private recording studio in his Dallas, Texas home to serve as his main creative space (W6rst Studios), he looked at several different home building plans and finally decided on one in particular that would allow for the studio design he had in mind. “So when we were looking at plans to build a new house, I would say, ‘do any of these plans have a media room or game room that’s large?’” stated Henson. “And the one that we came across was the only plan out of 10 builders that had a room that was 27-feet by 17-feet, and I said, okay, that’s a great sized room to have a desk and some monitors and a couch and a coffee table.”

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Once comfortable with the home’s design plans, Tim Henson pulled out all the stops, first by hiring Gavin Haverstick from the acoustical consulting firm Haverstick Designs to help make his vision of a home studio become a reality. “Gavin did all the different customized designs for the studio, which I was extremely happy with, so the next step was to have Jason Goodwin of JGW Services come in and actually build the studio per Gavin’s designs,” stated Henson. “What we did is build the pentagon for the main room so that we didn’t have any parallel walls. We started out with one massive room, then we walled it off and built a room within the room – and then another room within that room!”

Tim Henson W6rst Studios

The Studio “A” isolation space is a full room-within-a-room design, including rubber isolation spacers for the base of the room. Double drywall over 16-inch O.C framing and Rockwool insulation provides excellent soundproofing for live drum recording. A custom 36-by-60-inch double pane acoustic window and two solid wood doors provide an “air lock” effect between the control room and isolation room, with a two-inch gap between wall framing. For acoustic treatments, all panels, clouds, corner bass traps and soffit are covered in Guilford of Maine acoustic fabric. The control room has a black soffit around the entire perimeter of the ceiling, packed with Rockwool insulation. Wall panels and clouds are made with O.C 703 insulation and custom cleat mounting. After completing Studio “A,” JGW Services was brought back to build Studio “B,” which focused on livestreaming (Tim has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube, and Polyphia has 1.44 million), so acoustics were not as critical, but lighting was. To add more than just the existing ceiling lights, JGW designed a custom baseboard for the room with integrated LED lighting. The LED strip lighting gives a wall wash effect and is remote controlled. An acoustic cloud with fiber optic strand lighting was designed to give a luxurious “starry sky” effect. Along with a custom LED backlit acoustic panel and sign, the room has full RGBW lighting controlled separately and remotely.

Genelec 8361

When it came time for Tim Henson to choose monitors, his criteria were two-fold. He needed a monitor that was not only sonically accurate, but aesthetically could match the design of his room – so he chose Genelec 8361s in white. “While I was still just working from a 3D rendering, I was looking at all the different options – what different couches I could put in, what color this wall could be, and the color of the soffit and the soundproofing, etc. I was trying to get it to the point where it looked and felt right. And then I realized the speakers not only have to sound great, they have to be beautiful. Initially I went for 8361s in gray, as we were still building the room, but then once everything came together, I realized how much better the white would look in the room, and I went for those. They came out beautiful. And they sound incredible, especially employing GLM. I’m very, very happy aesthetically. And then, most importantly, I’m happy sonically. And being able to have the option of an aesthetically pleasing, high-end audio monitor is such a nice luxury.”

He continues, “The live room at my home studio sounds amazing, and we’ve tracked some demos there so far. I don’t know if they’re going to be making it to the final record yet; it’s too soon to tell. But they’re perfectly capable of doing that. So yeah, I think ideally what we’ll do is just do the record at my house and not go anywhere. It’s so much more convenient. I can have my rig recording all the time!”

GLM software

When asked about how Tim Henson first learned of Genelecs, he stated, “Between all of my friends that have mid- to higher-range studios, including really beautiful home facilities, a good proportion of them had Genelec. And then as I was doing more and more research, I stumbled across Post Malone’s engineer Louis Bell and Electric Feel Studio’s chief engineer Nick Mac, who made the videos about GLM software. GLM allows a consistent listening environment for the Genelecs, no matter what the space is. I used it for setup at my home studio with the 8361s and now Polyphia are using it on the road every day. We just got a pair of 8330s, in the RAW finish, that we have out on tour with us. And it’s great because every day we are in a different area, a different room for us to write in and all we do is set up the 8330s, and then dial in the GLM, and the room gets ‘treated’ the way it needs to be, and we have an accurate, consistent monitoring area for playback. It’s just a life-saving thing. The idea is that whenever inspiration hits, we should be able to just get it out. So the writing setup gets configured by the crew in the mornings, even before we wake up, so that we walk into the green room areas and have somewhere to work if we want to.”

So what does the future hold for Tim Henson? “Looking forward, I am seriously considering moving to a Dolby Atmos® immersive setup and have already talked to Genelec about this. I recently got surprised by Jonathan Morrison (also a Genelec user), where I heard his Atmos mix of our song “Playing God,” where the drums were all around me. It blew my mind. I absolutely want to be able to experience music, and mix music, in that way. There’s so much more you can do than just left and right, and our music lends itself to the immersive format. And also, as a band, we like to compose with the mix in mind. Like descending arpeggios that wrap themselves around your head and then unwrap themselves when they ascend. There’s so many things to think about in that regard – and I am looking forward to diving in and making it happen!”

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