Euphonic Studio ™

Recording studio and music instruction adventures since 1979

About Me

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Euphonic Studio
Mount Vernon, Iowa
Serving the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor
Call 319.895.8002 for a tour or recording appointment or write bill@euphonic.us
We record all types of music and your satisfaction is guaranteed!

Bill Niemi, Engineer, Instructor, 2010 MidAmerica Music Hall of Fame Inductee

When you trust your recording or instruction dollars to someone you have the right to expect a level of competency and experience that will give you the most value for your dollar.  In recording this translates to a variety of traits, including number of years in the business, equipment choices, track quality, and client list.  For a teaching studio, your instructor should have accumulated years of experience as a musician and a high degree of proficiency in order to qualify to teach the instrument.  There is an old expression which I find to be totally inaccurate.  It goes “Those who can’t do, teach”.  This is utter nonsense.  In order to teach you need to not only be able to do, you also need to be able to teach, which is a completely separate skill.

A word or two about the Euphonic Studio….

Bill Niemi, Euphonic Studio Engineer

Bill Niemi, Euphonic Studio engineer, instructor, and composer/arranger

Euphonic Studio started in 1979 as a 4 track studio for recreational recording of Bach and other classical music using a monophonic synthesizer.  That same year I found out it had commercial uses as friends and word-of-mouth brought customers to my door. Since then it has grown to what we have today, which is the realization of my dream business from 30 years ago.  My teaching studio grew past the point I could handle so I have had to cut back.  The recording business is attracting exactly the clientele I like to work with.  Terrific musicians with tiny egos, a propensity to have fun, a laid back approach and an ear for what separates this studio from the guy down the road with Garage Band on a Mac laptop or the latest Tascam toybox.

In my life I have had 3 careers, sometimes running concurrently.  I began my study of music at age 5 with piano and at 9 i started violin.  Both of my parents were music teachers; my dad taught the string program at the public schools in International Falls, MN, and my mom taught private piano lessons, up to 60 students per week.  During my freshman high school years I began playing in bands and I taught myself guitar and bass along with taking horns so I could play in the marching and pep bands.  I played french horn in the concert band and trumpet in the pep band.  My first combo was a band that played about 55 covers of Tijuana Brass songs and had no vocalist.  After that band broke up things got much heavier and I was playing guitar in guitar/bass/drums trios that did a lot of covers of music of the day, Hendrix, Cream, Steppenwolf (missed the Hammond), Grand Funk Railroad, and many more.

I went away to college and played bass in a heavy jam band while studying theory and being concertmaster of my college orchestra. I was unhappy with collegiate life; it seemed totally irrelevant to me. The chairman of the music department made me a verbal offer that if I would stay and finish my degree, I could have a faculty position as an associate professor of violin while I finished my masters degree.  Then I could become a regular faculty member, taking the orchestra director’s job as well.  I ended up dropping out to get married and pursue my career in the world of performance. It took a while to get started, but I finally got my feet on the ground in Minneapolis in 1976 with a very popular band called “Double Nickels” (I have lots of recordings by the Nickels on this site).  

In retrospect, I am glad that I didn’t take up Professor Thompson’s offer to join their faculty as an instructor.  Despite my musical experience and years of playing, I needed more training to do that job properly and I was not going to get it there. 

I had a wonderful career in music performance and met very many influential players and teachers along the way.  That world has largely disappeared, in fact it began dying in the early 80s and never came back. 

When the bar business failed, I decided to go back to school, but this time for my other career choice, science.  I went to tech school and studied automation, which was in its very early stages (mid 80s).  After graduation I spent 6 years working for Del Monte foods at their south Texas plant in plant engineering.  Due to Del Monte’s consolidation efforts (translate as “job killing”) I left the company even though my job was safe and went back to school for my engineering degree.  I graduated from Texas A&M in 1995, summa cum laude, and took a job with a system integrator in Dallas.  After a year I moved back to the upper midwest to marry my internet sweetheart.  Our 15th anniversary is in a few days.

During my career in the Cedar Rapids area I have worked as a contractor and also as a regular employee at some heavy firms, including Rockwell, Siemens, Gillette, PMX, Alliant Energy, and others.  I had to retire from engineering due to illness in 2007, unfortunately, but I took away a lot of experience about project management and people.

Ironically, my last job working for “other people” was as half-time staff in the music department at Coe College.  I answered an ad quite out of the blue for a Tech Director.  I had a great time working there, and enjoyed the faculty and students immensely.  The position was eliminated in 2009, but then re-created after the untimely death of a key faculty member (RIP Hoff).

So to sum this up:

I’ve been studying, playing, teaching, writing, or recording music since I was 5, which as of today means 55 years.  I have actively and aggressively studied piano, violin, music theory, guitar, bass, and recording techniques.  My training has been in classical music; I started out as a music major in college and then moved on to rock, country, jazz, and other forms.

I have about 15,000 hours of live performance experience and probably 3000 hours experience as chief engineer on recording projects.  I have been Project Engineer on projects ranging from a few hundred dollars to about $8 million.  I have had to learn countless pieces of new equipment in my work with systems integrators.  I have had to learn countless pieces of new equipment in my job as a recording engineer.  I have gone through the learning curves of how to get anything miced from an electric guitar to a full drum set to a violin/piano duet.  I know what the capabilities of my mics are.  Most of the recording equipment in this studio is the best you can get without spending 3 times more money.  Some of it is that expensive stuff, too.  I like to think that the recording system reflects upon the judgment of the studio operator.  I have a lot of experience with project budgets so I have selected the best equipment where it is important and tried to make intelligent choices for other equipment.

Euphonic Studio is a lot more than than the sum of our excellent gear (which is still important).  It’s a mindset that believes that everything I do here, for myself or anyone else, should be good enough to put into public scrutiny and people who listen to it will love it both on the merits of performance and the recording technique. It’s my goal to chase the sound and capture it for your recording.

I look forward to meeting you in person and and would be honored if you choose my studio for your project.

Bill Niemi

Euphonic Studio
Mount Vernon, Iowa
Serving the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor
Call 319.895.8002 for a tour or recording appointment or write bill@euphonic.us
We record all types of music and your satisfaction is guaranteed!

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Written by Mr. Bill

June 26th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

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