We are a recording studio and mastering facility in Hamilton, Canada that values craftsmanship, innovation, and excellent sound.
We handle a variety of audio work including recording, mixing, mastering, audio post-production, and system design & acoustics consulting.
Our head engineer and owner Travis Stoddart has worked with emerging artists and record labels that make up the southern Ontario independent music scene, including Gattsby Records, Frankie Wood, Edward Sayers, and many more. He is a craftsman, striving to make every project sound incredible and push the boundaries of what is possible in audio. In 2018, he was nominated for a Hamilton Arts Award.
See what some of our clients have said about us:
"I was very pleased with the final masters and the invoice price. Painless and professional."
-Seth Macey, Gattsby Records
"Travis is like the audio equivalent of a mad scientist."
-Koi Getson, Faulty Rivals
"Travis is the master of mastering. The guy has a great set of ears. I highly recommend him!"
-Mike McCurlie, MJM Media
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
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Interview with Alleyway Sound
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I think anyone hiring an audio engineer should really get to know them on a personal level and get comfortable with them, especially if they're heavily involved in the creative process, before deciding to work with them. At the end of the day, the studio business is a service industry and to make a great record you need someone who's on board with your creative vision and willing to listen and work collaboratively with you. I also think it's important to remember that recordings are forever. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I really think the analog/digital debate is asking the wrong question. There's a time and a place for both. I still like a totally analog front end while tracking, I think there's some "magic" if you will that analog circuitry imparts into an audio signal, but the recallability of digital when it comes to mixing and mastering is necessary in this day and age. I've used most of the hardware versions of the UAD plugins that I own at some point or another in my career and I think UA has done a great job on their emulations. I wouldn't stand behind them so readily if they didn't sound good.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm consistently inspired and amazed by great songwriters. I think it's got to be one of the toughest aspects of music and they make it look so easy.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been working professionally in audio in some capacity since about 2011, including everything from music retail to live sound to studio work to system/acoustics design. I studied Music Industry Arts and Audio Post-Production at Fanshawe College and started running Alleyway Sound out of my apartment while I was in college, tracking and mixing in the studios at Fanshawe and doing the bulk of my editing at home on a Macbook and my Focal monitors. The studio has definitely come a long way since then! I interned at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton (known for their work with City and Colour, Whitehorse, and Junkhouse) after graduating, while working in construction building studios and rehearsal rooms on the side. In 2017, I made the jump to running Alleyway Sound full-time while doing live sound a few nights a week at local venues in Hamilton.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Something I learned a while ago is that EDM-style "drops" can work in just about any genre. The idea of cutting out most of the instrumentation to highlight a vocal or showcase a riff creates a dynamic low point right before a high point like a chorus that can give a song punch and impact where you want it most. This can even be done in the mixing stage with some creative editing. You have to play with it a bit to make it fit the song and the style, but the fundamental concept is the same.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Honestly, all of it. Life's too short to not love what you do. But if I had to pick a favourite I'd say it's taking something good and making it great. Whether that's making some minor tweaks in mastering to really make a mix stand out or perfectly capturing the emotion in a performance while recording, I like to leave every project I work on better than I found it, even if I'm not the last person that's going to be working on it.